I am no professional adman, but I believe what you need for effective advertising is not years of experience or a degree, but common sense and empathy with target consumer segment. I have seen many ads in which you can clearly make out that the company either had a lot of money to spend, or was not sure about the message they want to convey to the public – or worse, had a mix of both.
I have always had problems with expensive advertisements, and truly believe that one does not have to shell out big money for making effective ads. I especially despise the ones in which companies hire top celebrities for filming an ad film. First you shell out a lot of money to hire that celebrity and then, in case your guy gets into a scandal or controversy, you run for cover or go after another celebrity. On the contrary, most of the best ads I have scene till date do not involve multi-million dollar payouts to celebrities. Smaller budgets force people to come up with more creative ideas.
Another category of dumb ads involve ad-men's desire to exploit man’s lust. Even though men are sexually more active than women and (according to some weird statistics) think of sex several times in a minute, you cannot really sell a car to them just by showing some hot female models – the link between the product and the girls needs to come out. Ad men need to understand that hot girls do not necessary attract hot sales (it can work the other way round though).
And then off course there are ads in which you cannot make out the message, or sometimes even the product, even after you have watched them completely – what a waste! And the point of more concern here is that such ads are made by professional ad makers. These ads lack basic storyline and clarity of thought. Common sense is not really common!
Best ads connect with people at an emotional level and convey the message loud and clear. I think the best and most successful ads are the ones that make people laugh or feel good about themselves. Most successful ads are the ones that people talk about, long after they have watched these, with their friends, family and colleagues.