Advertisers use various advertising strategies to deliver unique product proposition and increase brand awareness and sales.

Here are seven common ad strategies advertisers use that every copywriter should know:

1. “Before and After” Strategy. Use this strategy to show life without the product and then life with the product. Generally, you’d show a negative visual image of life before the product and then a positive one after. This technique helps you show the value and importance of your product.

before and afte rad

(Advertisement by Laubach Literacy of Canada)

2. “Advice” Strategy. This is a lateral, “we can help you” ad strategy. Use it to express the benefit of your product or service. For example, you can emphasize that everyone needs to consume protein everyday so you can sell more milk. (E.g Got Milk?)

Wolverine got milk ad_large
(Advertisement by Got Milk?)

3. “Empathy” Strategy. Use this strategy to develop the audience’s empathy towards a targeted audience. For example, a non-profit organization can show images of ill children to make people feel sympathetic towards the kids. This approach can help the non-profit organization raise funds.

(Advertisement by charity:water)

4. “Testimonial” Strategy. This approach leverages a famous or non-famous consumer to support the quality or benefits of a brand’s product. For example, a professional basketball player can wear a pair of Nike basketball shoes to support the quality of Nike basketball shoes.

(Advertisement by Nike featuring Kobe Bryant)

5. “Demonstration” Strategy. This type of ad strategy focuses solely on ways to explicitly show the product benefit via a “demonstration.” For example, when Jean-Claude Van Damme performed a split on two reversing Volvo trucks, he was demonstrating the stability and reliability of Volvo trucks.

(Jean-Claude Van Damme doing a split for a Volvo commercial)

6. “Competitive” or “Comparison” Strategy. Use this strategy to make either an overt or subtle reference to any differences between your product and a competitor’s product. The classic example is the Mac vs PC commercial where Apple directly compared Mac’s features against PC’s to explicitly show the superiority of Mac computers.

(Mac VS PC advertisement)

7. “Negative to Positive” Strategy. Use this strategy to turn a boring or negative perception about a product, brand, or market into a positive one by adding an extra or clever argument. For example, VW’s famous “Think Small” ad turned the common American belief that bigger is better, by showing positive reasons for owning a small car, such as smaller bills and parking spaces.


(VW’s famous “Think Small” advertising campaign)

Traditional advertising strategies such as the “demonstration” and “testimonial” strategies remain effective in the digital world. By using the seven techniques above, you can improve your target audience’s perception towards your brand, demonstrate the superiority of your products in comparison with your competitors, or explicitly illustrate the value of your offerings. These tactics will help you increase brand awareness and appeal, and most importantly, sales.

If there are other ad strategies you want share, please let them in the comments section below!

Read more: