Keep My Ads Simple, Stupid
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.