Away from the Numbers – By @HFoenander

Henry Foenander

By Henry Foenander


Away from the Numbers


Stats are great. There’s no denying it. Being able to type in key words of a brief into google and have it list you off hundreds of YouGov articles is fantastic for getting ideas rolling. Statistics let you focus in on what the problem is, what you are trying to solve and why it’s so important.


In Vikki’s last masterclass we were taught something that seems to have really stuck with the class, something that probably should have been obvious but still seemed to blow our minds. It was really quite simple: talk to people as if they are people, because they are people.


In advertising we aren’t talking to the client, we aren’t talking to the CD or the awards panel, we are talking to the people, the ones who are actually going to have to sit down and watch our biscuit commercial that’s interrupting Game of Thrones. We have to get them on our side, and the only way to do that, is to speak their language.


This got me thinking about the use of stats in ads. Stat ads seem to be everywhere. “80% of people watch TV, buy this TV”, “every 8 seconds, someone runs out of toilet paper, buy this toilet paper” “most people have feet, buy these shoes”.


Is this how real human beings talk to each other? Do we walk around constantly quoting random facts like weird Wikipedia addicts? No, of course not. Sure, every now and then, at the pub, someone will cite a statistic while scratching their beard and feeling superior. Normally when this happens everyone groans and throws pork scratchings at them. For the most part, we find stats boring and a little bit annoying.


For research, stats are great, for getting the angle on a brief, they’re brilliant, but for the actual ad itself, they’re not particularly creative, and probably not particularly effective because you’re not talking to a statistician, you’re talking to Jim from the pub. 

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