You are currently viewing WHAT’S IN A WORD (SPOILER ALERT: A LOT)


In the age of Instagram and TikTok, image is everything, right? Not so fast. When it comes to crafting impactful ads, you can create content that pops without leaning on stock or custom photography. Hear us out.

According to research, the average U.S.-based consumer is served anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day. Now, factor in the reality that your ad has mere seconds (if that) to grab someone’s attention. While photos can help convey your messaging, depending on the medium, words can be more powerful and effective – especially when you’re talking about a literal blink of an eye. 

Keep it simple
There’s a reason that STOP signs, by and large, are recognizable. They’re simple, the message is abundantly clear, and the now-ubiquitous design is unique and practically universal (seriously, even if you don’t speak Chinese or Spanish, you’d recognize a stop sign in either language immediately). Well-crafted word-driven ads function similarly. When you read it, you know what should come next. Choose your words wisely and sparingly, aim for clarity, and go with a clean design to make the next desired steps for consumers abundantly clear. 

Avoid exclusion
The right words are powerful and inclusive. Imagery can be tricky if your audience is broad. When you use a photo, you want one that is relatable to your clientele. This means, they have to be able to see themselves in that ad. Our society is a wonderful melting pot with people from all corners of the Earth and all walks of life. Thus, using a people-centric image targeted to a wildly diverse audience can be challenging. We’re not saying you should shy away from it; however, it presents another layer of considerations that word-driven ads do not.

Stay on brand
Your company has a brand identity (if it doesn’t, we got you) encompassing everything from your logo and the palette you use in company materials and touchpoints to your brand personality and voice. Word-driven creative is yet another way to harness that identity to build ads that are a natural extension of it, from typeface to tone.

Choose clever, not click-bait
We get it. You want eyeballs on your ad. Depending on the platform, you may want clicks, too. But, when companies lean too far into the tempting realm of clickbait, it could cheapen your overall messaging and make your brand look at best thirsty and at worst untrustworthy. Don’t dismiss clever copy in favor of click-bait language. Doing so can erode your brand’s goodwill and dilute your overall messaging. 

There’s an old saying: “In good times, people want to advertise. In bad times, you MUST.”  As the country reopens and you look to carefully spend your marketing budget, this may be the time to try a word-focused ad. Because what’s in a word? A LOT.

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