The 30% Rule
And who exactly makes up that 30%? You know them. They're the ones we "dumb down" our ad campaigns for. The ones we fear might misinterpret what we're saying. The ones we don't think will be able to follow the bread crumbs we've left for them. Those who, heaven forbid, might blink when a key bullet point appears. Or write a cranky letter when we attempt to treat them like thinking individuals instead of spoon-feeding them bland copy points.
The concept we loved in the creative presentation, upon further consideration, might be too far over the heads of "some people," we reason, so let's just dial it down a few degrees. You know, take out anything that may be seen as controversial, esoteric or require critical thinking.
I'm sorry to say this, but there's no better way to screw up a concept. Making a communication "more universal" (a nice way of saying "dumbing it down") almost always results in the loss of the engagement edge that attracted us to the concept in the first place.
And as far as making sure "the rest of them" get it? They don't. These "flat earthers" either don't have the mental synapses to grasp what we're saying or they're just too pre-occupied with the other million things they don't understand.
The scary thing about that 30% is the power we give them to put the kibosh on our work. Too many times, at the first whiff of them finding something in the copy "unclear" or our use of visuals "offensive," we pack up our storyboards and head back to the shop for a makeover.
So what do you do about that 30%? My advice is to ignore 'em. Accept the fact that you're never going to create something that appeals to 100% of the people, and focus on your "sweet spot" -- the key narrow market you've identified. Don't compromise one iota on what it takes to earn their engagement. Challenge yourself to make your marketing communications smarter. Not dumber.
Making changes to a concept because you're afraid "somebody might not get it" doesn't make it any better. It just makes it less interesting. And is that the way you want your customers to see you?