Proven advertising ideas to get more people to buy from you, visit you or know about you. Not to mention plenty of tips on creating successful copy, layout and images. All filtered through the thick haze of classic rock lore.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The key to getting creatively un-stuck

The next time you're stuck on a copywriting or design project, take a listen to almost any rocker's early recordings and you'll learn the key to getting creatively and stylistically un-stuck.

The key?

Simply imitate someone good. Not plagiarize, just imitate. It's what ignited many careers.

The examples are really endless.

Tommy Roe started out by sounding a lot like Buddy Holly. Donovan started out as a Dylan knock-off, singing protest songs with a harmonica around his neck. Joe Cocker began by sounding like Ray Charles (if Ray Charles was a hippie). And the New Riders of the Purple Sage soundled just like the Grateful Dead.

But after a while, these imitators eventually found their own voice. Donovan chucked the harmonica and protest songs and became a poster flower child. Joe Cocker started soundling less like a white Ray Charles and more like soft rock. And who knows what happened to Tommy Roe. But they all grew into their own style.

This little tactic of looking to the greats for inspiration works every time if you're stuck on a project or in the beginning stages of learning your craft.

So where can you go for inspiration? Here are just four tips:

  1. Develop a swipe file. Save the print ads, brochures and direct mail you like and admire.

  2. Visit the Communications Arts archives on line to see recent creative samples some of the top agencies are creating.

  3. Subscribe to Communications Arts quarterly journals and annual advertising, design and illustration books.

  4. Google "ad agencies" and look at their samples.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Flintststones & knowing your target audience

This one has nothing to do with classic rock (except that it's from 1961) -- but it's just as shocking as the backwards masking in "Stairway to Heaven." In the commercial linked below, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble extol the virtues of smoking Winston cigarettes. Yes, "The Flintstones" originally ran in the evening during prime time, but children still made up its loyal audience. Didn't Winston and the network know this? Or did Winston exploit the first rule of marketing (know your audience) by strategically targeting children to build a new and growing market. Decide for yourself and click on

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