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Can a Branding Ad be too Creative?

By: Anna Chapman | Sep 6th at 8:11am Too Creative? Many ad agencies would say that's an oxymoron. But personally I think it's an important topic that is easily and too often overlooked. Now am I suggesting that companies, when shooting a TV commercial, just stick to the whole "camera pans right as Suzie Secretary smiles and waves and now left as Joe Worker (unnaturally) looks up from his task and smiles. And so it goes for 30 seconds straight?" Negative.

What I am saying is that when an ad fails to leave you with a clear message of who the ad was for, and what they can do for you, something is amiss.

For example, let's consider a TV ad that got a lot of buzz a few years back. Remember the "Herding Cats" ad where there were the cowboys on horses and up they come over the hill herding thousands of, yes my friend, cats. Check for creative. Check for original. Check for great production quality. But wait, who was it for again? What did they sell? Who knows! When I ran this question by a handful of people, the best answer I got was, "I think it was some .com business, maybe?" Oops. In fact, it as a .com company called At the time, there was a new .com company springing up faster than you can say .com making it crucial that in order to survive, they had to have a great product and get/remain known for their product. If you couldn't even remember their name, what was the chance of that happening?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and tork a few Addie collectors off by saying "So you've got 200 Addie awards? Great, good job, congrats to you and yours. BUT did your ad make a bit of positive difference for your client? Better yet, (and this may hurt ) did it increase their profit"?

The best award or rather reward I have received is when a happy client calls or emails me to tell me how many positive comments they have received from their customers and how well the ad is working. When it comes to a branding ad, I want checks on all counts including the viewer's ability to remember who the ad was for and what my client can do for them without having to connect a bunch of dots. Next comes the question, how do we get this message across in the most unique and creative way possible without straying from the long-term branding commitment that we've maintained for our client.

So it all comes down, once again to that little word BALANCE. If it leans one way or the other, the ad has a good chance of failing thus wasting the client's money. Hit it dead in the middle and you've got yourself a successful brand ad.


Can a Branding Ad be too Creative? [viewing]