There is absolutely no reason why so much advertising has to be so bad. Production value is not an easy thing to have, but it is possible. You have to find the right people. The right people will know how to add production value and it doesn’t always have to cost a ton of money. (It should be noted that you should probably go ahead and pay these people well, because the skill is in demand and they will be hired away if you don’t.)
Adding high production value can take (to use a creative industry cliche) thinking outside the box. It can often be risky. Why do something different and well-produced when you can just throw on the same ad you did 15 years ago and save time and money?
It also speaks to one of my core values which is looking bigger than you really are. I’d like to think some of our work looks like it was produced by far larger companies. Just because you are buying low-cost media doesn’t mean you can’t do some really great ads. Surprise people. They’ve heard all the crap advertising they need. Give them a breath of fresh air with something different. Maybe, just maybe they’ll remember you for it.
And it’s also a challenge to those of us in the creative industry. Is it easy to churn out work that isn’t that great, but because it’s in a small market no one will know the difference? Sure it is. But then you’re just being creatively lazy. If only I was in a bigger market, then I would get the cool jobs. Turn your current jobs into cool jobs. Suggest new creative strategies that will blow people away, even in your small market. Small market usually means small budgets. It’s easy to be creative on a budget in the millions. Try being creative on a budget in the low thousands. Heck, try being creative on a budget of $550. I’m currently working on a job for $550. Am I severely underpaid? Heck, yeah. Would it be easy to churn out some crap in a few hours and call it good? Yup. But, I sold them a creative idea that I fell in love with. Because of that we are going to produce a campaign that’s worth 100 times what the paycheck will be. And it’s worth it. Because I have the chance to take something that could be another crappy, small-town ad campaign and turn it into something so much more.
(That was kind of a rant. Probably a product of me being sick and cranky. Sorry.)