BLOG: Less appeal, more meaning.

When advertisers talk about what they want from a piece of work, they often speak in terms of appeal: Emotional appeal. Sex appeal. Sentimental appeal. We want to appeal to Joe Consumer’s mind or heart or wallet.

Make no mistake — in many cases, appeal is a hard thing to capture and an even harder thing to maintain. Consumers’ tastes change quickly, and even the hottest, most cutting-edge approaches to design and language go stale. And when the world is absolutely flooded with media and advertising, they do so faster than ever.

But while we’re so busy trying to appeal to consumers so they’ll BUY BUY BUY today, we often miss out on something more powerful that can create customers today AND tomorrow, no matter what aesthetic happens to be trending: meaning.

Advertising pseudocelebrity and author @LeeClowsBeard tweeted just a few days ago that “the more things change, the more what matters stays the same.”

And we all know what matters: Family. Personal Struggle. Rebellion. Competitive Spirit. Greatness. You know — all the things that quicken your pulse or widen your eyes or make your insides feel all smooshy inside. Speaking in terms of these universal truths helps us create a human connection with each potential customer and avoid many of the barriers that people generally put up when they hear advertising messages, because they don’t perceive our message to be advertising at all.

Here at Whiskey, we talk a lot about raising a ruckus. And some take that to mean that we like to make big, flashy work. But raising a ruckus isn’t just about that — it’s about stirring people up, making them think and making them really feel something.

Stopping power is important, but it’s nothing without staying power. That’s why we always aim to create things that hit you in the mouth with appeal, but hit you even harder in the gut with meaning. Raising a ruckus means stirring people up, making them think and making them really feel something.

Everybody loves a knockout punch. But it’s not possible without a few rounds of body shots first.