Show don't tell

Marketing Communications Robin Petherbridge of Creative Partners reveals some of the tricks of the trade gleaned from 25 years creating campaigns for the marine industry.

'Show, don't tell' is a time-honoured technique in all kinds of communications, as a means of conveying a message in a more compelling and memorable way.

Just the sort of tool you need for marketing! Instead of a long-winded explanation of a product's qualities, how much better to express them with images that convey the benefits of those qualities, or that evoke feelings which bestow those qualities on the product.

It's not something the marine industry is terribly good at. Marine advertising is too often little more than a product shot and a bland statement of qualities posing as a headline.

Brochures often feature those worthy but dull quality claims, all rather unconvincing and unmemorable. But the other day I saw a glowing example of how it should be done, a truly memorable image and the sort of endearing creative idea that can genuinely change customers' perceptions.

The image was a motor yacht engine room, all very tidy and shiny, with a ballerina practicing her moves using the handrail alongside the V16s. Smooth, graceful, effortless, pristine precision – a perfect analogy for the kind of engine room we'd all love to have, with obvious implications for the quality of the whole boat.

What a neat way to get the message across. Who was the Ad for? Not British unfortunately, it was for Feadship.

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