Look at the above sign. All other times it’s okay to litter?
We all know that can’t be and for those of us who live in New York City this is a very familiar sign — it’s the alternate side-of-the-street parking sign. But in this email the sign appears to be about littering, not parking. You may even wonder what the “P” stands for.
This is a perfect example of why these 3C’s — Context, Conciseness and Clarity — are so important in all creative. Let me explain how it applies to the above image:
CONTEXT — This sign is taken totally out of context. It’s not hanging on a pole on a New York City street and you’re not trying to find the best parking spot. When you are parking your car and quickly looking at this sign your eye only goes straight to the hours, because that’s the only thing you are concerned about.
CONCISENESS — This sign has two messages. “DON’T LITTER” is really not necessary.
CLARITY — The lesser message “DON’T LITTER” is really overpowering the real message. This is due to the strong design element of a broom popping out and directing your eye to the words “DON’T LITTER.” This confuses the real message of the sign.
These parking signs are bolted to steel poles, therefore they are only going to be seen where they are. But not all messages are like that. Always keep the 3C’s in mind with your direct response creative. Ask these questions:
1. How or when is a customer receiving your collateral? If it’s moved to another context will it have the same meaning? Also consider who and when your audience will see your mail piece. If people are reviewing their email quickly on their smartphone, is your message right to the point in the least number of characters?
2. Can you get your message down to its core? If your mail piece needs to have a second message, make sure it does not fight for attention.
3. Is it clear? I recommend getting a fresh set of eyes to review your message — ideally a person not at all connected to the project.
We’d love to help you improve response. Let us be the fresh set of eyes to review your current creative message.