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Why the Simple Message is the Best Message

Starbucks nailed it with their tribute ad to Martin Luther King’s legacy that ran last Monday in The New York Times. Simple and clean, the ad features a line of letters with “MLK” in red with the copy line, “It’s time to look at things differently. Again.” At first glance, I was a bit confused, only seeing a single line of letters with MLK called out. Then I realized the line of letters are the alphabet displayed in reverse order. MLK naturally follow each other when read backward. This is pure brilliance because I actually had to look at things differently to see it.

This is a perfect example of a minimalist creative execution that is powerful and captivating and I love everything about it. In advertising, simple message has always been the strongest performer. That’s especially true today, in a world where we are barraged with a constant influx of content and distraction.

This ad gives me chills, which is probably exactly what Starbucks was hoping for. After all, their brand is about far more than a $4 (or more) cup of coffee.

~ Tracey Jeffas, Account Supervisor, The S3 Agency


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