Two win-win advertising laws one should never obey

Creative Director Alexander Smirnov totally dispels a myth of what should not be used in good advertising 

Advertising has never been and will never be an exact science. The reason of our profession being flawed is creativity, that can’t be measured. We could fall to pieces, but to estimate what is more ingenious – Budweiser’s “Wazzup” or Adidas “Impossible is nothing” remains impossible.

It’s high time to invent “creativitymeter”, sort of device that records contents of "creatinine" in any advertising campaign. Airy dreams... but there are lots of dreamers in advertising, and attempts to commit, record and computerize have steadily indwelled in square heads of formalists, who, having surrounded themselves with researches and focus groups, try to derivate formula of successful advertising campaign. 

They were making pretty speeches, having ditched a heap of brands; more of that, they will keep on ditching, and their pretty speeches will be everlasting and vain, because advertising is not math, and there is no use in making it be the math. 

But... we want to invent and model, because we believe, that the most valuable solutions are safe. On this background, on the scene of myths and legends, there derivates axiomatic of no-mathematical science - advertising, that in our Ukrainian reality brought forth two laws: 

1. The Law of inadmissibility of negation. The particle “no” is forbidden to use in advertising. 

2. The law of positive picture. Negative picture is forbidden to be used in advertising. 

History of the first Law harks back to “mythical psychologist”, who blurted out that human brain rejects particle "no", i.e. availability of “no” in advertising message is not perceived by human brain - the last sings to jig and dances to the church music. Yes, inquiring minds, having seen in particle "no" negative sense, developed a separate theory. Oh, this terrible word that became an epitaph on the graves of millions of creative ideas! The negative sense... 

It’s impossible to argue with anonymous abstraction that exists in theoretical dimension.  So let us chop it with iron facts!

Shot No.1: "Have a break – have Snickers". Bullet hits our geek psychologist in the kneecap. Snickers is a successful brand with clearly negative slogan.

Shot No. 2. Advertising of The Independent newspaper. Gorgeous paradigmatic classics. Bullet hits the chest. The psychologist rattles, but lives on. 

Shot No. 3. Proof round. Bullet fired off by Martini and George Clooney blusters through the son’s of a bitch inguinal region, so gloriously anthemised by Freud, completely dishonoring him in both gender and professional sense. 

The Law of inadmissibility of negation appeared to be nothing more but a dummy, that didn’t stand up to the critic. Human brain, no matter how consumptive it may be, excellently conceives particle "no".

And from here on out, may the curse fall off to the 7th knee on the head of he, who, puffing out his cheeks, may say: “One of advertising laws prohibits usage of particle "no". 

There is no such law, and there is no such rule.

We now turn to the Law of positive picture. Here situation is much more complicated.

Let us take a male student of twenty years old. Basically, he doesn’t know a good thing in advertising when he sees it, but he’s sure that advertising shouldn’t communicate negative sense. It is common knowledge, and it’s written in manuals. After 10-15 years of continuous marketing positive, the young man will sharpen claws and become brand manager with beer belly, social benefits and experience of adapting Western advertising campaigns to Ukrainian reality. 

Mildly speaking, he is an idiot and provocateur. He refuses to think, because it’s dangerous. He doesn’t want to admit that his favorite movies James Bond and Hobbit show continuous violence and negative, though are softened by means of happy ending. He firmly believes that Christmas advertising should show Santa Claus, and every actor should smile, smile even more, and, yes,  one more shot with a smile, please - just in case.

Do you recognize him? I think yes.

So, for such young man we’ve got a case to show. 

Year 2011. Advertising agency Tabasco solves complicated issue of attracting the Ukrainians to the mass scale cleaning-up of the country. Solution - Ukrainian celebrities, solid positive picture, come and help. Result – about  20,000 volunteers.

Year 2012. The same country, the same social initiative, the same advertising agency, but this time it was decided not to stand in awe of positive boyo and create, God forgive me, negative picture.

Furthermore, we dared to hurt consumer’s delicate psyche by means of dramatic performance of the national anthem. According to the positive boy’s theory, it’s total failure. But the facts tell opposite - 54,000 volunteers. Almost three times more than previous year.

Conclusion is simple: negative sense in advertising works and it can be extremely effective.

Among other things, the project "Let’s make Ukraine clean!" takes gold at Effie Ukraine, as well as silver at the most prestigious international BTL-projects awards - The MAA Globes Awards in Chicago.

There are no laws in advertising, but there is truth. And it comes down to the fact that creative solutions can be the most diverse, but the main objective of advertising is not to conform with "laws", poured forth by God knows who, but an effect-oriented conviction of consumer. 

Colleagues, ad makers, and marketing specialists, you can say "NO" in advertising, and, even if only on major holidays, you can frighten consumers with negative sense, but only with good intentions and in the name of Universal Good.


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