On getting your advertising noticed

Creating advertising that gets noticed is vital, yet this central point is all too often forgotten, says CR’s ad columnist Ben Kay

One individual standing out of the crowd, individuality, choice and free tought concept

What’s the most important question to ask when creating an ad? Common answers to this conundrum include, ‘Is it consistent with the brand?’, ‘Will it sell stuff?’ and ‘Who is it aimed at?’ All valid and valuable enquiries, but the most important question is one I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say in an ad agency: ‘Will anyone notice it?’

As usual, there’s a Bill Bernbach quote that lays this situation out with elegant precision: “If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic.” And it really is that simple. All the debate about Bodoni vs Baskerville, all the hand-wringing over tone of voice, all the late nights fretting over the length of the packshot…. If your advertising goes unnoticed, every single one of the supposedly critical debates in ad agencies is rendered pointless.