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To develop YouTube’s ABCDs for creative effectiveness, Google and Ipsos1 studied and deconstructed the creative elements of 17,000 ads to understand which were key to an ad’s success. The study revealed that certain creative elements have a measurable impact on marketing objectives. From these, we determined the ABCDs for Awareness.

Breaking through

No matter how long your brand has been around, cutting through the clutter can be a challenge. Your solution or market position might take a while for people to digest before they are ready to embrace you. To help you craft an ad that drives brand awareness, we’ve refined the ABCDs based on what has worked for brands on YouTube in the past.

Pretend you’re a creative on the Fishos account. Your storyboard, below, is ready for review. What else could you add?


A = Attention: Pump up the volume

Audio is your superpower for getting people to pay attention. Embrace elements like voice-over, music, and sound effects to amplify your on-screen messaging. The power of the human voice is a great way to connect with people, and it can add personality through your choice of talent and delivery style.

Two illustrated video stills with the same image, a close-up of a teal green shark fin in front of a kitchen counter, but the second one has music notes to represent a musical sound track

B = Branding: Put your brand front and center

Incorporate multiple branding opportunities to get noticed and be remembered. Frequency plus variety is key. From logo to tagline and mascots to pack shots, more points of branding will give you more impact.

Before and after illustrated video stills: The “before” shows a splashy close-up on a Fisho treat. The “after” has a split-screen view of a hand holding a Fisho treat and a zoomed-in view of a dog’s mouth about to eat a Fisho.

C = Connection: Make people core to your story

As humans, we can’t help but be drawn to other humans. So featuring people in your story lends emotional context to scenes and creates connection quickly. Showing people using your product is one proven way to demonstrate its benefits. Celebrities and influencers can also inspire engagement, as can reflecting the diversity of the real world.

Before: A bag of Fishos sits on kitchen counter. A woman bends down to give her small dog, who wears a shark costume, a Fishos treat. After: A split screen of the woman with exclamation marks behind her and the dog licking his lips.

D = Direction: Ask them to take action

Just as in the core ABCDs, make sure your ad gives people clear and simple instructions.


Now compare the Awareness version of the ad with the version based on the general ABCDs. While both are memorable, our slightly reworked version spends a bit more time introducing the product to new audiences.

The ABCD principles have been applied to the Before and After versions of the Fishos ad. Dramatic “shark” music adds to the impact of the Awareness version.

For more details download the ABCDs Playbook.