LinkedIn’s Ad Has Flex Appeal

LinkedIn’s Ad Has Flex Appeal


For Ad Of The Week this week we’re rewinding back to March and International Women’s Day, which always sees ads from brands looking to underscore their commitment to women’s rights. Sometimes this feels tokenistic, but for LinkedIn it’s a natural fit. From childcare to the gender pay gap, some of the biggest issues facing women revolve around work. As a brand dedicated to improving work by bringing people together, LinkedIn can make a real contribution.

So LinkedIn’s IWD ad this year zooms in on one particular topic it’s campaigning around – flexible working, with an ad discussing what flexibility means and what it doesn’t. The ad is designed for digital and to work with sound on or off, so while there’s an upbeat instrumental soundtrack the heavy lifting is done by words on screen and a montage of video. It scored a strong 4.2-Stars on the Test Your Ad platform – a really excellent score for a B2B ad.

Text on screen can be a problem for an ad – as Orlando Wood explains in Lemon and Look Out, text draws the attention of the task-oriented left-brain and as an element in advertising it’s been shown to correlate with lower effectiveness. So if you’re using text on screen it’s important to balance it with other elements that attract the broad-beam attention of the right-brain. Things like human connection, non verbal communication, smiles and gestures.

LinkedIn pack their ad with those things – almost the first thing you see is smiling, happy babies with their (flexibly working!) parents – and it means a quick rise in happiness for viewers which is sustained all through the commercial. So it means the text doesn’t inhibit the emotional response – it’s a great study for brands who do need to use onscreen text and don’t want it to spoil the overall effect.

The other thing LinkedIn’s ad gets very right is the framing. The ad quickly moves to define what flexible isn’t as well as what it is – it’s not asking for special treatment, as flexible working benefits everyone. From the comments from viewers we can see that this really hit home and got people on-side, turning an ad aimed at one particular group of people into an ad which resonated with the whole wider audience.

“How do you balance broad appeal with support for one group?” is a central question for our Feeling Seen US study, which launches next month and spotlights ads from LinkedIn and a host of other brands. In its IWD ad, LinkedIn answers it in style, with an ad that shows convincingly that doing something about the issues facing working women can result in an approach to work and life that benefits everyone.