Social Media

The Key to Successful Advertising

The emotional pull of an advertisement can make or break performance, much more than budget alone. Once its messaging resonates with a target audience, a brand typically sees lower acquisition costs and elevated return on ad spend.


“How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market” is a groundbreaking 2003 book by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman. According to Zaltman, “… 95% of our purchase decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.”

Emotions are what drive purchasing behavior. Impactful brands tap into these latent sentiments, often superseding features or price. Top creative doesn’t just show what a product does but also the feelings it elicits. It sparks desire and stirs action through viewers’ subconscious needs.

Consider True Classic, a direct-to-consumer men’s apparel brand. It has reportedly earned $250 million in revenue since its founding in 2019. The company’s secret is crafting creatives that transcend physical products to evoke compelling identity and lifestyle aspirations. True Classic’s marketing strategy is “down-to-earth, humorous, relatable, authentic.”

Co-founder Ryan Bartlett stated in a LinkedIn post that “creativity is massively underrated,” adding, “…we create humorous ads for paid media because it adds value to people’s lives when you can brighten their day and make them smile, even for a moment. People don’t forget that.”

True Classic's home page showing a male wearing a t-shirt

True Classic’s marketing strategy is “down-to-earth, humorous, relatable, authentic.”

Future Pacing

Future pacing is the craft of painting a picture in prospects’ minds. It helps consumers visualize how their life could be, to dream and aspire. For example, Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign encourages the audience to imagine taking action and achieving their goals — a dream career, car, body, girl, status, lifestyle.

That is why True Classic focuses on helping men look good so they feel good, with ad copy such as “Girls will find you more attractive if you dress better” and “fits you tight around the chest and arms and loose in the front.”

Ultimately, people are driven by emotions more than logic. Focus on the result your customer wants and the feelings attached to the outcome. Then make the case that your product is the answer.


Combining future pacing with creative authenticity is a proven winner. Cassey Ho, the founder of PopEx, a female activewear brand, does that on her YouTube channel. It has 9 million subscribers, contributing to PopEx’s $5 million in annual revenue.

In a YouTube Short titled “This legging is designed to fit you perfectly,” Ho quickly attracts viewers’ attention by stating, “80% of women are wearing leggings that don’t fit.” It captures the audience’s needs, desires, and emotions in the first three seconds.

Then she dives into the product, demonstrating real-world body types and her leggings’ solutions.

Getting Started

Launch advertising campaigns with static creative to test messaging and visuals. Use simple images, copy, and graphics to experiment across variations. It’s a quick, affordable way to gauge response.

Sarah Levinger, a creative consultant, suggests running three static ads, each with an emotional message, and keeping track of the ones that resonate best. It’s not until you’ve nailed the messaging that she recommends going full-fledged into “producing UGC, pro video, founder videos, and other ad categories to match.”

Potential content includes:

  • Product testimonials,
  • Unboxing,
  • Comparing your product to others,
  • Ad hooks (1 to 3-second clips).
Andrew Broadbent
Andrew Broadbent
Bio   •   RSS Feed