Monday, December 13, 2010

Simple is not simple.

One of my favorite posts lately was from Dave Trott. With four words, he summed up what we do: making the complicated simple. Now, don't get me wrong, this does not trivialize the art of advertising. The simplification process is quite complex. There are layers to be sifted through. Patterns to be exposed. Associations to be made. Beverages to be consumed.

He references a great piece of writing from Nick Wray where he imagines World War I as a pub fight. Beautifully, a multifaceted, propaganda-ridden event becomes something we can relate to on a smaller scale. Something we want to pass along and remember. (Okay, so I've never been in a pub fight or fought in a war. I have however seen my fair share of action movies and, in theory, can identify with the scenario.)

Simple is difficult. We are trained to over-think and overcompensate. Do we really need to exasperate every detail and feature? (Boring.) Does our audience care about anything other than the ultimate connection they perceive themselves benefiting from? (Probably not.) What's the projected comradeship urging them to close the deal? (Cut to the chase, but make it interesting.)

How can you say the most with the least amount of information? Can you take insight and research resembling a volume of War and Peace and boil it down into one resonating idea?

As you read through the project background – eyes glazing over, brain visiting somewhere loosely connected, but probably much more awesome – try to regain focus (again) and grasp the metaphor. The essence of the brand.

Knowing a little about a lot delivers the complex simplicity of an analogy. Incidentally, it also requires a little craziness and a lot of free time. But hey, in the end it all looks simple, right? Well, that's the idea anyway.

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