ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The mighty power of a few meager words

In the English language, we have a mere twenty-six letters. When compared to the essentially infinite palette from which visual artists have to draw (infinite color, limitless shape, multiple dimensions, varying size, etc.) the battle seems to hardly favor the literary artist.

However, as a writers we must remember the immediacy and power that just a few brilliant chosen words can have. An image or design can always be beautiful and emotive, but rarely can it appeal to logic. Our strength will always lie in our ability to think and write intelligently. Ornamental, evocative writing can be very powerful, but nothing will ever have the impact as a well-crafted expression of strategic gold.

My first advertising class that I took in undergrad was taught by a man whom I greatly respect, Dr. Jay Hamilton. One anecdote that he shared with our room of 300 advertising hopefuls one afternoon awoke me to an understanding of how we can harness the power of words in the most simple way. His story went something like this:

A young creative had just joined the advertising agency responsible for the A1 Steak Sauce account. This kid worked there for several months trying rather unsuccessfully to crack the client and come up with something that would really zing. Frustration soon set in. Finally, after bashing he head against a creative brick wall, he finally struck an idea: adding three measly words to the side of the bottle. They were added, and sales shot up around 25 percent shortly thereafter. What were the three words that he had added to the bottle? "Refrigerate after opening." You see, for every one time that someone opens their pantry door, they open their refrigerator ten times. Because of the preservatives in A1 it isn't necessary to refrigerate it, but by simply telling consumers to do so, he ensured that they would see the bottle ten times as many times as they previously did.

Brilliant. It's important to remember that the most powerful ideas aren't always the biggest and flashiest one. In fact, often they're the simplest.


Lovie said...

People should read this.

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