A D V E R T I S I N G
D E S I G N
C U R R I C U L U M
C O N T A C T
H O M E
P O R T F O L I O J E R O L E N S S I N C K
Making a good ad or campaign is pure team-work. An individual art-director or copywriter hardly ever comes up with an idea that is ready to go; it has to ripen, evaluated, worked on, until it is perfect. Of course depending on how close the deadline is, and what the professional level of your client looks like. You can’t sell an idea to a client that he or she is unable to comprehend.
So, unlike other forms of ‘art’, where you create something and someone will either purchase it or will not - in the world of advertising it is a necessity to be pragmatic up to a certain level. Very often, you need be ready to compromise.
I compromise only up to a certain level. If I am convinced a certain idea wanders off to a path that will damage the client, this is where I will stop. Because in the longer term, it will surely damage the agency’s or your own reputation. And exactly here is the point where ‘the Art of Persuasion’ is most necessary. Yes, it is not nice to tell a client that what he has in mind will only alienate or irritate customers, or that his freshly developed Corporate Identity is unprofessional and has to be redone, in order to make whatever campaign work.
To start with that last part - a design flaw and how serious effects on perception, and eventually sales, can be. It always amazed me in Poland how much the look and feel of a product were sometimes neglected, how managers tried to save money on crucial design, or simply did not see the flaws or the need to make a product look good and appropriate.
Advertising and design are bound to each other, they are inseparable. ‘An ugly layout suggests an ugly product’ (thank you, David Ogilvy).
Lots of managers do not wish to be bothered with typography, bokeh, colour schemes. They do not see the importance and do not believe their advertising agency's creatives when they tell them these issues are important. They can make or break a product.
And do never alienate or irritate your potential customers. There are lots of ways to do that: over-promise, a too intensive campaign (the same ad or commercial seen over and over again), treating customers as idiots, or simply dull and boring advertising. There is so much of it, you will have to stand out one way or another.
But standing out comes with risk. An idea that is different, innovative, original, might be either hated or loved. It can be a big success or total failure. Not all managers are blessed with the same talents, and I think a good business intuition is one of them. Managers lacking such intuition often seek cover behind focus group results. Personally, I do not believe in focus groups. They are manipulated most of the time, either by hosts or ‘alfas’ within questioned members of target groups. And can lead to weakened campaigns.
I think that every campaign - whether it be for Nike, a washing powder brand, or the local bakery just around the corner - offers a challenge to create something nice, something pleasant, something that works. I believe in creativity, fresh ideas, originality, in rare cases even controversy. Of all possibilities there are in advertising, I never proposed using a celebrity in a campaign, to me it would really be a last option. I have seen too many campaigns being put together without any fantasy. A campaign like George Clooney for Nespresso is still not too bad, flexible, done with humour, a continuing story to tell.
But - world wide - campaigns like the one with Messi for Lays are unforgivable in terms of creativity. Give a soccer player a pack of crisps and turn the camera on. Things got a bit messy with Messi when he went to trial for tax fraud. Now he is a convicted criminal. Eureka, Tiempo BBDO discovered one of the dangers of using celebrities; if they do something wrong it will reflect on your brand.
To me, creativity and effectivity go together. A creative campaign that has no effect and does not help the advertised product in any way, is like a beautiful car with a weak engine.
Over the years I made campaigns, starting in the early 1990’s, I have noticed that better, more interesting campaigns, come with better economic times. The 1990’s were great in that respect. After 2001, the ‘New Economy’ turned out to be a fable, and parts of campaign budgets were directed to the practically only way to advertise on the internet - banners. Small banners, cluttered banners, pop-ups, noisy banners, flashing banners. Lots of talented art directors and copywriters left the business, fearing that their world of advertising would never recover.
There were a few tough years between 2000 and 2010, but the persistent creatives would live to see internet and internet related advertising grow up. Social media! Possibilities with video, interaction with customers. Just think of the famous Wieden & Kennedy Old Spice response campaign on You Tube. Currently possibilities on Facebook are in my opinion very interesting. I observe companies feeding content to customers that are worth looking at, funny, interactive. A few bad or annoying posts on Facebook and your brand suffers severely.
Let’s forget that banner decade and focus on new, exciting digital challenges!
Loosely quoted, I would agree with Bill Bernbach that advertising is ‘The Art of Persuasion’. And that is exactly what makes advertising so challenging, because even if you know an idea is good, you still have to sell it to your client. And then it has to be shaped into such a form, as to make your client’s potential customers buy the advertised product or service.