The Studio (more accurately, Art Studio) is the pointy end of the sword in an advertising agency. Production – where things get dressed up, before going out on the town.
We’re the firewall. Responsible for vetting the quality of art as it travails the agency. Studio sees plenty of lovingly crafted art come and go, daily. Occasionally though, if I am to be bluntly honest, we see something that makes us cringe. That’s what you’re paying for though, right? Experience and dedication to the craft. The spine, to say “no” sometimes. An industry prerequisite… brutal honesty. We’re the last line of defence, the enemy of average.
Anything less than perfect, we’re hunting the foreman of such works: the Art Director.
I say something along the lines of “This is stupid, why are we doing this?” Pointing to something like the short essay of Terms and Conditions crammed into a 300 x 250px rectangle. Yes, pixels. The tiny things.
The Art Director pauses for thought, then says something like… “I know. I freaking hate this. I’ve already tried fighting against it. Tell the suit.”
I walk over to the suit. The suit inevitably responds:
I’m sure Dan Wieden, founder of the Wieden+Kennedy agency was not inspired by mediocrity, when he came up with the inspiration for the famous Nike tagline. He was probably thinking more about these rad kicks!
Here are five of the most annoying advertising mistakes that I am sometimes asked to do.
Whether your business is big or small – please – I beg you, don’t let them happen to you!
Please avoid trying to jam 140 letters onto an MREC. Please.
Aside from being flat out ugly, it generates mistrust. Pushing back on the lawyers (whom might have given it a quick once over and zero love) or getting a face-to-face with them, could cutdown the terms no-end. If you must have terms and conditions on digital advertising, why not have *refer to website for full terms & conditions which lives on a back page of your site? Don’t cram it next to the beautiful advertising, it makes us cry.
Never in my life have I taken a pen and pencil into the cinemas.
Think about what you can say. Maybe something memorable. Maybe you want to make something stick, like your brand and your location. Think outside the box and inside that giant rectangle in front of you. Viewers are in the dark, the CTA (call to action) needs to be light. Basic. Easy to remember.
What’s the easiest way to remember something? Check out this little cinema ad we did a few years ago.
Most writer/designers recommend no more than seven words. You can push this to a few more words depending on their length and ease-of-reading, but as a rule of thumb, less is more. If you can’t say something about your brand, product or service in seven words then, you probably should stay away from billboards.
Drivers only have a few seconds to absorb your message and associate it to a brand. If it takes longer than 5 seconds to ‘get it’ you’ve either lost the consumer or caused a six car pile-up on the M1.
Yeah nah, your logo doesn’t need to be bigger.
I’m not sure why some clients insist on using ‘www’ when providing a URL. You don’t need it.
So, now you know some of my most disliked advertising mistakes. Try your best to avoid them. If you are a designer, you may have to have the odd hard conversation, but long term, the client will thank you for the logic. If you know of a brand looking to communicate authentically and without the worldwideweb before their URL, call nextThursday.
I’d love to retouch your artwork and hear all about your 5 pet hates of advertising, over a coffee of course. Coffee makes everything awesome.