When Creativity Overcomes Good Sense

Ian Lurie

The state of Washington is launching a new, $442,000 marketing campaign. They undoubtedly invested a lot of time in coming up with a slogan to rival ‘I love NY’ and ‘What happens here, stays here’. In the end they came up with ‘SayWA’.

Cute Baby Boy

Yes, SayWA.

Huh?

After choking on my morning cereal, I decided that this is a great example of creativity run amok.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a creative guy. We love using catchy slogans, great-looking creative and other bells and whistles, when they make sense. But we favor marketing effectiveness over prettiness. Any intelligent marketer does.

SayWA sounds like something I’d say on a sitcom. It sounds like slang.

Whoever came up with this ad ignored the first rule of good marketing: Cater to your audience. And here, the audience is out-of-staters. Who, outside the state of Washington, will understand that ‘WA’ means ‘Washington’?

The other slogan that was considered was ‘endless discoveries’. We’ll see soon enough, but I somehow think we should’ve gone with that.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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