Be the exception – By @maryjohansen_

By Marianne Wathne Johansen


Be the exception


Marc kindly gave a few of us tickets to go see Dave Trott at Advertising Week today, because we were ahead and had already uploaded our D&AD entries. The talk was all about uncomfortable conversations, and although many brilliant things were said, there was one thing that stood out.


We, as advertisers, have a huge problem. Our ads are ignored. Out of the billions of pounds spent on advertising every year, 89% of ads go unnoticed. It’s obviously not because people love those ads, so it is because they hate them? No – because the antithesis of hate isn’t love. It’s indifference.


Even I, as a dedicated Adweek and Campaign-reader, can relate to those stats. If the average person in the UK sees 250 ads a day, I probably see 500. As an ad student, I actively look for ads. While writing this, it struck me that I only remember one of the countless TV, print and digital ads that I’ve seen today. Is that because I don’t care? Of course not – I wouldn’t read advertising newspapers in the first place if I didn’t.


If I, as a creative, can’t remember most work, what’s the problem? That most ads aren’t interesting. At all. Even if people do pay attention, which is rare, they won’t remember. Why? Because both creatives and clients ‘play it safe’. Many settle for campaigns that simply gets the word across, but that’s not enough. To stand out in a world full of ads, you have to be different. Being different may make people hate you, but at least you’re making an impact.


As students, we can challenge this. It’s our only chance to consistently make work that is different, and that stands out. So today, I promised myself that I’ll do my very best to make work people either love or hate – not work people ignore. Because even if they hate it, I’ve evoked an emotion – and I’d honestly rather get fired than producing work that doesn’t work.

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