RAZOR BRANDING BLOG: When a Good Idea Goes Bad

When a Good Idea Goes Bad

As I was driving home last night I looked up to see a billboard that had me wondering, did anyone truly think this was a good idea?

In order to protect the innocent, I will not give names, but in all honesty, I was shocked that this particular piece of advertising made it through both "creative" and corporate approvals to see the light of day.

Now, I could easily spend several pages describing what was wrong with this board, but there is plenty of bad advertising out there, and my ranting about it here will do little to change that. What I would like to focus on however, is the power of good advertising, and why it is important to always strive for the best.

I guess the obvious benefit of good advertising is a positive return on investment – otherwise, why do it at all? But deeper than that, a good campaign reflects on the essence of the company that it represents. It is in so many ways a direct reflection of the brand itself. Ah, that branding word again. Seems to come up a lot these days doesn't it? The problem is, I think many of the people who use it still don't have a complete understanding of what it means, or how powerful it can be when used properly.

Truth be told, the actual advertising portion of a branding campaign is one of the final pieces of the puzzle, which is why it so often ends up being the most neglected. I say neglected because it is generally the first thing businesses and agencies focus on. It's like trying to discuss global warming with a baby. Sure, it might be entertaining, but a baby is hardly prepared to speak, much less articulate thoughts on such matters. Kicking out an ad campaign without properly developing a company's brand message is pretty much the same thing.

So, until there is a brand police established to fight bad advertising, I will continue to do my part in helping those who will hear. My advice is to make sure you know yourself first, your audience second and your advertising third. Only then can you communicate the right message to the right people, with the right vehicle.

Michael Russo
Creative Director - The Russo Group

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