Why Less Is More

While on a recent shopping trip at a neighborhood market, I was struck with amazement and could easily see why less is more. Plastered on the walls throughout the store were a myriad of signs; some hailed reduced prices on a seemingly endless variety of products while others exclaimed the freshest produce and greatest selections.

The store’s attempt at winning me over with their overwhelming display of information resulted in sensory overload. One big blur where nothing stood out.  I chuckled when it occurred to me that this is what many advertisers do: force too much information in too little space.

One of Aesop’s popular fables is about a monkey who tries to pull a handful of nuts out of a small-necked jar. He finally realized that he could remove his hand only after he let go of some of the nuts. He only succeeded by taking less. That fable is an idyllic reflection of the public’s ever-shortening attention span. Less is more.

We may think that we need to take full advantage of every second of each radio or television commercial, or every square inch of print space to be effective. But, what commercials grab your attention? It’s the Corona beer on the beach campaign; it’s the “15 minutes will save you 15% or more”; it’s the relaxed voice of the announcer.

Consumers will pay attention to and absorb more of your advertising when it doesn’t bombard them with a lot of detail. Seize their attention with simplicity.