When I was studying music production at AFTRS in the 90s, our lecturer gave us some simple advice that had to do with using the Equalizer on the mixing desk.

The trick, he said, was not to find the best parts of the sound and turn them up, but to find the ugly bits in the sound spectrum and turn them down. When you take out the bad bits, all you are left with are the good bits.

I think that advice is just as sound when you take it out of the recording studio.

Our world is one of noise and clutter. We are trying so hard to turn up what we perceive as the good bits, we miss the fact that we are not making any inroads into lessening the impact of the bad bits in our lives, our society, our world.

In fact when we try to turn up the good stuff, the same thing happens as when you turn up a ‘good’ frequency too far with an Equalizer -you distort it, and it turns what was beautiful into something awful.

That’s the trouble with most advertising. It is trying so hard to dial up the good things about a product or service that all it becomes is annoying noise and clutter. And consumers know it’s a load of shit. They know the bad bits are still in there somewhere. It could be poor customer service. It could be damaging the environment. It could be made by child labor in sweatshops. It could be inhumane. Or it could be straight up lies (isn’t that right VW?).

So before you go wasting money on advertising, spend it on analyzing your process and your product. EQ out the bad bits and all you are left with are the good bits. And if you have a good product that doesn’t rip people off and doesn’t cause harm, you will stand out like The Proverbials.