What is a good ad?

ogilvyThe best ads are the ones that make us feel “If I had this [product or service], my life would somehow be better.” Think about it.

If the product or service doesn’t have the ability to inspire that thought, that’s a problem. And you won’t be able to create very convincing advertising or much in the way of sales.

As David Ogilvy, a giant in the world of advertising, once said “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” David Ogilvy was an advertising pioneer and a master copywriter who understood the tremendous power of the printed word. You’re in for a treat if you haven’t discovered his books on advertising–they’re both intelligent and entertaining.

At Iceberg Strategic Creative, we unleash the power of the printed word. If you’re curious about copy’s effect on the success of an ad, give Gale Peck a call at 707.545-4253 and ask for a complimentary consultation!

Posted in Advertising, Copywriting, Marketing | 143 Comments

Hiding in plain sight


london-symphonyAnother example of a logo that looks deceptively simple but contains a hidden element that you may not see at first glance–

This logo for the London Symphony Orchestra reads nicely as a graceful abstract shape, and on closer inspection you can see the shape consists of the initials “LSO”. But…there is yet another element to be discovered. Do you see the conductor leading the orchestra? Once you do, you  instantly feel the verve and excitement of a live performance!

Great logo design can appear to be effortless and extremely simple, but there is a lot of thought that goes into it. While you may only first see the tip of the iceberg, there is a lot more to it than you see at first glance. The 90% of the iceberg that you don’t see is all the strategic thinking that goes into it, and that’s what makes all the difference.

Just give Gale Peck at Iceberg Strategic Creative a call at 707.545.4253 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation and find out what thoughtful logo design can do for you!




Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Logos / Identity, Marketing | 168 Comments

The message IS the message

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: The Haggin Group.

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: The Haggin Group.

You may have heard the saying “the medium is the message”.  Not so.

Sometimes we think “What I need is a brochure!” or “A new website will increase profits!” when what we really need to be thinking about is getting the right message to the right audience.

Once we have the strategy for that worked out, then we can think about what media is best suited to deliver that message to the people we are trying to connect with.

Sometimes the medium ends up being a beautifully photographed print catalog. Or a package design with better shelf appeal. Or a newsy blog that delivers the latest and greatest to those who will appreciate it. Or, as is often the case, a special mix of several media.

With our expertise in multiple marketing channels, we can put together just the right message for you. Just give Gale Peck a call at 707.545.4253 for a complimentary consultation!



Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copywriting, Graphic Design, Marketing | 444 Comments

After Mad Men

Gregory Peck as "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit", 1956

Gregory Peck as “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit”, 1956

Before Mad Men, there was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a seminal 1955 novel by Sloane Wilson, later made into a movie classic by 20th Century Fox.

In it, Gregory Peck represented the archetypal mid-century advertising man and established advertising stereotypes that persist to this day. What’s ironic is that advertising principles of that day are still the basis for much of today’s modern marketing practices. And they simply no longer work.

There has been a paradigm shift in marketing that has made many traditional beliefs obsolete. While advertising once exerted considerable influence over consumer tastes and behavior, today’s consumers rule. And they expect you to know what they want. And how they want it and when…well, you get the picture. They truly are in the driver’s seat.

Today’s consumers aren’t as interested in what you tell them as what you truly represent. And they will be the judge of that. It takes considerable knowledge of  what motivates today’s consumers’ in order to sell to them. For more about connecting with your target market, contact Gale Peck at www.icebergstrategic.com for a complimentary initial consultation!


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing | 555 Comments

Benefits vs Features


Photo Direction: Gale Peck. Client: Hallmark Gold Crown

You’ll notice that the actual product being sold on the left is only a very small part of the entire ad.

Now imagine the same ad space showing only the product, with callouts identifying its features: size, materials, weight, etc.

Which ad do you think is going to sell better?

This ad is focused on a target market interested in products with meaning that transcends physical attributes. Everything, down to the selective focus and soft lighting of the photography contributes to this feeling. It allows the viewer to emotionally connect with the product and imagine how it might add to the quality of their own lives.

There’s a lot more to good advertising than meets the eye. What lies below the tip of the iceberg that we see is the other 90%; the strategic marketing that makes all the difference. Contact Gale at Iceberg Strategic Creative for a complimentary initial consultation and find out how to connect with your target market!

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Graphic Design, Marketing | 168 Comments

“Hotness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes”

levi_dept_w_image_hotnessThis is according to a recent Levi’s ad campaign for its new Curve ID jeans. Unfortunately, they seemed unaware of the fact that the average American female weighs 166 pounds.

Naturally, Levi’s took quite a pounding from the audience they were apparently trying to reach. Not only are the models in this ad stick-thin, but there’s a total lack of diversity. Three of the models could easily be the same person.

In today’s more-than-ever segmented marketplace, if you don’t offer your target customer exactly what they want (not what you want to sell), they will keep looking until they find it. And they will.

To find out more about connecting with your target market, just give Gale Peck at Iceberg Strategic Creative a call at 707.545.4253 for a complimentary initial consultation. Today’s customer is more demanding and choosy than ever…because they can be!

Posted in Graphic Design | 551 Comments

Oops! Again.

_18th Century Fashion Plate 211In advertising it’s extremely important to communicate clearly and concisely. You have just a split second to get your message across and accuracy is everything.

On the other hand, advertising can also be sublime when there is just a little something that gets mangled in the process. For example:

“There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects”  (Sign in a German hotel)

“Our wine list leaves you nothing to hope for” (Restaurant in Madrid).

“If you telephone for room service you will get the answer you deserve” (Room sign in Las Palmas).

Well put! And very wonderful. Most of the time, though, we like to know that what we are reading is exactly what was intended. Experienced and accurate copywriting is always in style! To check out what skillful copywriting can do for your business, schedule a complimentary initial consultation with Iceberg Strategic Creative. And say what you really mean to.


Posted in Advertising, Copywriting | 397 Comments

Advertising mixup: Santa, meet CONAD!


From 1955: the ad that started it all!

On December 24, 1955, Sears ran an ad in a Colorado Springs newspaper which included a special phone number children could call to talk to Santa.

Unfortunately, the phone number was misprinted; it turned out to be the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD).

Despite this inauspicous beginning, volunteers working with CONAD started taking calls for Santa and a tradition was begun. In 1958, NORAD replaced CONAD and continued to take the calls. For Christmas 2013, NORAD’s 1,200 volunteers answered 117,371 calls for Santa, logged 19.58 million unique visitors to its website, and had 1.45 million “likes” on Facebook.

It’s a rare stroke of luck that a misprint yields such fortuitous results. For advertising that correctly connects with your intended target audience, check out Iceberg Strategic Creative. With over 30 years’ combined experience, we get it right and get results!

Posted in Advertising, Graphic Design, Marketing | 593 Comments

Hidden in plain sight

amazon-logo-001I’ve always enjoyed the smiling Amazon logo but didn’t realize I was missing out on a more subtle message it contains as well.

What I hadn’t noticed was that the smile is also an arrow. An arrow that points from a to z, referring to Amazon’s amazing breadth as a retailer. Many logos contain somewhat hidden elements that may elude your first glance (see previous post: Logos with hidden elements).

Great logos look deceptively simple, but they are the result of a lot of thoughtful planning. A good logo must be quick to comprehend (they need to convey the right message in a nanosecond) but because of all the careful strategic thinking that goes into creating them, they often contain more than just what first meets the eye.

At Iceberg Strategic Creative, what you see in a design is just the tip of the iceberg. The underlying strategic marketing that you don’t see (the other 90% of the iceberg) is just as important and is what gets results. For a complimentary consultation, simply give Gale Peck a call at 707.545.4253 or visit www.iceberstrategic.com. And find out how all that strategy can produce results for you.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Graphic Design, Logos / Identity, Marketing | 518 Comments

Can you hear color?

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: I Am Aromatics

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: I Am Aromatics

What if you heard a piano concerto whenever you saw the color pink? Or tasted blueberries when you saw the numeral 7? How about describing the smell of a hyacinth as a series of  concentric circles?

Believe it or not, some of us do just that. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon that combines two (or more!) of our five senses into one experience. It’s thought to only affect 4% of the general population and occurs most commonly in right-brain dominant people.

To Mozart, the key of D Major sounded “orange”. Jimi Hendrix saw colors associated with sounds as well, and one chord became the inspiration for his famous song “Purple Haze”. Vladimir Nabokov experienced the letters of the alphabet in terms of color.

Most of us experience synesthesia to some degree when we smell a fragrance or sip an exceptional wine: it can be a such heady experience that it summons up our other senses. Which is why we see such descriptors as “wet grass” for perfume, or “angular” and “velvety” to describe certain wines.



Posted in Graphic Design, Marketing, Packaging | 1,216 Comments