How can you ever know if it’s ‘clicked’? By @ethanbennett94

Ethan Bennett

By Ethan Bennett


How can you ever know if it’s ‘clicked’?

We were told at the start of the course that at some point during this year this whole creative shindig will click and we’ll get it. We’d be able to do advertising. Some people get it earlier than others, but we’ll all get it at some point.

Now, what I have also been told many times from respected people is that no-one really does know what they’re doing in advertising.

And I think I agree.

One moment it’s all very research based and strategic. Deep thinking stuff.

The next it’s a ridiculous, funny ‘insight’ or punny connection. A giggle in the office thats farted it’s way onto an A3 poster.

The amount of shit I now see littered all over AOTW and Creative Review is concerning. I sit there unpicking it. Why the hell is this a ‘brilliant ad’ or an ‘ad gone viral’. It doesn’t solve anything, it barely makes sense, the strap is SO ad’y, if I didn’t know what the product was it definitely isn’t telling me. The writing at the bottom is so small on this beautifully crafted poster that I can’t actually read it.

I think this noticeable change in my own analysis of advertising could be a sign of something ‘clicking’. Or not.

Why does it have to be examined in so much detail. Why can’t advertising just be really cool, really funny, or really thought provoking.

I was having a chat with my new flatmate who moved in not too long after Christmas. Refreshing to speak to someone who doesn’t care in the slightest about advertising, makes you realise how inward this industry is. He did though, randomly say without any prompting..

 “you know what, I do have a favourite ad would you believe it or not. You know that one set in the War, and they play football and stuff” 

he was in fact talking about the old Sainsbury’s Christmas ad. To which he described it as being a really great ad. Even if he couldn’t recall the brand. 

No mention of how clear the message was, what problems it was solving for him, how much it connected with him and his mates of similar social positioning in society.

I’m going to guess what made it great for him was that it was ‘really cool’ with bags of emotion in there too. Just as all my own favourite ads were back in the time I didn’t care about advertising.

They were either really cool, really funny, or really thought provoking.

What I’ve come to realise is that all these creative techniques, processes, strategic insights, etc. are just ways of organising your understanding of people in your head.

No matter how much theory you do, if you don’t get people, if you’re not funny or empathetic, you won’t be able to write a good ad.

So I’ve added some new hats to de bono’s 6. (7 including the ‘is it shit?’ hat.)

The ‘is it cool?’ hat. The ‘is it funny?’ hat. The ‘is it making me think of it differently?’ hat.

I feel a lot of groundwork can be covered quickly by wearing these 3 hats in the early stages of the idea. Not ALL three hats have to apply though.

No ad has ever made me connect with a brand emotionally. No ad has ever made me go and buy something as a direct result of seeing the ad. 

The ads that I enjoy and the brands that I love are the ones that are either really cool, funny or thought provoking. I believe ‘story’ and ‘emotion’ helps make ‘cool’, ‘funny’, ‘thought provoking’ into ‘great’ – like the Sainsbury’s one my flatmate likes.

Our job is to take a product or service that is usually very boring to talk about, and entertain with it.

The theory helps organise our thoughts along the way, and allows us to explain to a very straight thinking client why it is entertaining.

But what do I know? No-one really does know what they’re doing in this industry.

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