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Think about the number of marketing messages you see during a typical day: Your morning begins with a commercial on your clock radio. You turn on the TV and a car dealer shouts at you as you brush your teeth. You get dressed, and there’s a logo on your pants, your shirt, your watch. You see billboards on your drive to work. And, at work, you see Google search ads and banner ads on websites. At lunch, you check Facebook and see their ads, too…

What’s striking isn’t the number of ads you’ve seen. It’s the number of ads you ignored.

Chances are, you don’t recall most of the ads you see. They barely register a blip on your radar screen. Which means there are a whole lot of companies out there wasting untold sums of money to run ads that aren’t doing their two most fundamental jobs ‚Äî getting noticed and being remembered.

Am I saying that your next campaign needs to have wild and crazy stunts, flashing neon signs and a heavy metal soundtrack? Not at all. But ad campaigns have to be different enough to be noticed. An ad’s most important job is to stand out from all the advertising clutter that surrounds it. It has to make people think, laugh, listen, or learn ‚Ä쬆even get angry, in some cases.

Too many companies launch campaigns based on the false idea that their prospects actually want to pay attention to what they have to say.

But that’s rarely the case. Advertising is an interruption (from your TV program, your music, your drive to work). If you’re going to interrupt people, shouldn’t you take care to make the interruption worth their time? I think so.

At the very least, you should be polite and not insult the intelligence of the people you’re trying to reach.

These days, people are strapped for time and flooded with advertising messages. Ad agencies and clients have to work harder to get attention. But, manners are important. Make the time you’re taking away from your prospect’s busy day worth their while.