Carl Sandburg once read one of his poems for a university literature class. After he had finished, one of the students asked him to explain what the poem meant. Mr. Sandburg looked at the student for a moment, then looked down at his notes and without comment read the poem again.
Creative work is like that. There is a certain something about great work that defies definition. A certain fire that fills it with meaning and power beyond the simplistic dissection of its discrete elements. Nonetheless, there are certain characteristics that tend to be associated with great creative work in advertising. Here are some of the most important.
- Single strong concept
- Relevant message related to a compelling benefit
- Short headline with a strong hook
- Simple, arresting graphic
- Complete integration of headline and graphic so that neither is dispensable
- Entire piece revolves around the single central idea
There is an old saying that, “He who chases two rabbits catches none.” The same is true of advertising. If you try to make more than one point in an ad, you will fail to make any point at all. The simple rule of thumb is: One ad, one point. If you can stick with this discipline, your CFO will thank you for it.