A marketing consultant I happen to know attended a business convention to troll for customers. He showed up wearing a clown suit. (I’m not making this up.) When a mutual acquaintance recognized him and expressed shock, the consultant said, “Got your attention, didn’t I?” Well, yes. So does my next door neighbor’s youngest child, who cannot play outdoors without assaulting my ears with high-pitched screams. But when it comes time to buy Girl Scout cookies, she’s not the kid I seek out. (I seek out this one.)
Not that you must always choose between remarkable and relevant. Sometimes you can have both. We opened a TV commercial for ChemDry, the world’s largest carpet cleaning service, with an extreme close up of carbonated water bubbling out of a bottle. It was an arresting visual. It also led nicely to ChemDry’s advantages: they use carbonated water, because those bubbles loosen dirt; and this allows them to clean using less water, so carpets dry faster.
Still, do not underestimate the power of straightforward relevance. A client with a visually stunning TV spot invited us to see if we could do better. We created a spot with naught but an authoritative talking head explaining what the product did. It outperformed the stunning spot five-to-one.