Archive | June, 2016

That’s Simple, not Simplistic

19 Jun

Within the industry it’s generally accepted that the best advertising is crafted around the simple expression of a brand.

If you’re not convinced you only need look at some great advertising.

Say, Ad Age’s top 15 campaigns of the 21st century, for example.

These campaigns are invariably built on simple insights and beautiful execution.

That’s no coincidence: simple gets results.

For one thing, simple ideas have a greater chance of being remembered, by our over-cluttered brains.

But somewhere, something got lost in translation.

The word is simple, not simplistic and in advertising terms, there’s a massive difference.

Simple, to borrow from McCann is: truth well told.

Simplistic, borrowing from no one is: fake truth formulated by committee.

Sadly the mark of simplistic is everywhere: cookie cutter benefits and implausible claims delivered via lazy thinking and hackneyed language.

Strategic box checking is its raison d’être and if that results in muddled thinking, so what? It ticked all the boxes.

As a result simplistic is mind-numbingly ordinary.

And being ordinary is rarely good for business.

But it’s a lot easier than being extraordinary.

Because, being extraordinary means getting to simple, and getting to simple is not easy.

It doesn’t just take hard work, it takes a spark of inspiration.

And there’s no guarantee this spark will occur, which in turn takes an act of faith.

And faith (even in itself) is not part of every organization’s DNA.

But you can encourage it.

You can work at it.

You can resist being simplistic and strive to be simple.

And even if you don’t crack it 100%, your advertising will be better for it.

There’s a caveat: simplicity is scary. It takes courage.

There’s nowhere to hide, no padding, and no protection.

No waffle, no box-checking, no dubious claims, just a message that says something real enough to make people care.

And that’s why most brands can’t do it.

However much they try, most brands can’t resist cramming more into their advertising whereas simplicity means single-mindedly stripping everything back, until you find the simple expression of a brand.

Of course getting people to care doesn’t guarantee they’re going to buy what you’re selling.

But it will certainly tip the odds in your favour.

It’s a straightforward choice.

If you want advertising to deliver maximum bang for your buck, be simple, not simplistic.

Simple is powerful.

Simple sells.

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