Did I Go Too Far?


My content can be a little obtuse sometimes (I think) for advertising. When working on the initial notes for a positioning or campaign, I first go to a place that is a thousand miles too high and too deep at the same time. And I ask the reader to answer a lot or fill in a lot of holes. The opposite space of completely “nailing it,” you might say. It may seem as if I am running zig-zag, circling, creating a gorge for a concept to get lost in.

Some say that if the content is heady, it will make no sense to the client and even less sense to their user. Sometimes, when I re-read a positioning statement that I wrote, it can stop making sense to me all together. (Pffft) Still, I write there; in that creative place where practical words escape me. And intangible feelings dance. Maybe I am in the wrong business. There I said it.

Here is how I make it work.

Think about brainstorming and how there are no wrong answers. Going to those impractical places that would never, never, ever make it to the client. Fantastical journeys that never see the light of day. But they are the seeds that keep me going; and they are also the seeds from which something practical/usable/sellable (for lack of a better word) can come.

Stop overanalyzing. Keep writing in a zig-zag pattern or circling-up. As a team, we usually end up in the middle—bull’s eye. I don’t want to work in a place that over- or under-thinks, doesn’t welcome and appreciate the strange, the odd, the off-the-marks, the misses, the almost home runs, the absurd; the obtusities. That is why some of us are in this business anyway. It’s really hard to put a dollar amount on this process. But, wow, it’s where nectar comes from.

When we let our customers fill in the blanks or connect the dots on an intellectual level—the recall is HUGE. Having the chance once a week, month, or once a year to talk about something so far-out and circle back to find—maybe the oddball idea will work after all. And even if it doesn’t work—out there—it was cool as shit for a little while in here.

To hear someone say “I totally get it,” when we are all wired so differently fuels the magic. I just want to cause a connection with someone, on one of these fronts, one of these days, where the client isn’t too afraid to let the user do some work to get it. And we’re not feeling so cynical that we’re too tired to push each other.

Posted by: Vicki Brothers

Posted in: Blog.

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