Early in my career, I had the opportunity to visit a much more experienced commercial video editor. He showed me some of his work. First, a Mazda Zoom Zoom commercial. It was beautiful, engaging and wonderfully edited. The second was for a local discount furniture store. This one was very different. Too many fonts and wild colors.
I was shocked. I asked him why, if he could make something like Zoom Zoom, wouldn’t he make everything as polished? I assumed the answer would have something to do with budget. I was wrong.
He told me that both commercials were in fact carefully designed to speak to their perspective audiences. He said—If I made a discount furniture store commercial look like Zoom Zoom, it would be a disaster for the store. The target audience would assume the furniture was too expensive. And people who did relate to the visual design would be disappointed by the quality of the actual furniture on sale.
It remains one of the most influential professional conversations I’ve ever had.