Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Reach Millions of Europeans With Creative Advertising Step up your advertising game to stay competitive.

By Simon Moser Edited by Jason Fell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

imaginima | Getty Images

Unconventional advertising has the potential to bring glory and fame to your brand. That is no secret. Every marketer worth his or her salt has heard about banner blindness by now and is aware that advertising is in the middle of a paradigm shift. On AdWeek's "Ads of the year" list for 2018, however, only seven campaigns were run by European companies, in contrast to the 16 that were organized by U.S. enterprises.

To stay competitive in the years to come, encouraging creative ideas appears to be a vital task for European marketing departments. Here's how you can do it, too.

Creativity is key.

As with any advertisement, the goal is to drive customer interaction while also ensuring that brand messages are actually remembered. A pretty natural way of accomplishing this is adding a touch of humor. By being clever and witty, but still relatable, you will be able to drive sounder engagement and will have an easier time with brand recognition further down the line.

In advertising, it is also essential to strike a balance between familiarity and innovation. One way to do this is by linking your brand with relevant pop culture by using comedy, statistics or fun facts that engage the viewer. Carefully designed adverts utilizing this strategy can help your brand to establish a sense of familiarity with the viewer, helping to synthesize positive associations with your brand.

Oftentimes, companies looking to market themselves will be overly concerned with maintaining their original brand narrative, which can make forming creative advertising partnerships and campaigns a challenging process. However, those who are brave enough to accept a possible failure can achieve great results.

In a recent conversation with me, UK-based PR consultant David Cullinan highlighted a great example in the "Save Our Shirt" campaign by Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power. "Paddy Power is known for thinking outside the box, and the sponsorship deal they struck with a handful of UK football clubs saw them take the unusual route of paying for advertising, but not actually plastering the company name across the clubs shirt for that season, as is usually the case."

"This method gained a lot more publicity for the company than the traditional method would have," concluded David.

Another recent example of a partnership that executed this strategy brilliantly took place just a few weeks ago. The cryptocurrency gambling portal placed a sponsored Bitcoin logo on the sleeve of the Premier League football club Watford FC. This move kicked up a media frenzy since opted to advertise the Bitcoin logo rather than their own, in turn driving immense media coverage and putting more eyes on both the casino and the soccer club.

Focus on Europe.

Although it sounds obvious, it is crucial to do your research when forming your marketing strategy. Not only are the most effective marketing strategies often varied for different age demographics but how your target demographics respond to more creative adverts can also differ.

By identifying the age range, location, interests and other relevant metrics of your target audience, you will be able to deliver hyper-focused content that effectively engages, instead of annoying potential customers and clients.

Advertising in Paris? Do research about shared interests, draw inspiration and make it easy for Parisians to relate to your product or service. Advertising in Italy? Draw on local culture, reference current events and ensure that your audience knows that you know what they want and can deliver it, too. Besides, combining global trends with a creative message can also bring great results -- have you heard that Sweden listed its whole country on Airbnb in 2017?

Once you have discovered your key metrics, know your audience and have identified a suitable location for your advert, it is time to get creative. By breaking the mold and producing adverts that are somewhat controversial or seriously innovative, it is often possible to be picked up by the press, social media influencers and other media outlets, spreading the word well beyond your initial marketing range.

After all, the best advertising is free advertising. With small changes to your advert presentation and some simple guerilla marketing, it is possible to expand the reach of even low budget marketing materials drastically.

Beyond this, one of the best ways to effectively reach millions is by making smart use of spaces that are frequented by millions of people. This includes public spaces, transportation hubs, crosswalks, offices and prominent public structures. By producing unusual, eye-catching designs that blend in with natural and man-made structures, you will be able to create a more positive experience for the viewers, making them more likely to recall your brand later on.

Leverage new technologies.

Although social media opened up an entirely new way to reach millions, even this market has become largely saturated, with practically every major company running social media campaigns or content marketing on these platforms.

Learning to identify and take advantage of new technologies that can be used to gain a marketing edge is an important skill and is one that differentiates a struggling business from a marketing powerhouse. In 2019, two of the most promising new technologies to leverage in your marketing strategy are on-demand platforms and machine learning.

New technologies often have the benefit of allowing even small startups to benefit from modes of advertising that were previously reserved for huge brands and corporations. One perfect example of an on-demand advertising platform that opens up new advertising opportunities to those that need them is HYGH -- a platform that enables clients of any size to take advantage of flexible outdoor marketing.

By connecting advertisers directly with outdoor display providers, HYGH allows companies to easily create hyperlocal advertising campaigns at a considerably lower price-point. This means that even companies with a small budget can now benefit from highly targeted outdoor advertising, which was once dominated by global brands.

"Our platform provides the tools necessary to reach millions of people, wherever you deem it suitable. Combined with creative advertising, your Digital Out Of Home advertising campaign has the potential to be remembered long after its initial running time," commented HYGH CEO Vincent Mueller in a recent interview with me.

Additionally, through the use of machine learning, it is now possible to gather much more information about precisely who you are advertising to, making it easier than ever before to generate and match your advertisements to your viewers. At the forefront of this revolution is Criteo, a company that uses artificial intelligence to tailor advertising elements to match shoppers and viewers.

Overall, by familiarizing yourself with the current technological landscape and adopting new tools that fit your needs, it is possible to drastically boost both advert performance and customer acquisition, leapfrogging less technologically inclined competitors.

Simon Moser

Founder of Polygrowth

Simon Moser is a European communications specialist and entrepreneur. He is particularly focused on new markets, such as high-tech, fintech and cannabis. In 2018 Simon co-founded Strain Insider, which has since become the leading online media outlet in the European cannabis market.
Growing a Business

How a Local Greek Restaurant Seized Opportunities and Won a New Food Network Competition

After starting as a food truck in 2014, Think Greek has evolved into an award-winning restaurant by creating innovative menu items and taking advantage of opportunities that extend its audience reach.

Growing a Business

3 Branding Strategies That Will Make Any Brand Stand Out

Here's how to differentiate your brand in three essential steps — understanding your unique selling proposition, leveraging storytelling, and valuing feedback.


How to Spot the Perfect Executive for Your Company

Hiring senior talent to run a team is a crucial moment in the story and trajectory of a company. Whether you need to hire senior talent now or are looking to gather insights for the future, it's important to be prepared for a gap in a crucial leadership position.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Starting a Business

Your Business Will Never Succeed If You Overlook This Key Step

A comprehensive guide for startups to achieve and maintain product-market fit through thorough market research, iterative product development and strategic scaling while prioritizing customer feedback and agility.