Advertising is expensive. So, why not do it right? Even when done to perfection, you’ve only got a split second to grab the attention of your potential customer.  You must get noticed and understood, and communicate a clear call to action – all in a blink of an eye.

So many brand builders try to get cute. They think they will create some mystery that will draw the viewer in to discover more. Forget about it! Others think you can blow minds with something that’s cool, unexpected, or awesome. Maybe so, but will they remember the brand that had that cool ad?

As experienced brand builders, it never ceases to amaze us that so many companies will spend good money to advertise their brand only to confuse their prospective buyers by leaving out one or more of the essential elements necessary to make their ads effective.

Advertising has a much better chance of being successful when you include all 5 essentials:

1. What is it?

We have seen many ads that simply don’t say what the product or service is! Sometimes working too closely with your brand and branded products results in the assumption that folks know what you are selling. Some may, but they are generally the ones who have already bought. The new customers you are after don’t have a clue. Tell them what you are selling. Name the type of product or service to give them a reference for your ad.

2. What does it do?

Does it clean? Does it provide security? Does it impress their friends? Does it make them money? Does it save them time, improve their health, or reduce their costs? Surprisingly, this is often left out by brand builders who think that people will just know what their branded product does. If you have a name that says what you do, they might, but most brand builders have to put what their brand does clearly out front.

Successful brand ad3. What is its name?

What good is an ad that doesn’t make the brand name clear? If it’s an audio or video ad, your brand name has to be mentioned multiple times. You can’t go on and on with some clever script and think that the listener or viewer will remember a brand name mentioned once or even twice. The audience is already on overload. Potential new customers need repetition to remember your name. So mention your name often – and don’t ever mention your competitors’ name!

4. How do I get it?

Don’t make this the missing link. The viewer or listener must know how to get your product. Your address, phone number, the retailers that carry your product, or your website should be visible. Don’t get them all excited and leave them wondering where they can get it. If you do, they will lose interest quickly as their mind tells them they can’t get it anyway, so why bother remembering the ad.

5. What is its value?

What is the price? What is the comparative value for money? What is the feeling they will have when they use your product or service? Is it security? Is it satisfaction? Is it pride? Communicating value puts them in a frame of mind to want what you are offering for themselves. Now, all the previous essentials lead them directly to a purchase!

When creating your own ads or working with advertising companies, make sure you are not just creating an entertaining work of art. Assure that your ad is resulting in an increase to your bottom line by delivering all the essentials!





Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact