Have you ever been watching TV or flipping through a magazine and wondered what the ad agency was thinking creating an ad that stupid/ugly/confusing/etc? It happens all the time. And as a marketing girl, I have to wonder what they said to their client to make them agree to pay for an ad campaign that will only get their company laughed at.

Then there are times when you come across an advertisement that is so spot on in every aspect that you kinda want to tell someone about how cool/beautiful/moving etc it was. For these types of ads it all comes down to good advertising anatomy. If you follow these five cannons of advertising, your campaign will get noticed for all the right reasons.

Clever copy is king. When you use words to their fullest advantage, whether through deliberate word choice or creating a play on words, you make the copy inherently easy for the reader/listener. But beware of being too clever. Live with your word choice for a few days to make sure it still makes sense when the copywriting high wears off.

Make each word count. You don’t have much space on a one-page ad or in a :30 commercial, so choose your words wisely. Don’t use ten words when five will do. Don’t restate one idea multiple ways. Choose the best, most effective statement and cut the extraneous ones.

Show don’t tell. Great, well-written copy can only take the message so far. You also need strong visuals to convey the idea fully. Everyone reacts to verbal and visual differently, so an effective combination of the two will attract the most attention.

Don’t be coy. The point of any ad is to make people want to do something in relation to your company. An ad that is clever and visually stunning means little without a clear call to action. It can be as simple as “call to find out more” or as specific as “visit our website to register to win a free vacation.” Whatever your end goal is, make sure to state it clearly.

Give them what they need. When it comes to contacting your company, keep it simple. Make your contact information easy to find, easy to read, and most importantly, easily accessible. The more avenues you offer (phone number, website, physical address) the easier it will be for them to find you.