Because Sex, Smiles, Sympathy & Storytelling Sell. Every time! [1]


AGENCY: PEACH, Vienna, Austria; CLIENT: (Österreichischer Rundfunk/Austrian Public Broadcasting); JOB: Image Ad; MEDIA: Print

In the world of advertising, it’s a constant battle for our attention (yes, that’s all of you consumer animals out there – including yours truly!) A feat that is increasingly difficult for brand builders in our constantly connected lives. An explosion of brands barrage us with daily messages, by the second, through myriad media channels, from traditional to social media. There just aren’t enough hours in a day for us to pay attention. Keeping up with our smart phones alone, with all the social media sites and apps that keep us connected, organized, and entertained, steal a good chunk of time. We watch less TV than the previous generation. And kids… well they watch everything on their own schedule… customizing content to their taste and schedule. TV, print and radio have been altered forever with the advent of digital media.

At its very core, Brands are hell-bent on our most prized possession – that piece of tony real estate in our subconscious minds. Our mind sets. They know they need to capture our attention first, before peaking our interest, and ultimately manipulate us into reaching for our wallets.

Amid today’s reality, where people are long on ADD and short on time (and attention), any ad’s ultimate goal is to attain stickiness. Making people remember the advertised brand, and make it the chosen one. Many an ad dollars are at stake, and low stickiness means money wasted.


AGENCY: PEACH, Vienna, Austria; CLIENT: (Österreichischer Rundfunk/Austrian Public Broadcasting); JOB: Image Ad; MEDIA: Print

My theory of attaining stickiness is the “4S’s” golden rule of:

1. Sex
2. Smiles
3. Sympathy
4 Storytelling

And while #s 1, 2, and 3 are electives, # 4 is absolutely compulsory.

Storytelling is the glue that brings it all together. It’s a given, and ridiculous to even mention it, however it’s amazing how many brands still miss it and mess up. Failing to tell a good story about why we should believe in their brands, and capture our imaginations. Countless brands have met their demise, and failed to stay relevant with the changing landscape of consumer behavior. Simply because they did not share their brand story with the world.

Research has demonstrated that SEX SELLS! Universally! Showing skin or something on the risqué side always gets noticed. Of course it may not work across all markets or cultures. The other two potent “secret sauces” are Humor – that brings on the smiles – and Sympathy, images of something compelling that tug at the heart strings and move us to tears.

Ads (and their brand messages) MUST resonate with the audience. Finding ways that are “On Code” with the audience’s age, demographics, gender, culture and lifestyle, and any other relevant factor.

For any brand builder (I’m lumping all involved parties in one: from brand owners to their ad and creative agencies), there is one final ingredient that brings it all together: STORYTELLING.

We all love stories, it’s a universal human trait. Inherent in any culture, in any corner of the world. Passed down through generations. As old as time itself.

It’s through stories that we relate to an event, an experience, and identify ourselves with these stories and the characters they portray. Making it relatable.

A glimpse into our daily lives, our struggles, our rites of passage, our trials and tribulations, down to our moments of joy, sorrow, and… yes, our bedroom scenes (hence the “sex always sells” part!).

Makes you wonder how the creative types out there can masterfully combine all these factors and concoct them into an enticing cocktail of images (via print ads, TV commercials, out-of-house/billboards and bus stop ads… down to Social Media ads in the digital realm).

No longer a piece of cake to manipulate consumers’ minds as depicted in the “Mad Men” show.

So I chose to post a unique ad or brand message that captured my attention – like the one above – and share it with you. And as you can see, it can come from any corner of the globe. Enjoy!

Inspiration: Peach Creative, Vienna, Austria

About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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