It was in the heady days of 100 plus pages in the computing press. Our client desperately needed commission driven IT sales people. We ran big ads. Colour ads. Even bigger ads. Ads with positive messages about room to develop and company support. Photos of smiling people in suits. We were competing with a lot of organisations running recruitment campaigns for similar people – plenty of images of efficient looking executive types in front of desktop computers.  Nothing worked. The client groaned.

Then the Creative Director pushed a small mono ad under my nose. Just copy with a headline reading: Eat Dog.  

Gulp.

The body copy went along the lines of: It’s a dog eat dog world, and you’re in it to win it. It was just a few lines and it was rather aggressive. I admit I hesitated.  The Creative Director insisted that for the type of candidate who'd thrive in a commission driven environment this in-your-face message would stand out.

Long story short: it worked. That small mono, text only ad attracted far more response than any of the big full page colour ads we had run. And the candidates were exactly what the client was after.

It’s not just about the right channel. Or the right audience. The message has always been key.  Is it more important than the channel? I'd say you need both.

(No dogs were harmed in writing this piece)