What makes a good advert? Although some may argue that this is a subjective question, many experienced advertising practitioners will insist that there is, in fact, a ‘right way’ to design an advert.

The discussion around what makes a good advert is one that is multifaceted and complex to approach. This is because an advert can come in a variety of formats and be used on a variety of channels.

There are also two parts to the discussion of what makes a good advert: one part is concerned with copywriting, and the other comes down to design, both of which I will cover in this article.

Whilst the principles I’ll be discussing can be applied to most forms of advertising, I’m going to focus on techniques suited to outdoor, print and static display advertising.


In today’s world, you don’t often get a second chance to gain somebody’s attention. In most instances, you’ve either got it or you haven’t – so it’s important to grab your audience from the offset with a hard-hitting headline.

In certain instances, you’ll be limited to just a few words to communicate your message. Succinct headlines are often the best option when advertising in a fast-moving environment where you’re competing for attention.

Be clever with your choice of words – and if necessary, use subtle wordplay and puns to catch the imagination of your recipient – this will create a more engaging message that will make people read twice.

Air Asia Advert


A carefully crafted advert is often underpinned by selective and intelligent use of language. The language that you use will be instrumental in creating the resonance needed to gain the recipient’s consideration.

Think about whether you’ll use words that form a statement, a question or a command to guide the recipient towards the desired end. This practice is often referred to as neuro-linguistic programming.

But it’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it. Consider using a tone that suits the communication medium and one that the target audience can relate to.

Squirrel Advert


If you want the recipient to take action, you will need to give them a compelling call-to-action. But this isn’t limited to a generic ‘find out more’ call-to-action at the bottom of an advert.

Ad copywriters often use language that is associated with different learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. An example would be ‘see it now’ for a visual learner, ‘hear the story’ for an auditory learner and ‘jump on board’ for a kinesthetic learner.

Some of the most effective calls-to-action are embedded within the body of the copywriting itself.

Marlboro Advert


Formatting your advert to good effect is important, especially if you’re working with imagery and text together. Spatial awareness is key to the overall design of the advert.

When putting the graphic and text elements together, make sure they’re proportionate in size to each other. Allow space to highlight the elements that are important to the message.

Adverts that are too busy tend to have less impact. Remember – less is more. So avoid squeezing in elements that don’t fit properly and try not to obscure the image with too much text and vice versa.

WoolOvers Advert


Whether you’re using an image or an illustration for your advert, pay attention to the type of font that you use. For adverts in fast-moving or busy places, a simple, easy to read font might be the best option.

However, more fanciful fonts are likely to catch people’s attention. Combining typography with an image is a creative and original way of communicating your message.

Always make sure that there’s adequate contrast between the background and the text to make it stand out.

Depression Advert


Creating resonance, in part, is also down to the type of imagery you use in your advert. Use powerful imagery that coincides with the copywriting, as this will reinforce your message in two ways.

Choose an image that reflects the mood that you want the recipient to feel. Darker images have a different effect to lighter images, and specific colour palettes can also create different moods.

Uncloak Advert

Do you need help creating a hard-hitting, highly converting advert? Get in touch with us today!