Don’t out-spend the competition; out-creative them

Posted on July 13, 2011

Lisa_blog_photo4By: Lisa Schneider, Creative Director, Legato Marketing & Communications

It makes me crazy when I hear a creative team say, "It would be a great ad if we had a bigger budget." This is an excuse to be lazy. Budget does not determine creativity. In fact, the smaller the budget, the more creative you have to be.

As a college student (a long time ago), I saw a television ad that I still hold today as one of the most clever I've seen. The ad was for BOLLA wine. It opened with just the name "BOLLA" on a white background. Then, as voice-over began, one grape rolled to center screen and stopped. The Ls in BOLLA came down and stomped the grape. It was amusing, simply done, and memorable.

It's this ad that compelled me to buy BOLLA wine. I did, and still do. And I see those stomping Ls every time I pour a glass. It still makes me smile.

That's powerful creative. It's what you should expect from your agency and what your agency should expect from itself.

Can't hire a big star to endorse your product or service? Find someone who is trusted, believable, and influential for your target audience. Often people are likely to try a product or service if it's recommended by someone they know and whose opinion is believable and honest. Who would you believe-the star of the week or your doctor?

Don't have the budget to incorporate big special effects? Do the opposite. Use inability to your advantage. For instance, you are creating a TV spot for a hospital and you want to use cool animation that will take the viewer on a journey through the heart, but it isn't feasible. Instead, use voice-over to do something like this: "We could distract you with a sci-fi journey through your heart or animated talking germs, but we want you to hear the facts. Simply. Honestly."

As creatives, we aren't going to say "no thank you" to a big budget. But that isn't what should drive the idea. It's not about the money; it's about the idea. So find it. Then figure out how to successfully execute it within the budget you have. Be creative.

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