ogilvy and mather

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You knew I would.  Weigh in on the new Dove campaign that is.  I love the idea of this campaign, which is to redefine what is beauty. The latest tactic in this evolving effort revolves around asking women to describe their faces to an artist, sight-unseen.  A friend is similarly asked to describe the same person to the artist and a comparison of the drawings is made. The research shows women being much harder on themselves and their features than are their friends.

The first iteration of the campaign, begun in 2005, showed a number of smiling and confident women in white underoos. The women stretched 6 or 8 across showed a variety of body types, few of which you would find on the cover of Women’s Health or Cosmo.  The women’s skin, however, was amazing. (An endemic brand quality.)  This new campaign is an evolution of the so-called “real beauty” campaign and it’s important, but I’m not sure it is killing as a soap selling idea. It’s likeable. Heady. Emotional. And a great message.  Without the linkage to creating cleaner skin, though, used long term it may prove to be an opportunity lost.  

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dove is selling well and this campaign kick starts some retail movement.  People may fall in love with the message and appreciate the brand by proxy. But should those same women find a soap that has qualities more agreeable to their skin and cleaning ability, this social statement about beauty will remain appreciated and important — but not necessarily a motivator for purchase.  I suggest sticking with the “real beauty” idea Ogilvy, but find an endemic product quality to illuminate. Peace.   

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Here’s a fresh idea for bold national TV advertisers.  One and done.  Okay, maybe five and done is better.  Create and run TV spots 5 times then take them off the air and move them to the web.  A question many large agencies asked back in the day of the $385,000 TV commercial and still ask is “What is the burn out rate”?  How many times can a consumer can see a TV spot before his/her eyes start to bleed.

In today’s fast twitch media, where clicking is a sport, the burn out factor has grown even more sensitive. This is why sooner or later Geico is going to need to chill.  I was reading today about The Gap and its desire to become more relevant to the younger set – more relevant is a euphemism for sell more – and I’ve also been reading about Denny’s, similarly strategized.  The former will do nice ads and burn, burn, burn them.  The latter is running ads only a few times, then driving people to the web to watch them on-demand, on-desire, in longer form. Denny’s and Gotham get the target’s media habits and will save money. Gap and Ogilvy will not…unless.

Unless they use the new “five and done” model.  Should Ogilvy decide to turn itself into a crafty, creative TV production studio for the Gap it will have a chance. Buy high profile mass reach media and run their ads only a handful of times.  Then move on. Lots of freshies. Story-tell with lots of chapters, a la James Patterson. And it shouldn’t necessarily be a serial story, just a gestalt-y all around the brand strategy story.

Smart shops can create spots at low costs these days. Fast twitch ads, not burn out campaigns, are what the daring will do. That’s what the youth market wants. Peace.

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Marketing Gluttony.

Google, in its never-ending desire to be the next technology monopoly, has hired a co-president of Ogilvy & Mather-NY to become its creative liaison with ad agencies. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, he will manage the newly formed Creative Labs unit, “to work with ad agencies on new ways Google products can be used in advertising” and marketing.

The head of this new unit, Andy Berndt, is a seasoned agency guy who knows the agency business and how to sell to marketers. Liaison my butt. If you think for one minute Google isn’t looking for a way to create a creative portfolio and set of case studies it can sell directly to marketers you are mistaken. 
It’s another way to cut ad agencies and online agencies out of the business.  
Google can’t stop. They won’t be happy until they explode like that character in the Monty Python movie that eats until he bursts. Google was everyone’s favorite because it was a helper. It helped people find things — it re-inventing search. Now I don’t know what Google stands for. New widget ads? Desktop office applications? Video? Or just plain old “money.”
Google needs to focus before they become despised — before they grow into a tech bully. 

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Mashup Week

OMG (Ogilvy Media Group?), I just returned from 4-days in San Jose and San Francisco at more Mashup events than a man deserves.  I couldn’t even watch Mash on TVLand flying home on JetBlue.
Mashup Camp and Mashup University are run by David Berlind, one of ZDNet’s alpha bloggers.  Dave’s got tech chops like nobody’s business. MashUp 2007, held in San Franciso, was run by Anastasia Goodstein, whose well-read blog Ypulse covers the youth sector with grace and insight.
I loved all of the Mashup events. The minute John Herren, in his keynote speech at Mashup University, asked “Is there a nerd around,” in reference to a technical presentation problem, I knew we were in for a week of code…but a fun week. The first person I met at Mashup University was Bebo White, with the Stanford Linear Accelerator and physics dept. I was kind of scared, but it turned out he was brilliant, warm and very down to earth. Most everyone at Mashup University/Camp was this way. Geeked out, yes. But approachable, smart, friendly and all about the code. Oh yeah, 95% male.
At Mashup 2007, a youth marketing event, women were the majority. The show was opened by Danah Boyd (Annenberg) and Henry Jenkins (MIT), two beacons of light in social computing. They knew their stuff and complimented one another beautifully.  Interestingly, they were talking about the exact same topic yet Mr. Jenkins called it “participatory culture” and Ms. Boyd “fan culture.” I’d be interested to know why they couldn’t agree on taxonomy (geek word.)  Lot’s more to come about Mashup week. Stay tuned.

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