Cutting through the B.S.

John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Sun, 25 Sep 1994 12:49:34 JST

Concerning Lieber's reply to Mizrach on "cutting through the B.S."

Mike, you wonderful man. I am sorrier than ever you weren't in Chicago
when we passed through this summer. Two things I'd like to add to
what you say.

(1) Failure to do what your colleague recommended and meet the
student's argument on his own level neglects what is, for me, one
of the basic axioms of good teaching (and now that I work in advertising of
any effective communication) : TO REACH THEM YOU'VE GOTTO START WHERE THEY ARE.
Too vivid indeed are the memories of
my own disastrous first attempts to teach--when I made the
gross mistake of assuming that undergraduates at a good, small
liberal arts college shared the obsessions and allusions of
someone fresh out of graduate school. It didn't occur to me to
wonder if they knew or cared who or what it was that I was
referring to as I chattered about what was, to me, the latest great
advance in anthropological theory.

(2) In the advertising world, the situation you describe often involves
confusion between the strategic and executional levels of designing
a campaign. Strategy is deciding what the message is and why you
believe that communicating that message to the market segment you
select as your target will achieve your advertising objective: e.g.,
raising brand awareness, improving corporate image, selling 20,000
cars, etc. Execution is all the neat creative stuff: the pictures, the
copy, the music. In principle we're supposed to start with strategy, thengo on
to execution. In fact, of course, it often happens the other wayaround.
Thinking about a neat execution leads to rewriting the
strategy. One good reason why good creative directors don't brush off
executional notions when strategy is the topic at hand and do allow
the time it takes to see where a notion will lead.

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)