The Media Buyer Webinar

Unleashing the Power of Ugly Ads with Barry Hott

Autumn Morgan
August 9, 2023

When you’re doom scrolling, which ad are you most likely to click on? Is it the one with a well choreographed dance number that features svelte models you may or may not relate to, or is it the one that looks more like something taken with a phone camera inside someone’s home?

With so many ads crossing people’s feeds, “ugly” ads that have taken a page from Henry Cavill’s rendition of everyone’s favorite Witcher consistently perform better than their cleaned up counterparts, and there’s a reason for it.

In a recent episode of the Media Buyer Webinar, our host and Director of Growth Marketing, Bryan Bumgardner, sat down with marketing expert Barry Hottt to discuss the power of making “ugly ads" and how doing so can revolutionize creative strategy in advertising. Barry shared valuable insights on why marketers need to break free from traditional norms and think differently if they want to capture people’s attention.

Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed.

Understanding “Ugly Ads"

Barry kicked off the discussion by explaining the core idea behind “ugly ads." The term refers to creating ads that break away from traditional aesthetics and instead focus on what resonates with consumers. He emphasized the importance of understanding why marketers make certain decisions, exploring consumer preferences, and finding ways to make ads more consumable and enjoyable.

Barry also highlighted how many marketers tend to stick to rigid, outdated strategies, particularly those promoting luxury products or high-brand ideals. He urged brands to shift their focus away from adhering to specific aesthetics and explore what truly engages their target audience.

Being Customer-Centric in Ad Creation

The conversation then touched upon the significance of understanding your target audience's digital experiences on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Barry encouraged brands to immerse themselves in their audience's world, use their language, and connect with their emotions. He emphasized the need to be reader-first and create content that revolves around the customers' wants and needs rather than focusing solely on the product or brand.

Embracing Authenticity and Emotional Connection

Authenticity emerged as a central theme during the discussion. Barry urged marketers to leverage the power of authenticity by using raw, unpolished content like selfie videos or voice overs with a genuine passion for the product or service they are marketing. The key is to evoke emotions in your audience, making them feel connected to the brand and its message.

Breaking Down Traditional Metrics

Barry delved into the importance of looking beyond traditional metrics like CTRs, CPCs, and CPMS. While these metrics provide valuable insights, they should not be the sole focus of ad campaigns. He encouraged marketers to be open to exploring different demographics, placements, and ad formats to find new opportunities for growth.

The Ever-Changing Landscape of Advertising

The conversation wrapped up with a discussion on how advertising is continuously evolving. Barry emphasized the importance of keeping up with current trends, consumer preferences, and platforms. By continually experimenting and adapting, brands can find success in reaching new audiences and achieving their marketing goals.

Unleash the Power of Ugly Ads

Barry Hott's insights shed light on the power of "make ugly ads" and the need for marketers to rethink their creative strategies. By embracing authenticity, connecting emotionally with audiences, and breaking free from traditional norms, brands can create ad content that truly resonates with their target customers. The key is to focus on what consumers want and engage with, rather than adhering to rigid aesthetic standards. As the advertising landscape evolves, embracing change and staying adaptable will be crucial for marketers to achieve long-term success in capturing audience attention and driving meaningful conversions.

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