7 Marketing Mistakes That Helped The Industry Get Better

MIU creative agency Singapore

Marketing is an ever-evolving industry. Companies are constantly churning out new ad campaigns and taglines to make themselves heard. As such, it is common for some of them to make marketing mistakes. 

Severe or not, these blunders can damage a brand’s reputation. No business wants to do that. It is not worth offending loyal and potential customers for an advertising campaign!

You’ve probably heard of common marketing mistakes. Perhaps, you’ve even laughed at the marketing efforts of a product or service. Or, some efforts are so bad they become good for publicity!

But mistakes lead to a positive transformation that benefits brands and consumers. The following article explores the 7 marketing fails that ultimately helped the industry improve!

7 Marketing Fails That Revolutionized The Industry

1. Sony PSP White Poster

Marketing mistake from Sony PSP White Poster campaign

In 2006, Sony released a Netherlands poster featuring a white woman grabbing a black woman’s chin. The tagline read, “PlayStation Portable White is coming.” 

Sony explained that it was meant to highlight the color differences between the two PlayStation versions. 

However, the poster was immediately criticized for its racist connotations and sparked widespread backlash. Many people called out the advertisement for using racism to sell a product.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Be aware of sensitive cultural tropes.
  2. Avoid using racial stereotypes or offensive imagery in marketing campaigns.


2. Burger King’s ‘Women Belong In The Kitchen’ Tweet

marketing mistake from Burger Kings ‘Women Belong In The Kitchen Tweet campaign

In March 2021, Burger King UK tweeted, “Women belong in the kitchen,” as part of a campaign to promote its scholarship program for female chefs. 

The one-liner tweet was intended to be attention-grabbing and empowering for aspiring female chefs. However, it backfired as it was taken out of context. Despite Burger King’s further comments clarifying the purpose of the tweet, the damage had already been done.

Many criticized it for promoting outdated gender stereotypes. It was also tweeted on International Women’s Day, which further fuelled the social media uproar.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Avoid using controversial or insensitive language in marketing messages, even if you intend to be provocative, humorous, or attention-grabbing.
  2. Avoid perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes in marketing messages.


3. Audi’s China Wedding Commercial 

This advertising mistake is an excellent example of how important cultural nuances are in marketing.

In 2017, Audi released a commercial in China that showed a bride being physically inspected by her future mother-in-law during a wedding. The commercial compared marrying a bride to shopping for a new car.

Chinese audiences criticized the advertisement for objectifying women and promoting old-fashioned gender stereotypes. Weibo users complained that Audi made misassumptions about traditional relationship dynamics in China. These assumptions were outdated and did not resonate with most people.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Be aware of cultural differences.
  2. Do not assume or over-generalize the social values of your foreign target audiences.
  3. Avoid perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes in marketing messages.


4. E-Pay 2019 ‘Brownface’ Ad

E-Pay 2019 ‘Brownface marketing fails

This advertisement was widely discussed in Singapore’s local forums and social media platforms. Local and international news organizations even published articles about it.

In 2019, E-Pay released an advertisement featuring a Chinese actor wearing brownface to promote their mobile payment service. The photograph was meant to depict the four races of Singapore. However, the Chinese actor intentionally darkened his skin tone and donned traditional costumes to portray a Malay and Indian person. 

The advertisement was widely criticized for its racist undertones and careless portrayal of ethnic minorities in Singapore.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Avoid using racially insensitive imagery or language in marketing campaigns.
  2. Be aware of how different audiences may perceive your messaging.
  3. Be authentic and inclusive in your portrayal of diversity.

5. Adidas Boston Marathon Email

Adidas Boston Marathon Email marketing fails

In 2017, Adidas sent a promotional email to Boston Marathon participants that included the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” 

The email was criticized for being tone-deaf, as the 2013 Boston Marathon had been the site of a terrorist attack that caused injuries and deaths.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Be aware of the historical and cultural context of significant events.
  2. Avoid using insensitive language that might be offensive and trigger audiences.

6. Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad

Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad

In 2017, Pepsi released an advertisement to promote unity and togetherness. In the video, Kendall Jenner hands a can of Pepsi to a police officer, which stops a street protest.

Many people criticized the advertisement for simplifying complex social movements and erasing the struggles and oppression faced by real-life protestors. Pepsi received backlash for trivializing crucial social justice movements. 

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Be aware of the social implications of your imagery and messaging.
  2. Avoid using insensitive imagery that downplays and trivializes the real-life struggles of people.

7. ‘Every Singaporean Son’ Publicity Stunt by National Geographic

Every-Singaporean-Son Publicity Stunt by National Geographic

An advertising stunt by National Geographic in Singapore backfired. It was criticized by local netizens and even by the Government of Singapore!

In 2013, National Geographic promoted the second season of “Every Singaporean Son,” a documentary series about the National Service in Singapore.

The company hired local actors to assemble at Raffles Place. These actors were dressed in army fatigues. They portrayed a platoon of conscripted national servicemen. Public members were invited to the podium to shout drill commands to these ‘recruits.’ 

Netizens immediately criticized the stunt for downplaying the efforts and sacrifices made by conscripted national servicemen. They felt that these ‘soldiers’ were staged for entertainment. 

Netizens were not the only ones who expressed their disapproval. The Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) stated they were unaware of this stunt. They condemned the improper and unapproved usage of the Singapore Armed Forces uniforms for an advertisement.

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid: 

  1. Be aware of the social and cultural meanings of nationally-significant events in foreign countries. 
  2. Seek approval from well-informed parties or authorities to ensure no sensitive or restricted imagery is used.


A Quick Summary

Marketing fails we have observed can serve as valuable lessons for other brands, showing them what to avoid in marketing campaigns.

fail promotion campaign from famous brand

  1. Consider tone and timing
  2. Consider political and social scenarios
  3. Do not generalize cultural practices and traditions
  4. Do not trivialize or downplay serious matters
  5. Avoid stereotyping and affiliating religion to sell your products
  6. Seek approval from relevant authorities
  7. Be creative but remember to set the focus on the product
  8. Be open to receiving opinions prior to publishment
  9. Exercise caution when choosing to collaborate with influencers and celebrities

Marketing Mistakes can significantly affect your brand. Although these mistakes have negative consequences, they help the industry improve and evolve.

Remember these lessons as you strive to create authentic, impactful, and empowering marketing campaigns!

Utilises Future in XR productions for advertising

Utilises Future in XR productions for advertising

Extended Reality or XR is the term that refers to both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies. Extended Reality is not something completely new. However, you’ll be surprised to know for how long it has existed. The first Extended Reality or XR device was a head-mounted display created as early as 1960 for training simulators in the military. 

More recently, we have seen the rise of affordable and readily available XR devices used in the gaming and entertainment industries. Interestingly, consumers are spending more than twice in 2018 than what they gave in 2017. Extended Reality, which virtually takes you places, is certainly a significant market player, is now a valuable training and education tool. Various industries are now seeing its actual value and potential. 

For what can Extended Reality be used?

Now that is an exciting question. Over the years, XR technology has improved a lot, thanks to sophisticated technology, premium-grade imaging modules, and its inherent perception of spatial movements and hand tracking. This makes XR environments very similar to the actual physical environment. So the current time is fascinating as far as these developments go. 

VR in education

Students are using Oculus Rift at schools to glimpse the future and see other new technologies. VR headsets are readily available at a heap price. In the education industry, it utilises 50% of Extended Reality’s use. Unique interactive experiences like Google Expeditions allow students to see virtual words while still at their seats. Other apps like Unimersiv enable students to experience the sights and sounds of a foreign culture. Technologies like these certainly aid a lot in boosting learning and development. For one, almost all teachers in the UK believe that their schools should use XR to teach children.

VR in healthcare

In healthcare, VR is used in various applications and specialisations, from doctors to surgeons. For example, the demand for VR in healthcare is that medical professors from Stanford University have said they wish to teach VR students. Similarly, one of Cambridge University’s research teams wishes to create 3D models of tumours to study and explore in far greater detail. 

Research in Virtual Reality has found that it allows healthcare specialists to change instantly as the situation demands. Thus, they can decide on the spot. For instance, such research has showcased that practising and rehearsing surgery in Virtual Reality aids in speeding up surgery and other operations. It also shows that VR aids emergency responders and health and safety trainees respond to emergencies faster and safely. 

Use of XR Technology in other industries

Besides education and healthcare, XR technology is used in other fields like architecture, design, and engineering. For example, with the benefits of VR, architects can make scale models of their projects. These they explore, test and manipulate before creating a building in the real world. In automobile engineering, engineers are not creating new vehicles and engines in the virtual world first—this aids in bringing down costs by a considerable margin.

Virtual Reality helps fashion retailers to enable customers to customise the costumes they like. It also helps retailers in creating virtual shops where people can browse goods online. Furniture and eyewear retailers are using it in this way, as we can now see widely. 

As we can see, Extended Reality is here to stay. It helps people to learn, experience and improve the real world around them safely. Moreover, it aids in finding logical solutions to new challenges. 

How has the pandemic increased interest in XR?

Since the pandemic, hybrid experiences which blend digital elements with interpersonal communication have seen a considerable increase. According to research, the AR market will grow from $15.3 billion in 2020 to more than $77 billion in 2025 alone. And this will continue to grow. In its own right, the VR market will grow from $ 6.1 billion in 2020 to more than $20.9 billion in 2025.

This growth is here because industries like education, healthcare, retail, eCommerce, video game, and entertainment invest in XR to reach more customers during the pandemic. This has led XR to come into the mainstream, which aids companies in finding out new customers and creating more demand for their offerings. Their products are made interactive, immersive, high quality and innovative. 

Future in XR productions for advertising

XR technologies will play a big part in the future of marketing, advertising and storytelling. Technology continues to become cheaper and advanced. XR now helps directors and creatives to embrace the new technology with ease while getting customers curious and excited about it at the same time.

The pandemic is far from being over. But brands are not letting that stop them. Instead, they are using the challenges and opportunities to change how they use new technologies entirely. Consumers now want to experience services and products from the safety of their homes due to the pandemic. Due to this new demand, companies using XR had more success than companies that did not use it. 

For instance, take the eCommerce and retail industries. With AR, Virtual Reality and 3D technologies, they allow customers to experience their products. See Lenskart’s website, for instance. After picking a product you like, you can upload a picture of your face. The website then creates a digital 3D model of your head. You then try out all products and check if they fit on you. 

The Future Of XR In A Post-Pandemic World

XR is set to grow in the future as new products and services rise. It will also increase as more and more companies start XR technologies to gain more customers and sales. The pandemic is considerably responsible for showing people how entertaining XR experiences can be.

Contact MIU for effective advertising that brings results.

OREO YouTube Ad: “Fiercely Together”

OREO YouTube Ad

The OREO “Fiercely Together” advertisement, with the 2021 Olympics theme, may only be 30 seconds long. Still, it packs a punch in each of those 30 seconds. But at the end of the video, you’ll feel like you have run a marathon yourself. The advertisement has a fast and furious pace. Keep up with it if you can!

Back to school

It begins with the words, “The more we play together”

It seems like the very feel of the words, the echo and the atmosphere, will take you back to your school days when you loved to share with your friends and play with them. So music-wise, there is no music. However, there is this pure, evergreen, sing-song choir tune. The viewer will be transported back to their school days, of innocent playfulness and sharing of the best things in life.

The tension

Now, at the beginning of this ad, this line is often repeated ““The more we get together, together, together…”. At precisely 0.08 seconds of the advertisement, the viewer sees two girls on the playing field, looking or glaring at each other, perhaps with hostility. Their parents and the audience in the gallery watch with anticipation. Will the two girls be friends? Will they learn to share? 

“…the happier we’ll be!”

That’s when the two girls are shown sharing Oreo cookies. It is indeed a sweet and kind gesture between them, the feeling of which is enhanced since they are not fighting!

“Your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends.”

The overall feeling from the ad

As the ad progresses, it shows sportsmen from various sports like rowing, wheelchair basketball and more. In a gist, the choir, the actions on screen, and the fast-paced movement leave a pleasant feeling, a sense of belonging and togetherness. 

Viewers may not mind watching the ad repeatedly since it brings a joyful feeling while showing the role of Oreo in all the joy. And with the theme of the 2021 Olympics, the ad is certainly timely and brilliant in execution.

If you are looking for advertising your business on social media, contact us today!

Singapore Government Accelerates the Pace of Vaccination

Covid vaccine campaign

Mr. Prime Minister shows you the way out from this pandemic-struck situation

The Singapore Government is up in arms to deal with the stubborn Covid19 as it threatens its variants. In a bid to accelerate the pace of vaccination and mass testing gov.sg released another motivating video – Together, towards a new normal. 

“In the new normal, covid-19 will not dominate our lives. To keep our people safe, while reopening progressively, we have to test, we have to trace, we have to vaccinate,” says honourable Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The video reflects the nation’s assertive stance taken by the government to deal with the pandemic that’s growing in intensity with every wave. 

The video opens up with a refreshing view of the iconic Jewel at Changi Airport. A lady resembling an air hostess reminds the viewers about the ‘new beginning’. The three new strategies to get to it are test, trace and vaccinate. It introduces the audience to the covid19 self-testing tool that’s easy to use and authentic. Characters in the video are young and vibrant with oozing positivity that captivates viewers’ attention and makes them open to the message; without any sign of difference. It takes the audience to the solution of a critical situation that they are in. “In the likely event of our country’s reopening, vaccinate, stay safe. It’ll keep Singapore going.” It is what we all wanted to have for so long. 

The latest video gives you hope and build a sense of inclusive responsibility in all of us to make it happen.

“Let’s test. Let’s trace. Let’s vaccinate.”

Google deletes third-party cookies; Now what?

Google Deletes third party cookies

The death of third-party cookies was announced by Google – at least as far as its chrome web browser and ad networks. This represents a monumental change in the world of digital marketing and a step towards protecting consumer privacy. Of course, it does not mean Google is not collecting users’ data or using it to target ads. Still, it does mean that they will stop selling web advertisements targeted individuals browsing habits, and its chrome browser will prevent cookies from collecting data. 

Let’s take a step back. What are third-party cookies?

Advertising companies use them to track you as you go around surfing the internet. They build a profile of you and your interests based on the sites you visit and, through that profile, send ads that are specially tailored for you. 

Google’s third-party cookies are on millions of websites, and they provide the company with a colossal amount of information about the sites you visit. This is the engine that powers its massive ad business. However, with increasing public scrutiny and desire for greater privacy and regulators passing new privacy laws, Google has removed them.

How do Advertisers use them?

  • As a Measurement Metric

Third-party cookies have been vital in enabling marketers to optimize their advertisement campaigns. They do so due to their ability to enhance the measurement of attribution capabilities. 

An example of this would be third-party cookies’ ability to track users across various platforms. Through this capability, a holistic view of the route to conversion can be seen. However, with third-party cookies phased out, these multi-platform models that marketers used to depend on heavily are now significantly less reliable.

  • Targeting

Third-party cookies give marketers a wealth of information on consumer behaviour, including frequently visited websites, purchases, and interests. Through this data, advertisers can precisely target the ideal consumer and send them the perfect messages to increase traffic. 

For example, suppose a potential customer has visited a couple of different websites that sell phones over a week. In that case, an advertiser can deduce that they are interested in purchasing a mobile device. With that, the marketer can create a tailored advertisement on phones for the customer.

What will replace Third-Party Cookies?

To replace Third-Party Cookies, Google has created new privacy-first alternative technology. Enter Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). This proposed replacement of third-party cookies groups together users with similar browsing interests.

These groups are created by anonymous data that advertisers can use to target, retarget, measure, and optimize their advertisement campaigns. According to Google’s testing, advertisers can expect up to 95% conversion through this new system.

What does all this mean for the world of marketing?

With any significant shift involving data and privacy, there are repercussions on the marketing community. Google’s privacy policies will significantly impact some keystones of digital marketing. However, many other aspects will remain unchanged and maybe even have greater importance placed on them. Here are a couple of alternatives to help ease you into the new digital marketing age after third-party cookies.

  • Contextual Advertising is back. 

These are ads that are relevant to what is on a user’s screen. For example, if a user is looking for cars, car advertisements will be shown. These ads tend to come across as significantly less invasive and creepy for customers compared to third-party cookies-based behavioural retargeting. 

The move to contextual targeting will mean a return to focusing on the production and distribution of relevant content. Relevant content is essential to attract the right traffic. 

This article outlines seven tips to master the art of content writing. It emphasizes the need to have significant research on keywords and the need to incorporate a powerful Call To Action (CTA). Check it out to improve your content writing.

  • First-Party Cookies are more important than ever.

A first-party cookie is a piece of code that generates when a user visits a website and is stored on its computer. Typically, this cookie is used to improve the User Experience (UX). It does so by remembering the user’s passwords, preferences, and some primary data.

Through a first-party cookie, a marketer can learn about what the user did on the website, how many times they visited the website and other basic analytics. This information can help them develop and automate a marketing strategy that is effective at targeting the user. Unfortunately, these cookies cannot access data from the user’s visits to other websites. 

Next step

To hit the ground running, businesses must have the right tools to engage in digital marketing. As a Google-Partner, MIU is constantly in the loop about updates and developments that may impact our clients. Through this, we develop tailored solutions that give an edge to our clients to ensure they can achieve their digital marketing goals. 

If you need a partner to work with you to adapt your marketing campaign in light of the phasing out of third-party cookies by Google, feel free to leave your contact details here.

Cheers to the Human Race, by Coca-cola

Coca cola

Last year, Coca-cola released an ad to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Coca-cola try to spread hope and positivity, and the message of the ad is clear and strong; we still can have faith in humanity.

Worked together with Dentsu Malaysia, Coca-cola reminds us that “optimism is more contagious than any contagion”. The ad was set strong with “Superheroes” by The Script as their background music, which brought tears of emotion for every audience who watch the ad video.

The ad itself spotlights how everything has changed during the pandemic period. Within the change, every barrier, and challenges that humans have during the pandemic, there is always some positivity that we can see.

At the end of the video, Coca-cola thank all workers worldwide for their dedication and hard work during a hard time. And along with the ad video on their website, Coca-cola also thank all workers who work on the frontline during the pandemic. “Saluting the Heroes of the Human Race” gives the story of workers featured in the brand’s ad.

After all, not all heroes wear a cape.

Best yet, MIU is offering a Free Digital Audit to all SMEs during this pandemic. Contact MIU for more information on how you can improve your online presence today.

Lazada SG Celebrates Its 9th Birthday With Katy Perry, NCT Dream, and More

Lazada is known for having big discounts and huge sales on its site, so it’s no surprise that they are hosting a massive event for their 9th birthday this coming weekend.

Known as Lazada Super Party, this event includes a virtual concert, flash sales, surprise boxes, games, and more. The full performance lineup can be viewed here, although Lazada has already teased us with a few names.

Headlined by Katy Perry and NCT Dream, other local artists such as Jasmine Sokko and Nathan Hortono will also be performing for the virtual concert.

On 26 March at 9:30 pm, Lazada will be streaming this virtual concert via LazLive to countdown to its official birthday which falls on 27 March.

Michelle Chong, Michelle Chong, Michelle Chong, Lee Min-ho are posing for a picture: Lazada Celebrates Its 9th Birthday Sale With A Virtual Concert, Games, Flash Deals, Vouchers

In fact, Lazada will be streaming live performances of various K-Pop idols every Saturday at 8 pm for seven consecutive weeks, starting 20 March. Viewers will be able to partake in games and other giveaways for a chance to win a prize!

Beyond these live streams and performances, Lazada has organised a bunch of pre-sale activities to keep us interested in grabbing ridiculous deals off their site. Before the big day, participate in as many games and activities as you can to obtain vouchers, free shipping, LazCoins and more. These will definitely come in handy during the two-hour storewide flash sale from 12 to 2 am on 27 March!

More than 200 stores are involved in the celebration of Lazada’s 9th birthday, offering more up to a whopping 90% discount on some of their products! The list of participating stores can be found here.

Lazada is definitely going all out for their birthday celebration this year. Indeed, the blend of international celebrities from Katy Perry to NCT Dream to local singers is bound to draw a huge crowd to join in on their festivities.

If you want to find out more about the new marketing strategy, Contact Us.

How to Update Your Digital Marketing Strategy

How to Update Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Spring cleaning is a necessary job in any household, but it’s also a necessary job for your digital marketing strategy. Your digital marketing strategy should be checked, measured, and revitalized a few times per year, and the end of the first quarter is the perfect time to take the first steps.

Logo And Design

The first thing to look at is the design aspects of your digital presence. You should check that your logo and designs work across all platforms. Make sure that it’s still relevant and that your customers and potential customers have a positive reaction to your design. You may need to update your logo to give it a fresh look or change any design elements that are outdated and no longer relevant. 

In some cases, you may need to completely redesign your logo. You should also make sure that any changes are also updated on any physical promotional materials as well. Try a free logo app like Logo Creator to come up with some concepts for your business.


Your digital marketing strategy should have set out goals for your business. You need to look at whether these goals have been achieved. Use your key metrics to analyze what strategies worked well, and which didn’t. You should also assess your previous goals to make sure that they were achievable in the first place.

Set New Goals

When you set your new marketing goals, make sure that they are realistic, specific and achievable. You may also want to consider breaking wide goals down into smaller, more specific steps. Lastly, you should also set a realistic timeline for when you expect these goals to be met. You should have a master calendar for your digital marketing strategy, but you may want to have specific calendars for your social media campaigns, blog posts and email campaigns as well. Doing this means you can make sure that all posts and materials are going out on time.

Social Media Accounts

Social media is constantly evolving and changing with new sites and trends emerging all the time. It’s important that you keep your social media presence updated, relevant, on-trend, and consistent with your brand. This may mean updating profiles, creating new accounts, looking at which posts had the most reach and engagement, and updating your response policies. There are plenty of ways you can boost your social media shares to gain more exposure — check our article here for more details. If customers are reaching out to your business on social media, you need to make sure that responses are timely and appropriate.


Search engine optimization should be seen as a vital task. It’s incredibly important to keep up to date with SEO practices. These practices can evolve as the way people use search engines change. Check your page speeds, meta descriptions, content, images, readability and headers. Optimize every page. We’ve curated a list of SEO tools here that are not only free but perfect for beginners.


Re-examine your keywords. Remove any keywords that are no longer relevant, or have a low or no impression. Create a new list of targeted keywords. This will help you create a much more efficient strategy.


Look at your existing content and see which has the most engagement. Revamp lower performing content with fresh links and keywords. Make sure that the information in older posts is still relevant, or update it to include more recent data. 

You can also plan out new content. Make a calendar of when each content should be posted. When you’re planning topics or posts, make sure that it is specific and readable. Large topics should be broken into a series of posts.


You should also check how your advertisements are performing. Look at your paid search ads. Examine which keywords are being used and if these need to be extended upon. You should also check the ad copy. Make sure that the copy is free of errors and that it is still relevant. For the best results, read up on our ultimate guide to advertising.

Coca Cola’s Emotional Ad Warms the Hearts of Many this Christmas

Coca Cola's Emotional Ad Warms the Hearts of Many this Christmas

One of the most challenging things we’ve had to face this year was the pandemic.  With Covid-19 in mind, Coca Cola has thus decided to cancel its annual Truck Tour. In its place, they released an emotional commercial for this yea that warmed the hearts of many even in the absence of their truck.

The ad’s message is simple: make time for the people you love at Christmas, and give something that “only you can give”. Go on a journey with Coca Cola even as they will not be holding their Truck Tour this year.

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi, who has also directed the likes of Star Wars and Thor, it is no wonder this advert touches our hearts so. Ranked the most powerful ad of the season by Kantar, Coca Cola’s ad beat the likes of many others’, including Disney’s and Tesco’s.

Over 3000 UK consumers were paired with LinkNow AI facial coding technology, which revealed that Coca Cola’s Christmas ad elicited the greatest response from audiences. Indeed, they deserve the title of the most powerful ad this festive holiday!

Not only that, but it was the top-performing in seven out of ten key measures, scoring 96 out of 100 in terms of long-term return potential as well as creating brand memories. It also gained a full score in terms of remembering the brand. Talk about effective!

With Covid-19 interrupting many Christmas plans this season, Coca Cola’s ad helped viewers to feel more positive about Christmas – the only ad to score in the top percentile (74 to be exact) for this metric. Beyond that, it also scored 88 for creating warmth and love for the brand and 93 for feeling different.

6 Simple Tips for the Most Effective Headline

6 Simple Tips for the Most Effective Headline

While I was researching what makes a good headline, one question kept resurfacing: what is the difference between a headline and a title? I think it is important to answer this question before looking into the elements that make up a great headline.

You see, headlines and titles serve similar functions and are similar in many ways, so there is plenty of overlap between the two. Many marketers can easily make the mistake of assuming they are both the same, but there is one aspect that sets the two apart.

I’m sure you’ve seen the title of this article before you clicked on it. The title serves to tell you what this article will be about — it is more for the benefit of the reader. Headlines, while also meant to grab attention, have an implicit aim of getting the reader to take an action — it is more for the benefit of the marketer.

Here’s a twist — the title of this article is also the headline. As I mentioned, there is quite a bit of overlap between headlines and titles, and this manifests in the way that titles can be headlines, but not all headlines are titles. To put it simply, titles fall under the umbrella of what headlines are.

So how does one differentiate between a headline and a title? Generally speaking, titles are used for articles and any type of long-form content. Headlines aren’t as restricted to the content that they are attached to. For example, imagine the banner of your landing page, which contains a short phrase that is meant to instantly hook your visitors. That may not necessarily be considered a title, but it is your headline.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the next step is to look at the elements that make up an impactful headline. Headlines are so omnipresent in marketing that it is important to do them right. From landing pages, to blog articles, to social media posts (really, the list is endless), headlines are everywhere. So here’s what we found about what an effective headline should include.

1. Use numbers

Headlines with big, obscure numbers at the start tend to do much better than those without. Almost every headline guide will agree on this. In fact, A/B testing has been conducted previously on the same exact headline, the only exception being one has the number written out and the other has the number spelt out. And the one with the number written out always wins.

2. Put impact words at the front

Trigger words like how, why and what tend to draw in more readers than most other words. Especially when placed at the front of your headline, it is more likely to enable or persuade someone to click on your article and read it. Just make sure that your headline either starts with trigger words or numbers, because it rarely works well if you try to do both at the same time.

Here’s a really good example to help you decide which to choose should you ever face a similar scenario:

Effective Headline
Simple Tips for the Most Effective Headline

The two titles, “10 Simple Communication Tips That Can Help You Ace Your Job Interview” and “How to Ace Your Job Interview with These 10 Simple Communication Tips”, both mean the same thing. However, on mobile devices such as the email inbox, long headlines are very much likely to get cut off. Subject lines get truncated after about 45 characters in the mobile inbox. Similarly, headlines get truncated after about 60 characters in search results. This is why it’s extremely important to put the keyword within the first handful of characters in your headline. Readers would be able to see the benefit and value of clicking into your article clearly.

3. Incorporate emotional words

Using powerful adjectives will draw out emotion from your readers, which might then nudge them into taking an action. Words such as free, incredible, effortless, and painstaking all have high emotional value in them. When emotional adjectives are used to describe pain points, your readers would be more likely to feel a sense of connection to you and/or the topic at hand.

The Advanced Marketing Institute (AMI) has created a headline analyser that looks at the emotional marketing value (EMV) of your headline, which is a gauge for how likely your headline will be able to elicit an emotional response from a reader. By eliciting emotions, you are more likely to get your readers to like, share, and engage with your article.

In fact, studies show that headlines that elicit positive emotions are more likely to get your reader to take the action you want them to. This is as the positive emotions give readers an additional boost and help them imagine a better outcome.

4. Create a sense of urgency

Developing urgency in a headline by including words such as ‘now’ or ‘today’ is more likely to push your readers into taking action. For instance, “10 Ways to Boost Your Career Today” is a lot more compelling than “10 Ways to Boost Your Career”. In a fast-paced society, everyone desires instant gratification and wants to see immediate results.

You can also create urgency by implying the effects of ignorance, as seen in the headline “5 Mistakes You are Making Right Now”. This offers the reader something that they can do or change right now to give them the efficiency they are seeking.

5. Use power trigrams

Trigrams are groups of three words. In the marketing field, there are many common trigrams that appear in headlines. But which ones are actually effective?

A few years back, Steve Rayson of Buzzsumo conducted a study where he looked at typical trigrams that appear in headlines. When looking at how it correlates with social media engagemen, he found that certain trigrams encourage more social engagement.

Tips for the Most Effective Headline

6. Write multiple headlines and read them aloud

This is basically self-explanatory, and while it isn’t something tangible that you can include in your headline, you should always follow this step. Having multiple headlines allows you to compare and contrast, whereby you might be able to notice what’s lacking in the ones that don’t seem to flow as well.

Ultimately, headlines show up everywhere. From your blog title, to your subject line, headlines are the ones doing most of the work. They are your opener; the attention grabber. Marketing would not be marketing without a good headline. Find out more about how you can improve yours by connecting with us.