What do you do when they just don't get it?
Sometimes they don't - get it, that is. And that ignorance is the birthplace of ads that suck.
I recently had a rather heated discussion with a member of a charity that I work with. He argued that we were spending far too much time and money on designing our collateral material and coming up with a strategy, and not enough time communicating. I argued that we were spending the bare minimum of time and money on strategy and design.
To him, we should take all of the money we spend on full-colour printing, designing and writing (all of which is heavily subsidized by sponsorship) and spend it on photocopying a million flyers so that everyone in the city would have our message. He also suggested that money spent on a publicity person could be saved by hiring a volunteer.
Of course, this is the case of one voice in a very small not-for-profit group. But this is the type of attitude I see in a lot of organizations. "It doesn't matter what we say or how we say it, as long as a lot of people hear."
That's why you see things like this, this and this.
I preach to anyone who is listening about the power of design. It's important, and if you don't think so then your advertising probably looks like crap. Would you buy groceries from Loblaws if it were dank and dirty inside? No, and that's the same impression you get from a company who has a website that looks like it was programmed in 1992 and a brochure that was photocopied at Staples and folded by hand.
If you still don't believe me, put on a dirty track suit, go to your bank and try to get a loan.
People receive messages a thousand times a day. If yours is just another one of the bunch, then you've wasted the money you spent on that message, however meagre. The only way to break through is to talk to the people who are listening and to engage them. When you have a small budget, it's even more important that you break through that clutter, otherwise you're nothing more than a raindrop in a thunderstorm.
Personally, I think it's better to be the thunder.