The most damning comment I can hear from a client after we present some creative work is: “I’m comfortable with this.”
My stock reaction is to apologize and promise we will do better when we bring back revised concepts. Invariably our client wonders what the heck happened between communicating that they liked the work to my suggestion that it hadn’t measured up.
Advertising that makes clients comfortable makes their audience comfortable too. Comfortable people snuggle down further into their blankies and fall asleep.
Brave advertising takes people out of their comfort zones. It shakes them up or inspires them or makes them roar with laughter or gets them reaching for the phone or hitting the click here button immediately.
Brave advertising should, therefore, make our clients a bit nervous. Not running-for-the-toilet nervous. But giddy-with-the-prospects nervous.
Might it cause complaints? Yes. That’s the risk of not being invisible. There will always be someone who gets upset by your advertising. I wrote about some of our complaints here. It’s impossible to please everyone, so never try.
But why would any business want to take the risks that come with brave advertising?
Simple: because it’s just as risky to put your audience to sleep. And there are no rewards for doing so.