Everyone makes mistakes. But I don’t think it is an issue.
Instead the big issue is this: some companies are so anxious never to make a mistake that they don’t experiment with new ideas.
The view within such companies seems to be one that says, if we make a mistake we will become a laughing stock and no one will buy from us again.
So safety first is the approach: keep running the same advertisements with the same general theme, rather than trying anything different.
On the website civilservant.org.uk there is a section on Government Blunders which lists some of the most catastrophic blunders of recent years from the poll tax onwards. It concludes that not that the British government makes horrific blunders but rather that there is “a failure to learn from previous failures – or even reconsider policies when they are going badly wrong.”
It is an interesting assessment, because it is one that we really should consider when writing advertisements.
Of course we can always carry on writing the same sort of advertisements as we have used before or we can experiment. And if we experiment, yes, some of the adverts will fail to get much response. One or two might even bring complaints. You might even get someone writing in saying, “After an advertisement like that I’ll never buy from your company again.”
But the fact is, without experimentation you will never find that approach that really does double your response rate.
And the point is, if you create an advertisement that offends someone, or appears to someone else to trivialise an important issue, you might well feel mortified. But those people who have been offended (and there are unlikely to be more than a handful) will have lives to lead and will soon forget about your advert.
The same is true with mistakes. Mistakes can be embarrassing, but they happen, as when Royal Mail released the design of a stamp commemorating the D Day landings, but which actually showed American soldiers landing in Dutch New Guinea. It was news for a day, now it is a collectors’ item.
It was to encourage experimentation that we set up the 6-Email campaign series – to allow companies that wanted to email regularly while using different messages to do so at a lower price.
If you want to discuss ways of changing your advertising style to new experimental styles and approaches, please do get in touch. We have used many such approaches over the years and are happy to chat about what we have found.