May 24, 2016

Continuing the Clutter Conversation: More on Simplicity

Take a quick look at these two ads. Which do you think took longer to create? Which ad made a bigger impression?

Have you ever seen a full-page ad that had just one sentence in the center of an otherwise blank page? Have you ever not read it? The more benefits we tout, the less people read them – and even fewer people absorb them.

When you offer too many choices to a consumer, she chooses nothing. Given too much information, a consumer gets overloaded and postpones decision-making for another day. Or no day.

But we have all these benefits to share. All these audiences to please. All these opportunities to sell our stuff.


It’s better to successfully engage 1/4 of your potential customers than none at all.

Also, although it appears these were both sizable ads, it is a common mistake to draw a parallel between the size of the ad and the size of the creative budget. Clients don’t want to pay much to create a 1/8 page newspaper ad, for instance. (Or a banner ad.) Yet the only way to grab a reader’s attention at that size is to spend a good deal of time being creative with few words and simplified images.

So the next time you’re tempted to include every important angle in your ad, remember that the important work of boiling down your message will make the difference between the success and failure of your communications.