As a fresh-faced final year undergraduate attending an interview at one of the top London Ad agencies, I was shown one of their latest creations and asked “What’s the most important thing in this Ad?”
I forget what I said, but the answer they were looking for was ‘the branding’. It’s a principle that has stuck in my mind ever since, to the benefit of many a client.
You can have the most imaginative advertising and marketing concepts in the world, but if you don’t get the brand across you’re wasting your money. It happens surprisingly often.
Claudia Schiffer’s in-car striptease culminating in her tossing her knickers out of the window was certainly memorable, at least to us chaps, but what brand was the car? If an Ad concept is too strong it can mask the product story or the brand.
The Ad can end up just as ineffective as one that’s too weak, or, worst of all, that imitates a competitor.
I once saw consumer research showing that the Ads of one such imitator (in the boating industry) were being mistaken as Ads from the competitor he was imitating. He was fuelling demand for their products rather his own!
It’s easy to forget that the market doesn’t recognise your product or your brand as readily as you do. Which is why it’s always worth making those brand elements that are unique to you a little more prominent than instinct might suggest they need to be, ideally so that they can be clearly spotted with just a quick glance. Because sometimes that’s all they’ll get.