Experience has taught me a lot of fundamental truths in marketing. Basic principles that I’ve learned from journeying through thousands of projects over the years as a creative director, brand development specialist and professional copywriter.
The biggest, most important one of all:
Creative marketing can’t be too smart… but it can be too clever.
I’m actually a big fan of good humor in marketing… and love it when I have the opportunity to “put a smile” on the viewer/listener’s face through smart, fun, creative messaging. But there is a fine art to hitting the sweet spot when it comes to reaching your target audience through humor without trying too hard. It’s easy (especially for young writers) to get caught up in trying to be too funny…or to get lost in the reverie of seeing their words published and as a result, overselling the message. I call this the “Poke Me In the Ribs. Get it! Get it! ” inexperienced copywriter syndrome.
Overdoing it also applies to writers taking themselves too seriously as well. I call this “writing for the writer and not the target audience.” Save your passion for when its appropriate.
Taking the idea too far is just that. You’ve gone too far. You don’t want to lose people because you’ve gone from funny to ridiculous…or because you’re crossed the line from compelling to over-selling. It’s important to find the just right balance between communicating and entertaining.
Here are a few examples of pitch perfect marketing:
All of these great commercials start with a simple idea….that plays up the message and then drives it home with smart humor that wasn’t “oversold.” An experienced copywriter sits back, reads what they’ve written and makes sure he/she is writing to connect to the target audience, rather than writing words that serve the writer.