Shaun Northrop

When advertising goes wrong.

Terug When advertising goes wrong.

Ok, it’s easy to sit here and criticize other agencies advertising work. No creative wants to produce bad work. But sometimes, things really go wrong.

I came across this advertising example recently and was compelled to share it knowing that something has gone very wrong and hoping that clients and creative can each learn from it. There are obviously a multitude of things that have gone wrong here. From the choice of media (a mass media billboard to promote a local outlet?) to message overload to the use of the brand, to simply offending your target audience.

To be honest I have to congratulate the agency for moving the client away from the cliché fitness advertising and pushing something new. But they made the basic error of getting carried away with their own joke. In the self-congratulatory world of the creative departments things like this are allowed, even encouraged. But, to let this loose on the general public was an error of judgment.
To put it mildly…

Creatives create, account people moderate and censors, censor. Which is what finally happened here. The Billboard was thankfully put out of it’s misery after a few days by the UK advertising standards authority who though it ‘offensive to the general public’ and was a clear breach of good taste.

We always try and balance creative work with a good mix of ‘Fit’ and a heavy dose of ‘Trigger’ all leading to ‘Flow’ with your target group. Looking at his example then it’s clearly all trigger. Not much fit and created even less flow. Unless there are a huge amount of overweight people who enjoy being insulted into joining a gym. But I think not…

Striking the right balance between ‘Fit’ & ‘Trigger’ can be difficult for creatives. We get carried away with our enthusiasm and find ourselves in a place where we convince each other that this idea will work just because it stands-out and we find it cool. That’s just trigger. The ‘Fit’ makes it work, makes it relevant and makes it communicate – which in the end is what it’s all about, right?

So, what’s the lesson?

Be creative by all-means, but curb your enthusiasm. What seems like a great idea at 11pm in bar isn’t always the right idea on Monday morning. Use ideas that trigger the viewer, but be sure they fit the message.


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