*keep it simple and sincere.
(c’mon, did you really think I’d call you stupid- you are, after all, reading my blog!)
Simple question, hard answer: What makes advertising great?
I’m not even going to attempt to put a bucket answer on such a subjective question, but I will throw my two cents in as to what I think makes advertising great: a positive return, a change from pre-advertisement conditions. And that positive return can manifest as an increase in sales, an increased brand awareness, a positive shift in brand perception, etc. etc. etc. (the return will be determined by the original intent of the advertising)
And the best way to get a positive return from advertising efforts? I think it’s keeping things simple and sincere.
Simplicity- Bottom line, what does the consumer want/need? And how do we shape our message to best meet these needs? I think if we work backwards– by really deconstructing and dissecting what consumers need, (thank you research) we can craft a message that is concise and simple. The advertisement itself doesn’t need to be simple- it can still be bursting with creativity- but the message can’t get lost for the creative’s sake.
Sincerity- At the end of the day, we’re all consumers. We know how we like to be talked to- so keeping that in mind, why don’t we, as advertisers, talk to our consumers as if we’re talking to ourselves- with sincerity. Remember the golden rule we all learned in kindergarten- ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’- yep, that’s how I think we should approach advertising. If you don’t like to be yelled at, don’t yell at your consumers. If you don’t like to be mislead by false promises, don’t mislead your consumers. If you don’t like to be treated like a unaware fool, don’t treat your consumers like unaware fools. Sounds like a simple enough concept, but I think sometimes the glitz and glamour of what a product/service could be (and what we wish it was) gets in the way of what it actually is, and sincerity is lost on consumers.
Simplicity and sincerity- concepts that are easier said than done- but when executed, give us best fighting chance to reach/connect with our consumers and get that positive return. And why easier said than done? Because it takes work- finding out what the consumer really wants will take time and research. It’s easier to create a flashy ad void of real message than a meaningful ad that will truly connect with consumers. Proof? How many bad advertisements have you seen lately?
A great example of simplicity and sincerity working together for a positive return: Domino’s Pizza recent campaign. The message was simple- we know our pizza hasn’t been the best, but we’ve changed it now and it’s better. The message was also sincere- we know our pizza wasn’t the best because we listened to our customers. We’ve taken that feedback and changed our ingredients.
And the positive return? Well I think Domino’s probably reaped a few- namely, a positive shift in brand perception and an increase in sales and revenue. (learned from attending the AdAge IDEA conference) Domino’s started with what the consumer wanted/needed- a better pizza- and then crafted the message to best meet that need. And then Domino’s was truly sincere about the campaign- facing their criticism head on and making necessary changes.
And another campaign (albeit sadly not real, just a case study) that shows the ‘magic’ you can create by keeping advertising simple and sincere:
Don’t you just want to K.I.S.S. now?
(and get a positive return from your advertising efforts)