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There has always been a tension in advertising between strategy and creative. The best creative ideas, creative people will tell you, come from coloring outside the lines. Think Different, to quote TBWA Chiat Day and Apple. The creative mind flourishes without bounds.
Strategy people like lines and organization. We love creativity, but our day job is about lines. Flexing the tension is another of our day jobs.
Both groups know there are no absolutes. I often say “Campaigns come and go, a powerful brand strategy is indelible.” That shit flies in one ear and out the other of creative people.
The best strategy, though, is tempered by great creative. And the best creative is infused with great strategy. The two create maximum advertising effectiveness and must coexist.
Le Bernardin, the NYC seafood restaurant, garners 4 Stars because of Maguy Le Coze (a neat and order freak) and Eric Ripert, creative chef par excellence.
Tags: Advertising, apple, campaigns come and go a powerful brand strategy is indelible, chiat day, eric ripert, Le bernardin, maguey le coze, tbwa chiat day, think different, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There are some fun Capital One commercials running on the NCAA Tournament this year featuring Spike Lee, Charles Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson. There’s a racial tinge to the spots which are kind of grown up or adult. It shows these very funny black comedic actors in various Texas locations/scenarios. In one they are shopping for cowboy clothes. In another they’ re out on the range riding horses, or in Spike’s case a donkey, singing Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places.
The actors are not uncomfortable, we are uncomfortable for them. (The Final Four is in San Antonio this year, hence the Texan themes.)
Did Capital One or their ad agency expect this little cultural incongruity in the advertising design? I think so. And I love it. It makes a statement, with a smile and is still good entertaining trade craft. It’s humorous. It’s thoughtful. It’s youthful. And a little bit discomfiting.
Any marketer that can take on race with humor and make us all a little embarrassed it’s still “a thing” is worth paying attention to. Capital One, putting on some big girl pants.
Tags: Advertising, Capital one, capital one advertising, capital one basketball ads, friends in low places, garth brooks, spike lee Charles barkley samuel L Jackson ads, waylons luckenbach Texas, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Can advertising agents get PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)? Good question. As someone who worked at advertising agencies and made mistakes I know what it’s like to get reamed out. I know what it’s like to make thousand dollar mistakes. I have scar tissue on my back from run-ins with creative people. Voluble creative people who belittle suggestions from non-art and copy brethren. I’ve also been canned by clients and ad agencies. According to peripatetic wonder-planner Sean Boyle, that’s a good thing…badge of courage.
Does all the scar tissue, mean-girl activity and failure contribute to an ad agent’s lost nerve? Do we sometimes pull back on a great idea, because we are afraid? Or do we learn from our foibles to become a better agents?
I reckon both are true.
It’s not a business for the weak hearted. And apologies for any suggestion that trauma in ad world is akin to that in the theater of war, but hey, we use metaphor here. The fact is, when you make decision to spend other people’s money there may be a cost along with a reward. Be thoughtful but be firm. No one is going to die. Learning is the best elixir for nerves. Learn faster than others and you win.
Tags: Advertising, advertising career advice, Ptsd in advertising, Sean boyle, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Brand strategies are first and foremost internal documents. Ninety percent of marketers think they are external; ideas to be foisted upon the consuming public. That’s called advertising.
Brand strategy comes way before advertising. It’s an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging. It needs to be sold in at the top levels of a company and enculturated through to the lowest levels of the company. When so handled there are few things more powerful in the land of marketing.
I’ve written before that one of my regrets has been the inability to sell brand strategy throughout the client company. If the strategy is sold only on the executive floor, but doesn’t make it down the elevator, it is less likely to provide the shareholder/stakeholder/business value it needs to.
The heavy lifting of adopting a brand strategy is found in training. And internal communications. PR needs to buy in as well. Once approved, brand strategy is not a democratic pursuit. It needs to be shared, understood, operationalized, practiced and incentivized.
Great brand strategy becomes culture.
Tags: Advertising, brand strategy enculturation, Brand strategy. Brand training, company values and head-spinning marko-babble statements of business intent are a sure sign company does not have a tight brand strategy. Peace., enculturation, marketing, Ponderous mission statements, whats the idea, whatstheidea
POS stand for point of sale. It used to mean in-store displays. Today it covers a lot more. It covers ecommerce and some online advertising — certainly online ads that put a customer one click from purchase.
Not too long ago the vast majority of advertising reached customers while nowhere near shopping. TV and radio hit consumers with ads that molded opinion and attitude for a future purchase. Then 800 numbers on TV ads allowed custies to dial-up a sale from the couch, as so did shopping networks like QVC. But the real breakthrough in POS was the web, where people actually go to shop.
POS advertising online and POS advertising in-store are too similar for my taste. The online version should be richer. In-store you can experience the product through touch and feel — through sampling. Online all you have is video. I’m thinking virtual reality will alter this in the next couple of years and I can’t wait. Buckle the seatbelts of your self-driving cars.
Tags: Advertising, point of sale, POS, QVC, self-driving cars, virtual reality applications in marketing, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Great journalists can write a story about a person and make you root for them. The short TV vignettes produced for the Olympics about athletes you never heard of is a great example of the craft. When a cauliflower eared, over-muscled Syrian weightlifter can be turned into a “rooted for” softy you have created the right back story. The parts of the back story that make you root for the athlete are the realities of hardship, underdog-ness, and courage. Not platitudes, proofs.
This is a craft people in the ad biz don’t get. Ads are created using an opposite strategy. Rather than find a rootable quality for a product or service, we trot out its riches. “Best this, first that, only this.…”
At What’s The Idea? the brand strategy framework identifies “a claim and 3 proof planks” for a brand. This organizing principle — developed to build a simple array of memorable values that influence preference – focuses on rational and emotional proofs.
(Rootable proofs are often conveyed in story form. This is where the power of storytelling lies in branding and advertising.)
Tags: Advertising, advertising tips, brand planning framework, claim and proof in branding, Claim and three proof planks, olympic vighnettes, rootable moments, rootable proof, rootable proofs, storytelling, whats the idea, whatstheidea
One of the things that makes watching the Olympics on TV so compelling is the human interest piece they do on athletes before each event. Usually it revolves around a home town and a hardship conveyed by friends, family or teachers. These back-stories not only set context, but allow viewer a little emotional skin in the game.
In advertising, this is not really possible. It used to be in the early days of long copy print ads, not anymore; not in this fast twitch media world with smart phone ads the size of a pinky finger.
The ability to set the stage for selling using exposition is something great sales people do. They story tell with examples tied to the course of the conversation. And they story tell, not off the boiler plate talking points of the company, but using heart and soul of experiences (or proofs) that carry emotional “reasons to prefer” a brand. As I mentioned in my last post, that’s usually not material-based but experience-based.
This is the heart of storytelling today. And it was learned from belly-to-belly salespeople, as are most great selling schemes and techniques.
Web sites could borrow a page. Peace.
Tags: Advertising, brand, brand claim proof, Context, fast twitch media, Olympics, pop marketing, reasons to prefer, whats the idea, whatstheidea
It may be my age, it may be my level of wisdom, it may be age….didn’t I just say that…but a great many of my strategies lately contain an undercurrent of cause marketing. It’s as if my brief also has a line that says “What about this strategy will make the world a better place?” Back in the day my briefs were more likely to have the line “What about this strategy will sell more product, faster, regardless of consequence?”
My new approach certainly is intended sell more product, but it comes in an envelope of comfortable altruism. This new found reliance on educating over selling, undergirds my strategies. “An educated consumer” as they say.
Strategies that are more cause reliant take advantage of cultural context. Cause strategies feel more human. So what do we do with Axe? How do we package Coors Light? Geico? We do what we always do — but now we think more positively about people, planet and how our persuasion is a positive force. Bang (not a gun ban either).
PS. For examples of cause strategies for products write steve at whatstheidea.
Tags: Advertising, Axe, Brand Strategy, brand strategy tips, Cause strategy, coors light, geico, marketing, steve at whatstheidea, whats the idea, whatstheidea