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The Power of Simple

The ad industry makes great ads, annoying ads, insightful ads and wasteful ads. All of them can work if they're simple and express the brand's essence.

July 30, 2020 | David Kippen

Unless you work in advertising and related fields you’re likely to have one of two views about the products of the industry.

Either they patronizingly speak down to the lowest-common denominator of a given target market…

…or they’re beautiful, incredibly insightful messages that make an indelible brand impression (or move helpless users to actions they’d otherwise be disinclined to take).

If you work in advertising, you’d select “(c) both.” And you’d add “(d) total waste of money” for projects based on client opinion without consumer insight. (You know who you are.)

But all ads, all branded messages, have two things in common. They’re brief. And they’re simple.

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s the essence of all advertising, even the most witless. There’s no room for baggy messaging. You get one shot. To share one message. That’s it.

In the Head On’s ad, everything from the product’s name to the ad is on message: put it on your head. In the Nike’s spot, the message is “together.” In both, love them or hate them, not a second is wasted.

What this means for marketers is simple: focus on the message. Fund whatever level of shooting and editing you want, then let your agency worry about winning Clios to win other clients. Your brand has a job to do. It’s to establish the simple idea it should be known for.

If you run a brand, your job is equally simple: ensure every ad your marketers run shares that simple idea.


Dr. David Kippen serves as Chief Strategist and CEO of Evviva Brands.  David’s past clients include Alaska Airlines Amazon, Ameriprise Financial, Antioch, California, Bain & Company, Blackrock, Burger King, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Dell, Delta Air Lines, Dignity Health, Disney, Energy Recovery, FlipkartGoogle Fiber, HP, HSBC, General Mills, Intel, Kentz Lam Research, Marriott International, Methanex, Moss Adams, Microsoft, Nokia, Premera Blue Cross, Teva, T-Mobile The Ritz-CarltonWebasto and Xilinx

Leading brand agency in US and UK since 2015. Top 10% of all global firms on Clutch based on client reviews. ("Clutch Champion.")