Many people in the marketing and advertising world place a very high value on creativity … on being different … on being original.

But I would argue that creativity is over-valued, and at times, it can even work against you in creating your marketing messages.

How many times have you seen an ad that you just loved, but even a few minutes after it runs, you can’t remember who the sponsor was or what they were selling?

I believe that many ads – usually your favorite, most creative ads – suffer from creative distraction. These are ads that entertain you, that intrigue you, that make you laugh or make you cry, that make you go “wow” – but when all is said and done, it’s the ad that you remember, not the company, the product or the marketing messages.

Several years ago, I attended one of those after-hours network business meetings where everyone has a chance to introduce themselves to the group at large.

One by one, we would each get up in front of the audience and tell everyone our name, our company, a brief description of the work we do and the kind person or company we would like to reach as a potential customer.

At one point, a young man got up and grabbed three juggling bean bags and started juggling for the crowd. As the bean bags flew through the air, the young man introduced himself to the audience. His “routine” continued for a good two minutes – after which, the audience gave the man a well-deserved round of applause.

The only problem was … I never heard a word he said.

His juggling was impressive but his message was lost in the creative delivery.


When it comes to creating your own marketing messages, don’t worry about entertaining your audience.  Focus instead on ways to get those marketing messages across.

Written by Bob McCarthy

This article may be reprinted without permission as long as the article includes the following credit: Bob McCarthy is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in direct marketing and lead generation. His website is He can be reached at 508-473-8643 or by email at

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."