H O W T O U N D E R S T A N D W H A T Y O U ’ R E W A T C H I N G
B A C K G R O U N D A N D T Y P E S 1 & 2
The 12 types of Advertising
Worked as Creative Director
for a very large advertising
company called Leo Burnett.
“What makes some
Decided to take a year off
from his job and analyzed as
many commercials as he could. He decided that there
are 12 different types, or “formats” of all successful
The 12 Types of Advertising
2. Show the Problem /
3. Symbolize the Problem
4. Symbolize the Benefits
6. Exemplary Story
7. Benefit Causes Story
9. Ongoing Characters /
10. Associated User
11. Unique Personality /
12. Parody /
*Few ads are ONLY 1 type – just like music, ads can be several types at the same time.
Many songs use more than one type of music (hip/hop and pop)
Some movies combine different styles (comedy and adventure)
Ads also mix different types.
The main idea of learning these types of advertising is to make
you understand what techniques are being used to make you
want to buy what advertisers are selling.
If you understand how products are being shown to you, you
can make better choices in what you decide to spend your
Type 1: Demo
Show the product and what it can do. This type
usually falls into two categories: aggressive and
repetitive ("hard sell"), or simple presentation
without pressuring the viewer directly ("soft sell").
Type 2: Show the Problem / Solution
The basic idea of this type of ad is
"Here is a problem - this product can solve it".
This is also one of the oldest and most popular of all
Which is which?
How many different types of advertising?
What is the name of the man who introduced this idea?
What was his job? What company did he work for?
How long did he study commercials?
What is the first type of commercial? The second?
What is the difference between “hard sell” and “soft sell”
techniques? Which type do you prefer?
Complete these sentences:
“In Japan, the hand can be used as a _______.”
“But wait – there’s ______.”
“________ ________ would you pay?”