A Good Ad Should Do Its Work And Then Get Out Of The Way

Do ads get better if you know how they're made? No, says Kate.

If you're anything like me you'll have watched a much-heralded ad (like Sainsbury's Xmas offer) and thought ‘meh'. But then a few weeks later you'll read about it in Creative Review, understand how complex the production process was then discover a new found respect for it.

Well I do this a fair bit as I love the craft that goes into making ads. And to be honest we all bemoan the fact that clients and consumers don't always understand the expertise that goes into our work, no matter how simple or complicated.

But does it matter - does an ad get better if the viewer understands the blood sweat and tears that went into it?

There's an analogy with the fifteen minute ‘how we did it' packages at the end of nature documentaries. Understanding the difficult environments and physical discomfort endured by the documentary crews along with their innovation and passion for the subject creates a heightened level of respect for their programmes.

Should this be the same for our ads? Well it's a big fat ‘no'. Unlike documentaries ads are necessarily interruptive and not an active viewing choice (unless you're me!). A good ad should do its work quickly and memorably then get out of the way. It simply doesn't have the luxury of getting better with further explanation. And this is a good thing. It means we have to develop ideas that work in a single moment and that precision makes better ads.


Last Updated: 15/02/2017
Author: Joe Chetcuti

No comments made yet

Add Your Comment

* required fields

Thanks for visiting

Download our quick one page guide to writing a great creative brief:

  • First principles
  • Understanding your audience
  • Keeping the brief brief
  • What to include


Promo Splash Form

* required fields


COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

We're still here to help brands grow in these difficult times.

Things may take a little longer as we deal with projects remotely. 

Please use our contact form to get in touch.

Stay safe

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)