That's the feeling you get when you see a designed artifact out in the market, whether logo or advertisement or Web site, and you can see right through it to the marketing strategy.
Why would your company put your marketing strategy into plain view?
It happens when client-requested revisions scrape away the humanity of a design concept, all in the name of selling a product better.
Other times, creative ideas can't transcend the brief. Instead of clothing insight in a meaningful creative execution, we parrot the USP.
Or, an even more deadly sin -- baldly placing your market research and messaging approach into plain view. Just look at the hullaballoo around the recent redesign of the Pepsi mark by Arnell Group. This could be construed as genius PR or total hubris.
No matter what causes your strategy to show, the resulting impact on your brand can be major, both in street cred with the marketing community and with your customers. In the short term, you might sell more soda or Skittles. But in the long term, our industry will be embattled by a glut of baldly transparent and repetitive design work that struggles to shake off its inspiration and origin.
If you're willing to have your reputation battered by the marketplace like a punching balloon, go ahead. Leak your strategy. Or be so bold as to just plain rip it off from a contender.
Because when you're in marketing, it's not your audience that matters. Nah. It's all about you...
(Thanks to Shannon Hofmeister for the title of this piece. Recently she's been sharing a ton of awesome marketing catchphrases that should inspire a few more posts.)