#Kissforpeace ? | Watch the ad, then decide:
Quote: “AXE + purpose: the concept divided the Contagious office as we heatedly debated whether it even counted as purpose in the no-nonsense way of brands in the Unilever stable, for instance Lifebuoy and its health hygiene programme designed to help children reach their fifth birthday.”
Link to full Contagious article.
Watch the commercial, then take poll below…
More than half of Super Bowl viewers will use smartphones or laptops while they watch the Seahawks take on the Broncos on TV. Harvard Business School professor Thales S. Teixeira explains how advertisers can step up their game to capture viewer attention.
I like ads, I really do. They’re art. Sometimes the best even end up on display in museums. Adverts are attractive, often amusing, informative, a snapshot of our contemporary history. They are a source of pride for their creators. They look good in our portfolios, make great conversation around the braai and allow us to show our kids what we do for a living.
The fundamental question is: Do we like our ads too much?
First off, I suspect that the answer to too many questions in marketing is “an advert”. It seems that too often creating an ad is the culmination of the marketing process. And there is of course the whole (sexy) ad industry waiting for the call. It’s trite, but let’s remember advertising is just a subset of one of the (apparently now indeterminable number of) marketing P’s Do we spend a similar amount of time and resource on the other fundamentals of marketing? How much time have you spent over at the “pricing agency” this month?
As a result of this focus on ads, are we as marketers overlooking less sexy but possibly more effective ways of building our brands? As the Chile mine crisis reached its emotional climax (with claims of higher viewership than the world cup), my marketing friends and colleagues were unanimous “You just can’t buy positive exposure like that”, they lamented, as they headed off to the ad agency. Not the PR Company mind you! Yes, non-paid-for commercial communication can be hugely powerful, yet remains (with apologies to my enormously professional colleagues within the PR and communication specialisations) the unpopular stepchild of our profession. Fundamentally are we being objective with how we allocate our marketing resource and effort?
Secondly, to the specifics of the ad itself: Seems we marketers think that a really good ad can fix any product, positioning or marketing weakness. It’s what I refer to as putting lipstick on the bulldog. It might fool a few, but fundamentally it remains a bulldog. How many times do we see brands or products where the only differentiation is the advertising? The weakness of such a “lipstick strategy” is that lipstick is freely available to our competitor’s at the nearest beauty retailer (read agency), even if the shade is slightly different.
I always liked the definition of an advert in law – namely: “an invitation to do business”. Which leads me to an illustrative (if cruel) analogy in this regard. Think back to school. When the pimply-faced, socially-awkward classmate handed out their mother’s beautifully crafted party invites, enthusiasm remained thin and attendance of the event was inevitably embarrassingly low. When the sexy number we were all secretly in love with, merely mentioned the time and location of a trendy sounding bash, there was an unseemly scrabble to attend.
My point is that it’s not always the elaborateness of the invitation (read advert) that is the answer. Perhaps the differentiated attractiveness of the party (read product) itself is more important. So fundamentally let’s make sure we as marketers invest sufficient time and resource on the party and not just the invite.
We all know the one I’m talking about. That rubbish campaign,
which clearly hasn’t been thought through. Look, I gave it a
bit of thought slumped in my couch when I was flicking through
channels I don’t normally watch. I just don’t like it. It really doesn’t “talk to me”. I feel no connection. The production values are good, of course – we can all see that, but frankly I doubt anyone in the target market will like it either, it just too… you know. And it won’t achieve either the comms or marketing objectives either.
You do know which campaign I am referring to, right? No, not that one – the other one, the one before that one.
Criticism. There is a lot of it about. We have all faced it as marketers. And no doubt we have all participated in the guilty pleasure of criticising others’ work. The fundamental question is: As professional marketers how critical should we be of other professionals work?
My strong contention is that to properly crit the work of other marketers we need as a minimum: access to their strategic intent, definition of target market and preferably more than a little research and insight from that market. But the lack of such background doesn’t seem to prevent a wide range of marketers from commenting about the suitability of another’s campaign. In my opening paragraph – if I personally don’t connect with the ad, it is highly possible it’s not aimed at my psychographic profile. Marketers are frankly a fairly rare species in the greater South African consumer population and clearly they should not be the intended target for most broad based campaigns. If I rarely see ads in a campaign – is that poor media planning or tight targeting of a demographic profile (with consequent media consumption habits) other than my own? And the personal preference thing – based on a sample of one (or two if you include the wife who decides what I like) are we to extrapolate the overall preference of the target market?
Perhaps more importantly, what gives us the right to assume that (in light of our of necessity superficial analysis of the foundations of the campaign given we are outsiders) we know better than a team of client, strategy and agency professionals who have no doubt been working on the campaign for months?
Let’s consider the example of the medical profession. You will not in my experience find a doctor criticising the diagnosis or surgery of another. And you will certainly not receive a second opinion around the braai, criticising a fellow professional’s original diagnosis, which was originally based on an MRI scan, blood tests et al.
While we undoubtedly add to the state of the art of marketing though objectively evaluating contemporary campaigns, let’s not forget that ill-considered criticism costs the profession dear. An element of marketing communication will always remain subjective. It is that exciting creative edge which attracted us to the profession in the first place. Marketing is both “Art” and “Science”. But when we are seen to be stating categorically that another marketing professional’s subjective decisions are definitively wrong, based on an ill-informed or equally subjective opinion of our own, we diminish the statue of our entire profession. That is the fundamental issue.