Tag Archives: ad

Advertising is Not “Art”

People who make ads shouldn’t confuse their work with that of an artist.

An artist, by definition, creates something uniquely beautiful  — makes tangible some otherwise intangible emotion or idea from inside him/herself.  And then the appreciation of that creativity is where the “art” happens.

An advertisement, on the other hand, is a public piece — be it print, audio, video, a Tweet, blog post, etc. — whose primary purpose is to promote a product or service. So as an ad writer/producer/creator, that should be your primary purpose.

As soon as you impart your “vision” of what the ad should say, sound like, or look like, without first taking into account the ad’s message and purpose, then you’re putting yourself ahead of the Advertiser. In much the same way that a commercial should be about the customer rather than the business itself, so should the ad be written in the voice of the business, rather than the voice of the ad maker.

Let the ad interrupt! Let it sell! Don’t disguise it, or try to make it apologize for itself! In short, to quote David Ogilvy, “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”  If the “art” of an ad takes away from its ability to effectively promote the product or service being advertised, then it’s an ad wasted. It may look great, be shot with the latest state-of-the-art cameras, voiced by the finest thespian voice over artist, and win an Addy. But the bottom line, at the end of the day, is whether or not the Advertiser’s sales were up as a result of the ad’s creation and distribution. That’s really what’s important to the Advertiser!

Is that to say that an ad shouldn’t be well-produced, remarkable, visually or aurally appealing, clever, and memorable? Of course not. It should be all of those things. But only inasmuch as they enhance the ad’s primary message and goal, rather than undermine and distract from it.

Is there an art to creating an effective ad? I absolutely think so. But I believe the art of advertising is found in the ad maker’s ability to REMOVE his or her perspective from the piece, leaving only the ad’s message, spoken in the unique voice of the Advertiser.

If you make ads, don’t think of yourself as an artist. Just make effective ads that bring your clients increased business.  Then others will think of you as an artist. And that’s WAY more satisfying.


A Vacation from “Staycation”

That’s the term advertisers and the media use to describe a vacation where you don’t actually travel. You stay home, or stay close to home.

But you already knew that, because it’s everywhere. Every swimming pool dealer’s commercial invites you to “take a Staycation.” The big-box stores remind you that “it’s Staycation season.” Every news story about high gas prices remind you that “the new trend nowadays is the ‘Staycation.'”

If you’re a business who’s tempted to join the “Staycation” clamor to advertise your services, may I invite you to… umm… how can I say this delicately… use another word? Be the stand-alone voice among seasonal advertisers. Be different. Be memorable. Don’t conform. If everyone else’s ads say, “Staycation,” let yours say something unique. So, what’s another word for “Staycation?” Let’s see if we can invent a few. How ’bout:

Home-roam. Nest-rest. Trip-skip. Holi-stay. Non-voyage (rhymes with “bon voyage”).

I’m sure with a little more thought, we could think of other (and probably better) examples, but the idea is to come up with something no one else is using, so that your ads, your message, and your business don’t blend in with the din of advertising that so often passes unnoticed through the senses of the people you’re trying to reach.

In these days of economic belt-tightening and economizing, you gotta make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from every ad you run. Make sure you’re saying something unique. Make sure your ads are remembered.