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The multinationals' secret to creating an extremely powerful advertising campaign

It is called the INSIGHT, or in other words “how to be in full synch with your consumer’s emotion”

This article was written by Claire de Belloy Cottier, expert Marketer and former P&G International Marketing Manager, and Augustin de Belloy, CEO of Left Productions.


Sometimes, you see an ad, and you think: “of course!”. Because, the ad responds directly to a need or a tension you feel. One of the best examples is probably this ad for Always


In psychology, an insight describes the sudden discovery of the solution, the “Eureka” moment! Marketers call it the “aha” moment, because when you realize that THIS is the solution, you usually say “aha, I got it”.

The definition of an insight for a marketer would be that it's a consumer truth; the expression of a conscious or subconscious need or tension for a consumer. It can be expressed with the following structure from the consumer point of view:

“I would like…[dream or ideal situation]...because it is important for me to…[motivation]... but…[tension: what is blocking?]...”

For the Always ad above, it would be: “I would like to be proud as a woman even when I have my periods, because it is important for me to be myself, but to succeed in this world, I need to act like men do


It’s hard to believe that companies and marketers forget about their audience’s need, but they actually do! Having an obvious and simple insight for your communication is actually the most difficult thing to do, because it is the opposite of all the complex things that you usually have to do.

When the insight is clearly understandable and visible in your communication (understandable for anyone, even the least intellectual of consumers), then it will create the 'aha' moment that you’re looking for, and the audience will connect that emotion to your brand.


Let’s look at some examples of powerful ads, ones that made such a buzz... that consumers are still sharing them without being paid by the brand to do so.

Smell like a man Old Spice


​Situation: Guys don’t pay attention to the shower-gels that they buy, so they often just use their girlfriend's body-wash.

Insight (for the girl): I like when my boyfriend smells of a male perfume, because I find it sexy, but he doesn’t care and often smells like my body-wash.

Old Spice answer: "Hello ladies" [a handsome guy talking to you like this is super sexy], "if you want your man to be sexy, then buy him Old Spice shower-gels."

Share the Load Ariel


​Insight (for a Dad): I would like my daughter to become a fulfilled woman with a good job and a happy family, because I want her to be happier than my wife and I are, but she is always the one taking care of the household chores... because it has always been that way.

Ariel's answer: To the Dads, if you want your daughters to be more successful and happier, start by setting an example that will be seen by your son and #ShareTheLoad

Fugly animals MedicAnimal


FYI, this video was produced by Left Productions!

Insight: I want the best food for my pet, even if he has a weird face and people say that he is ugly, because I love him and find him so cute, but normal pet food is made for the beautiful kind of pets not for the ones having specific needs like mine.

MedicAnimal answer: We love pets and provide them with healthy food, even when they are fabulously ugly, because that's what love is about!

Durex Baby carrier Print

​Insight: I would like to avoid pregnancy when having sex, because I am not ready yet to have kids, but I find that condoms are too expensive.

Durex answer: Condoms are not expensive if you compare them to the cost of a kid.

Nota Bene: The insight is so strong that an explanatory text is not even needed.


Find the insight for yourself in the ad below!


The marketers start by genuinely listening to their consumers. There are a lot of different ways. One of them is spending several hours with a consumer that is exactly the targeted consumer (ideally see 3-5 different consumers). The marketers ask specific questions at the consumer’s home, then go “shop-along” with him/her. All answers and consumer’s mimics are registered and deeply analyzed to extract the insights.

The consumer truths they find are written following this structure:

“I would like…[dream or ideal situation]...because it is important for me to…[motivation]... but…[tension: what is blocking?]...”

The marketers then test and validate the best insights with consumers (who have been statistically recruited as representing the targeted consumers). The questions are very simple: “Is the below sentence [insight]: Very true - Quite true - a little bit true - not really true - completely wrong ?”.

(Marketers will continue testing also the communications later on, this will be covered in another article).

As you can see, multinationals spend a lot of time and money on market analysis. For example, P&G conducts over 15,000 research studies every year and invests more than $350 million a year in consumer understanding (it represents 5% of their Advertising expenses). (Source: Annual Report and P&G website: http://www.pg.com/en_balkans/company/core_strengths.shtml)


Multinationals spend a lot of money on research, because they know that understanding the consumer is very important; before they spend millions on their campaigns, they want to be sure that the message being communicated is the right one.

However, you can also listen to consumers in simpler (and much cheaper) ways, but you need to be aware that these methods (outlined below) won’t be as statistically accurate. You will just have to trust your instincts to get the correct insights!

  • Don’t forget that there’s nothing more valuable than actually talking with people. Interview your current customers, your friends of friend, your grandma, or other potential consumers that you know and that would not try to please you with their answers.
  • For physical products, wander in your consumer environment and observe. You can’t imagine how much you can learn just by stopping by at a laundry shelf and watching consumers. You can even ask a customer: “Can I ask you why you have picked this product ?”
  • Create a 5-minutes online survey (without forgetting to ask for demographic questions) and send it to a select group of customers. You could use solutions like YouGov or Toluna to reach a wide group of people. You could even advertise a customer survey on facebook to target very specific group according to their age, location, pages liked, etc.
  • And more simply: put yourself in your customer’s shoes. This is not as obvious as it looks like. Be a real actor for one day and note your impressions.

It might also be a good idea to set aside 5% of your media budget to monitor and test your communication live so you can tweak and modify it.


When you create your communication, forget your product benefits and focus on your consumer values, dreams and beliefs. Create for them a Big Ideal* where your product will nicely find a powerful meaning. (If you want to know more about this Big Ideal Concept, check it out on Ogilvy's website here).

If you’d like some more advice on using video, please get in touch! We are Left Productions, we are specialized in the type of production mentioned in this video. We’re based in London, Los Angeles and Paris!

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