Inside the World of the Incomprehendables
For any seasoned business traveller, hotel rooms can be genuinely inspiring: new-fangled creature comforts you wish were your own, design themes that feel just right and even that sensation that feng shui is not just something concocted by tree-hugging weirdos. But it is the bathrooms that provide true entertainment. I have a niggling suspicion that modern bathroom designers are in fact frustrated cryptic crossword puzzle setters or just plain criminal minds who either want to prove that you are an idiot or give you pneumonia. All you want is a nice hot shower and what you get is a boiling flash-flood coming out of the wrong shower head that turns into an Alaskan waterfall the moment you try to adjust that thing which looks vaguely like a tap. This, in fact, is the result of creativity done by people I call the Incomprehendables.
Incomprehendables think that clarity is for lazy, undereducated minds and that a maze is good directions
Incomprehendables are those guys who think that clarity is for lazy, undereducated minds and that a maze is good directions. In advertising, they are the creatives who believe that award-winning work is convoluted, indecipherable stuff and that juries are made of CSI personnel. And they are not alone: there are legions of strategic planners out there who treat the obvious as if it were a new strain of Ebola and who turn the simplest of tasks into a labyrinthine pursuit of the national zeitgeist and pseudo-Freudian insights. The fact is, the moment you join the Incomprehendables thinking it is the intelligentsia is the moment you actually become dumb yourself.
There is no doubt that the obvious is treacherous territory. Unlike our traveller who doesn’t want to have to work out which bathroom tile actually turns the water on, consumers do enjoy a relatively challenging ad that treats them like intelligent people. However, this doesn’t mean that they look for advertising to provide them with their daily dose of sudoku. Clarity is at the heart of good communications and, when it is delivered in a thought-provoking manner, the result is satisfying, memorable and a damn sight more likely to invigorate a brand than a potentially cold shower.