Clear Beats Clever

Everybody loves a clever marketing campaign. You’ve certainly seen a catchy ad on TV or in the newspaper before, and during the Super Bowl companies often compete to have the most eye-catching and memorable commercial. It’s great fun. But is it helpful?

Do you remember the most clever ad from the last Super Bowl? I don’t. In fact, most people don’t after a day or two.  Even worse, some ads are so focused on being clever or unique that their real message gets lost. At that point, the ad is actually a hindrance – you’re diffusing your message and distracting from the point you’re trying to make.

If you can be clever, that’s great, but the real point of advertising is to be clear. You have something you want people to know about you, your product, or your company – that message is the single most important part of any advertising and interaction you undertake. Look at Wal-Mart – for years their ad campaign was nothing more than “lower prices every day.” They repeated that message non-stop in every medium, using nothing but basic, even boring scripting. But everybody knows that Wal-Mart aims to compete by offering lower prices. The message was heard. When you’re making your pitch, keep your message at the front of your thoughts.

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