“But wait! There’s more!”
Actually; no there isn’t.
By the time this line is mentioned in your advertisement, nobody is listening because of the prattle that went on before it.
Let’s address the elephant in the room before we get into this. For most people, ads of any kind are an interruption and something they believe they can live without. It doesn’t mean we should stop advertising to make them happy, not unless you want your opposition the get ahead of you. All it means is that your ad needs to grab their imagination. Simple right? Well, it is simple really. Or more to the point, simple ads get more attention because they’re easy to understand.
So with that known, why is it that so many ads you hear are either loaded up with so many words that the Voiceover (VO) is hard to understand because they’re speaking so quickly, or they’re nothing more than a shopping list of specials that probably don’t relate to most of the listeners if they’re not specifically in the market for the products being sold?
There are many factors that contribute to this happening, but here are a few to consider:
1. Clients not trusting their copywriter. Let’s face it the copywriter isn’t the one putting the money up to advertise the product they’re writing about. So, the client often gets spooked when a truly creative idea comes back to them. Especially if there aren’t many words in it. “I was told I had 75 words to use for a 30second commercial so damn it, I want 75 words!”. So, the clear and concise commercial gets scrapped in favor of one that has the prescribed word count the client expects. Clients need to trust the copywriter.
2. Clients believing their product is the most important thing in the WORLD. Unless you’re providing food or a cure for cancer, the chances are your product is only important to someone if, and when they need/want it. Clients who have this attitude often have ads that are obnoxious and so full of self-importance that they are more off-putting than engaging to potential customers.
3. Uncreative copywriters. There are plenty of these around. People who set themselves up as copywriters who do nothing more than taking the dot points from a meeting and put them into sentences and “hey presto” here’s your script. It’s everything you mentioned in the briefing meeting, so it must be what you want. A good copywriter will go away from a briefing and look for the important points and make sure they are the only message that is focused on.
4. Clients not really understanding why they’re advertising. They know they need to advertise, but what should they advertise? Is it for branding purposes or a specific product?
5. Advertisers also forget the environment people are in when they see advertising. Potential customers are rarely in a vacuum when they hear or see your ad. Unless they’re on your website you can be sure they’re doing something else unrelated to your business. This means that convoluted messages are even less likely to get heard.
There are many more, but these are the most common.
If you want a better ad, it’s simple. Literally! Make them “simple”! Don’t complicate them with anything that’s unnecessary. Know what you want to advertise. Know why you want to advertise it. Know who you’re advertising to. Trust your copywriter and encourage them to come up with something simple and different. Those 2 factors will change your advertising impact immediately.
Here are some examples. Notice how few words are used:
Highways Agency ‘Space invaders’
Agency Adam & Eve/DDB
Creatives Shay Reading, Frank Ginger, Paul Knowles
Producer Darren Tuohy
Sound engineer Mark Hellaby
[Noise of traffic bulletin, traffic on the road and the sounds of an alien from a Space Invaders-style arcade game.]
Space invader: Bip bip bip bip…
Male narrator: Driving is not a game…
Space invader: Bip bip bip. [Pace of “bipping” quickens.]
Male narrator: If you tailgate the car in front, the closer you get…
Space invader: Bip bip bip bip.
Male narrator: …the less time you’ll have to react [Sound of Space Invader being blown up.]
Don’t be a Space Invader. Stay safe, stay back. Brought to you by Highways England.