Lumpy Advertising

January 18, 2018
Lumpy Advertising

There’s an old adage that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. If you set out to create a beautiful streamlined Arabian stallion but start to incorporate the opinions of other people, quite possibly people who are not experts in horse breeding, the result is something a little lumpier, a little less sleek, something that looks more like a carpet with legs.

This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with camels, per se. They still have a purpose, just a different one from the original brief.

And so it follows in advertising. The experts – the designers, the copywriters, the creative directors et al, who have the qualifications and the experience to create solutions, are often forced to incorporate a plethora of views and opinions.

Again, this is not to say those opinions are incorrect. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. However, what often occurs is that the end user, the person whose buying habits or opinion the advert seeks to challenge is put to one side and the visual and written language becomes saturated with industry terminology which has little or no meaning to consumers.

Of course, we, as advertisers should not necessarily “dumb down” how we talk to consumers. Some products require technical terminology. Sometimes it can add gravitas or elevate a product’s status. But why seek to add elements that obfuscate the purpose. For example, a hotel that talks about the “room price” per night is not going to appear to customers any less elegant or less sophisticated than one that mentions “rack rates”.

The use of pictures is the same. The communicative value of any particular image is subjective. But this is the reason companies pay creative agencies. It’s not, or at least shouldn’t be, simply because we are able to operate design software. It’s because we have years of collective experience of creating adverts for many different industry sectors, addressing many different audiences. Clients are, in effect, paying for our expertise in knowing what works.

It’s a common thing to hear an undertone of sighs resonating through many creative agencies as “constructive feedback” transforms our beautiful thoroughbred racehorses into lumpy, gangly creatures with knees that bend backwards and more than a mouthful of teeth.

So trust the designers, the creative agency, the experts – we know what we’re doing.

David Challen