It happened to us again. We were working with a client, taking them five steps forward when without warning, they took six steps back. They went fleeing from the banks of the Promised Land back to where their advertising wasn’t producing maximum results, but at least it was “safe” and nobody in management would complain.
Holy smokes, they were almost there, with a new campaign that would cut through the clutter like a hot knife through butter. Instead, they opted for the same direction they’ve always followed. We don’t take it personally. We’ve worked with this client for a number of years, and we really like the people. But each year, we pray this time maybe they’ll take the path less traveled and finally move their brand from a me-too to a me-only! And then the bugle blows, “Retreat, retreat!”
There’s an old saying: “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” I hate that saying. I hate that is pardons marketers from being exceptional. It only contributes to the soggy, bland mess that fills 95.6% of the available ad space. It makes people hate advertising and love the fast-forward button on their DVRs.
I have a challenge for you if you’re the one responsible for advertising at your company. Pick up the next five magazines you encounter, go through each one and tear out the ads that really stop you, that speak to you on some gut level, that make you salivate for the product. I don’t care if they’re ads for panty hose, shaving cream or body bags, just as long as you love the ads. Tear out the ads and put them in a folder. Then the next time you have an ad to create for your company, pull out those ads and see if these don’t inspire you to do better. And the moment you feel the need to retreat, look at those ads again for inspiration to boldly stand apart and be noticed.
It may help you to remember that they’re the ones that caught your attention while you ignored the other 95.6% which lost their respective companies lots of money in production and media expense.
We say, again and again, Dare to be Different. Maybe it would be better if we said, Dare not to be invisible. Dare not to retreat into marketing nothingness. Dare not to do what everybody else does and blend into the background by your own choice.
We Dare ya.