The Power of Misdirection in Advertising

the power of misdirection in advertising, zooppa video contests

Andy Spyrison is a seasoned advertising industry vet who knows a thing or two about creating for brands. Today Andy is sharing his thoughts with the Zooppa community on the advertising concept of “misdirection”. Learn & Enjoy!


Hope you had a fun April Fools’ Day! In the spirit of the holiday, I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the power of a misdirect. Some call it a twist or rug pull, what I mean by this is making the viewer assume one thought and surprise them with another. That surprise creatively communicates the brand’s message and creates memorability in your print or video.

Let’s start with a broadcast example using the wildly successful Whopper Freak Out campaign by Burger King. Unassuming real people place their order only to find out that their beloved Whopper has been discontinued. Instead, Burger King offers customers the competition’s burger. The strong reactions from patrons is a fantastic example of the effectiveness of a misdirect. That unexpected surprise not only entertains but reaffirms the Whopper’s iconic status as America’s favorite burger message, and more importantly, the campaign drives sales. Further proof, viral parodies started appearing which are fun for Burger King fans to create and watch but also further evangelize the passion for the Whopper. For creativity, here’s the Cannes Film Festival case study and for effectiveness, the Effie case study.

For print, Sensodyne makes you do a double take. At first glance it looks like a typical toothbrush. After further inspection, the reader realizes that the bristles are really feathers. This visually communicates the “ultra sensitive” benefit, reinforced by a very simple straight forward selling line. This ad was showcased in Archive Magazine and many other creative publications.

As you participate with Zooppa and your creative ideas start flowing, challenge yourself not just to do a fun design or video but really assess the merits of your entry. Are you communicating the brand’s message in a unique and unexpected way? Does it invoke an emotion? Is the take away message memorable? This type of foresight will help ensure a winning submission.

Andy Spyrison is a Creative Director, Content Producer and Brand Consultant. 
With 16 years of experience, he has provided creative and strategic solutions for numerous businesses. Most recently, he was Creative Director for Pepsi snacks in Cairo, Egypt.

Meme E

One Comment

  1. Burger King bacon is still a contradiction in terms. When the need for a Whopper areiss (and yeah, they do taste different than the lesser burgers at BK no idea why) I prefer it with onion and heavy mayo. That’s it. No cheese, no BaKon , and good gravy, no lettuce.Life’s simply too short to go otherwise.When in need of a good bacon burger, I sneak a few slices of wonderfully crispy apple wood smoked goodness into In-N-Out and get a Double Double animal style with no lettuce, no pickle, no mustard, adding my own bacon. THAT’S a burger. Of course, you must be reasonably near an In-N-Out to accomplish this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *