Tuesday, 3 July 2012

When Advertising goes Bad

In our businesses, we spend loads of time putting together advertising that works beautifully, fits our brand personality, uses the fonts and colour parameters our designers have specified. Advertising is not cheap, and any advertising spend must give us good value for money.

We send our items off for publication, only to find that in placing the ads, the channel distributor has undone all our good work. If you don't know what I am talking about, check out the placement of the stadium Yahoo ad alongside the seat block number at http://adfailure.com/ad-fails/popular/32247-error-seating-area-not-found, and check out the ads in this Imgur photo album called "23 Most Unfortunate Advertising Placements" at http://imgur.com/a/7shrP . The Imgur album even includes a Kiwi ad - check out the message redirect the school bus sign unexpectedly creates for the Quit programme.

Bad examples will end up re-circulated on the internet for years. How do we guard against channel distributors being thoughtless with our hard work?

A few ideas:
  1. Have a brand manual specifying all aspects of your branding. Give a copy of your brand manual to each of your distribution channels
  2. Have a contract with your distribution channels assuring you of appropriate surrounding item placements (including, but not limited to text, articles, images, advertising materials, installations and video)
  3. Ensure you not only approve the proof, but see mockups of the final placement to be sure that the environment itself will not compromise your message
  4. If you are developing vehicle livery, specify the vehicle types the artwork is to be applied to, and think through the different parameters each vehicle type will present. Use computer mockups to view what vehicles will look like with doors open, around wheel arches, around other signage and around tinted windows. Ensure you use channels who will report back for guidance when something is outside the design specifications.
While these items are going to cost you more, they will prevent your brand going viral on the web, year after year, circulating in emails.


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