Posted January 22, 2014, under Gosh, That's Handy!

* Too Long, Didn’t Read

The phrase “TL;DR” started out as a complaint against over-long posts in online forums, and has evolved to also mean a summarization of such a post.

When you’re writing ad copy, when you’re getting something designed: think of TL;DR. A wall of text is hard to confront; a complicated logo or cluttered design each impedes instant recognition.

In today’s world, people are bombarded with information on a near-constant basis. If you want their attention, you have to get it fast, and not waste their time when you have it.

For first contact, this is not the reaction you want.

Short and Sweet

“Going viral” as a marketing strategy is far too hit-or-miss for us to recommend to any of our clients. But lessons applicable to “normal marketing” can be learned from viral successes and the characteristics they share with memes.

We cited the Old Spice Guy campaign as a very successful one. Aside from being hilariously over the top, the ads were 30-second spots. The YouTube follow-up videos were also short – most are only about 20 seconds.

Image Macros (currently one of the most common memes) are essentially one-liners over a picture. Near-instant communication!

Over the years, we’ve talked about Avis and VW, two companies whose ad execution was the pinnacle of simplicity and brevity – but also success.

hertz avis


It even extends to logos.




wwf-logo copy




Twitter_logo_blue copy

It’s not just the ubiquity that many of these have attained (we’re looking at you, Starbucks). It’s also the fact that they’re simple, yet distinct enough for instant recognition, even as they evolve.

We’re not saying that all your marketing materials should be limited to a product photo and a tagline, and a stick-figure logo. These examples, some quite extreme, were selected to drive home a point: All your efforts to promote your brand will fail if people think it’s too much work to look at it.


bad web

Don’t be these guys, no matter how much you can offer.

Draw them in with good design and concise copy, and let your product speak for itself.

Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.