Get Together, Tear it Apart – By @Norwarican

Alex Overland

By Alex Overland


Get Together, Tear it Apart


My grandfather is an architect. While I was home over the holidays, I heard an interesting anecdote about him: any time he went for walks, he would critique buildings he walked past. He’d pretty much always have something to say about how a building could be improved, or how someone had been sloppy with details. How rude, picking apart someone’s home, which is for many something they take pride in!

I do the same, only with ads.

I’ve always done this to some degree, but it feels like since about halfway through last term, I notice these things more often. Some things are small, like an excessive word in a five­word tagline. Others are bigger: the placement of an insurance ad referring to airplane crashes placed in an airport is unfortunate. As a copywriter, I was stoked to spot text positioned off-­grid on a restaurant menu. Obviously, these details generally don’t make a difference to the average pair of eyeballs, but it’s good to be picky, because you never know when consumers become aware of it and react, like with the M​ND Association’s Ice Bucket follow-up this summer.​

It’s good to know others get a hung up on details in advertising as I do, that if I mentioned this to them, instead of responding with “So what?” they might say “Yes, and…”

There’s something to be said for “it’s easier to take apart than to build”, but I feel like dissecting is a big part of learning to build something good. Until the students are ready to become professionals, they study the work of others. It’s a nice exercise to try and reverse­ engineer other ads to identify exactly what works, and what doesn’t.

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