Monday, June 2, 2008


The office where I work has some of the ugliest art I’ve ever seen. Companies usually have something hanging from the walls to break up the monotony and speak to their organizational culture, but this stuff is truly hideous. It’s like fractals + sad clowns.

I’m not sure whether it’s all just bad art or bad juxtapositions, but it got me thinking about how great ads usually have some hook that’s unconventional or out of place.

It’s either an immediate hook which only makes sense until the end of the commercial:

Or a hip reinvention of old ideas/symbols/paradigms:

Or a juxtaposition that is just too ridiculous to conceive:

I guess it takes a lot of creativity and an eye for the obscene or offbeat to design these ads. At my core I’m an analyst, so I naturally have to break things down. Here’s my take at developing catchy creative:

  1. What’s the campaign’s message?
  2. What puns, jokes, images, suggestions, metaphors, allusions, allegories, double entendres, word plays, or limericks can you safely get away with?
  3. Choose the one that the client would like best
  4. Call this Version One
  5. Go one step further and push the envelope of appropriateness by choosing the best (read: funniest) juxtaposition for the campaign.
  6. Call this Version Two!

I like to have fun with this, but ultimately it’s the ad which draws the greatest response and awareness through market research that is going to be the most effective.

1 comment:

Ana said...

Too often the message gets lost on the intended audience because the agency is trying to be super-clever or creative. Undisciplined and unbridled creativity can be dangerous and ineffective.

You should check out the Cassies (Canadian Advertising Success Stories). It documents the key insights, execution and results of some of the most brilliant ads. Advertising is both an art and a science; and the careful marriage of the two produces spectacular returns.