TOO CLEVER BY HALF

Advertising Tips

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TOO CLEVER BY HALF

Patrick Quinn

You might describe me as a progressive reactionary. The progressive in me is as eager for new ideas and new techniques in advertising as a young beagle chasing its first hare. But the reactionary in me tends to view innovation with the kind of sour suspicion with which Scrooge greeted Marley’s ghost. Why? Because a lot of what is new tends to be clever – and, all too often, too clever for its own good.

I’ll explain. The public, at whom the mass of consumer advertising should be aimed but often isn’t, aren’t vastly interested in cleverness as a whole, let alone cleverness of copy and art. The kind of ad that the average person considers to be good is apt to be the kind of ad that causes the average copywriter and designer to feel like reaching for the Prozac. This, admittedly, is a sorry situation, but it is one of the sad facts of life.

And it is to the average person that we look to spend the money to buy the products we advertise and keep us in meat and potatoes with an occasional splash of gravy. Why is it, then, that a large proportion of advertisers (terrestrial and internet) set out to make fools of their target market by feeding them material that they patently won’t understand?

To prove my point, take a look around you at the huge number of ad illustrations that have no bearing whatsoever on the product. And also at the myriad headlines which, likewise, have no bearing on the product. The sales message, if they have one, is lost within the slickness of the design and the obtuseness of the copy story.

The advertisers concerned may be overawed by the beauty of their artwork and the cleverness of their words, but they are convincing nobody but themselves. And if the consumer fails to understand the sales proposition at first glance, he will very quickly go and spend his money with someone else.

Quite right, too.

END

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Patrick Quinn is a copywriter, with 40 years' experience of the advertising business in London, Miami, Dublin and Edinburgh. Over the years, he has helped win for his clients just about every advertising award worth winning. His published books, include:

The Secrets of Successful Copywriting.

The Secrets of Successful Low Budget Advertising.

Word Power 1, 2 & 3.

© Markethill Publishing 2005.

For a free monthly newsletter with copywriting tips and tutorials, plus advertising and marketing know-how, just click here.
http://www.adbriefing.com

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