The freshest copy we've heard in quite some time:
'It May Be Time' : '60
It can be hard to know when you need a new job.
As a rule if you hate going to work every day it may be time.
If you hate going to work and your coworkers don't respect you, it may be time.
If you hate going to work, your coworkers don't respect you, and you always wish you were somewhere else, it may be time.
If you hate going to work, your coworkers don't respect you, you wish you were somewhere else, and you cry constantly, it may be time.
If you hate going to work, your coworkers don't respect you, you wish you were somewhere else, you cry constantly, and you daydream of punching small animals, it may be time.
If you hate going to work, no-one respects you, you wish you were somewhere else, you cry constantly, you daydream of punching small animals, and you sit next to this guy, it may be time.
If you make loads of money, it may not be time.
But if you make loads of money, you hate going to work, no-one respects you, you wish you were somewhere else, you cry constantly, you daydream of punching small animals, and you sit next to this guy, it's probably time.
As a rule.
Hear that noise? It's the sound of a paradigm shifting.
In this new era of reduced agency margins it's time for agencies to reconsider the business of winning business.
Chairman and CCO of BBH shares his thoughts below:
When someone asks you to produce spec creative on a pitch, how do you tell them you don’t do that?
Look, if we really value our creative product then we shouldn’t be hawking it around town for anybody who asks us for some creative ideas. And also, if we genuinely believe that it’s about getting strategic thinking right, then proceed to creative execution, how can you do that in say 4 weeks.
Much better to use that time to get to understand the marketplace, get to understand what is going on, and to present to that client a strategic direction, which actually liberates the creative process.
To get them to understand that, when they’re selecting an agency, it isn’t about looking at a wall of ads and going, “I like that one so I’ll go with these people.” It’s about getting clients to at here are a group of people that I can have an intelligent conversation with and who really are beginning to understand my business and who can therefore produce, once they’ve understood my business, some outstanding creative work.
Now the truth of the matter is, a lot of clients won’t buy that, and you go, “Fine, that’s okay. That’s alright.”
Also, the biggest problem for advertising agencies is none of them act as brands. We spend all our life advising brands to understand its target audience, direct its communication at those people, its products are created for that particular marketplace and not everybody will like them. And that’s fine. But when we come to acting like brands, we pretend we’re right for everyone and we’re not. So in a way, it was us saying, “We got to do something, we can’t just say this, we can’t just say ‘we’re not for everyone’, we’ve got to actually do something that is going to actually act as a barrier”, just as a brand does.It might have price, it might have location, it might have design, whatever it might be, they, will have a number of things that will act as a barrier to certain people. But other people will find it fantastic and will want to buy into that brand. And so we
thought we should act in the same way.
We should be a brand. To say to people, “this is what we believe in, if you don’t like it’s fine.” And of course we get sometimes called arrogant for that, but all we say is, “We’re simply trying to be a brand.”
So, the question now is, "How much longer can agencies afford to give away their thinking for free?"
The answer: No longer.
That's no typo on the cover, it's Heller's original title for this seminal novel.
The then-unknown author changed the title to Catch-22 upon hearing of Mila 18, the Leon Uris story of the Jewish uprising in Warsaw during the Second World War.
Otherwise we'd all be saying "It's catch 18" when left with no choice at all.
And F. Scott Fitzgerald similarly proved all first ideas can be trumped when he changed the title of his already published novel about the corruption of the American dream, Under the Red, White, and Blue.
After numerous revisions Fitzgerald eventually re-released the book as The Great Gatsby. Why the change? The former referred to life under the American flag; the latter to the principle character, Jay Gatsby.
Name-changing of existing products is a tough business with clients citing 'brand equity,' but if they take the long view it frequently pays off.
Would Monopoly have been such a success if it had remained The Landlord's Game?
Would Mortimer Mouse have been such a cultural icon if he hadn't been renamed Mickey?
The world's first bald movie star was born on 11th July 1920 and died on October 10, 1985 (the same day as Orson Wells) in New York City at the age of 70.
The cause of death was lung cancer brought on by smoking.
Nine months before his death he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial. A clip from that interview was made into just such a commercial by the American Cancer Society, and released after his death.
A posthumous testimonial for non-smoking and one of the most powerful spots ever created.
And the very best spot of all time:
Witness this behind-the-scenes tour of an award-winning creative farm deep in the heart of England; marvel at the juicing process; see how every drop is precious.
Be a great viral trailer for an ad agency. Hmmm, maybe that's just what it is.
How To Juice A Creative Type
(With thanks to my client, Cindy, who probably enjoyed this even more than I did.)
Before embarking on the rebranding of a famous brand a wise agency will ask itself just one question: What has the product got that we can use?
The hipper edgier King created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky is but the heir to the brand's original character, here as a rag doll from the 80s.
To quote Madame Rose Bertin, milliner to Marie Antoinette: "There is nothing new except that which has been forgotten."
The German watchmaker Klaus Botta embraces the "less is more" ethic of his fellow-countryman and minimalist architect Mies van der Rohe with the Uno, a watch that uses a single hand to tell the time. As his website says, "Things become clearer when you reduce them to their bare essentials."
This thousand dollar watch makes do with just the hour hand which moves like the hour hand of any normal watch--every 12 hours it completes one full rotation--but the simplified dial provides an approximate idea of the current time at a glance. If a more precise indication of the time is required, the five-minute gradations on the Uno allow you to work out the exact time, accurate to more or less one minute, by judging the position of the hand in between two of the five-minute lines.
Living in the time-crunched world we do, an "at a glance" method of time-keeping could save you what you have the least of: time.
How do you sell guns to women? Make them a fashion item like handbags and teacup Yorkies.
Introducing the "Pink Lady," a 2-tone pink and stainless steel, 5-shot, .38 special––yours for just $399.
According to Guns & Ammo, "Charter Arms aims (pun intended?) at the female market with the introduction of the Pink Lady revolver. A variation of its popular .38 Special Undercover Lite, the Pink Lady offers the same durability, power and lighter weight as its predecessor but with a pink finish.
This departure from the standard stainless-or-black selection is part of Charter's ongoing effort to serve the fastest-growing market segment in shooting sports. (Popping philandering husbands?) "For personal protection at the home or for concealed carry, the female shooter demands the same quality engineering as her male counterpart," says Charles Brown of MKS Supply, exclusive marketer for Charter Arms. "But…she also appreciates the personal touches that make the revolver uniquely her own."
Be sure to wear an outfit that matches!
Aside from there being something rather undignified about an icon like the Duke hawking Rheingold (above in 1957), there's a bigger issue with celebrity endorsements. Few of them really work.
Quick quiz: Which of the following products was Michael Jordan paid to endorse?
Cheerios, Nike, Sega, Ball Park Franks, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, AT&T, Gatorade, Rayovac, Wheaties, Hanes, Sony, MCI.
Yep, you’re way ahead of me––all of them.
Jordan selling sneakers I understand. Al Roker selling weatherproof clothing makes sense: he's a weatherman; he knows how to prepare for bad weather.
Some of the bigger agencies have grown rich putting the sell in celebrity, and yes, CMO’s are as star-stuck as anyone else––they want to have their photo taken with Jordan--but are marketers really getting their money's worth?
When pre-rehab Britney Spears appeared in a Super Bowl ad for Pepsi it chalked up their worst showing in years in USA TODAY's annual Super Bowl Ad Meter. Viewers ranked the $5.8 million ad as the third-lowest spot among the 52 rated by Ad Meter.
These days putting the sell in celebrity has a price when only 3% of Americans consider them at all believable.
So next time you reach for a celebrity for your ground-breaking ad, you might want to bear in mind they aren’t as effective as you may think.
You be the judge, but this Philip Morris 'anti-smoking' poster distributed to high schools has a snowboarder riding a board that looks suspiciously like a match or a burning cigarette.
Think I'm being cynical and paranoid?
Think any Philip Morris marketing happens by accident?
The troubling thing about this site is that there obviously must be clients out there who'd trust a computer to judge emotions.
More troubling still is that if your headline can be analyzed by a software program then it must already have been written. Ergo, it's not original.
American Marketing Institute
Here's a set of idea generation steps I've compiled over the years––it's worked for me, may it do the same for you:
1. Hit the internet. Read every link to the product. Get to know the product better than the client’s most loyal consumer.
2. What has the product currently got that we can use? Is there a name, logo, brand, benefit, already established that will give us some direction? What can we build upon? Let’s bring non-category thinking to this category.
3. What does the competitive advertising look like? Get examples––put them on a big board. Do a visual audit. Where are they going and why?
4. Start with a great strategy.
5. Every purchase is an emotional purchase. How does the brand make you feel? Take a moment to think about it, then craft ads that create an emotional reaction.
(Consumers increasingly are seeking comfort and connection from brands. Emphasis has moved from what the product does––the golden age of unique selling propositions and product demonstrations, to how the brand makes you feel––the soft sell. As Bob Lutz, GM head of design says, “These days when everything mechanically in a car is great, design becomes a huge differentation. The interior assumes a bigger role because it's where the customer lives. A thoughtful interior will provide huge long-term owner satisfaction. Cars and trucks are marginally about moving people from A to B. A $2000 used Cavalier will do that. Vehicles have become expressions of our identities. If you don't meet people's psychological needs, you're dead.”)
6. Keep all first thoughts. Try to find the cliché…then get as far away from it as possible.
8. Give the brand a distinctive voice and tone. When you zag you get noticed and take leadership position in the category.
9. Put the product at the heart of the action and weave it into the narrative.
10. Advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What is topical and vogue right now?
11. Is the idea exactly on strategy? Is it "client buyable." Effective advertising means no one else could substitute their brand in a spot for yours.
12. Blow it out! Print, TV, billboards, interactive, environmental, mailers, T-shirts etc. Does the idea work in all media?
13. Make the audience think they're more intelligent than you are, and they'll thank you for it.
14. Tell your story with honesty.
15. Does it pass the cool test?
16. Be entertaining. Do I like it? Will it sell? Is it new?
And as a client once said to me, a great product sells itself so just get out of the way!
The question you must ask yourself dear art director/director/client, is that if you'd been at a casting session in the early eighties and Billy Bob Thornton had walked in, would you have picked him for the callback?
Would Juliette Lewis have ended up in the circular file?
Laura Flynn Boyle's talents buried under a bagel?
What about Woody?
Ahhh, perhaps Vince Vaughn might just have made it out from under that bowl of M&Ms into your soda commercial.
This one word slogan developed by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson began appearing in IBM offices, plants and publications in the 1920s. It was eventually cast on wood, stone and bronze as a desk ornament and was for many years the name of the monthly employee magazine.
That ThinkPad perched on your lap can trace its lineage back to Watson's motto.
John Webster, the recently deceased British copywriter--and one of advertising's greats alongside Abbott, Hegarty, and Saatchi--penned this script for The Guardian newspaper in 1986.
'Point Of View' is a masterpiece of economical writing, pacing and execution. At first we think the skinhead is out to rob the businessman, but confounding stereotypes we see him save a life.
More than twenty years later I can still recall from memory the copy delivered in the resonant tones of Sir Ian Holm:
"An event seen from one point of view gives one impression.
Seen from another point of view it gives quite a different impression.
But it's only when you get the whole picture you can fully understand what's going on."
That's not an ad, that's a life lesson; indeed so compelling was this commercial that it was shown in court by a defendant who claimed the witness had only a narrow view of the crime he was being charged with and thus not in command of all the facts.
The verdict: not guilty.
With the rise of consumer expectations for environmental stewardship and social responsibility, combined with the worldwide long-term shift towards conscious consumption, perhaps the time's right to consider the new criteria rennaisance brands must meet to prosper.
We might call them "The Fab Five."
1. They honor the importance of a corporate conscience (Ethics).
Milton Friedman declared, "The business of business is business." Not these days; companies that ignore public sentiment make themselves vulnerable to attack and will be punished in the markets. No longer can they make the environment an externality.
Indeed, in a Wirthlin Worldwide survey 82% of those questioned said that corporate citizenship has "at least some influence" on their buying decisions. The internet has brought a new level of business transparency where actions are as important as what companies say in their marketing; and nothing kills a brand faster than saying one thing in your advertising, and doing another.
2. They adhere to global labor standards and practices (Wages).
They support Global Fair Trade agreements and undertake a responsibility to support a fair and honest marketplace. As Nike discovered to their cost, one ill-advised production decision to have Vietnamese twelve-year-olds manufacture sneakers in sweat shops caused untold harm to their brand and undid a decade of great advertising.
3. They tread lightly on the planet (Environment).
They strive to reduce their ecological footprint and deliver a product or service whereby no human being or animal is harmed (inhumanely slaughtered) by the manufacture of its goods or service.
4. They run counter to the global consolidation trend (Choice).
This isn't anti-globalization, it's anti-consolidation––anything that limits consumer choice.
In first decade of the American auto industry there were 346 different car companies. Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet were all independent before they merged to form General Motors. And now we're down to two, which is really no choice at all.
5. They espouse sustainability for future generations (The Future).
They're moving toward sustainability in their business models and preserving our planet's non-renewable resources for those unborn.
150 years ago American Calvinists said "Business is about making money, and life is about doing good, and the two are not mutually exclusive."
It seems there's nothing new except that which has been forgotten.