I’ve always believed that advertising should be persuasive (if your message isn’t compelling there is no reason for anyone to buy, sign up, or connect in any way), simple (complex messages are difficult to understand and often bore or become invisible), emotional (BBH famously developed the theory of the Emotional Selling Proposition (ESP), a direct move away from the older Unique Selling Proposition (USP) standard. ESP has become the basis for some of the most powerful advertising in the past century) and it should tell a good story (by leading viewers, readers or listeners through a story you can engage them on a deeper level and help them understand your product or service on a more personally).
I’ve also always felt Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are the low-hanging fruit in the world of advertising. Their accessible purposes are easy to understand by nearly everyone. How can you not agree that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, or that you really should give a hoot, don’t pollute and support the American Red Cross Haiti Relief effort. Agencies develop a mascot, line up some celebrities and write some wicked copy. But often these campaigns still fall short of greatness.
So I’m giving kudos to the United Kingdom’s Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and their new Embrace Life campaign which encourages seatbelt use. In America, we currently have our own simpleminded and threatening Click it or Ticket campaign and maybe a clever billboard, but honestly none have ever been persuasive.
Well done, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership. Persuasive, simple, emotional and it tells a story.