Tuesday, October 26, 2004

:: adgruntie :: Sip on this

+ Do you have Grill Skillz? (quicktime). Wendy's training vid. Must be from the 1980s. Proof that you can do interesting corporate videos. (found at m!ndless)

+ John Hegarty on how agencies must change their ways. His article this week discusses the role of advertising in the marketing of junk foods and issue of obesity which the UK government has recently jumped on. He claims that it's wrong to blame the advertising - instead it should be placed with the manufacturers. I think it should also be placed on consumers as well- since no one is forcing them to purchase or eat foods that are bad for them in mass quantities.
We shouldn't be surprised that our industry will be in the front line when blame is being apportioned. Throughout history, the messenger has always paid a high price. But in this case, can the messenger also bear some of the guilt? Possibly, so much advertising is so boring, unrewarding, unwelcomed and clich├ęd, it so easily becomes the scapegoat. We always have to bear in mind that nobody asks us to interrupt them. We impose ourselves on people. This carries with it a responsibility. A responsibility to communicate in a way that not only enhances our message, but also the consumer's experience. Just as companies have to now look beyond the coredelivery of their product to see how it impacts on a broader, more social scale.

We have to see our communication as part of a bigger picture. We constantly talk about advertising moving from the era of interruption to one of engagement, but it seems to me that very few marketers take that thought on board. Instead, there are knowing nods when it's voiced and then actions that go in the opposite direction.
His points are right on. And I can't understand why marketers do not get this. It seems logical to me. Turning away from this concept is going to be detrimental to brands that do no follow. Especially with products like TiVo and consumers being more savvy about messages they tune into and which ones they block out- it is imparitive that we bring engaging and relevant messages to the public- rather than just boring, cliche crap that no one connects with except perhaps the CEO.

Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like there have been a lot of "no duh" revelations recently in the world of advertising. Unfortunately, the marketers still aren't getting it.

Some logical rules for what not to do:
- Don't be boring and bland. How do you catch someone's attention by being boring? Everyone knows that people are bombarded by advertising all day long- you need to stand out. For ages people in advertising have blathered on about "thinking outside the box". It's now considered cliche, but so many never actually acted upon it and instead went the boring and bland route. Consumers decide what they take in, for the most part, by what intrigues them, what entertains them, and what is relevant to them. So, make it provocative and compelling.

- Don't do what your competitor is doing. Too many companies think that it's OK to do what everyone else is doing. That's wrong. Very wrong. Again, how do you stand out from them if your ads and message is exactly the same? You don't. There are too many ads out there that could easily have the logo and brand name swapped out and be an ad for their competitor. It creates confusion for the consumer and it doesn't help to build the brand. A couple examples would be bank ads, toothpastes, supermarkets, and off-price retailers.

- Don't be creative and wacky just for the sake of being wacky. This might seem like a contradiction of the first thing I mentioned, but it's not. Creative advertising is very important- but it must also be relevant- either to the consumer (lifestyle, etc) or to the brand (brand story, benefit, etc). Ads that are wacky for the sake of wackiness might catch attention, but they won't do anything for building the brand or getting people to lay down their cash.

- Don't be obtuse. Keep your message simple- wrapped up in a simple story. As one of my professers would say: "Keep It Simple Stupid"- a.k.a. K.I.S.S. If you can't explain the concept in less than 3 sentences, it's too complicated. When you only have 60 seconds or 30 seconds-and even less in print- you need to keep it to the point. If something isn't helping to communicate the idea- ditch it. Stick to the point you are trying to communciate. This goes for design as well- don't use fonts that are hard to read- especially in headlines- and don't design ads where the copy is hidden along the gutter in 6 pt.

- Don't talk down to consumers or insult them. Seems like an obvious thing, but a lot of ads miss the boat with this. They shoot themselves in the foot and they don't even notice.

- Don't forget that you're a consumer too. The specific things that prompt you to buy or try might be different than the target you're trying to reach, but it is important to tap into some of those most basic ways of thinking. What prompts you to buy, how do you interact with brands, how do you deal with brands that don't live up to their promises, etc. Sometimes it seems to me there are a good number of people in advertising that forget this point.

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