About fifteen years ago I was working for a vaunted creative shop. For whatever reason, some senior account executive invited in a rep from Starch, the commercial testing cabal, to instruct us on how to get a better Starch score.
Now, Ad Age, that quasi-journalistic bastion of the trite and insipid, the doyen of the anti-intuitive, is this week running an article reporting that the Dynamic Logic company has tips for us on online-brand-building. They even include a call-out box with the bold-face heading "The right ingredients for online ads." For those of you reading Ad Aged while in solitary confinement or stuck in a nearly forgotten gulag somewhere and who are dying for something to read, here is the link: http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=119276
But as the sign said on the way to the witch's fortress in The Wizard of Oz, "I'd turn back if I were you."
The reason I'm outraged about crap like Dynamic Logic is that it will be latched onto by so many purported marketing people. Rules will emerge. Do's and don't's. All of which, I suppose are ok if they do not devolve into absolutism. But you and I both know they will. Clients and internal reviews will be at the mercy of check-lists. In time, except for the talented-tenth of agencies, innovation will be stymied and be replaced by karaoke creative. Formulaic blather. Lack of experimentation.
The key to success in virtually any endeavor is the willingness to fail. I could, but I won't, insert a sports metaphor here.
OK, back to the anecdote I opened with. A famous creative director who later opened his own NY agency which later became a gigantic worldwide company, sat through the Starch meeting. He immediately revised a board he had sold to open with the ringing of a telephone--because according to Starch, such a device would boost a score. The ringing had nothing at all to do with the spot. As Adolph Eichmann said, he was only following orders.