English: Sir Winston Churchill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are lots of things, small and otherwise, that can be distracting in an ad or commercial. Such as…
TYPOS. A typo or two always hurts your pitch. And though it is surprising how much easier they are to find in someone else’s work, they always create the illusion of carelessness, which certainly impacts on credibility.
YELLING. Having the announcer holler to makes his point never really works, unless you are selling megaphones. And repeating a phone number six times in a thirty second commercial may be responsive to the requirements of big data research, but it certainly limits the time for the actual message that might make one want to call in the first place.
STRATEGY. The wrong strategy can certainly hurt. As Winston Churchill stated, in my new favorite quote, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
COPYING YOUR COMPETITION. The thinking behind this approach seems to be “Hmmm, they are doing well, their commercials are really nice, let’s do something just like them, maybe just change the music, and of course the tagline. ” Well, it does beat actually trying to create something new. And there is always the real hope that the two campaigns will be confused and confusing, so that the competitor’s message will be weakened. But I am sure that Sir Winston had something amusing and disapproving to say about those who take this route. (And I am sure he knew why it is always a “copycat,” never a “copydog,” or “copycow.”)
BLAND. Bingo! This is, keyboard down, the worst mistake you can make. You cannot bore people into buying. Fear of offending is just another way of saying fear of getting attention. Sure, you can go too far. But even that is preferable to lackluster communications. The passive voice, using six words when one might do, tired words and cliché phrases. These will all kill you. And in a print ad, or subject line in an email, the headline is responsible for all the heavy lifting; for getting people to pay attention in the first place. Choose that thought carefully, and remember, if it sounds familiar to you, then it probably is. And familiarity in a headline is as bad as confusing, brief is better than wordy and none of these rules matter as long as you do the write thing.
Got the idea?