A Creative Review: Mini
Today we’re introducing our new weekly feature, “A Creative Review” by longtime friend and advisor James Cooper. ‘Coop’ enthusiastically volunteered to share his thoughts on some of the most innovative and effective Out of Home ads he’s seen around the world.
Based in New York, James has spent over 15 years leading creative projects for several top agencies including Anomaly, Saatchi, and JWT where he was the Chief Creative Innovation officer. He recently won a Gold Lion for Mobile at Cannes for the Band-Aid app featuring the Muppets. James is now pursuing consulting, tech start-ups and entrepreneurial projects in the retail, film and music industry.
Photo credit: Coloribus Creative Advertising Archive
Can A Billboard Go Viral?
Pretty much every client I have worked with over the last 10 years has wanted a viral. What they mean by that is that they want to do something that will reach a ton of people without spending any money. Of course it doesn’t work like that. Who could ever predict that a cat playing a keyboard would turn into a cultural phenomenon? The more you try to force that the more obvious everything becomes.
So really the only thing left is to create a piece of work – it can be a film, a billboard, a postcard – it doesn’t matter, but it needs to be so simple and interesting that people feel compelled to share it. If people want to share something they will find a way of doing it. I don’t think this piece is the strongest in terms of sharability but it does have a simple strong message that a lot of people would have found engaging. I would assume some people shared it with their friends.
Is Your Piece True To The Product?
It seems simple to say this but a lot of billboards just don’t feel like they belong to the product. They don’t ring true. However, this one does. The best thing about it is that although it’s a static image, everything about it implies movement. The ropes and the copy are all about speed and trajectory. How many times have we seen billboards with tire tracks in an attempt to do the same thing. This works so much better. It also leaves a little to the imagnation which is great. The consumer creates in their head what would happen if the catapult was released. Anything where the consumer fills in the last part of the story is also great – as everyone will have their own version.
Just Two Words
The general rule of thumb was that if your billboard uses more than seven words then it’s too complicated. Maybe now that’s not as true, as people are more used to deciphering messages at speed, but for me it still makes a huge amount of sense. And two words is better than seven. Of course everyone knows what a mini is so there is no need to waste any time explaining the product – this is pure branding but it’s still brilliantly economical. If your billboard is purely visual then I would suggest that a visual that can be summed up in seven words or less will also work much better than an intricate piece of layered art.
Not only is the visual intriguing, the copy is too. Agrippez Vous? What the hell does that mean? The literal translation in French is ‘Hold on Tight’ – which obviously works in this context. This was posted in France, so it makes sense, but even if you didn’t understand French this works. It has a cheekiness about it that feels spot on for a European brand.
On to the next one. Want to get involved? Email your favorite or worst billboards you’ve seen and I’ll choose one a week to critique. Just email them to email@example.com