In advertising, one thing most agree on is to focus on, well, one thing. Put out several messages and you’re putting out no message at all. Want your ad to convey a feeling or emotion, or do you want communicate pertinent information in order to elicit a direct response? Pick one, because you can’t do both. It’s tough advice to follow because there’s usually so much we want to say.
This brings us to the thoroughbred industry. Behind the track, mint juleps, and seersucker suits is a high-stakes marketplace, driven by bloodlines, mountains of data points, and keen senses honed from a lifelong love affair with the sport. It’s an industry where decisions are weighed with both data and feeling. If you’re going to spend $1M on a horse, you certainly want facts. But if you’re going to spend $1M on a horse, you probably also want your purchase to look like it was worth $1M.
Gainesway Farm has a world-class stable of stallions. Their stallions are big and handsome, and have every compelling statistic a buyer could look for. Their farm is simply majestic. Their challenge to us: Create ads that deliver the facts and deliver the look.
We answered the challenge, but not at first. See, we really believe in the tenets laid out in the first paragraph of this post. We wanted emotion. We wanted to strip out all of the stats. We wanted to show, not tell. We wanted to focus on the beauty of the stallion, the look in the eye, all of that. But, admittedly, we were naive. We didn’t appreciate how much stats and information drive the market. So we redirected our thinking.
Not only did we embrace the stats, we put them center stage. But we also created a system and gave consistency. We created a code for language and, yes, we did encourage Gainesway to focus on the most important aspects of their message and avoid trying to say too much.
Once we had the facts, delivering the look was easy. The result was a new ad campaign that delivers key information and the feeling of elegance that should come with a high-stakes purchase in a high-stakes marketplace.