In his now famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been, ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
When most people run an ad, they want to be as safe as possible because it costs a lot of money to advertise. So they try to cram as much as they can in there. They want to make their logo as big as they can. They avoid saying anything controversial or show anything that may not be utterly obvious.
But what if you took the opposite opposite point of view? What if you woke up each day, asking yourself: How can I find more ways to share my value with the world? How can I communicate my message in new and interesting way? The way I see it, if you’re going to spend the money to advertise, then you need to make a bold statement. Be different. Do something people won’t expect. There is no greater waste, no greater evil, in advertising than apathy. To have someone glance at your ad and not even notice.
If you’re going to advertise, say something that matters. Whether people love it or hate it, at least make them feel something. Get them to think: “that’s for me” or “that’s not for me.” Because if your advertising can’t do that, then why even bother?
Understand that every great brand in this world, you know only because they had the courage to stand for something and the perseverance to communicate it consistently and in different ways. There is no true safety in anything really. “Playing it safe” can be the worst strategy of all because it makes you unmemorable and stale.
Be bold. Matter.