There are a lot of things you’re not allowed to do in advertising and marketing.

“You can’t say that – the Advertising Standards Authority won’t allow us.”

“Can’t show the product, the government forbids it.”

“Stick to standard banners, the client can’t afford rich media.”

Or “You can’t shoot the ad, we don’t have the budget.”

Restrictions make a brief challenging.

And more interesting.

I’ve just been working on a local government information campaign.

There were so many restrictions, my creative partner and I couldn’t see a way forward.

We became dispirited.

But gradually we saw something.

All the can’ts were forcing us to think simply – about what we could say.

The restrictions were helping us to be creative.

This happens a lot in our business.

It happened in Singapore, when my partner and I worked on an anti-drink drive commercial.

The restriction in the brief – no gore – led us to an original, cerebral approach.

It often happens when there’s no budget for photography, and you just have to write a powerful headline.

It happened in the 70s and 80s, when regulations governing cigarette advertising led to some brilliant work for Benson & Hedges Gold and Silk Cut.

And it’s happening now to my partner Jeff and me, when we work on drinks brands.

As we’re not allowed to talk about the alcohol, we find creative inspiration in the flavour.

So if you’re having to deal with a bunch of can’ts on your brand, don’t despair.

They could help you create an original and more effective piece of work.

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