June 2020

Over the past few months we have written a lot about what businesses should be doing during and post COVID19. One particular focus we have neglected to mention however, is that when your creative messaging is right, everything else tends to fall in place. Which then begs the question, what leads to great creative?  

The Most Important Decision
How you position your product – not only as it relates to the overall brand, but how it relates to the ad or project or assignment you are working on. Results of your work will depend less on how you write the ad than on how your ad is positioned. Therefore, it follows that positioning should be decided before the advertising and/or campaign is created. Think before you leap. Do not get into the habit of “I’ve got to get this assignment into the system” mentality. If you do not think the project through, the creative team won’t either.  

Large Promise
The second most important decision is what you are going to promise the end user. Remember that a promise is not a claim! Or a theme! Or a slogan! It is a benefit for the end user. It pays to promise a benefit that is unique and competitive. The promise is the soul of an ad campaign. 

Go for the Big Idea
Unless your messaging is built on a big idea, likely it will pass like a ship in the night. In our massively overcommunicated marketplace, we are being naive if we believe any old ad can jolt the consumer out of his/her indifference…to make them notice, remember, and act. Big ideas are usually simple ideas, by the way. But big, simple ideas require genius, midnight oil, and the right input. We really believe 78Madison’s creative team can border on genius if we provide them with the right input. Yes, creative briefs, job orders and face-to-face discussions with the creative team can at times seem like slow torture. But, also remember that a big idea can live on for years after the campaign ends.  Can we say…

  • Good to the Last Drop
  • I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing
  • Just Do It
  • America Runs on Dunkin
  • Tough Under Fire - The iconic bullet through the lock for Master Lock? 
  • It’s Finger-Linkin’ Good
  • Got Milk 
  • Please Don’t Squeeze The Charmin
  • Don’t Leave Home Without It
  • Breakfast of Champions
  • Whassup
  • Great Taste. Less Filling.
  • Think Small
  • I Don’t Always Drink Beer, But When I Do…”
  • Where’s the Beef

And so many more 

Start trends instead of following them.  

A long time ago, starting a company that made software for computers was dumb. Microsoft and Apple may beg to differ. A company that manufactured cars: dumb. Putting a college yearbook online: dumb. Limiting updates to just 140 characters: dumb.

Here’s what’s easy: to recognize a really smart new business concept as just that. What’s hard is recognizing that the idea you think is just plain dumb is really tomorrow’s huge breakthrough. But what makes dumb, smart? The ability to look at the world through a different lens from everyone else. To ignore rules. To disregard the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ and ‘never-succeeded-befores’. Then you need conviction, and the ability to stand by that conviction when other (smart) people look you in the eye and say, “nope, not a good idea. Not going to work.”

So, how do you tell a good dumb idea from a bad dumb one? Good dumb ideas create polarization. Some people will get it immediately and shower it with praise and affection. Others will say it is ignorant and impossible and run for the hills. The fiercer the polarization, the smarter your dumb idea. Of course, dumb can be just dumb. You just have to be smart to tell the difference.

Last, on the average, five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. Therefore, it follows that if you do not sell the product/service in your headline, you have wasted 80% of your money. That is why most David Ogilvy headlines included the brand name and the promise.  Headlines that promise a benefit sell more than those that don’t. Give your creative team ammunition to create strong headlines. 

Simple, right? When the creative team nails it, they can make everyone in the organization look exceptionally good. And when it’s wrong, well, things don’t go so well. So, job number one is to give the creative team facts. Bore them with facts. Make sure they not only know your product and problems, but the competitor’s product and problems as well. Never assume that any fact you find inconsequential is inconsequential. “Oh yes, you can get the sandals wet” just may be the smartest thing you can say, and one of the sweetest things they’ve ever heard. It is the creative teams’ job to sift. It is your job to supply plenty of sand.

Would love to know your thoughts.

The 78Madison Creative Team

Located in Orlando (Altamonte Springs) Florida, 78Madison is a 37-year-old marketing communications firm offering a range of services including advertising, website design, media planning and placement, digital, social, graphic design, direct marketing, database development, public relations and more.  For more information email Joe Bouch – jbouch@78madison.com