Monday, 31 March 2014

the importance of constructive feedback

A few weeks ago we were asked to put some poster visuals together for a client.

The idea (which was a weak one) was theirs and they were adamant that our work shouldn't deviate from something they obviously thought was strong enough to stop people in the street. Around a week later the client was sent their first drafts and we awaited on some feedback.

A few days later an email arrived saying our initial ideas 'looked a little basic'. 

The evolving of ideas is what makes our world go round, and in order to develop work for the better we rely heavily on the constructive quality (and honesty) of the client's thoughts.

A conversation along the lines of 'whilst I can see where you are coming from Mr Agency, I don't quite think it is achieving the objectives we agreed in the brief. Namely because the language is too humorous and the imagery is too light-hearted  - so all in all, the wrong message in being conveyed. I think it needs to be...etc' helps us enormously. 

It tells where we have gone wrong and possible routes to rectify the situation.

The flip side of such feedback is the dreaded 'I don't really like it and I don't know why' approach, favoured by a growing number of clients. This leaves you knowing the client doesn't like it but not which specific elements this relates too. So, putting yourselves in the agency's shoes, what's your next move? Tweaking the idea, the design, the fonts, the colours, the typography, the message? 

The answer of course is none of the above. The answer is to go back to the client and not let them off the phone until you know what part of the work isn't cutting the mustard, and more importantly, why.

If we know what we've done wrong, we also know not to do it again.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

the glory days of train travel and train advertising

Every so often we like to have a look back through the poster archives to gain a little inspiration - from the time when train travel was seen as something special.

The buzz that, as a child, came from the moment you arrived at the station, bought a ticket, sat in the waiting room, moved on to the platform to see your train arriving on the horizon - through to the thrill of stepping aboard, putting your luggage away, choosing your seat and watching the countryside flash by.

A time when the advertising didn't try to cram 101 messages on to a single piece of communication and you were left to your own imagination as to what train travel could offer. Be it excitement, relaxation or even romance - there was something for everyone on the UK's rail network.

A time when when it seemed train travel held a certain mystique - certainly something that was reflected in the quality of the advertising.

fizzy drinks brand takes over a London bus shelter

This is what happened when Pepsi Max took over a bus shelter in central London.

A great idea, really well executed with some cracking reactions. Kudos to all involved.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

advertising is really, really simple

The VW Beetle ads from the 60s are said to have started the creative revolution.

In an age of campaigns that glorified a car's size, power, and prestige, 1960s Volkswagen Beetle advertising was the calm voice for a different set of values. Plus, it made you smile. The understated style was introduced by New York ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach.

The agency's approach was to poke fun at their product because consumers had been poking fun at it. But thanks to the ads, those who had poked fun at it began buying it and Beetle sales soared.

Many would assume that that to write such effective ads, the team working on them must have had some long, hard, complicated discussions. Maybe so, but the solution was far from it.

Bob Levenson, who worked on the campaign for a number of years, was asked how he wrote copy said 'I always started by writing Dear Charlie, like writing to a friend. And then I would say what I had to say, and at the end I would cross our Dear Charlie, and I was all right.'

Remember we are not scientists, and when we are talking to humans we should try to be human ourselves.