Great article by Seth Stevenson in slate today. He basically reviews the findings by Tedd Gunn that all advertising breaks down into 12 master categories/forms. He also has a great slide show accompaniment
A summary from the slide show is below:
12 Universal Ad Types
-Demo of product: ie. iphone launch commercials
-Show the need/problem: ie. cingular dropped calls
-Symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic to show problem: Lamisil's nasty foot germ.
-Comparison: charles schwab/talk to chuck (my broker doesn't listen)
-Exemplary Story: situation where product use saves - VW crash during idle chat
-Benefit causes story - ad back-to-front, by imagining a trail of events that might be caused by the product's benefit - Women chasing and tackling Axe Deodorant User
-Presenter/Tell-it - UPS or old school "Aleve worked for me" testimonial
-On Going Character: Geico Caveman, Insurance guy that was president in TV show "24"
-Symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic: Demonstrates a benefit of the product with symbolism. Meet the slowskys for comcast high speed.
-Associated User Imagery: The advertiser showcases the type of people it hopes you'll associate with the product. Nike/Gatorade athletes working out in rain etc.
-Unique Personality Property: These spots highlight something indigenous to the product that will make it stand out. Dyson Vacuums
-Parody or Borrowed Format: Coke side of life; grand theft auto made nice
Check it out here..