Keep My Ads Simple, Stupid

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Over at MediaShift, Mark Glaser is asking what kind of advertising people would actually like to see. I've always thought a return to simplicity would work wonders. In other words, toss aside all the over-produced, poor-excuse-for-entertainment commercials we see today and just explain the product. Tell the viewer what's being sold, who it's for, why they'd benefit from it and where they can buy it. Sounds simple but rarely does a commercial accomplish those simple goals. I'd be happy if all the commercial consisted of was a spokesperson standing in front of a white background delivering the information.

Consumers don't need to be lured into viewing a commercial with brainless entertainment. They need to be presented the facts quickly so they can determine whether or not the advertised product is for them and then move on. Too many commercial and ads leave one scratching their head wondering, "What the hell was that?" Or, they try to force a message or product on someone who clearly has no interest or need for the product. I mean how many times can you say "keep it simple stupid" before someone actually heeds that advice?

This approach would work particularly well for radio spots which, for the most part, suck. People listen to the news because it's informative. Why does advertising have to resort to psychotic screaming to deliver its information? It makes no sense. If I want to be entertained, I'll go to the movies or read a good book. Marketers should, and most do, understand their product isn't for everyone. Unfortunately, targeting hasn't reached the point where marketing messages reach only their intended audiences. There's always wast. Acknowledging that, why not simply accept it and begin an ad by saying exactly who the product is intended for. Again, this sounds very simple but too many ads just jump into the entertainment pot and try to drum up interest with stupid antics.

There's a reason journalists follow the who, what, when, where, why approach to reporting. It's because it focuses them on producing only what's relevant. Advertisers could learn a thing or two from a well written/produced news story.

by Steve Hall    Apr-13-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion   

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Comments



Comments

I couldn't agree more! Absolutely brilliant.
(And I have no doubt folks would respond!)

Posted by: Amy Fanter on April 13, 2006 1:32 PM

What nonsense. Have you ever seen commercials from the 50s? That's the only approach they take, and they are horrible, dry, boring, lifeless things.

Storytelling is a what sells ANY kind of entertainment and MOST kinds of information. Good stories sell, not plain facts. Who were your favourite teachers in school? Not the poindexters, I'll bet, but the people who presented what was otherwise empty data with verve, with anecdotes and with joie de vivre.

This suggestion might work for a few ads, but only because they were so dissimilar from the norm (think Apple's 'switch' campaign). Tell me, how would you sell a chocolate bar with this approach?

If today's commercials are failing, it is because good storytelling is a difficult thing. This applies just as much to novels, films, and video games as it does to advertising.

You know what I thought would be simple? The fact that people who publish an advertising blog would understand the concept of storytelling implicitly

Unless this is just another troll.

Posted by: Sparo on April 13, 2006 2:37 PM

And no one in the journalism field ever puts a spin on anything. Great example. Keep up the great investigative work.

Posted by: Jordan on April 13, 2006 5:04 PM

I agree with one exception: I love truly creative humorous commercials which do all you say.

Keep the humor; keep the facts. The rest is dross.


Pamela Kay Hawkins

Posted by: Pamela Hawkins on April 13, 2006 6:43 PM

I agree with one exception: I love truly creative humorous commercials which do all you say.

Keep the humor; keep the facts. The rest is dross.


Pamela Kay Hawkins

Posted by: Pamela Hawkins on April 13, 2006 6:43 PM

Traditionnal media rely on interuption. They steal away attention. That's why the jump, sign, shout and dance.

What you are talking about is called webvertising - or Advertising 2.0 to some extent. Where the user's attention is already a given. And we must/can build on the relationship.

TV ads can't survive with out jumping around. Adverts on web work if they don't. That being said, yes traditionnalists need more content, and web guys need more sexyness.

Posted by: Provokat on April 14, 2006 8:16 AM

I often think that creatives go overboard in their attempt to be amusing or win awards rather than sell products. I tend to believe that a more journalistic treatment of most advertising is a good thing. I often see commercials, for example, that I think are just as cute as can be and I enjoy them. Trouble is, I can't remember what service or product it is they're selling.

Posted by: Susanna K. Hutcheson on April 14, 2006 9:24 AM

Yes creatives go overboard, but some of the best campaigns in history went overboard in a good way - the trick is to connect the story to the product just like I said in my first response.
A good example? The "Where's the Beef!?!?" campaign. Funny, on-target, on-product, memorable. Selling a product is really, really hard, and while a 'just the facts, ma'am' approach sounds like it would clean up all the terrible ads on tv and elsewhere, in the end it would just create a lot of white noise that an interesting, storytelling ad would cut through like butter. Go to a sales seminar for technology startups -- they will insist that you avoid any kind of feature/benefit selling. It doesn't sell well. People don't respond to it - and that's direct, face-to-face stuff!

A more "journalistic" treatment isn't going to sell a god damn thing. Do you think journalism is doing well? It isn't, it's being incrementally replaced by blogging, mostly because bloggers approach subjects personally, with anecdotes, with experiences and often, by relying more on emotion than fact. Sound familiar?

Posted by: Sparo on April 14, 2006 10:07 AM

Yes creatives go overboard, but some of the best campaigns in history went overboard in a good way - the trick is to connect the story to the product just like I said in my first response.
A good example? The "Where's the Beef!?!?" campaign. Funny, on-target, on-product, memorable. Selling a product is really, really hard, and while a 'just the facts, ma'am' approach sounds like it would clean up all the terrible ads on tv and elsewhere, in the end it would just create a lot of white noise that an interesting, storytelling ad would cut through like butter. Go to a sales seminar for technology startups -- they will insist that you avoid any kind of feature/benefit selling. It doesn't sell well. People don't respond to it - and that's direct, face-to-face stuff!

A more "journalistic" treatment isn't going to sell a god damn thing. Do you think journalism is doing well? It isn't, it's being incrementally replaced by blogging, mostly because bloggers approach subjects personally, with anecdotes, with experiences and often, by relying more on emotion than fact. Sound familiar?

Posted by: Sparo on April 14, 2006 10:08 AM

If I see another ad with lame people dancing, shaking their non-rythymic bodies to some stupid song, I am going to puke.
That is the lamest way to advertise anything, and I refuse to buy any products that create these ads.
Ridiculous, whoever thought up that idea obviously has no creativity and thinking 'outside the box' is beyond there capability.

Posted by: James on April 27, 2006 2:54 PM

You are a very wise individual! If I have no clue what the product is (until the last three seconds) I left fifteen seconds before you got there. If you don't give me a reason to try the product you wasted my time. If it wins all of the awards in the industry and doesn't sell you wasted my money.

Posted by: Roy Coffman on June 10, 2006 3:19 PM







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