A Walk Down Memory Lane: What Makes An Advert Special?

Nafurahia, undugu na uko wetu, Nasherekea, kazi na bidii yetu,

Tuvute pamoja Tushirikiane, Bega Kwa Bega tujikaze tusaidiane.

If you were born and living in Kenya back in 2010, you probably sang these words out loud. You probably visualized the T.V advert displaying the beautiful Kenyan scenery; the mountain caps, hills, oceans, and valleys. You probably even pictured some of the faces behind the advert. If, for one reason or the other, you don’t remember the advert, then here it is. If you do, here is something to reminisce about.


What’s your most memorable Kenyan advert, and what characteristics make it memorable? Is it the effort displayed, the aesthetics, or the music? Is it the location, the characters, the contextualization, or the relatability? I would argue that it’s a myriad of factors. Marketing in general is extremely delicate because the best kind of marketing does not actually feel like marketing. The irony, right? People do not buy goods and services. They buy relational stories and magic. They buy the stories you tell them through the advertisements.

An article on Forbes emphasizes the need to pay attention to the slightest detail when it comes to advertising. Advertisements can make or break a product especially in today’s highly competitive markets. Creating the best commercial is vital to getting one’s product out there.

I see colors, the wonder of colors in everything I touch, in everything that reminds me of a world of beauty, a life of plenty…

Do these words immediately ring a bell in your mind? Do they remind you of Crown Paints? If they do, then the brand probably did a fantastic job of curating the content. This advert was not your regular T.V commercial. The music is catchy, and the brightly coloured images make it almost addictive.


But we’re not just talking about Television Ads. Let’s not forget all the Duracoat billboard Ads by the famous Peter Marangi. In this case, the advertisers used him as a brand ambassador to push forward their product. Whenever you saw him on a billboard, you could almost hear his voice as displayed on T.V and radio commercials. Years later, people still associate Duracoat to Peter Marangi, meaning that the advert indeed had an impact.

Let’s not forget the “Share a Coke” advertising campaign by the Coca Cola company back in 2015. We were probably more drawn towards the product because of the name tags. Most of us were excited to find our names and buy the drink for our loved ones because of the names written on the bottle. This advertising campaign was extremely successful and for a simple reason: It was relatable. Consumers were able to interact with the brand on a personal level. The essence of marketing is in relating to your target audience, and therefore, an advert will only be successful if the people can relate to it.

But beyond the actual content, and perhaps the most important, is the quality of the audio-visuals. In fact, a study carried out in the U.S concluded that the most effective “brand assets” in making the spots more memorable are audio cues and characters.

As the world moves more towards the digital space, the advertising scene will not be left behind. In fact, it becomes a little more demanding. Online adverts and especially those on social media, need to capture the attention of the users and make the advertisement memorable within a few seconds. Just recently, a study by Microsoft found that the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. Online content needs to be tweaked to capture the audience’s attention within these few seconds.

As a brand, memorability may not be your only goal when it comes to advertising. How do you measure its success rate? Well, that is entirely dependent on you. What benefits are you aiming to reap out of it? Is it consumer awareness, an increase in sales, or promotion of the brand image? More often than not, the aim of the commercial should determine how it is arranged and produced. However, if you can make an advert memorable, more and more people will be drawn to purchasing the product. A memorable advert can translate to increased awareness, sales, and a good brand image. A memorable advert may just be what you need for your brand.