I love this quote I wrote a few years back for a presentation to Gentiva Health Services, now owned by Kindred Healthcare: “Campaigns come and go, a powerful brand idea is indelible.” It’s so true.
Ad campaigns get tired. Were I to guess, I’d venture the length of an average ad campaign is 2.5 years. Why is that? Brand managers and agency creators get tired of it. They burn out. Also on the agency side, there’s a little “not invented here” syndrome.
Campaigns are an expression of the brand brief – at least they are supposed to be. Smart marketers who change the ad campaign stick to the brand brief; they just sing it in a different color. But not all marketers follow this logic. For many, when the campaign changes the brand brief changes. And the brand becomes a moving target. Agencies love to change the brief, and unseasoned client marketers let them. The result is the dissipation of muscle memory around the brand claim. And everyone must start anew. Market share flails. First positively, then negatively. And in 2.5 years, it’s time for a new campaign.
My best brand strategies last decades. Ad agencies come and go, marketing directors come and go, the brand strategy remains. Indelible.