January 16, 2023

Unique Ad Creative Ideas That Help Brands Grow

Unique Ad Creative Ideas That Help Brands Grow

Understanding the Meaning of Creatives in Advertising

Before discussing ad concepts, let’s define what exactly creatives are in advertising. These are the ads that potential customers will come in contact with, view or hear.

Creatives often include elements such as videos, images and audio but can also take other forms.

They can be found on a variety of platforms including digital and traditional such as websites, mobile apps, newspapers, magazines, billboards and TV. The term creative encompasses a wide range of advertising formats and any ad can be considered a creative.

How to Create a Successful Creative Ad

Creating an effective creative ad can be challenging for some, but there are ways to improve the process. One way is to seek inspiration from existing advertisements. Additionally, utilizing various tips and strategies can also be beneficial. We’ll provide further information on these methods below.

It’s crucial to understand your target audience and tailor your ad to appeal to them, as well as identifying key features of your product to focus on and determining design elements that will be effective.

Essential Elements of an Effective Banner Ad

Effective banner ads generally adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Legible text.
  • Distinct call to action.
  • Proper usage of banner sizes.
    • Medium rectangles are suitable for placement within or at the end of articles.
    • Leaderboards are suitable for placement at the top of an article.
    • Large rectangles are suitable within an article or at its end.
    • Half-page banners are suitable on the left or right side.
  • The potential use of frames.
  • The potential use of animation.
  • A simple design.
  • Uses JPG, PNG, HTML5 or GIF formats (avoid Flash).
  • A file size of 150kb.
  • Psychology of color.
  • Consistency between the banner ad and the landing page.

We will discuss some of these tips in more depth in the next section about ad design tips.

Expert Tips for Advertising Design: Inspiration for Ad and Banner Design

The following tips are compiled from experienced professionals in advertising, marketing, and design and are based on their successful practices and industry knowledge.

Some of these tips can be applied to the inspiration gained from the banner design examples discussed later while others are general advice.

Identify the Most Effective Locations for Creative Ad Campaigns

Consider where your target audience spends their time and position your ad campaign accordingly. Some popular options include:

  • Google Ads (Search, Display, and others)
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Reddit
  • Desktop news feed
  • Desktop right column
  • Mobile newsfeed

Utilize the Psychology of Color

The psychology of color is an important aspect of effective banner ads and can be used to influence emotions and associations to enhance ad design.

  • Yellow is associated with positivity, optimism and attention-grabbing.
  • Red evokes a sense of urgency and can increase heart rate.
  • Orange is associated with being aggressive and is often used in calls to action.
  • Pink is associated with femininity and romance and is often used for women and girls.
  • Blue evokes feelings of trust and security and is commonly used by businesses.
  • Green is associated with wealth and is commonly used in relaxing environments or stores.
  • Purple is associated with calmness and is common in anti-aging and beauty products.
  • Black is associated with sleekness, power and luxury products.

Prioritize Simplicity

By keeping your ad concepts simple, they have a higher likelihood of resonating with a broader audience, and tend to be more noticeable in various contexts.

Develop Buyer Personas

Similar to other forms of advertising, before developing your banner design, establish buyer personas. They provide a fundamental understanding of your target demographic. Create as many as required to appeal to your entire audience, then tailor each of your creative ads to one of the personas.

Information to consider when building buyer personas could include:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Primary concerns

Tailor the Advertisements to the Target Audience

Digital advertising offers various capabilities and opportunities to incorporate into ad concepts, such as creating multiple versions of ads that cater to different segments of your target audience.

For instance, a jewelry store for women could create one set of ads that target women buying jewelry for themselves, and another set that targets people buying jewelry as gifts for those women.

Ensure Consistency Between the Ad and the Landing Page

Regardless of the digital ad concepts you implement, ensure that the landing page aligns with it. Failure to do so will result in a high bounce rate because customers leave the website due to not finding what they expect.

Minimize the Copy

Effective ads that grab attention don’t have excessive content to read, keeping the copy brief and concise is a better approach to attracting viewer attention.

Incorporate Subtle Innuendo

Depending on your target audience and product, incorporating subtle innuendo can be super effective. However, it’s important to tread carefully with this technique, and avoid using explicit or offensive references or sexual themes, as it can turn away some customers and may also prevent your ads from being displayed on certain websites.

Consider using innuendo that is appropriate for general audiences but can also be interpreted differently by adults.

Incorporate Humor

Adding humor to your ad creative concept is another effective strategy. It requires creative thinking and testing with a group of people for a focus group to determine what type of humor resonates with your target audience.

Utilize Shock

Creating shock through an ad can be an effective way to grab attention, but it must be used cautiously. Avoid offensive or excessively graphic content.

There are two ways to use shock in your ad copy.

One is by crafting an attention-grabbing headline and providing a line of explanation on how it relates to your brand; another is by being creative with the ad concept while avoiding clickbait.

Use Images in Unusual Ways

To surprise viewers, consider using images in unique and unexpected ways in your advertising. One example is incorporating smaller images into the overall design. Another approach is to incorporate elements of surrealism or optical illusions.

Incorporate Social Proof

Include social proof in your advertising strategy. This helps build trust in your brand. Examples of social proof include: testimonials, reviews, ratings, likes, shares, and pictures of happy customers using the product.

Include Discounts

Consider offering discounts as a part of your marketing strategy. It’s an effective way to attract customers as many people are attracted to a good deal. Incorporating discounts into your digital advertising is also convenient as they can be easily updated in real-time by adjusting the ad copy or prices.

Utilize A/B testing

Utilize A/B testing to determine the most effective ad design. A/B testing involves comparing two similar ads with minor variations. Test the ads, measure the performance, choose the ad that performs better and then apply it. Additionally, you can use the insights gained from A/B testing to improve future ad designs.

Address Logic and Emotion

Effective ad campaigns should target both logic and emotions. The ad must be able to provide rational reasons for the product’s value and at the same time, appeal to emotions or desires. An example is highlighting the potential risks of missing out or showcasing how the product can solve a pain point.

Get Creative and Sponsor a Quiz

Unleash your creativity and boost your brand awareness with a sponsored quiz. Quizzes are an interactive and engaging way to entertain your audience while placing your products or brand in their minds. Tailor the quiz to your brand and objectives, for example:

  • Discover the perfect [skin care product] for you
  • Reveal your true [candy product] personality
  • Find out the ideal [food product] for tonight’s dinner

Connect to Pop Culture

Leverage the power of pop culture to capture your audience’s attention. Incorporating current trends and popular references in your advertising strategies can be an effective way to make your message stand out.

You can be budget-friendly by being creative and referencing non-copyrighted material. However, please be sure to be cautious and avoid any copyright infringement issues.

Go Retro

Add a touch of nostalgia by incorporating retro elements into your advertising campaign. Whether it’s through vintage styling or specific references to past pop culture, embracing the retro aesthetic can be a great way to differentiate your brand or products from the competition.

If contemporary trends don’t align with your brand or products, consider exploring the retro route.

Include Cute Animals

Leverage the universal appeal of cute animals to attract attention to your advertisement. Even if your product is not related to animals, including an adorable creature in your ad can be an effective way to grab people’s attention.

Consider how the animal could be incorporated into your product – for example, showcasing the effectiveness of your paper towels in cleaning up a mess made by a pet, or depicting a puppy wearing your jewelry.

Create Filters and Frames on Social Media

Enhance your brand’s presence on social media by creating engaging filters and frames. Similar to the concept of distributing promotional clothing items like shirts or hats, these digital tools allow your logo or brand to be seen by a wider audience when used by others. Aim to create filters and frames that are visually appealing and unique, so that users will naturally want to use them, rather than feeling like it’s an advertisement.

Consider Puns

Don’t underestimate the power of wordplay! Puns may have a reputation for being cheesy, but they can also be a great way to grab attention and make a lasting impression.

Use your wit and creativity to come up with puns that are relevant to your brand or products, and incorporate them into your ad copy. They may be corny, but they can also be clever and effective!

Make an Ad That Uses the Surrounding Environment

Think outside the box and create ads that utilize the surrounding environment. For non-digital advertisements, incorporate the physical space and objects around the ad into the creative concept.

For example, an ad for pasta could use ropes on a ship to visually depict spaghetti. When planning your ad, consider the context and location where your target audience will encounter it, and find creative ways to integrate that into your ad concept.

Let Billboards Go Past the Boundaries

Break free from traditional constraints and push the boundaries with non-digital billboard advertising. Instead of sticking to standard format, explore new possibilities such as creating a 3D ad or extending it beyond the typical bounds of a billboard.

Get creative, take inspiration from successful campaigns, like the Chick-fil-A example where cows were used to “graffiti” the billboards, in order to promote their chicken dishes. Be bold and think out of the box.

Creative Ads and Banner Ad Design Inspiration From Successful Creative Ad Campaigns

With those tips in mind, it is time to take a look at some ad creative ideas. The following ideas incorporate various of the above tips in their advertisement images and should be an excellent inspiration.



This lint roller ad can be your inspiration for ad creative ideas that use objects in unexpected ways. In this case, it is the cat replacing the sheets on the lint roller, playing on the idea that the cat is the reason you need the lint roller.

Crisis Relief

Crisis Relief AD

This ad from Crisis Relief uses an element of shock as well as calling on emotions and seeing images in unexpected places.



This billboard from DHL is a commercial creative that follows the advice of not being constrained by a billboard. Instead of keeping the ad within the billboard, the company made the billboard look like one of their shipping packages.


A few years ago, GoPro worked with Virgin America Airlines and made its own in-flight channel. This channel shared videos submitted by people. It essentially let people market for them and took advantage of viewers being in a confined space.


Mazda AD

This is one of many examples of banner design ideas that use objects in unexpected ways. In this case, it turns the road into ribbons and a bow on a present, furthering the tagline that “the road is the best gift you can give it.”


McDonald’s AD

Another innovative billboard example that may inspire your creative ad design ideas is this one from McDonald’s. When the fast-food chain started staying open later, it used lights to create the iconic arches on a billboard.

Oldtimer Rest Stop

Oldtimer Rest Stop AD

This ad for a rest stop incorporates its surrounding environment, as mentioned in the above tips. It easily turns a tunnel into a mouth that is open because it is eating.

Orion Telescopes

Orion Telescopes AD

This ad from Orion Telescopes showcases the quality of the product and how impressive the results can be. It essentially incorporates a product demo into the visual ads.


Pepsi AD

This advertisement from Pepsi gets creative and also plays on the industry rivalry, grabbing the attention of viewers.

Use These Ad Creative Ideas and Tips to Grow Your Brand

 1) Brand Social Activism

Do not be afraid to take a stand. Consumers’ expectations for social brand involvement have only grown. These days, more and more people believe that brands can solve social problems better than governments.

A growing number of consumers are basing their buying decisions on social values and it’s becoming mainstream for brands to express stances on major social issues.

Focusing on consumer values instead of brand values can lead to creativity and business success, but only if it stays authentic to the brand.

One example was regarding police violence in the United States when major brands joined the fight, such as with Nike’s “For once, don’t do it” campaign, a pun on their slogan.  Netflix, YouTube, the NFL, Amazon and many more joined as well.

2)OBM: Occasion Based Marketing

Marketing adapted to various events such as: Valentine’s Day, holidays, national croissant day and other dates.

3) RTM: Real Time Marketing

A marketing action that responds to a current event.

More here

The Bottom Line

Developing ad creative ideas does not need to be done in a vacuum. Look at the advertisers around you, both digital and non-digital, for inspiration. Many of the same concepts that work as billboards or bus stop ads also work as banner design ideas with some adjustment.

Between the advice we included and the inspiration from other commercial ideas, you should be ready to brainstorm creative ads that help you grow your brand.

Coming up with innovative ideas for unique ads can be incredibly challenging. You want something that stands out from the crowd and represents your brand.

One of the best ways to generate new creative ad ideas is to explore successful creatives from other brands. While you don’t want to copy them exactly, you can use them as a source of inspiration. Combine this with general guidelines that advertisers and creatives have developed over the years, and you should be on your way to success.

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