Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hey Yoplait, here's the real "skinny" on your miss-the-mark ad

Wow, what is wrong with General Mills and its Yoplait brand? Maybe they see women a bit differently than I do. But wait, I am a woman. I am their target. How are they getting this so wrong?!

What am I ranting so vehemently about? This off-the-mark ad for Yoplait yogurt.

It uses a thin woman lamenting into an open refrigerator about whether or not she can have a piece of cheesecake. Whilst an even thinner woman walks up and grabs a cheesecake-flavored Yoplait. The "fat" one says to the "thin" one, "Wow, you've lost weight."

Why on EARTH didn't they use more "real" models? I'll tell you why. Because advertisers want to represent their brand with beauty...still. And like it or not, they don't think size 10 or greater women are beautiful. They think all of us aspire to be size 4.

I can't tell you how many meetings I've been in with clients where the word, "aspirational" gets used as a reason and rationale for creating ads. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes, like in this case, not so much.

So here's the skinny Yoplait: You should ASPIRE to connect better with your true target market. Real women.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

David Ogilvy's Lesson on How to Be a Better Writer

David Ogilvy, the original "Mad Man"
David Ogilvy was known for his internal memos fostering creativity. The following is one such memo on being a great writer. (He is right.)

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing*. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don't write. Go and tell the guy what you want.


*Writing That Works, by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson

(Source: The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Art of the Infographic

Some of the best and most engaging communications happen with a simple infographic. And in today's times when everyone has no time, the faster you can share an idea and the more powerfully interesting the look, the better.

There is a definite art to the infographic however. Here are two examples of  infographics-- one that expresses itself fast and easily and one that doesn't.

The CALORIE INTAKE infographic beautifully shows what you're eating and what it takes to burn it off. The colors and the way it is set up works perfectly.

An example of a great infographic

On the other hand, the SALAD vs BIG MAC graphic is a disaster. Not only is it boring graphically, it's wrong. The designer doesn't seem to understand percentages. They vastly over represent what 73.8% is and then compound the problem with the 3-D imagery.

Ick, not only is this infographic bad, the percentages shown are way off visually.

Inaccuracies and bad visualizations will take your infographic down, and fast. Not all designers are talented enough to dash out a great infographic. So make sure you consult a pro when building yours.