Personally, I think an image of a field of solar panels can be pretty impactful. I just think they look cool and then when you see acres of identical panels side by side, the scale of it all is impressive. Leafing through the July/August 2012 issue of enerG Alternative Sources Magazine I noticed pages and pages of solar panels (15 individual images in the first 22 pages). There were so many in fact, at a quick glance it became difficult to tell what’s an ad and what’s an article. (See scan of pages 10 and 11).
We had a similar challenge with a branding campaign we created for an equine joint supplement. We knew other advertisers and the magazines themselves extensively feature pictures of beautiful horses. Yet another picture of a beautiful, high-end competitive horse may not stand out, unless we did something different. This ad for Steadfast Equine draws the reader in by showing something unexpected (e.g. a horse curious about why an egg is in his pasture). The egg is also the key to what makes the ingredients in Steadfast different than competitive products.
When thinking about a new campaign, consider that even well-designed creative, placed appropriately adjacent to highly related editorial content, may simply get lost because it doesn’t stand apart from the editorial and other ads. Strive to be unique. Break from what everyone “normally does” and get noticed.