We don’t know which wise soul first said this about industrial design, but it’s a great mantra for marketing and ad creative too. It’s a contrarian view, at least as far as many firms go. The temptation to put one’s own creative stamp on the client’s brand is just too strong for most. But how many laugh riot viral videos or broadcast spots actually build brand or sell anything? The very best of the bunch do, but the majority don’t. The same goes for the lion’s share of online and traditional campaigns. Attention-grabbing creative is great, but there’s a job that needs doing above and beyond the laughs.
We think great creative is like great industrial design: it provides the audience with an effortless path to getting a need met. That doesn’t mean it’s boring. Strong creative can’t be boring. But what it doesn’t have are any “we’re-the-agency-and-aren’t-we-funny” distractions. It let’s the product speak clearly and on its own terms. If it happens to speak in a way that’s funny, that’s excellent. But effective creative must give the audience something more than water cooler conversation. It must give them a relationship with a brand.