In the last few weeks I’ve been saying a lot of stuff like “well, what I think the brand was trying to say was…” to research respondents and piping up in creative reviews with “do you think we might be overcomplicating things a bit?” equally frequently.
In the quest to engage, to have the new nirvana of a ‘conversation’ with the target audience – and perhaps to hope for a creative award too, it’s easy for creative solutions to stray too far from the original message. Sometimes so far that the poor recipient hasn’t a clue what the brand was trying to say, or gets the wrong end of the stick completely. Chinese whispers creative, if you like.
I’m not suggesting that every TV ad should consist of a bloke reciting the campaign proposition verbatim, but if someone in the brand’s target audience sees, hears or otherwise experiences a piece of communications activity but can’t tell you what the key message was, then in (most) cases I think we’ve failed.
You can be creative and on message. Honda’s Cog talks about reliability while Compare the Market’s Meerkat is about memorability and “cheap car insuuurance”, in a market with little opportunity for product differentiation.
We can’t all churn out award winning, ground breaking campaigns every week. But we can try to engage while getting the message across at the same time. I recently stumbled across this ad by Australian bed retailer Snooze that feels like a Real World, lower budget solution that got the balance right: