Imperfections in action
A classic example is a massively successful Olivy ad for Hathaway, a brand of shirts. They took a classic print ad format, with one noticeable change. The model was wearing an eye-patch.
It was a small change, seemingly of little consequence. It actually had a rather large consequence: doubling Hathaway’s shirt sales in under five years. You see, because people are so used to seeing conventionally attractive models with little diversity, a gesture like an eye-patch led people to take notice of the ad. Helped along with some killer copy, sales rocketed.
Though this is an old example, imperfection is still being used today.
Horror film ads tend to be pretty formulaic – an eerie soundtrack, a sprinkling of corners and a hefty serving of jump scares. But Lionsgate’s recent horror film Ghost Stories found a way to deliver something a little different and – we think – effective.
The film’s strapline, relating to seeing ghosts and the mind playing tricks, is ‘the brain sees what it wants to see’. Playing around with misspelling, the ads were littered with errors such as ‘Ghost Storeis’, ‘the brain sees waht it wnats to see’ and ‘in cimenas arpil 6.’ Because the brain can interpret mixed-up letters, we can still read what they’re trying to say. This is a clever use of imperfection because it visually communicates the message of the movie.
Snickers have also tried a similar tactic, to more comedic effect. A recent banner ad says: ‘Oh deer. It’s hard to spell when your hungry’ which plays into their tagline ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry.’
So there we have it – a little imperfection can go a long way when it comes to standing out. And done well, it can help your brand look more endearing and trust-worthy, too.