Last week our agency created marketing pieces to promote art classes, taught by popular Utah artist Jo Hanks. The pieces were to be distributed at a busy arts and crafts superstore, where Ms. Hanks would draw a crowd by working on a painting live.
I stopped by to see how things were going.
Crowds gathered to watch Ms. Hanks turn a blank canvas into a stunning still life. In plain view of the crowd, a large, hand-painted sign said, "Sign Up for Art Classes." Everywhere were stacks of our marketing piece advertising the classes and urging people to sign up.
Yet — despite the sign and the flyers — one person after another expressed utter surprise upon learning that classes were available. They had seen an artist at work, but tuned out everything else. The sign and the flyers were lost on them.
It served as an important reminder to me that:
1) People don't pay attention.
2) What seems persuasive in the quiet of your office can fall flat in the real world.
3) Subtlety is for wimps. Be willing to bonk people over the head.
4) Take time to leave the office and watch how your stuff performs — or fails to — on the job.
With the benefit of having witnessed this scene for myself, I can tell you that this agency will do its next flyer very, very differently.