What Movie Trailers Can Teach You About Advertising

Think of your advertising as a movie trailer for your product. What works and doesn’t work for trailers holds true for ads too.
Author, Profit First
February 27, 2013

Ads are a lot like movie trailers, enticing us with hints of “what’s to come.” That’s great, but sometimes the movie doesn’t stand up to the trailer, or the trailer can be great but misleading. We’ve all seen trailers we loved, but the movie itself fell flat. It's better to attract a niche than to disappoint the masses with your trailer or your ad. The best ads sample the product rather than tease the customer with the anticipation of trying a new product (people are generally risk averse, and teasing is usually a turnoff), and contrary to Super Bowl Sunday ads, the product, not the ad, should be what’s most memorable. “Open to interpretation” is a dangerous tactic for both movies and ads.

A great movie trailer gives you just enough to be wildly curious about the final product, but not enough to give away the entire story. Similarly, advertising is not about dumping all the features and benefits on the prospect (in other words, giving away the entire story). Instead it's about sparking momentum for the ultimate purchase. Use your ad to spark curiosity, interest and passion. Then, once your ad has spoken to the prospects' emotion, you can sell them on the logic—you know, the features and benefits.


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