Monday, December 14, 2009

Originaly, I was going to use a picture of a bunch of bank ads here

Not to pick on banks (or credit unions), but they seem to be about the Worst Offenders in the "Let's Look Like Everybody Else" competition.

Although I have to say car dealers and too many hotels and resorts are a close second. And, although we're talking mostly about print advertising here, it certainly applies to web sites and banner ads too. TV even.

Banks and credit unions run ads in which their current interest rate is the most prominent thing there, a surprising number of hotels think that a picture of the front of the building is the most compelling thing they have to offer and car dealers want to test your powers of observation with a visual cacophony of type and artwork that looks pretty much exactly like the visual cacophony of type and artwork that the dealer across the road is running. (Of course in their television spots, some car dealers seem focused mostly on getting The Family on the air.)

It just seems to me that if you're going to spend money on advertising - or a web site or anything at all that you might use to convey your sales message - you ought to take the extra step of ensuring that people will notice the damn thing. And the truth is, just because you want to say it or show it doesn't mean anybody else cares at all about it, whether it's your interest rates, the front door of your hotel or, God save us all, your kids.

There has to be something there for your target. It's best if the something there for your target is something interesting that has something to do with something you want to sell. Or at least says something you want to say in an interesting way.

Those of you who came here directly from an e-mail we sent out will recognize this next bit. Howard Gossage, one of the true advertising geniuses of the century, said "People notice what interests them, sometimes, it's an ad."

Keep that in mind next time your agency comes back with some creative for you to review. Because, while you don't want to distract anybody from your message, Job One, it seems to me, is to be interesting enough that people will notice your message.

And creativity, boys and girls, is what makes advertising interesting.

(In case you're wondering, the young ladies in the photo above are the Dionne quinituplets. In their later years, they recorded the love song from "The Titanic", and then had a big stage show in Vegas for a couple of years. I think.)

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