The Element of Surprise in Advertising

The Element of Surprise in AdvertisingSurprising your audience is a great tactic to get them to pay attention, especially in a context where people are used to repetition and may not be expecting any changes (health coaching, anyone?). Advertising is one such forum. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often spend a lot of time looking at ads in the magazines I read or on tv. They seem to follow certain patterns that make it easy for my eyes to glaze over when an ad interrupts my focus.

Recently I was riding the London Underground when a series of advertisements caught my attention. These ads were for Trivago, a hotel comparison shopping site that I had never heard of until I saw the ads. Apparently this particular ad campaign is unique to the UK, which is too bad, because I found it amusing. It’s not typical to see ads for a basic travel services company with a cheeky tone. The distinctive design of the characters, and lead character Alan’s compulsive lying, also lend the ads sticking power.

Just as doing something a little different from the expected can grab users’ attention with health coaching, so too can it attract subway riders to your advertisement. What are some advertisements that surprised you and stuck in your mind?

Oh Alan, you scamp!
Alan! Lying to a new mom! How could you?