Without an idea, advertising’s just wallpaper

Advertising6 June 2019

When venture capitalists assess an idea before agreeing to finance it, the accepted norm is that it may be a good idea but without execution, it’s next to worthless. Conversely, in advertising the reverse is nearly always the accepted truth.

We all understand that the idea of an ad is to sell us something, and we find it easy to ignore those ads that don’t attract us. The best way to do this is with a well thought out idea. Without one the process of ‘attract, engage and sell’ just won’t work.

Work can look great, be well shot and written. It can win any amount of design awards for look and feel but unless you’ve asked the critical questions up front: who am I talking to? What are the key drivers? Why will this ad appeal to them? Does it reflect the brand and is easy to understand? Without the right answers, your idea is likely to get lost in the over-communicated clutter that is the modern world.

Design too has noticeably begun to be defined by its adherence to a theme or idea. Successful brands ensure that not only do their communications look good, they too consistently and concisely tell the brand story and impart the value proposition through a simple, relatable central concept.

Websites, long the subject of debate as to whether they should be a visual experience in themselves or be purely functional seem to have, through the dogged efforts of the development community, decided that they can be both at once. Some of the new sites developed in HTML 5 are works of art in themselves but now boast levels of engagement and functionality that would have been difficult to imagine even a few years ago without significant Flash development (and slow uploads).

We exist in a visually competitive world and without something to make our work stand out, it runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a visual backdrop, something that may look nice in a vague kind-of-way but otherwise inconsequential and easily forgotten. And if your advertising isn’t working, you can’t build your brand.

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