The best ad I’ve seen all week – and why!

August 13, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Jen Johnston

Recently I was browsing the Independent Choice® circular of one of our local natural food stores, Good Harvest Market. Good Harvest Market is a member of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, which makes the Independent Choice circular possible.

Besides the grocery listings and encouragement to celebrate “hemp history week” (yep, that’s a thing!), there was a manufacturer ad that caught my eye. I must be in the target market sweet spot because I just LOVE this ad.

The brand is VegaTM which is evidently a protein powder. I am not someone that has ever once used a protein powder or even thought to use any. Normally I would glaze over an ad for protein powder, and I would never seek that type of product out. an ad for protein powder

The reason this ad worked for me is because it unfolds in a very specific way. It tells a story that drew me right in. When I looked at the ad, I had no idea it was for a protein powder. In fact, I initially didn’t know it was an ad at all! And therein lies the beauty.

Allow me to walk you through the unfolding of the Vega story in this ad.

  1. The first thing I saw was the smoothie because it is the largest element. It’s displayed in an interesting looking mason jar-type container which connected with my down-to-earth nature. It evoked feelings of wellness, simplicity, and taking care of myself.
  2. Next, I saw the words “Blueberry Basil” and though “#OhMyYumminess.” (Yes, I literally saw a hashtag in my mind’s eye. Why? Because I was already thinking I need to share this recipe on Facebook.)
  3. Then I saw “Vega Protein Smoothie” directly above the recipe name. This was my first indication that I was reading an ad. But it is shown in a smaller font, and I appreciated that it was not shouting at me.
  4. Generally speaking, I think of a brand like a person with a personality. In this ad, instead of the brand focusing on itself, I recognized it’s providing me with something – a recipe for a smoothie that looks amazing, so I already began to trust it and felt like a “friendship” could develop between me and the brand because the brand doesn’t seem...selfish.
  5. Next I read through the recipe and thought “this looks simple enough that even I, in my limited amount of working-mom time, can do it.”
  6. Finally, I thought what does this Vega product look like? I really need it to make this smoothie this weekend – and my eye was drawn to the package in the lower right.

And just like that, I have read the ad and am thinking about going to Good Harvest market to pick up some Vega, a protein powder – which I have never even thought to purchase before. Did you see how my conversion took place? Reread the steps if you don’t, because there was a definite formula.

Did you notice how the package is NOT the largest element in this ad? It doesn’t need to be. In fact, if it were the largest element, it would be the first thing I saw. That means, I would have known immediately this is an ad for Vega protein powder and thought to myself, “I don’t use protein powders” and quickly moved on to something else. Instead, Vega introduces that this ad is for their protein powder after my mouth is already watering and I have the warm, feel-good fuzzies that come with thinking I can make something easy and healthy for myself.

Some manufacturers make the mistake of making their brand name the largest element or repeating it 15 times. I see the word “Vega” only five times in this ad (including once on the package) but it is never the largest element. It is a subtle reinforcement that this amazing smoothie is “brought to me by Vega” without actually saying that.

Finally, I want to applaud their call-to-action: “For more recipes visit” Again, they are providing me (their new friend) with more value instead of treating me (their consumer) as a dullard by telling me to “purchase Vega today!”

It is refreshing to see a brand that truly gets it – bravo, Vega!

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