It all starts with a prospective client telling me about his or her product, service or brands. Sometimes, the boasts strain the boundaries of believability. (“Our vitamin supplement will help someone lose 10 pounds in one week. But unlike all the other crap on the market claiming they can do this, OUR pill is the one that works!”). And sometimes it’s a brutally honest assessment of current market perception and desired outcome. (“Our power company is disliked by the community because they think we overcharge them for our services. And when there’s a power failure, then they hate us.”)
As I listen to this information, a controlled, schizophrenic processing tool kicks in, allowing me to listen with many sets of ears:
The marketer in me ponders how to take their message to potential customers
The writer in me auditions the best collage of sound to deliver that message with impact
The lawyer in me argues over what the FTC might think, careful that claims don’t cross the line
The consumer in me fishes for the single most compelling benefit that will inspire action
The skeptic in me debates how to overcome the consumer’s knee-jerk dismissal of any claim that seems too good to be true
All of these voices demand and receive equal time. This is a deliberate rite of review by committee that is best played out by giving all parties all the time they need to voice concerns, opinions and suggestions; mindful that options considered now – before the campaign – are far easier to test with upfront planning on our clock, rather than rushing a panicked copy change partway into the campaign when many factors have already spun beyond our control.
Advertisers would do well to try on these many hats before taking a product to market. Aside from the potential for more powerful creative, operational loopholes can be identified and remedied before the clock starts ticking. And that’s when it gets expensive.