Advertising must stand out

You’ve probably heard the famous quote by John Wanamaker:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

That was over 100 years ago. The bad news is, the problem for advertising is far worse today.

Today, £18.3 billion is spent each year on all forms of advertising and marketing. But only 4% is remembered positively, 7% is remembered negatively, and a whopping 89% isn’t noticed or remembered at all.

That’s approximately £17 billion of advertising and marketing which achieves nothing. Zilch. It’s background noise.

It doesn’t stand out.

Yet, how often do you spend more time worrying about becoming one of the 7% remembered negatively, and less about being in the 89% that go completely under the radar? It could be because people rarely get fired for not being noticed. Because if nobody cares, then at least they won’t be thinking anything negative, right?

Of course, nobody sets out to be remembered negatively. But the trade-off with standing out, is that you just can’t please everyone. Someone, somewhere is sure to dislike it. So you have to be realistic. But seriously, what’s the point of contributing to the £17 billion being spent on blending in to the background?

So next time you find yourself part of a committee, watering down a bold idea, making a decision based purely on whether you personally like it or not, worrying about the details of styling or over-thinking about whether an advert could somehow be perceived negatively, stop. The ONLY concern should be thinking about whether it will even be remembered at all.

23rd March 2017

File under: Advertising, Agencies, Marketing, Creativity