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3 Ads That Worked vs. 3 That Didn’t

There are great ads and there are bad ads. (And then there are bad ads.)

Depending on who you are “good” and “bad” can have different meanings. If you’re a funny person, you might just pay attention to the humor of an ad. If you’re a mother, maybe you’re just looking at the emotion of an ad. If you’re a digital marketing agency like us, you look at the ads effectiveness at selling on social media.

An ad can entertain all day long (or for 1-5 minutes), but the true purpose of an ad is to lead to sales. What makes a social media ad lead to sales/achieve greatness/be the best ad of all time?

Let’s see if you can spot it– here are 3 ads that work on social media advertising and 3 ads that don’t convert.


Bad Ad:

Crazy Hubb's Used Cars - Best Car Commercial Ever

Good Ad:

Uranus is the only place to get the best fudge in the world — freshly packed out the back door

When we made the Uranus ad, we actually took the idea of a used car salesman talking a mile a minute, trying to cram all the cool information about his fudgin’ business as fast as he can. Because we were able to fit more information than normal into the ad, the viewer was able to  learn a lot about the product. We took this sideshow on the side of route 66 and took it from $400 a month in online sales to $40,000+ in one month. Our sales messaging tone and editing was what saved our “butts” on this.

Taking production quality out of the mixture let’s examine why the bad ad was, well “bad”.

He was all over the place and didn’t really showcase his product. He had deals, but why was he slashing his prices? There was urgency, but we don’t know why he was being so urgent. While jumping around from shot to shot he seemed disorganized like he was making everything up on the spot. Which can be done– but you better have a magical editor who knows how to make the chaos work to your favor. Maybe it raised awareness of his business, but it didn’t really add value to it in the digital world.

2. Shoes and Kuru

Bad Ad:

Hermes shoes advertising

Good Ad:

Achilles KuruFootwear

Now, the bad ad did a great job showing off the shoe, but it’s not an ad that creates a lot of urgency or even educates the viewer, which is fine sometimes. Most viewers, though, want to know why this product you want them to buy is worth their time and money: Why is it different or special?

The Kuru ad had visual demonstrations focused on the comfort of the shoe. We sliced the shoe in half, put an orange in a vice, and put a human foot in the shoe. This demo helped people understand exactly how the shoe was different, special, and more comfortable than other shows. All this leads to urgency and educates the buyer so they not only want the shoe and think it’s cool, but they want it right away! Show how your product is different in the market space and make it visually interesting, but it can’t only be visually interesting (like a pair of legs walking across various spaces lol)

3. Explicit Supplements

Bad Ad:

Funny Protein Shake Commercial

Good Ad:

Do You Really Know What's In Your Pre-Workout?

Well… to start on the bad ad. Completely divisive. You either laughed and thought it was hilarious or you were grossed out for a little over a minute. It was a protein shake commercial and if there’s something you know about protein supplements, it’s that there are a million of them out there. Just walk down the aisle at Walmart and count how many different protein supplements you see. This ad did nothing to inform the consumer why you should purchase their product except for the company having a sense of humor and maybe you’re a low-key exhibitionist.

Transparent Labs isn’t just a protein powder– it’s a protein powder that has no proprietary blends and tells you exactly what is in it and in what quantities. That’s their big selling point.  Their premium blend really does stand out above the rest. Our challenge was how to communicate that effectively. So, we built 2 GIANT, ACTUAL blenders and did a side-by-side comparison of the leading competitor and Transparent Labs. This created a teaser because the viewer wants to stay and see those blenders turn on. As the blenders get prepared, they’re being educated on the supplement industry and how Transparent Labs can make their workout the best it can be. And, of course, having Zeus and a bunch of tiny high schoolers on set makes it interesting, too.

Whatever the route you go with for social media videos and e-commerce, always remember the product is king and everything else is secondary to it. All creative should be used to facilitate the product or service better an aspect of the consumer’s life.