Bullet proof but don’t compromise

I’ve found myself using the phrase ‘bullet proof’ a lot recently.

The usual context involves something like, ‘We should make sure we add a chicken towards the end to make sure we bullet proof the script’ (that is not a real example).

I sometimes say it when I’m asking annoyingly thorough questions regarding someone’s work: ‘I just need to know why you’re choosing the colour blue so if anyone asks me then the ad is a little more bullet proof’.

99% of the time I’m just asking the person doing the work to think about why they’ve made each decision that’s led to what they’re showing me. If they can’t explain something then I could find myself in the same position somewhere down the line and the ad will become vulnerable to being killed (ie: not bulletproof). I think it’s a good exercise even if I never get asked the question. Everything should be added to a piece of work for a good reason, so lets make sure we’re aware what the reasons are. That helps to stress test the work and make it strong enough to repel any potential kicking it may receive on its way to production.

Ultimately it’s very hard to entirely bullet proof a piece of work because there will inevitably be subjective decisions that might or might not be liked by me or the next person, but since an ad is put under so much scrutiny during its creation, if you can give it some protection then that’s a GOOD THING.

Of course, one must avoid the pitfall of adding things that are unnecessary. By second guessing the wants of a client it’s easy to alter an ad in ways that don’t serve it. To continue the analogy, if you weigh it down with too much armour it becomes unwieldy and can stagger only as far as the nearby shit-filled bog, where it collapses and drowns like a hapless CIA torture victim.

So it’s a balance: making the ad solid enough to go unviolated but not so solid that its strengths become compromises.

Good luck with that…