4 DTC Advertising Examples & What They Do Right
These modern direct to consumer brands know how to get attention with creative ads that tell a story.
With so many brands vying for customers’ attention (and cash), it’s hard to break through the noise. This challenge is compounded for direct to consumer companies, which don’t have the backing of big-box retailers to get their products into consumers’ hands. DTC advertising needs to tell a brand story and sell its products effectively, which is no easy task.
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Ready to find out more about what makes DTC advertising special? Let’s jump in!
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What is DTC advertising?
Direct to consumer brands have been around for a long time, but they’ve taken on a new life in the last few years. Because modern direct to consumer brands are especially popular with millennials and zoomers, DTC advertising needs to appeal to a socially conscious, tech-savvy audience. Because of this, DTC marketing pros can’t rely on traditional ad channels or best practices and instead must rely on exceptionally creative ads that get their message across.
DTC Advertising Example #1: Away
What it does right:
- Focuses on the travel experience, not just the product
- Uses a simple, effective tagline
Picture this: in the hopefully not-too-distant future, you’ve arrived at your destination after a day of navigating airports and unfamiliar places. You’re finally checked in, and once you get to your room and open your bag, your vacation can officially begin. Relax. You made it.
It’s an incredible feeling, and one luxury luggage brand Away captures perfectly with this display ad. By showing how its suitcase fits into the travel journey, rather than just using a product shot, Away gets to show — not tell — potential consumers what its bags can do. The tagline, “Luggage you’ll use for life,” speaks to the product’s durability without wasting words. To put a bow on it, the “Shop Away” call to action leads users to the natural end of this particular journey: Away’s website, where they can browse an array of luggage and find the travel companion that suits them best.
DTC Advertising Example #2: Glossier
— Glossier (@glossier) September 4, 2019
What it does right:
- Shows real people
- Celebrates diverse ideas of beauty
Millennials and zoomers are flocking to beauty brand Glossier, and the “Feeling like Glossier” campaign makes it easy to see why. This thoughtful Twitter video ad embraces the company’s stated mission that “beauty isn’t built in a boardroom — it happens when you’re a part of the process.” Instead of relying on celebrities or models, Glossier’s ad uses an incredibly diverse group of real people, showing that quality skincare and makeup are for everyone.
The other point this ad drives home is that there’s no one right way to do beauty. Everyone can be beautiful in their own way, and Glossier helps make its customers feel great in their own skin. Whether you prefer a pink jumpsuit or baggy pants, going out or staying in, the natural look or a full face, Glossier is there for you.
DTC Advertising Example #3: SodaStream
What it does right:
- Uses a recognizable (and relevant) celebrity ambassador
- Appeals to an environmentally conscious audience
Brands have used famous people to promote their products for decades, but modern consumers are wary of celebrity endorsements. To maintain authenticity and consumer trust, DTC companies need to be thoughtful about celebrity partnerships. In this case, SodaStream knocked it out of the park, using the instantly recognizable Snoop Dogg to promote the company’s at-home carbonated beverage dispenser.
This ad works on a number of levels. In recent years, Snoop has taken on a more wholesome persona, which includes a famous friendship with Martha Stewart; this makes him a great choice to talk about enjoying “the small things.” His laid-back style is believable, and he infuses every frame with an effortless humor. On top of that, the ad addresses the challenges of our modern (socially distant) times and makes a point about reducing plastic waste, which should resonate with socially conscious consumers.
DTC Advertising Example #4: Casper
What it does right:
- Tells a story with a single image
- Focuses on eliciting an emotional response
Any pet owner can tell you about the struggles of sleeping with their furry friends. Even the smallest kittens manage to take up a disproportionate amount of bed space, leaving their humans to twist and contort themselves as they try to fall asleep. Without a comfy bed, this could be a nightmare — but with the right mattress, like the Casper shown above, cat ladies can sleep peacefully.
In under seven years, Casper has gone from DTC start-up and mattress industry disrupter to billion-dollar brand, and much of that is due to marketing efforts that promote the company’s vision: an “outrageously comfortable mattress” that people could buy online, skipping the headaches of in-store mattress shopping. With this one illustration, Casper conveys that comfort without being too pushy. Other than a couple of strategically unobtrusive uses of the company logo, you can hardly tell this is an ad, and that subtlety works in Casper’s favor. Most people won’t remember all the ads they’re bombarded with in a single day, but the one about the cat lady? That might stick out.
Show, Don’t Tell
These ads showcase different kinds of products using different ad channels and creative approaches, but they still have a few things in common. Like all good DTC advertising, our faves take a “show, don’t tell” approach to convey a story about the brand and its products. In seconds, people scrolling through their feeds can get an idea of what these companies can do for them. For DTC brands, that first impression is crucial for building long-term customer relationships.
Ready to embark on your own DTC advertising campaign? yellowHEAD can help. Our proprietary Alison platform goes beyond traditional A/B testing by analyzing dozens of creative elements in ads to find out what consumers respond to. Our own experts study those results to make the most effective recommendations, while our creative studio delivers eye-catching assets. Let’s talk!