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I'm going to blow right past the question of Should I Advertise and jump right into the question of How should I Advertise.  (We all know we need to advertise.  Except, of course, for the few of us who are just fine with mediocrity.)  There are of course questions of where and when, but you know what they say... focusing on the how.  This week we will take a look at advertising and how it should Be Different.

The whole idea of advertising is to sell more product (or more services)... or to raise more awareness... or... (You know what I mean.)

The point is this: for advertising to work people have to remember what they saw/heard.  For them to remember it they have to pay attention to it.  If I have learned anything over the years it's this: Most people are not like me.  I will sit and look through magazines just to find interesting ads that I like.  I will pay attention to a well crafted ad, and it takes it being well crafted to work on me.  Most people are not like me.  They look through magazines for the meat of the publication.  Most people couldn't care less if your ad is well crafted or not.  Most people will only pay attention to you ad if it catches their eye.

What We're not Telling You
Advertisers, marketers and designers know this.  Thus we typically make their ads loud and "eye catching."  We use bold color, interesting pictures, and enticing fonts that will catch someone's eye.  Why do we do this?  So you can sell more product.  Right?  Well, yes and no.  Truth be told, we're doing it so that we can sell more product.  We do it so we can say, "See these bold colors and this cool picture and this new font.  Aren't they cutting edge?  They will attract people to your ad.  It's eye catching!"

It's true.  It is.  And it does help us push more ad designs.  But, what we're not telling you is that the majority of the competing ads were designed in the same manner to do the same thing.  We don't tell you that your ad will be shouting at your potential clients in the same way that the others are.  There comes a point when if everyone is being eye catching theoretically then no one is being eye catching actually.  In such times it means we need to be different... even if that means being quiet.

I hope it's worth the noise
It's pretty rare that I watch TV shows that weren't canceled a decade ago, but when I do I am usually annoyed with the commercials.  More times than not: it's just noise.  Noise, noise, noise.  Everyone tries to be big and loud and grab your attention.  It's like a million people are standing on the street trying to out-shout everyone around them.  It doesn't work.  (At least not for me.)  They're all funny.  They're all loud.  They're all out there.

While watching the final episode of Lost, there was a plethora of such commercials.  From shows to shampoos, from books to bras; each one shouting at us.  You want to know the one that made us stop talking and pay attention.  The quite one...


It's not bad to be big and loud.  Bold colors and cool pictures are great.  But, for advertising to work the way we all need it to work, advertising needs to Be Different.

Daniel Titus