Wordy McWordiness: What Makes a Great Ad Campaign, Part 2

POSTED BY Michael Zydzik - 07.19.13 - Creative

I'm back. Rested. Feisty. And ready to tweak noses. Here is the second post in my three-part series of what makes a great ad campaign.


beef Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" campaign


Like they say in Hollywood, "If it's not on the paper, it's not on the screen." It's the same with great ad campaigns. The discipline of copywriting is a core component in the foundation of a great ad campaign. And not just the clever and compelling audience facing-words that become part of the public vernacular like Wendys' "Where's the beef?" or Bud Light's "WASSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUP!?" - yeah, they can become overused and annoying, can't they? But then, that's a testament to the power of really good copywriting.


Budlight Campaign "WASSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUP!?" (Bud Light)


Great creative messaging is invented through a dual vocabulary that is both literal and conceptual - words and imagery - that gives life to a holistic universe of believability. And much like a great movie, a great campaign convinces its audience to buy into that universe with their hearts and minds as well.

I'll talk more about the coupling of words and images and pushing limits in my third installment. This post is devoted to the easily dismissed or even forgotten words within the realm of a great campaign. There are other words within the landscape of a great ad campaign that are arguably just as powerful as those pop-culture influencing tag lines that never get beyond the conference room. And they lay within the art of the pitch.

In my opinion, if a campaign isn't seen, it doesn't count. You can have the greatest idea ever in the history of our industry, but if the client doesn't agree and they don't sign off, It. Does. Not. Count. So, a narrative needs to be built from the ground up in support of that amazing campaign idea. A narrative that shapes a client's perceptions and attitudes and elevates their excitement for that great idea.

Reconsider an all to often arid point-of-view of foundational creative strategy documentation and, instead, see them as powerful creative and persuasive opportunities:

• White board
• Voice discovery and definitions
• Creative briefs
• Position statements
• Dominant strategies
• Presentations
• Brand guides
• Style guides

Each element playing a crucial narrative role in the story of selling the client. There is power in these behind-the-scenes words and they should be treated with the same creative reverence we have for headlines and tag lines.


LarryBlackmon Singer Larry Blackmon


In the end, be in awe of all well-crafted words that can either paint compelling emotional pictures and or hold strategic and persuasive power. The pitch is as much as part of the story as the creative that ends up in front of the public.

Or, as the great Larry Blackmon, lead singer of Cameo, once said:

"Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mama, come on baby tell me what's the word - WORD UP!"

No more powerful and salient words have ever been written.



Michael Zydzik

Michael Zydzik

As Fusionfarm's creative director, Michael directs his team creatively. He also leads branding and marketing strategy efforts, multi-media advertising campaigns, client pitches and presentations. He has two rescue dogs he refers to as his "kids" named Noodles and Monroe.

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