Strategy in your book

Q: Should strategy statements accompany the ads in your book?

A former student recently asked my opinion on this. Let me share it with you:

As creatives, we should be in the habit of eliminating any element that’s not contributing to the ad. I think this includes strategy statements in your book. No, they’re not part of the ad. But in the book, they are part of the presentation. And like a poorly art directed tagline, it’s one more thing drawing the viewer’s attention away from your work.

The argument for including a strategy statement might be to better familiarize the viewer with the brand. But you don’t see strategy statements in the One Show or CA annuals, which feature tons of great ads for brands I’ve never heard of.

Yes, there will be some exceptions. Ambient media sometimes warrants an explanation (different than a strategy statement). And on rare occasions, they might emphasize very big, incredibly insightful ideas. Use your best judgement.

But generally speaking, if the person looking at your book isn’t familiar with the brand, your ad should be enough of an introduction. If it’s not, maybe you haven’t done your job.