Could you forgive a great campaign idea if it was badly written?
Roger Horberry, Alp Associates
No. In fact I think you’d be hard pressed to say if something was a good idea if it was genuinely poorly expressed.
In 1997 we all forgave some awful writing. It seemed that it was enough, after 18 years of Old Tories, for New Labour to say ‘new’ in every sentence. Times change, and now it seems we look for a different variety of new. But the best political campaign language is still coming from the US presidential contest.
How can it be a great campaign if it’s badly written?
Jim Davies, totalcontent
Think of it this way. If the Economist ran a poster with an apostrophe in the wrong place or a glaring typo, its credibility would be destroyed in a single stoke.
Not really, but the truly great campaigns are a perfect melt of creative and words. Design consultancies can learn from advertising partnerships. Many I work with still relegate the writer to a service or resource that is bought in half way through the job, instead of an essential ingredient in helping to shape big ideas upfront.
Could I forgive a great campaign idea if it was bady written? No, surely that’s the worse kind – a great idea wasted in its execution. One advertising campaign that’s consistently on my nerves (probably because it’s essentially a words-based campaign) is Maestro debit cards. The wheels are coming off with their latest stuff, but the first wave of 48-sheets, adshels and so on had some great wordplay in it. The big idea running through it is about how cash is finished, redundant, dead. The problem? The strap/end/positioning line (call it what you will): “The new cash”. If only they could sign off with something as verbally dexterous as their headlines. And doesn’t it mean that Maestro cards are next in line for extinction?