June 26, 2008

Simplifiers and Complicators

About a thousand years ago I wrote a piece for ADWEEK called "Simplifiers and Complicators". It was so long ago, ADWEEK wasn't even called ADWEEK. It was called MAC.

Every now and then I run into someone who reminds me of the piece. It happened again last week.

I can't remember the specifics of the article, but the point was that there are two kinds of people: people who simplify things and people who complicate them. In most businesses, complicators are annoying. In advertising they are ruinous.

Every time you create an ad there are a million things to say about the brand or product. The key to producing a successful ad is in understanding what is essential and what is extraneous. Simplifiers have the ability to cut down the weeds and clear a path. Complicators cannot distinguish between the pertinent and the irrelevant.

If you're working with an account exec or a creative director who is a complicator, you understand the frustration involved. If you're working with a client who's a complicator, you're probably thinking about that fry job at Burger King.

In an ad agency, one highly placed complicator can undo the good work of a dozen simplifiers.

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