Marketers have created some of the world’s best throw away lines,
“Less is more”:“Sweeter, sweeter the more you repeata” etc. All with deft levels of meaning, mostly good but all very vague. One such term, actually it’s an acronym, is KISS
.The acronym KISS [‘Keep it simple stupid’] is now officially under review by me. I’ve learned it’s a contradiction in terms! It’s a gaff! A clanger – a true oxymoron! It’s clever and idiotic at the same time. You see keeping things simple is bloody complicated and no one understands that any more.
There’s our local greengrocer who has called himself something clever and simple – that’s good but when the muffin tried to translate it into an ad, he made it so simple it became positively useless. Sticking to the rule, he put his name in large letters, gave it a nice tag line and didn’t tell anyone where he is located. Now that’s simple – really simple!
From this we can conclude that KISS doesn’t mean you can leave your brain at home and retire your mind. It actually means the opposite. To create something as simple as a safety pin took the mind of an engineer. Think about it, the common or garden pencil, invented in the 1500’s by the way; the toilet roll; the ‘post it note’; the list goes on. The reason you and I didn’t think of these things first is obvious – it’s clever and while the problem is easy, the solution is a tad more complex.
One of my ‘not so kind’ competitors recently suggested that I think too much, he thought it was an insult. What he didn’t realise was that I actually believe that we all don’t think enough. ‘Keeping it simple stupid’ at least in marketing terms, is profoundly difficult. Yes we want all our advertising and communication to be beautifully simple but with that goes the need to be concise, clear and beautiful and that demands it to be kind to the eye.
So let’s all take some time out and think about this simplicity thing. Attach some riders to its projection. Riders like, making the words you use in your advertising meaningful, sensitive, moving and above all tasteful. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that simple things can be all of the aforementioned and interestingly enough there in lies the common denominator.
The secret can best be found by looking seriously at the world’s most fabulous mission statement. It towers over all others. It belongs to the world’s greatest entertainment icon. It is founded on an interactive desire and it’s so simple it’s sickening. It is, in every way the epitome of intelligent, ignorance. It is Disney’s and it requires no other explanation.
“We exist to make people happy!”
What’s the secret? – Well, it’s human and while we can all understand it completely – it has been conceived by minds which are far from simple. Minds who have not been afraid to speak with humanity and utilise words which touch our hearts. So I’m wishing on a star tonight folks and I’ll make no secret of what I’m asking for. My request will be, “Give me the wisdom to understand the complexities and translate them into the simply human.” Thanks Walt!