- The real revolution in social won't be online
- Crimes against social
- What's your problem?
- Content - lessons from the front line
- ‘Tis the season to obsess about trends.
- Trends are trendy, insights get shit done
- Gossage - the overlooked legend?
- Why I hate targeting
- How to run an agency
- Positioning versus execution - why the BA ad is not shit
- Welcome to the age of micro-planning
- Small book, big ad
- When brand stretch goes wrong - what Boots and the AA have in common
- Hegarty on Advertising
- The price of everything the value of nothing
One of the 24 illustrations by Eric Ravilious for Highstreet published in 1938. We are undertaking a major project in Saatchi & Saatchi at the moment on the future of the high street. While this is a subject that has been repeatedly dug over in the past couple of years as the high street has imploded in the UK, we have chosen to look at a very specific audience. Rather than turning to the retail experts, household shoppers, urban planners or politicians we have focused instead on young people aged 16 to 29. If the high street has a future then this is it.
Image courtesy of freefotouk 2012 may not have be greeted by the industry with a great deal of enthusiasm, after all the big Olympic event that should have marked the end of our economic woes will now merely record their nadir. Nonetheless, it is a fresh, crisp, virginal new year so not only is it ripe and full of possibilities it is also as yet unsullied by much ghastliness from the advertising world. So with this fresh start in mind I would like to make a plea, a plea that we have a quiet word with ourselves about social media. And in particular that we offer rather better advice to our clients in this arena than we evidently mustered in 2011 – given the social media fare that we allowed to pollute people’s lives last year.
All great marketing solutions start with a well and accurately defined problem and a correct diagnosis of the course of action that needs to be followed. So I thought I’d talk a little about this to kick the new year off in a back to basics style. There is a very basic diagnostic tool I want to share with you that works a treat at the very start of a project and ensures that you are directing your efforts in the right and most profitable direction.
Late last year I was asked to give a talk at the IPA, along with the brilliant Rachel Barrie (from sister agency Fallon), about content driven campaigns. Rachel talked about her experiences working on Gorilla and I talked about our learnings from T-Mobile Dance - both IPA award winners in 2010. It was a rather informal Q&A affair and so there are no charts but in an attempt at prep I scribbled down a few lessons I think that we have learned from our T-Mobile experiences and perhaps more latterly from WeightWatchers. So here they are with the minimum explanation.
My new rubber stamp. If there is enough interest I might get some more made. I gave a talk at Haymarkets Trends Plus conference this week. Im sure it was a wonderful shindig - the speakers I saw were excellent - but I couldnt help feeling a bit contrary about a conference on trends. Ive never had much truck with the cool hunting fraternity, about predicting the future and about making money out of stating the bleeding obvious. Or for that matter from Portmanteaus - the ghastly habit of sticking two perfectly good english words together to make a new word that is both ridiculous and unnecessary. You know the sort of thing maturialism, tribefacturing, the statusphere, or engageonomics. Anyway here is the presentation. As usual it makes very little sense without the talk that goes with it, but you might get something out of it. Slideshare have been kind enough to feature it on their home page today.
HOWARD GOSSAGE POSING FOR A LAND ROVER AD TO PROMOTE SEAT BELTS ON THE BASIS THAT THEY MADE YOU LOOK LIKE A FIGHTER PILOT. IMAGE COURTESY OF ADBUZZ. I have always felt it’s important to honour and respect the legends of our business. The Ogilvys, Bernbachs, Abbotts and Hegartys. Whatever one might think of their work now its clear to see that they were revolutionaries on their own times. But there is one legend that rarely gets the recognition that he deserves, certainly on this side of the pond and that’s Howard Gossage. There are a few devotees, especially in the planning community, but his contribution to our business and the world beyond is not as well known as it should be.
Image courtesy of Rebecca Ellen I have always been deeply suspicious of targeting in advertising. I don’t really mean the practice of placing communications, engagement and utility into the lives of the people most likely to buy. That does seem pretty sensible. No, the thing that bugs me is an obsession with targeting and optimisation that either elevates this above the quality of what you create in that ‘space’ or sees it as the holy grail of advertising. Because the reality is that the theory of targeting is always far more compelling than the reality of it.
TANGO, UNDOUBTEDLY JON LEACHS MOST FAMOUS PLANNING HIT, OR WAS THAT THE 4TH EMERGENCY SERVICE? I dont often get to APG talks, to my eternal shame. However, yesterday I made a point of trucking up to the eternal ghastlyness of the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn for Jon Leachs talk on the mathematics of creativity.
IMAGE COURTESY OF MIKE 926 I have just finished reading Creative Mischief by Dave Trott. I think its really rather good. He is a first rate storyteller with a no nonsense approach to business, brands and communication. He reminds us that we can get too obsessed with the new and newfangled and bypass common sense – you could read a load of stuff on neuroscience or simply remember that when selling its quite a good idea to create desire and give people permission to buy.
Downstream - where planning is heading. Image courtesy of SunnyUK I had the absolute privilege of judging the Account Planning Group Creative Strategy awards recently. I love the APG Awards, they showcase real planning and great planners in a way that the other so called planning awards do not. And for me this year saw a return to form for the awards. In all there were 26 presentations from some of the best in the business, delivered in person, which is one of the reasons the awards are so special – for planners and judges alike.
Think Small. This version by Helmut Krone and Bob Levenson. I have just received the most delightful book in the post from Switzerland. Think small, the story of the World’s greatest ad, written by Dominik Imseng, tells the full story of DDB’s iconic Think Small press advertisement for the VW Beetle. And the emphasis is on the word full here since it traces the journey that brought this ad into existence back to the birth of both Bernbach and the Beetle. One in to a Jewish family in the Bronx and the other to the world’s most infamous anti-semite in Berlin. No matter how well you think you know this ad and the campaign it launched, im telling you, you only know half the story.
NICE EMERGENCY SERVICE, SHAME ABOUT THE BRAND EXTRENSION. IMAGE COURTESY OF RUTH FLICKR. The Peter Principle maintains that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence" in other words as long as people remain competent they continue to be promoted until they reach a level of incompetence where they stay. I think the same thing happens with businesses and brands, they continue to expand their scope of operations and to stretch their brand until they reach a level of incompetence thus threatening all the respect and love they have diligently earned over the years. In other words the brand facilitates extensions that through operational incompetence then compromise loyalty to that brand in its core operations – what is technically known as an ‘own goal’.
IMAGE COURTESY OF JOHNNIE WALKER ESPANA. _“Do not go gentle into the good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light”_ Dylan Thomas. Sir John Hegarty’s thoughts and memoirs, packaged together in Hegarty on Advertising (Thames and Hudson), must be amongst the most eagerly awaited stories from the world of advertising. This is a man who, in a career spanning nearly 50 years, has given us some of our most loved and successful work, helped build immeasurable value into numerous brands from Levis to Audi and created what is undoubtely the most respected advertising agency on Earth. He is also a bridge. A bridge between the increasingly mythical world of late 20th adland – the adland of Bernbach, Collett Dickinson Pearce, the Brothers Saatchi, and today’s advertising landscape with its 21st Century angst, technological tsunami and procurement misery. So when Sir John, an art director by trade, puts pen to paper a degree of expectation is created and a degree of respect is due, which I offer in spades. But all in all this is a curious work.
CHATEAU PETRUS, SADLY THE 78 IS MISSING. IMAGE COURTESY OF CDUBYA. One of the key tenets of behavioural theory is that we value more the things for which we pay more. The more expensive the wine, the greater quality we believe it to be and the more that we value it. So how come this idea doesn’t seem to hold water when it come to clients and the value they place on agencies.