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My Wife and I had a Disagreement

My wife and I had a disagreement.

This is an extraordinarily rare occurrence in our house, but this was real enough.

Very disturbing, I must tell you.

If this brings to mind images of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid Virginia Wolfe or Philip Marlowe-like private investigators, you are getting a sense of the magnitude of the matter.

You see, when we are both home at the same time (not traveling) which is rare, and we can catch dinner together (rarer still), we often do so in the den and catch the latest political news.

We are both interested in the machinations in the nation’s capital for different reasons, but interested nonetheless.

You might, then, be imagining a political disagreement, a mini civil war perhaps. No, this was worse.

In between the news clips and ubiquitous talking heads, there are commercials. We watch these. And I often make a comment about the effectiveness of the communication. Did the ad get the message across? Would it prompt me to buy the product?

Or Barb will originate that the ad lacked impact or positioning, or, conversely, was a great ad.

And on these we almost always agree. Our viewpoints are our own, but we generally see eye-to-eye on how well an advertiser gets his message across.

So the other morning, I sat down at my desk in my home office, and there was a full page magazine ad with a fluorescent green sticky note on it from Barb saying that the positioning of the ad was so good they must have surveyed it.

I looked at the ad. The positioning was good and the communication was nearly instant.

“Excellent positioning,” I said. “But it would have been even better without the text. Would have been more powerful with just the images and the contact information.”

“No, no,” she said. “The text makes the ad better.”

“Eh… nope,” I said. “Better without it.”

Well now you see crux of the disagreement. One should be able to look at an ad, and get an instant communication – the more the picture can tell the story, the better. If you have to read what the advertiser says, to that degree, the communication is not instant.

My view then is that this ad, good as it is, would be even better without the text below the two pictures. One would look at the two pictures, get the communication and look to the bottom of the page at who sponsored it.

So you take a look.

Many of you, I know, will agree with Barb. But I challenge you to imagine the ad without the text, except what is at the bottom, and see how fast you get the communication.

Good positioning should get the communication across instantly.

This advertiser created the ad, by the way, not by use of surveys, but with a clever use of his name.

What do you think? The ad is attached. Does it communicate better with or without the text (note: the text wasn’t “broken” in the ad, this happened in copying)?

Oh, and if need some help with your own surveys or positioning, we are but a call or click of the mouse away.



Bruce Wiseman
President & CEO
On Target Research