Best Television Ads: How to Build Spine-Tingling Cliffhanger Ads

Time to inject some nail-biting action into those sleepy ad campaigns.  In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how injecting angst into your marketing can transfix customers and dramatically increase retention of your marketing message. The best advertising campaigns aren’t content to just inform, they take customers on a thrill ride.

Anticipation: it’s an incredibly powerful emotion that comes from us knowing what is coming, but still being utterly enraptured by the process. It’s what the best advertising campaigns use in their best television ads to keep audiences roped to their seats and glued to the television even when they know what’s coming. You might notice that I’m not telling you what plot or jokes will make your advertising the best television ads around. Instead, I’m telling you fundamental things that your customers are enthralled by. I am telling you how to turn an advertising campaign from product focus to customer focus.

So what is customer focus? It’s what the best advertising campaigns use to stay relevant to an audience that is increasingly jaded against all but the best television ads. Positioning a brand to be centered on what your customers feel about themselves is a near surefire way to keep your marketing relevant and exciting. So instead of positioning a brand to be focused on the neat new bells and whistles on the new gizmo-gadget 9000X, focus on the customer and how they feel.

Anticipation takes the responsibility of storytelling and shares it with the audience. You set up a tantalizing cliffhanger, and the audience fills in the rest…or so they think. The best advertising campaigns that use this technique will present the viewer with a cliffhanger that has a clear conclusion, and then pulls the rug out from underneath their feet. The best television ads will trick the viewer just when they think they have everything figured out.

Now what exactly does a brand stand to gain by tricking its audience? Well, first off it guarantees that your audience will be riveted by your message. Since they are thoroughly interested in what is happening in the ad, they will certainly watch your product pitch. But secondly, and more importantly, it will create a relationship with your customer.

You might ask, what is customer relationship marketing, and how can it help to build the best television ads I can make? Positioning a brand to focus on giving something interesting to the audience endears them to you for the long haul. You see, the best advertising campaigns don’t just make a sale, they start to build a relationship with the customer.

So to recap: what is customer focus? It’s positioning a brand around the customer. The best advertising campaigns are the ones that are built from the customer up, not the product down.

What is customer relationship marketing? It’s making the best television ads, and whatever else you can bring to the table, all revolve around building a rapport between your brand and the deepest emotions your customers feel.

So if you really want to get your customers enraptured with your advertising, do what the best action thrillers in Hollywood do and add a healthy portion of cliffhangers and anticipation to your marketing. It will add new spice to old advertising campaigns, and it will invigorate new ones.

I’m Graeme Newell, and that’s Emotional Marketing.

Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Best Television Ads: How to Build Spine Tingling Cliffhanger Ads” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing researcher and consultant at 602 Communications.

Hi I’m Graeme Newell.  Today, the magical art of advertising anticipation.

We wait for it…

We know exactly what’s coming…

And we yearn to see it happen.

With this simple bit of visual expectation, Schwepps kept you transfixed on its product, and its message. Here’s the advertising anticipation formula.  It starts with clear and obvious set up. Because we all know what’s coming, we can’t take our eyes off this poor little guy.


But then, a twist!

You’re still not quite sure what this commercial is about, but then it pays off with a clever metaphor that ties it back to an indulgent product feature.

McDonalds used another variation of the same formula,  a literal anticipation cliffhanger.  The cliffhanger assures your attention, and while you’re glued to the action, they deliver the product message about how tantalizing these fries are. It’s not an accident that all of these are food products.

They use anticipation to amplify the pleasure of a moment of indulgence, but Audi did the exact opposite, using anticipation to set up a moment of fear and dread.

You were waiting for the terrible payoff and that assured your full attention right to the end. This public service ad about driving stoned keeps you on the edge of your seat, anticipating a terrible moment.

All the signs are there, having trouble driving…

This feeling of terrible anticipation brought home the message and kept you glued to the screen for a full 90 seconds.

Want customers to take a good long look at your new car model?   Then just hang it off the edge of a pier. From the stylish mag wheels, to the cool retractable spoiler, anticipation assures your attention.

Corona wants you to fully soak in the message that their beer is a glorious escape.  Their delightfully simple beach ads are wildly popular because we can’t wait to see the devious ways these two lovers will torture each other. Corona has trained us to attentively wait for the payoff.

So remember, if you want customers to give you their full attention then create the thrill ride we’ve all come to love from the movies. Start your creative with a great cliffhanger, then embed your product pitch in the middle of it. I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.

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