For an image to grab eyeballs it has to be visually striking.  But visually striking images won’t keep attention unless they have a compelling emotional content (also called “story appeal”).  Combining the two practically guarantees a unignorable ad image.

That’s the theory at least.  Here’s an example:

So you have the typical mid-riff baring fitness-model looking woman, that’s often featured in Facebook Ads. In other words, something eye catching.

But now you have this midriff baring model struggling through some kind of mud puddle obstacle course, with a race number clearly pinned to her sport-bra jersey. And you just can’t help but see that and ask: “so what’s the story here?”  And that’s where the emotionally-compelling aspect comes in.

Together, they make up an ad that’s pretty much un-ignorable. I know because even though I have absolutely NO desire to race in anything faintly resembling a “spartan race,” I still couldn’t ignore the ad.  I noticed it everytime it popped up on my page and eventually had to click through to see what the heck this race was and what kind of cross-fit maniacs might choose to race in it.

Now, if this was motivating for me, what would it be for someone who’s actually into extreme fitness and endurance sports?

So what about your ads: are they making use of visually striking and emotionally compelling images?