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With all due respect

If you think that phrase denotes a sense of respect, read it again. For years, that's what I thought. Then, my attorney explained that it's legalese for "dumba**."

It is possible for you to mean what you say, but customers not understand what you say means. Being subtle is all about YOU--or worse, it's all about your agency being creative. Creative is good when it works. Effective creative creates buzz because what's deemed creative by creatives is so seldom effective.

Say what you mean. Put it straight and mean it. First, though, make sure you can deliver. Inviting guests to your party before the balloons are all hung, puts you in catch-up and/or damage-control mode. More on that another time.

This morning I came across this gem of a video by Paris Hilton, hitting back at John McCain's backhanded slap at Barak Obama's sudden celebrity status. He asks a legitimate question, but does so in a context that implies the answer--if you're paying attention.

As Jon Stewart said on The Daily Show, "the ad actually plays well for Obama if you turn the sound off."

Point made. Subtlety in advertising runs the risk of being an inside joke. The wasted media dollars that float such balloons are anything but funny.

What is funny, though, is Paris Hilton's slap-back at McCain's besmirching of her reputation by bootstrapping her fame to Obama's leadership capabilities. We can discuss Ms. Hilton's reputation and pride thereof another time. For now, though, points to Paris for standing on the stepping stone of subtlety to sell herself. Nicely done.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

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