In 1999, a paper was published by Jacob Goldenburg, David Mazursky and Sorin Solomon, presenting research which indicates that successful advertisements often use the same six “creativity templates”. For instance, in one of the two studies conducted in order to identify and describe these templates, judges found that 89% of a sample of 200 high quality print adverts taken from ad contests could be explained using the six templates. Below we can see an example of an advert which clearly uses at least one of the templates discussed in the paper.
The advertisement in question is for an Ikea shoe cabinet. The message is essentially that if you have so many high heels that you are having to stuff your boyfriend’s Converses inside them because you don’t have enough storage space, then an Ikea 4 compartment shoe cabinet is what you need. The advert appears to be aimed at women (the pink might give it away) and plays on the stereotype that women have a lot of shoes (one I can’t be offended at because I definitely have too many shoes) – humour is involved.
Referring back to the templates, I can see that the ad makes use of the Extreme Situation Template. This template means using an extreme situation to emphasise the attributes of what is being advertised – in this case a shoe cabinet. We are presented with a very extreme solution to the lack of storage space – trying to fit one shoe inside another, which highlights how helpful it would be to have such a shoe cabinet. In fact, we can classify this advert even further by saying that it fits into the “absurd alternatives” category of the template. As the name suggests, this category is for adverts which portray unrealistic alternative solutions to buying the product advertised. Furthermore, this advert could be seen to use the Consequences Template too, which shows what would happen if we did or didn’t do what the advert suggests we should do. In this case, having to fit one shoe inside the other could be an extreme consequence of not buying the Ikea shoe cabinet.
All in all, I believe the Ikea advert to be very effective. The image in the centre, which suggests a rather ludicrous solution to the lack of space in one’s home, draws the reader’s attention and only then do they notice the shoe cabinet being advertised in the bottom left corner. As discussed above, the ad could be explained using two of the creativity templates presented in the 1999 paper. Thus, in my opinion, this example supports the idea that many of the successful advertisements can be explained using six specific creativity templates.
The Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads, Jacob Goldenburg, David Mazursky and Sorin Solomon, Marketing Science, 18, 333-351, 1999