Bits & Pieces?
Does something feel a little off or not quite right?
Maybe it’s time we looked at your brand. Bring your brand positioning statement and strategy statements along with some samples of work, and in one hour we’ll give you one humble and honest opinion. We’ll tell you if we think your brand positioning is in alignment with your work, and we might even brainstorm some new marketing ideas.
Send us your contact information, company name, and how we can help to email@example.com, and we’ll give you a call to see if we might be a good fit.
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We all come up with good ideas and executions all the time. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t make it in advertising for very long. Every once in a while, good work becomes great work. That’s the work that wins awards, grabs the attention of the media and may even become a part of pop culture.
What factors differentiate the merely good from the great? A lot of variables affect the outcome (client relationships, agency culture, budget, attitude – just to name a few), but two play a larger role in success than all the others: the idea and the execution.
You can have a fantastic idea and an OK execution, and your final product will be good, not great.
Or you can have an OK idea and a fantastic execution, and your final product will be good, not great
You will only have a great final product if the idea and the execution are both outstanding.
Here’s an example. Dolly Parton had a fantastic idea for a song.
Her execution of the song was good, but it wasn’t great.
(I may not have loved her version of this song. But that doesn’t mean I won’t always love Dolly.)
It took Whitney Huston’s execution to elevate the song to new heights.
By collaborating, Dolly and Whitney achieved success that went beyond what each could have reached alone.
This song is a lot like advertising. Except in our field, the person who most often gets all the credit and glory is the one who comes up with the idea. But, as we’ve just heard, the idea is only half of what makes something exceptional. Even if you don’t come up with the idea, it’s important to remember that the execution is just as important. You can take a great deal of pride in what you can do to transform good into great.
As you get your next assignment, be inspired by Dolly and Whitney. (Just don’t sing to your partner too much. I’ve been told that’s annoying.)
It’s not new news, but most of the time, even in our changing world—many advertisers still want to talk more about themselves than their consumers. In their version of the advertising strategy, features outweigh benefits in key messaging platforms. Especially with limited dollars, “more bang for the buck” comes with cramming every nook and cranny of a spot with something to say about the product. I’m not casting judgement. I get it—with the pressure to succeed, and success ever more tied to ROI, it’s tough to be a marketer. But I urge us all to still focus on the consumer. Something I think we did well (along with our client) in these recent spots for HSHS (Hospital Sisters Health System) in Green Bay.
You may have read a post here months back, on a 60 second spot we shot with Michael Prince for the brand. Well, these are the harder-hitting siblings of that spot. What we’d call the “service line” spots for cancer and orthopedics. These spots carry some pretty heavy loads—boasting that “we provide the most treatment options,” that “we beat national survival rates” and that “we are among the nation’s best” when it comes to cancer. Product features, not benefits. But notice how the facts are surrounded both visually and verbally with “life”, “hope” and “a new belief.” Things I believe every person with cancer wants as much as the latest and greatest treatment.
By identifying that what we see in a cancer patient is a path to new life, we brought context, benefit and a personal connection to what would be a list of ingredients. Kudos to the team and the client on recognizing the fine balance between logic and emotion, especially when it comes to our health.
My daughter went to her high school’s homecoming recently with 20 of her friends – all girls. Us proud parents hung around taking pictures, capturing group shots of the girls looking fantastic in their homecoming outfits.
One of the parents had the idea of having the girls all jump at the same time so we could take a picture of them in midair.
I placed myself in a good spot, adjusted my focus and right before the girls jumped I held down my shutter. Click click click click click click click click click click click.
I went back through the photos and sure enough found the shot that captured the moment at which they were all in midair. I also had about 10 shots that didn’t.
The other parents waited for the girls to jump and attempted to hit the shutter once — at just the right time. Needless to say, their success rate was quite low, and every time the girls jumped, a majority of the parents would just miss the moment, and were disappointed.
For me it was a great example of how quantity gets you to quality. I got the shot they wanted. But I also had 10 shots no one wanted. The others had no shots anyone wanted because they were relying on just getting the one good one.
But you must fail many times before you get the picture – or the idea – that is going to be the one that solves the problem.
So keep your finger on the shutter – you’ll eventually get the shots you want. And as for the ones you don’t want, that’s just part of the normal process of getting to a solution.
Surprisingly, the quote above was not by some famous ad guy. It was credited to Winston Churchill — but it’s pertinence in the ad world is palpable. How many times in this business are you riddled with doubt, insecurity and despair? It’s commonplace. I’m certainly not immune to those emotions.
This happened recently with a talented art director here at Jigsaw. We were working on a campaign together and after 2 or 3 presentations and revisions, we were still not hitting the mark for the client. We had a meeting internally to discuss options where new ideas were blurted out. It all seemed kneejerk and premature, but we had to solve it.
This art director went back to his office, devastated and unsure what to do. He followed the direction of one of the ideas that was blurted, did a couple layouts and presented them. They just weren’t right. The kneejerk concept was flawed. He hit bottom. Amateur psychiatry ensued.
But here’s the amazing thing: He knew in his gut that this wasn’t the right concept. Yet as a young art director he followed our direction. His initial instinct that the concept was wrong, was actually right. He should have followed his instincts. He then picked himself up off the bottom, we talked about what to do and he went into his office and brought back something absolutely beautiful.
The thing is this: Younger creative people should not be afraid to take initiative in the face of their peers and creative directors and account supervisors. I can not tell you how many times when a person followed their gut they came up with something resonant, authentic, and above all, right. Better to take initiative and be wrong than to take absolutely no initiative at all and wait for direction.
He was, most certainly in advertising hell. All he had to do was keep moving, and he found the end of the tunnel, and a creative solution that was spot on.
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