The Write Voice

Copywriter. Web Content. Social Media.

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July 15, 2010

Turning an “A+” into an “F”

I was riding down Peachtree Street last week and saw the makings of a GREAT (and by GREAT, I mean CREATIVE and EFFECTIVE) billboard.

About half the billboard was taken up by the word FUN, followed by an asterisk.

The next line, not quite as large, again displayed the asterisk, followed by the words, “ACTUAL SIZE.”

The bottom line, I think, said “Carnival Cruise Lines.” I say “think,” because there was some other gobble-de-gook about “‘Book Your Cruises Today” or “Alaskan Cruises Available.”

Some jarhead ad exec and/or client just couldn’t stand billboard “white space” and not being able to tell me EVERYTHING about the cruise line. Hence, they turned an “A+” billboard into an “F” by adding unnecessary words. End result: I’m not going to spend money on that cruise line, because I can’t remember THE NAME of the cruise line. All it needed were three simple lines: FUN* … *ACTUAL SIZE … CRUISE LINE NAME … Period. Most of us learned the “KISS” principle – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID – years ago. Apparently that concept is still lost on corporate higher-ups.

So a suggestion to the ad agency and/or said cruise line: Next time, use fewer words to get larger results (You know, results like, “That cruise sounds FUN! I think I’ll call ____ or visit their website”). If you decide you want to make another billboard like the one described above, give me the money you budgeted to produce it and I’ll use the cash to take my own cruise. At least I’ll be be putting that money to good use …

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