if people can't read it, you haven't done your job properly

Driving along the dual carriageway on my way to work this morning, I overtook a single-decker bus showing off a rear ad for a school open day.

Well, I'm pretty sure it was for an open day, but I couldn't tell you the school, or the time and date of the actual event. Yes, I was doing the best part of 70mph but even with a decent attempt to read the ad's copy, I was none the wiser. 

The designer had made the classic mistake (and we've all been guilty of it in our time) of using the 'one size fits all' approach to a campaign. 

It's when the client signs off your initial concept and without considering how different audiences will consume the message in different locations, you just resize it accordingly until every element of the media plan is ticked off.

Six sheets, tick. Metro ads, tick. 48 sheets, tick. Magazine ads, tick. Door drop, tick. Campaign complete! 

But things are very rarely that straightforward. Whilst the takeaway message and look of your campaign should be consistent across all mediums, the actual execution may need to differ depending on where the work is booked to appear and how people use that space. 

If you've got plenty of dwell time, by all means, make your copywriter earn their money but if your audience is merely passing by you need to make your point a bit quicker. They're not standing around reading; they're going past and potentially ignoring.

Your job isn't done when the concept is signed off. In fact, it's only just starting.