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an irresistible proposal: how to use insights in advertising

The perfect advertisement is created based on two elements: the desire of the buyer to satisfy their needs and the solution to the problem that prevents them from making a purchase. The marketer's task is to uncover the buyer's desires and understand what they are missing, in other words, to dig deeper and find the insight.

"Just do it" - Nike's advertising slogan. Notice that their advertising doesn't mention anything about quality, comfort, affordability, or a call to buy at a discount. The basis of the slogan is motivation for those who put off their desires, feel unsure. This advertising is like a "magic push" that helps move forward and, of course, only in Nike sneakers. The insight is the motivation that stands behind the visible advantages of the product.

Usually, people are guided by logic in surveys, but when it comes to purchasing, emotions become the main driving force, which people later justify with logic.

The words attributed to Henry Ford accurately reflect the essence of the problem: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

If we disregard logic and look beneath it, finding the hidden motivation, we will discover the insight.

Where does insight come from in marketing?

Insight is more of a concept from psychology, although it was invented by mathematician Henri Poincaré in 1910: he used it to denote a sudden insight after a long period of work.

But the term gained wide recognition in 1925, thanks to Wolfgang Köhler and his experiments with humanoid monkeys. The animals were presented with problems that required mediated solutions. After several unsuccessful attempts, they stopped their active actions and simply started to observe the objects around them, after which they could quickly come to the correct solution.

In marketing and advertising, an insight refers to an unexpected understanding of a problem and its solution. Specifically, it refers to an obscure consumer motivation with which a brand can work, addressing the unconscious demands of the buyer. Our strategist Valeria Tyapina will provide more detailed information about how to work with insights and provide examples.

"Drink more water and be healthy" - this is not an insight. "All girls need smooth skin" - this is also not an insight. How do you recognize an insight? The consumer's reaction to the insight in your advertising should be the feeling of "I need this". Of course, the consumer does not recognize the insight in advertising, but they will perceive the message on an emotional level.

How to work with insights?

If you are not consciously working with the emotional motives of your audience, the consumer will rely on their internal motives, which we will not be able to influence: price, positive usage experience, product associations.

  • - An insight is a real problem, not an invented one. Therefore, we interact qualitatively with the audience to identify it, not to invent it: we communicate, conduct in-depth interviews, read reviews, write to people on social networks, and ask many questions.
  • - An insight is not the problem of a specific individual, but of a segment of the audience. Yes, most often we find insights when interacting with a specific person, but after it is identified, we need to test the hypothesis on the segment. Then the advertising campaign built on it will resonate with the audience.
  • - The insight must be deep. If it is an obvious observation, such as "women feel more confident with cosmetics," it will not help you create a deep advertising campaign. An insight is not stamps, cliches, and logic.

Bad marketing focuses on the product, while good marketing focuses on the customer and solving their problem. Thus, finding insights is a tool for identifying the problems and motivations of the audience.

How to use insights in an advertising campaign?

We believe in in-depth research and careful preparation before launching an advertising campaign. That's why we go through three comprehensive stages to create it:

So, thanks to insights, we identify the key problem of the audience that our brand can solve, and we form the answer at the final stage. Then, through our message, we convey to the audience the idea that we can help solve their problem.

How do brands use insights in advertising campaigns?


Electric scooters have become incredibly popular in large cities and can be found everywhere. However, people were not specifically trained in the rules of riding such scooters.

Сitymobil found out what their target audience was worried about: I want to move around the city quickly and conveniently on a scooter, but I don't understand what is normal on a scooter and what is not, as everyone rides as they please. So, I ride as I want, but when I go out on the road, I feel like a disrespectful scooter rider.

Citymobil launched a collaboration with children's writer Gregory Oster, who created a series of humorous poems-"bad advice" for scooter riders. For example, a startup for passenger transportation was proposed to large groups of people who try to fit on one scooter.

Popular TikTokers were also involved in the project, illustrating situations of "bad advice" in their videos.


In the United States, people love hot dogs, but typically hot dog buns and sausages come in different quantities in their packaging, which creates inconvenience for those who like to cook hot dogs at home.

Heinz saw an insight from their audience: "I love to cook hot dogs at home for my family, but every time I use a pack of buns, I'm left with 2 extra sausages that end up sitting in the fridge for weeks and get thrown out, and I'm outraged."

For National Hot Dog Day in the US, the company created an advertisement for "10 buns-10 sausages" with the message "Consumer convenience is most important. We demand package equality!"


The target audience for P&G is moms. Before launching an advertisement for laundry detergent, the brand conducted a survey and discovered an insight from its female customers: "I wash and bleach my children's clothes so that those around them can see a well-dressed child and understand that they have a good mom."

They included this message in their advertising, thus selling not laundry detergent, but the feeling of being a good mother.

How we search for and find insights

Despite the existence of search algorithms, forming an insight requires different amounts of hypotheses, questions, interviews, research time each time. But basically, we use the following algorithm:

  • — Immerse ourselves in the audience and look for as much quantitative data and research results in open sources as possible
  • — Identify audience segments
  • — Choose a segment that we could work with in an advertising campaign
  • — Look for people who are willing to openly talk and answer our questions
  • — Form initial hypotheses about what may worry these people and create questions to test each hypothesis
  • — Communicate without mentioning the brand, record the respondents' answers
  • — After the first surveys, analyze the motives and barriers of people
  • — Formulate new hypotheses and questions
  • — Test them
  • — Finalize the identified motives and barriers of the audience
  • — Identify insight

"I bought a Porsche 911 purely for safety reasons, and German cars are so reliable." Oh yeah, now we know why someone bought a Porsche 911. From marketing gurus who understand everything themselves to a simple cleaner - we all make purchasing decisions based on emotions. Knowing this, we'll sell the buyer not a Porsche 911, but, for example, status.

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