Smuggling in the entertainment
Just read a great post from Simon Veksner addressing a major misconception on the role of entertainment in advertising:
“It’s often said that ads need to be entertaining because the entertainment allows us to ‘smuggle in’ a product benefit – the bit that is the commercially effective part of the ad.
I agree with the smuggling theory, but I actually think it works the other way round.”
Simon’s point isn’t just about making life more fun for creatives. It’s also in line with an increasing amount of research showing that emotive advertising is significantly more effective than ads that seek to communicate a rational product benefit (I’ve written more on this here).
The myth that creativity is just a vehicle for communicating a product message still seems to go largely unchallenged by clients, but it has major implications for how we brief and evaluate work. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend Paul Feldwick’s excellent paper ‘Exploding The Message Myth’ – probably the most illuminating piece I’ve read about how advertising really works.