If you know me even a little, you’ll know that I’m an ad-writer. Mainly because I rant about it all the time. And as copywriters often do, I too write the occasional ‘howler’ that’s well written, but as the client says, “…it’s too intelligent for our target audience”. And in my short career of almost two years, I have heard this from every client and almost every account executive, not to mention my creative director and boss, “Tone it down a bit, they might not understand.”
Yes I agree simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, but I don’t see why we can’t look any other way. Now I refuse to believe that. I happen to agree with a few of Leo Burnett’s philosophies. One of them being, ‘if you write considering your customer is stupid, you’ll make stupid ads’. So what if they won’t understand a reference or a pun at the first go? It’s human tendency to find out more about something they don’t completely know, especially if someone they know knows about it.
I believe what doesn’t go over their head, goes beneath them. The modern day consumer is tired of being talked down to. But he can’t go and complain to a hoarding he sees on the highway. All he can do is hate the product for attempting to spoon-feed him.