Serve Desert First, by @_TManning

Tom Manning






By Tom Manning


If you want your work to make people sit up and listen, you can’t save the best until last.

You’re not a child at dinner, trying to savour the last mouthful. Nor are you a comedian, setting up for the big punchline.

You’re an advertising creative, trying to surprise and delight people with your work.

When you watch a lot of case studies, as we all are, there’s always that bit in the video where they say, “And so, that made us think, helping us arrive at our big idea, which we’ll tell you about, in a second, it’s what formed the campaign, which will change the place of the brand in people’s lives, it’s called…”

Not only is that part of the video always delivered with a smug ‘ta-da’, it’s also a massive cliche. 

So start with the surprise. Serve them desert first.

Bryan told me a story of a man he worked with, who was able to sell a piece of work to any client, no matter what. He was the best salesman Bryan ever knew, and one day Bryan asked the man what his secret was. The man laughed and said to Bryan, “Unfortunately for you, I make you work incredibly hard until I buy the idea. Then, when I go to the client, I don’t have to sell them the work. All I do is explain to them why I bought it.”

Now, Bryan is full of great stories but this one really is a stunner. Just tell people your great idea. Don’t be coy and do it and the end or half way through. Don’t lose them in preamble or sales patter. Say it loud and proud.

Coming up with a good idea takes long enough, don’t make people wait even longer to hear it.

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