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What Is an Advertising Theme?

Ken Black
Ken Black

An advertising theme is a central, repetitive message that promotes brand awareness and is meant to provide an impact beyond just individual or disconnected ads. Generally, such an advertising campaign utilizing a theme may not only use that theme in television advertising, but also in radio, print, and Internet ads as well. Themes may be readily recognizable as promoting a certain emotion, such as fear or patriotism, but they can also be strictly humorous in nature.

The most important thing about an advertising theme is that it creates an association with the brand nearly immediately. Many companies use animals to do this, but others may use celebrities, objects, or even certain types of jokes. Frogs, dogs, and even geckos are just a few of the animals used in more recent advertising campaigns that created awareness for a certain company or product that the company may be promoting. In some cases, advertising themes can be so successful that they create a secondary merchandise market.

Advertising themes sometimes focus on a strong emotion like patriotism.
Advertising themes sometimes focus on a strong emotion like patriotism.

Advertisers often use music to associate a message with a certain product or brand. The music may be a well-known song, or a jingle that plays with every, or almost every, ad that is broadcasted on television or radio. The lyrics of the jingle may even appear in print advertising, bringing what would likely be a familiar song to mind. That could lead to expanded thoughts about the product being offered.

Bath products are often advertised with comfort as the theme.
Bath products are often advertised with comfort as the theme.

Some advertising theme campaigns use prestige as a way to entice people to take a look at a product. Certainly, this is a common theme for some automobile manufacturers, especially when promoting certain models of cars. This advertising theme may also create a dramatic effect when used in conjunction with a product that is not commonly associated with luxury or prestige, such as mustard.

Another popular advertising theme involves that of being comforted. This is a favorite of those promoting things such as bath products, household products, and certain types of foods. Using this approach, advertisers hope to show how using the product could make a person's life a little easier or more pleasant.

While an advertising theme does not have to be logically linked to the product it may be promoting, creating an artificial link is important. Otherwise, an advertiser risks creating a memorable campaign, but one that may not include much brand or product awareness. In such cases, consumers may remember the commercial, but have difficulty recalling the product the ad was promoting. While that may mean a memorable campaign was created, it ultimately means the advertiser failed to achieve the objective.

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Discussion Comments


I feel like humorous ads make people view the product in a positive light. If they find the ads funny, then they may even giggle a little every time they see the product, and this releases endorphins.

Since endorphins make people feel good, they may find themselves drawn to the product. We all want a little more pleasure and joy in our lives, and even the smallest things that can add to that help.

I know that if a product has a humorous advertising theme, I will be more likely to buy it instead of another brand of the same thing. The theme just brings up good vibes, and I like that.


@wavy58 – Sometimes I think that companies should just stick to one short jingle when going for a theme. Putting voices behind animals does seem a bit ridiculous, and it can make the audience feel as if they are being spoken to like children.

I think the most effective advertising theme is putting a melody to just the name of the business. If the business has two or more words in its name, then it has the perfect amount of syllables to be sung to a certain tune in every ad. If it only has a one-word name, then a short slogan could be sung after it each time.

Whenever I hear ads with company names set to music, I tend to sing along with them. Even when I pass by the store of that name, I am tempted to sing it out in my head.


Sometimes, advertisement themes can be annoying. For example, there is one brand of flea and tick control that features a talking puppy in its ads. This could have been cute and effective, had the voice they chose for the puppy not been so irritating.

Maybe it's just me, but every time I hear that ad, I want to give the puppy a different voice. He is too cute to have that hoarse, high-pitched sound.

Now, even when I see the ad in print, I hear that voice in my mind as I read the words. They have definitely established a theme, but this isn't necessarily always a good thing.


There is a certain type of fabric softener that has a soft teddy bear in every one of its ads. Whether I see a coupon for the product in the paper or see an ad on television, that bear will always be present.

He is supposed to represent coziness. The hope of the company is that you will want your clothes to feel as soft as a teddy bear, so you will go out and buy the fabric softener.

I will admit that every time I hear the product name or see it on a shelf, I think of that bear. The link was definitely made, and even though I don't buy the product, I do relate it with softness.

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    • Advertising themes sometimes focus on a strong emotion like patriotism.
      By: C Barhorst
      Advertising themes sometimes focus on a strong emotion like patriotism.
    • Bath products are often advertised with comfort as the theme.
      By: Anton Maltsev
      Bath products are often advertised with comfort as the theme.