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It’s not creative unless it sells

This year, Super Bowl advertisers shelled out a record $5 million for a 30-second television spot. That’s $166,666 per second, the most expensive ads ever.

What did the businesses that ran those ads get for their money? Sure, there were interesting, creative, funny, heart-warming, adrenaline-pumping ads. Some more memorable than others. But how many inspired us to take action?

Some clients think that what we do as agencies is just art and design.

Without a true understanding of the brand or the realities of the marketplace, most agencies tend to produce work that is just not good enough.

It may look great, even pretty, and it may even win awards. But does it inspire the client’s audiences, their prospects, customers, and others to make a move? Does the advertising deliver a return on the client’s investment? The greatest criticism we hear about agencies today is, “The work no longer moves people to action.”

Famous advertising agencies have always understood that this is what advertising is all about and has always been about since Albert Lasker first decided to turn advertising into a selling force, rather than a mere source of information.

Benton and Bowles, a great agency of the 1970s, said it this way:

“It’s not creative unless it sells.”

It’s really, really important for agencies to focus on what clients truly want from us: effective advertising that moves people to action. Start marching.

By Jason Piasecki, Partner + ROI Guy

Jason is a Partner and the CEO at Revel, a B2B marketing agency. He is a diehard baseball fan who loves his Detroit Tigers. Family vacations often revolve around seeing games in different MLB ballparks around the country – they’ve been to 21 so far and counting. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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