I've never been to ad school or art school.
I've never taken a course in copywriting or design.
I've never read a text book about marketing or strategy or account planning or media.
So I have no idea if what I'm about to say is commonly taught in classrooms and how-to advertising books, or if it's just some heresy I made up.
Creativity is very important in advertising. Strategy is very important in advertising. But, I'm sorry people, there is something much simpler and much more basic that is more important in producing successful advertising.
It's this: Be specific.
We have all seen advertising that is ugly and stupid succeed. We have all seen advertising that is lovely and intelligent fail. I would suggest to you that if you go back and look, you will find that the successful ugly and stupid advertising said something specific about the product and the unsuccessful lovely, intelligent advertising was full of platitudes and generalizations.
That's why horrible car dealer advertising is sometimes more effective than beautiful car manufacturer advertising.
The best advertising is strategically wise, creatively pleasing, and specific.
Perhaps my favorite example of this is the idea the iPod was launched with:
Not "world class mp3 player."
Not "a whole new way to enjoy music."
But this: "A thousand songs in your pocket."