There Is No Death: How to Give Great Ads Immortal Life

The final statement in the five-line Jedi code mantra is, “There is no death; there is the Force.” When you look at your greatest ads and campaigns as being Jedi, then you’ll see there’s no need to let these ads die.

But first, let’s pull back from the mantra and the fictional characters and look at how Star Wars exists as a cinematic product.

We know that with the increasingly short attention span of today’s consumer, getting their notice with advertising is rather tricky. The film industry knows this well. A teaser is as short as 15 seconds, and a trailer on television won’t go longer than a minute and a half. So it’s handy to be able to cheat, and a really fantastic cheat is to skip the part that introduces the characters and story and convinces the audience to like them. The method to do this begins before the movie is ever made: They pick a story the audience already knows and loves.

It’s called a “pre-sold franchise,” which includes any movie about anything you already know about. This intrusively colossal volume of films consists of prequels and sequels, book adaptations, television show adaptations, spin-offs and remakes. The Star Wars franchise is both a book adaptation and a series … and it’s to the point where one could even ask, “What came first — the movie or the Lego set?”

Now, this “pre-sold” aspect is not necessarily applicable to your marketing. I’m not suggesting you create an ad featuring your target audience’s favorite childhood toy (although I wouldn’t say not to, either). Rather, I’m discussing pre-sold franchises to stir your creative mind about all the ways you can make something out of what already exists — how you can use something already familiar to you and save yourself a step.

What I’m talking about is your key to giving great ads immortal life.

First, you of course need to have in your hands that blockbuster ad. Then, apply one or all of the following methods to help your Jedi ad live on:

The Series

Give your ad a sequel or two, or more. Last year, I created a sponsored article for one of our clients with the headline “7 Presentation Mistakes That Are Killing Your Sales.” The next month, we followed up with a correction-style ad with a big “OOPS!” headline leading into “There is an 8th mistake that is too critical to ignore…” The ad pointed to the very same landing page as the first one, with the same lead magnet. In fact, the campaign ran for three more months, each with different takes on the same concept, with the same landing page.

The Remake

If an ad is a big hit, run it again with a new “cast.” For example, I had a client last year who had one hugely successful eBlast that we ran over and over again all year. We simply changed the subject line, headline, images and the title of the free report. The report was the same, as was the body copy of the email. Then, we simply rotated the two versions and generated over 1,700 leads with this one blockbuster ad!

The Adaptation

The same way a book is made into a movie, an eBlast can be made into a print ad, and vice versa. Like any creative adaptation, the working parts will need to be reworked some and the audience will be slightly different, but the general “story” and offer can remain identical.

The Spin-Off

One more consideration for giving a successful ad immortality is to see if just one piece of it can be pulled out and grown into its own campaign. For example, I created a campaign for a yearlong course-type program that included daily lessons and activities. In its first iteration, we used the first month of the course materials as the giveaway and built a campaign around that. To keep the campaign going, we next pulled out just a single day’s worth of materials and built a new eBlast just for that, which received comparable results.

If you know what you’re doing, or have the right partner for your marketing, you’ll have a consistent stream of good ads that pull solid results, but they can’t all be Star-Wars-caliber megahits. When you do hit one big, let it live on. Let it be your Jedi warrior of leads.

There is no death; there is repurposing.

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