Creative? It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it and how you say that…

The ‘what you say’ v. ‘how you say it’ question has been dogging advertising since just after that person thought of the chicken v. egg question. Now, we’ve even added ‘where you say it’ to the conundrum.

Well, here’s the answer. It’s not ‘how you say it.’ It’s ‘how you say it and how you say it.’ What I mean by that is — you have to say it brilliantly, and then, make it even better than that. For an explanation, consider the high bar of advertising communications — the demonstration ad. It is not enough to come up with the right demonstration that will prove the efficacy of what you’re communicating (nothing convices people like seeing it with their own eyes.) No. Once you’ve come up with that killer demonstration (no mean feat considering most products and almost all services are generic commodities — but hey, if this were easy everyone would be doing it.) No, (to repeat), once you’ve come up with that great demonstration, you have to make it even greater. Consider the all-time masters of this, Doyle Dane Bernbach in the early 60’s. To show how economical the VW was, they came up with the idea of showing all the things you could get in addition to the Beetle for the same cost as getting just a normal car. But they had to show that in a way that would make it stick. Just the idea, just the demonstration, as great as it is, wasn’t enough. So they found side by side houses and had people wheel up all the stuff, in a parade. And then, with some brilliant writing called the problem “keeping up with the Kremplers.” Or consider another ad to show how chip free a nail polish is. Someone came up with the idea of painting it on a ping pong ball and watching people play a game with it! Damn.

Don’t say it. Show it. And then show it better.

Now, about that chicken and egg thing…


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