Brief Comments on Ad Psychology

May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

The old adage of course is that “good design is invisible” which I definitely believe in and think designers have kind pushed to the wayside because they want to stand out and be known which really fails to solve the design problem.

But! This post is not about that.

I do spend a lot of time studying and criticizing bad design (which I think is the best way to not repeat those mistakes) but it’s easy to forget to mention the good out there.

Living in Calgary you see SAIT ads everywhere and while I was riding the train the other day I mulled over the tagline they’ve used most: “Get a more rewarding career.” which I like for two reasons. The first is it’s honest. Good design is honest and I think in the increasingly jaded and cynical world we live in, we tend to block out ads that are worded flowery and try to sell happiness and not the product. So, it’s probably more effective to be upfront about it.

The second thing I like is the word “rewarding” there. It’s brilliant in it’s vagueness! That’s the point, really. What is rewarding to you? Do you want money? Excellent, come here and get it with our career training. Could you care less about money and instead want an emotionally satisfying career? Excellent, you can get that here too. It’s a word that means so much to so many people it actually loses meaning since no one can pin down a universal definition, which works perfectly here. The ad doesn’t read “Get a more satisfying career.” nor does it say “Get a better-paying career.” but it says both.

And that, is how you advertise to everyone without diversifying ad campaigns (which cost time, money and brand confusion since multiple ads with multiple market demographics mean less overall repetition of message.)

And that, is really clever.

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