Posts by adfinity

Just the facts.

March 1st, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Never accept a drink from a urologist. — Erma Bombeck

Now there’s a fact. Probably no one has said “check your sources” quite this persuasively. But we’re talking advertising here – what could go wrong? Well…

Research and fact-checking are thoroughly entrenched for journalists. The German weekly Der Spiegel is reported to have 80 full-time fact checkers. And without its own staff of scrutinizers, one of New York’s most esteemed magazines would have gone to print referring to “islands off the coast of Switzerland.”

We marketers have to do our own careful treading. Advertising lore is teeming with avoidable gaffes: The deli that touted its hams as perfect for Hanukkah … GM’s introduction of Nova in Mexico where it translated as “it won’t go” … the recent University of Maryland poll showing that 91% of voters believe they were given false or misleading information during the 2010 political campaign (even fact-checking might not have helped there) … and you can’t wait for the ad goofs on Jay Leno’s Headlines, can you?

Whether offering up performance claims, nutrition facts or credible (and translatable) product names, agency creatives cannot sidestep verifying sources, doing and re-doing the math and looking under every cultural or linguistic rock. First, carelessness reflects on the client whose name is on the ad or all over the direct mail piece. And secondly, it reflects on the agency when that client expresses justifiable displeasure.

As marketers, we have to live by the facts and check our sources. Before we drink the kool-aid.

Use Your Print Voice

June 28th, 2010 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Hmmm (stroking chin) … does my company have a voice? (raise eyebrows, gaze into upper distance). So, how does it sound in a print ad or an email? (snort, bust a gut).

Everything above in parentheses is called paralanguage – the stuff that goes along with what we’re saying, such as gestures, non-word sounds, volume, meaningful pauses, how close we get to being in someone’s face. We’d naturally think that wouldn’t leap onto a page. But au contraire, mon frere (hoity-toity smirk), there’s a lot we can do in type.

First, decide what kind of voice or attitude should represent your corporate image and your products. Formal? (squint a little)…mmm, maybe not. Kind of distancing. Techy? (stick out lower lip)…yeah, that might resonate with our audience. Sarcastic? (whoa, want to never hear from anyone again?) Conversational? (slow nod). That’s often the one to go with (at least around Adfinity), because you want to be perceived as speaking face-to-face with prospects even when they’re a state or continent away.

Talk to an art director and you’ll hear about how different styles, sizes and colors of fonts “sound.” Talk to a copywriter and you’ll get a whole book about rhythm … throwing in a few dot-dot-dots to set a phrase apart. Maybe a short sentence fragment. (Grammar Check just gave me a thump for that one, but go ahead, it’s your voice). All these things, even bold italics, help readers get your message.

Using paralanguage doesn’t mean being contrived or detracting from business at hand. It means taking potential customers by the arm and leading them through your story. At your pace. In your best print voice.

Food Factoid

June 10th, 2010 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

56 companies figure into making one can of chicken noodle soup. Wikipedia

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Saw online that food marketers – you and I – are the largest non-government employee pool in the United States. The webfact above helps put that into focus. The 56 entities involved in that can of soup include not only the chicken wrangler, vegetable farmers and the Campbell’s conveyor belt operator, but everyone employed at the belt manufacturing plant, a couple processing companies, pasta makers, stainless steel and equipment producers, several truckers, food scientists, font designer, paper mill, label printer, a number of marketing departments, sales teams, purchasing agents – and even a copywriter and art director or two (gotta advertise).

Think of the diversity in this pool – talent, skills, life stories, sizes, shapes. It would make one whale of an employee picnic. Who wants to bring the soup?