Unless we are simple, clear, and direct, we don't communicate. We are not understood. And if we stray from the fundamentals, our chances for success are remote, at best.
The apostle Paul knew the importance of being simple and clear. He said, "Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air."
We are better understood when we use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs. (Please understand. I do not recommend short copy.)
But what keeps our advertising from being simple, clear, and direct? The writer must take much of the blame. He sees himself as a highly creative person. And he cannot equate "creativity" with "simplicity."
He has another problem. He wants to create an advertisement that appeals to all readers of the publication. So he uses a general approach--an indirect approach. By doing so, he reasons that he will have the largest possible audience for his sales story. He attempts to "tease" the general readership into his advertisement.
Now, that might sound like a reasonable strategy. So let me tell you how it differs from one used by a direct marketing professional. The professional is simple and direct. He uses headline and illustration to select from the total readership those individuals who are truly prospective buyers of what he is selling. And he communicates to them, as quickly as he can, the most important benefit provided by his product.
This simple, direct approach gets the attention of the maximum number of genuine prospects for what he has to sell. Then, his copy gives needed information to those readers who are logical buyers of what he is selling. Again he seeks out and directs his message to genuine prospects. He puts aside any temptation to provide pabulum for all readers.
Now, let's talk about keeping advertising simple. First, let's hear what some famous advertising people say about being simple.