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Four Ads That Use a Sense of Discovery in Copy to Reward Consumers

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We love to feel like we’ve discovered something. Even if all we’ve done is read to the end of a paragraph, we feel a sense of accomplishment for having made the right connection to “get it.” It can make us feel smart too. There are myriad ways to use discovery in your ad copy, so let’s explore a few of them.


Animation Festival


Animation Festival Ad










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This headline allows us to discover a funny moment. It complements the image, and gives the image more meaning. That collaboration between copy and image is the sign of a good creative team. But also, the surprise moment carries with it a bold, irreverent tone that no doubt connects with the target audience. So in this case, discovery is used to connect with the audience, almost as if we’re sharing a secret laugh together.


Gun Violence


Gun Violence Ad










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Here, we see another brilliant collaboration between copy and image. The copy creates a question in the mind. “What? Why bigger? What do you know that I don’t?” And the image answers that question. But the image by itself wouldn’t make any sense, would it? Here the discovery we make, as we put together meaning is a more shocking realization. It’s poignant too, designed to incite action. As a viewer we say, “You make a really good point about a difficult situation. Are you saying there is something I can do to help?”



Play-Doh Ad










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While this is a relatively simple concept (“look at all the stuff you can make with play-doh!”), it’s the details in the copy that make it extra fun for the user to discover. And fun is certainly on brand, isn’t it? I Some of the details I enjoyed discovering were:  A phantom army. A doll. A talking doll. A talking doll that wets herself.


If the target audience for this ad were a little more irreverent, you could get away with some much crazier (and more humorous) details. Still, I think you could push this farther then the writer did. My guess is that some of the original copy was cut by an overly cautious brand manager or other team member.


Energy Drink

Energy Drink Ad











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This story, which runs on and on, takes a weird, almost sinister turn toward the end. That turn is a reward for the reader, particularly if that reader is in Dark Dog’s target youth-minded audience. That pay-off generates a positive brand experience. I also love how the pattern of the copy is suggestive of someone wired on an energy drink. Much the way I talk when I’ve had too much caffeine actually.


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