Harry Simmons
Harry Simmons 12 January 2022

How to Create Ads That Even the Most Cynical Consumers Will Trust

Marketers’ trust in advertising is fading away. In an era where consumers already have access to immeasurable amounts of information about products and brands, marketers are facing a serious challenge when it comes to getting their message across.

The traditional methods of brand building – from celebrity endorsement to product placement to paid advertising – are losing their credibility and effectiveness. In this context, the words “trust” and “advertising” seem like two ideas that should never go together…unless you know how to create ads that even the most cynical consumers will trust.

Almost on a daily basis, terrible advertisements assault us like a never-ending plague. They are ads that lie or don't have anything to do with the brand or stories that don't make any logical sense or are lazy.

It’s one of the reasons why people tend to hate ads and don’t like being advertised to. And in some instances, too much advertising actually pushes us away from a product or service.

Thus, advertisers need to locate that “sweet spot,” the point where advertising isn’t oppressive but still useful. According to Kent Grayson, Associate Professor of Marketing for Bernice and Leonard Lavin Professorship, people are more skeptical about advertising more than ever, but it doesn’t mean they don’t trust all of it.

However, there is that fine line that varies for every person that you must not cross, because if you do so,  you will lose your audience and your ads will just go down the drain.

It Pays to Advertise

Regardless of how good your company’s product or service is, nobody will know about it if you don’t advertise. The goal of any advertising campaign should be to attract new customers and reach the largest audience possible, cost-effectively.

You might have a very creative ad, but if it doesn’t possess a genuine and clear message that is relevant to the target audience, it’s just going to miss the mark. Or you might find yourself with a campaign that yields a lot of leads, but only produce a little conversion.

What will come off the most efficient and sincere advertisements that even the most cynical consumers will trust?

Arouse Curiosity

Nothing works better than stimulating the curiosity of the customers. Humans as we are, we are always attracted to something new and advanced. From an advertising perspective, arousing curiosity with visuals, prints, words or images will certainly make an impact.

An individual spends an average of fewer than 5 seconds just to absorb an entire ad. If your subject’s curiosity does not arouse immediately, you’ll lose an opportunity to convince him or her to buy your products. A well-crafted ad must be compelling and irresistible to the audience.

Don’t Underestimate Consumer Intelligence

The golden rule here is never to insult or underestimate the intelligence of the consumers. Some ads exaggerate, however, the basic information of the product and service and the benefits should be well presented. A customer who is interested in making a purchase will always check the market before making a decision.

No one really believes in words like unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime-fantastic-offer or the greatest - they only turn off potential consumers. It’s part of the professional development lessons that every marketer should undergo.

Another thing to remember is that some products are only intended for a particular market. Thus, it's imperative to appeal to the culture of different markets and basic sense while creating ads.

Create an Interesting Brand Character

Advertising is all about making a cast of characters that will add value and recognition to the campaign. Your character could be some actor who takes the role of say, a psychiatrist, the Prince of Persia, a footballer, or anything that is possible. You can also opt for illustrated and animated or a cartoon character. 

Creative Tip: Your brand character must reflect your brand’s personality and other aspects, something that an invented character can’t procreate. Sometimes, to please the ‘hard-to-please’ customers, you need to take a risk with a character that aligns well with the personality of your brand. So, how can you leverage this strategy in the health industry? Think about how you can place a character at the center of your healthcare branding. What sort of personality would best suit the company and give it a friendly and trustworthy feel? If you aim to create positive first impressions on consumers, using marketing ideas for medical offices is one of the best strategies.

Just like in a good movie or book, a character should be interesting to draw the customer’s attention. It must have enough personality, different and unexpected, quirky behavior, and strong expressions. An engaging and out-of-the-ordinary character will attract attention because they stand out of the crowd and break stereotypes.


This approach helps in conjuring advertising campaigns that are interesting, engaging, more human and finally more relevant to your target audience. You can personify your product or service by giving it an ability similar to humans such as thoughts or speech and emotion. You can also inject some human characteristics into abstract ideas, like hunger or greed.

Try to create a visual icon that you can personify while working on an advertisement for a service. For example, animate a wallet or credit card to talk to a particular bank. You can also combine a product feature to an actual person such as using a computer screen head to represent a person with an addiction to digital gadgetry.

Creative Tip: The idea or object you personify may not relate to the product or service up for sale. Using a talking photograph to your advertisement campaign with some snarky dialog or injecting humor on it can make the campaign more interesting, engaging, and memorable.

Stimulate Emotions

According to Maya Angelou, American poet, and civil rights activist, "People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel." The same thing goes for a brand.

People will feel good about doing business with you, if you can make a message that aligns with your company's mission, the most authoritative decision comes from your customers’ sentiments - an intellectual and emotional one. If you can win the customers' emotions, then you successfully win them over.

Creative Tips: You can utilize the following tips below to create an ad that will resonate with your audience.

  • It's always better to say less and get heard than to say more and get ignored. Have you ever heard of TLDR or “too long, didn't read?” Hopefully, you get the idea.
  • Be who you are. There’s a reason why "authentic" keeps buzzing in the industry nowadays. As the market becomes more crowded with each passing year, it’s important that you stay true to who you are and rise above the noise.
  • Tell a story that reflects the value of your products and brand as well.
  • You must stick to your guns. Schemes do come and go, but if you keep your focus on the values that align with your customers, they will stay with you.

Promise Specific Benefits

A benefit is something that customers always seek in every product or service they consume. As an advertiser or business owner, think about the benefits of the product and service that you can get from your products.

The persuasive energy of a benefit advertisement comes from two traits. First, the significance of the benefit to the target customer, and second, the relevance of the benefit.

Creative Tip: Besides benefits, you can also use features to draw the customer’s attention. These features should be the key characteristics of your product. Benefits can be inherent, sometimes. If the majority of people know about the advantages they can get from a particular product, then there’s no need to explain about it, just mention the features.

Showcase Testimonials

Testimonials are another powerful approach to win over cynical customers as it has persuasive energy. It comes from honesty, motive, expertise, and believability. In fact, figures don’t lie, as Bright Local reveals the current statistics of consumer behaviors.

  • There’s a 50% increase among people who read reviews on a regular basis.
  • 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews.
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a business.
  • Only 9% of consumers disregard online reviews.

It comes in different forms, from celebrities or public figures to general customers. Below are some proven segments that you can employ to your next advertising project.

  • Real customers: Testimonials in this group typically lie on social channels such as Facebook, eBay or Amazon. They are often the most persuasive and informative. The best testimonials are fair, honest, and very thoughtfully written. 
  • Interesting customers: You can choose from real users who have an interesting or an amusing story to share. There’s a chance that one of your customers has an interesting job or notable accomplishment that separates them from the rest. He or she could be your city’s former mayor, a handicap who succeeds in sports, and similar individuals.
  • Experts: A doctor, scientist, musician, or blogger who writes about your product category. They can persuade and influence other people with their expert knowledge.
  • Celebrities: Local or international alike, celebrities can generate instant recognition for your brand. Choose a celebrity whose image and credibility suit your values and vision. 
  • Real switchers: For this case, you can set a blind test where a person tries a product then gives a verdict on the spot. Non-customers convert into buyers through this method. Another way is to feature customers who will explain why they shift from one brand to the other.

Address Problems and Offer Solutions

Problems - all of us have them. And there are products that you can use to solve them. If your product is the solution to your customers' problems, highlight that problem in your headline. Then in your commercial or advertisement or mailer, explain how the product solves the problem.

The technique works well if your target audience has big concerns or problems that need solutions. The bigger the problem, the better your strategy will work.

Creative Tip: The problem and solution are one of the most efficient methods to address real problems. You can use it in innovative ways. For example, you can deploy it to address a problem that your audience suffers. Customers love those who can solve the crises in their life. Not only will your product emerge as their savior, but you will also earn their trust.


An advertisement is a gamble - it’s planned yet full of risks. There are no fixed techniques that work for everyone. Some possess the right components but still fail to make an impact, while some score over through simplicity.

The most important reason why you create ads is to produce profit for the company through selling products and services. But you can’t do it if consumers don’t trust you. Hence, you need to put ‘authenticity’ in the center of everything.

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