What makes a great ad? Keep it Simple and Direct!

Rance Crain, writer for Advertising Age wrote a rather lengthy article entitled “Why Many Super Bowl Ads Failed to Score.” His premise?  Marketers keep forgetting that the best ads are simple and direct. And he’s right.

Years ago, Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works coined the acronym KISS; which stands for ‘keep it simple stupid.’  Simple and direct simply works. Remember “Bud-weis-er?” It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

To borrow from Mr. Crain’s article, he noted that The Financial Times ran a story this week on the “infomercial king” of the U.S., British-born Anthony Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan says his job is to pitch products, not to market them, and he likens those who practice the dark art of marketing as “black-suits-wearing namby pambies.”

He continued by stating that ‘the basics of selling, or how to put a crowd “under the ether,” as he says, haven’t changed: The pitch has to be succinct, compelling and direct.’ He notes that far too many ads are quite the opposite in that they are simply too complex, confusing and oblique.

And finally, he summarizes the article this way: Good ads are simple and direct. Bad ads aren’t. It’s all a matter of discipline, a characteristic that advertisers have a woeful lack of these days. No wonder the informercial king calls them namby pambies.

So, who did get it right? Volkswagon. I mean, really? Does it get any simpler than that?

And some who didn’t:

Brisk Tea: I thought he advertising an energy drink or something.  The brand association was simply odd. I don’t see Eminem as a ‘tea-totaller,’ if you will.

Go Daddy
It’s so tired, played and inane and I can’t even get myself to show you…


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