Probably the greatest, most astounding, creative device in the universe

—Faced with a brief so boring it induces jaw-breaking yawns? Never fear, says Craig Redmond. Just use hyperbole—

Ad peeps have a silver bullet, pixie dusted, Midas-touched, get-out-of-jail-free-card that can liberate us from even the grimmest, most direly oppressive asphyxiation of a brief.

We call it hyperbole.

That magic word gives us immediate and unassailable permission to tell the most elaborate lies and spin the most fantastical yarns to beautifully adorn products and services that might otherwise be as dull as dishwater, or as mindbogglingly complicated as decoding an algorithm.

And clients love it even more. Because it absolves them of logic. It gives them immunity from rational criticism. And it makes all the RTBs, CTAs, KPIs, and every other CMO ankle-biting acronym evaporate in the heat of our collective suspension of disbelief.

For example:

Leia 3D Lume Tablet

I’d never heard of the tech brand Leia, and didn’t even know a 3D tablet was a thing. But rather than explain the technology, or worse, demonstrate it with inadequate graphic simulations, the agency team chose to emulate the experience of “breakthrough” technology with a metaphorically epic game of tag.

I can’t think of a greater overpromise than the miracle of walking on water, but all is forgiven in the wonderful world of advertising allegory.


Nor had I ever known of a New Zealand bank called Westpac, but I was quite struck by this very un-bank-like ad introducing its new brand platform, “Together Greater.” The marketing team wanted New Zealanders to know the bank has their back and is there to support their financial dreams and goals.

All of us who’ve worked in the financial sector know that such a brief would be received with a giant, jaw-breaking yawn. So, they went into the hyperbolic chamber and reemerged with a Wild Things representation of the bank as the friendly ogre, there to offer a giant lending hand. A monstrous bank you can’t help but adore.

Pair of Thieves

And as much as I value a great-fitting pair of “gonch” as the next guy, I wouldn’t exactly have called underwear a high-interest category.

That is, until I started hunting down this Pair of Thieves brand story and have been chased around the internet by their retargeting ad fairies ever since. Until now, I didn’t realize that underpants could make you the best person alive.

So, as you can see, advertising hyperbole can come in all shapes and testicular sizes. But it typically has a pretty high batting average with consumers. Because it diffuses our faculties of reason, disarms our skeptical defences, and starts a courtship with our imagination—where brains and brands often fall in love.

Craig Redmond is a Creative Leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.