June 11, 2009

What They Say and What They Mean

As everyone in advertising knows, there are two kinds of clients.

The first kind is the good kind. They speak in plain English and give simple, clear direction.

Then there is the second kind. They're watching a channel we don't get. They speak a language we don't understand.

It sounds and looks like English but it's not. It has vowels and consonants just like English, but somehow they don't work the same way. It uses the same words we use, but they mean different things.

It's kind of like looking at a toothbrush and finding out it's called a hat.

In our ongoing effort to explain the world of advertising to our thoughtful and charming readers, the staff here at TAC has taken it upon itself to create a little guide book that will help you understand what those "Type 2" clients mean when they are talking to you about advertising.
When they say, "We need to make an emotional connection with the consumer" they mean, "Put a one-legged marathoner in the spot."

When they say, "I don't see how this differentiates us" they mean, "Add some bullshit about quality and value."

When they say, "Does this carry enough branding?" they mean, "Make the logo bigger."

When they say, "Will this ad stand out?" they mean, "Make the package bigger."

When they say, "We need a more holistic approach" they mean, "I just met with a social media consultant. Make a Facebook page."

When they say, "Have you thought of any non-traditional elements?" they mean, "Paint our logo on a big truck and drive it around town."

When they say, "We need to thoroughly re-evaluate our brand architecture" they mean, "Our ceo just met with a branding consultant, get ready for a three month Powerpoint festival."

When they say, "We're evaluating all our marketing resources" they mean, "You're fired."

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