Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip No.69 - The Truth Is Not Enough

If you're putting a book together to get your first job, you have to write your own strategies for campaigns, and I already wrote a tip about the importance of telling the truth, not for moral or ethical reasons, but because it leads to more powerful advertising.

I was reminded of this when a jobhunting team e-mailed me some strategies yesterday, which included:

Gola - Sporty, but not too sporty

Sky HD - Make the most of your sofa

In a sense, the team have done what I suggested - found an unusual and interesting truth about the product or target market. It is certainly true that Gola is for people who are sporty, but not too sporty. And if you get Sky HD, you will definitely spend more time on your sofa. These are good insights.

And teams gunning for that first job often have entire books of strategies like this. However, to actually get that first job, there's a level beyond this that you need to break through to.

Now, this may seem obvious, and it probably is obvious to even the most junior Planner, but it doesn't seem to be obvious to young Creatives, judging from the number of books I see which haven't yet grasped this principle, but... the truth is not enough.

When you come up with an interesting and unusual truth, you have to test it against whether it is also a good sell for the product. Good sell means makes it seem more interesting, desirable, better value etc.

So, taking the Gola strategy... I'm not sure that 'outing' me as someone who is sporty but not too sporty makes me want to buy these trainers. In fact it might put me off. It's like saying "Porsche - for rich guys who want to ensure everyone knows they're rich". A true statement, but not the way to get people to buy a Porsche. And for Sky HD, pointing out the fact that you'll be spending more time on the sofa may also come into the 'true, but a turn-off' category.

It's when you can find strategies where the insight is equally fresh and surprising, but which also does a job on making the product seem more desirable, that you've hit pay-dirt.

Previous Tips


Anonymous said...

Talking of truths Scamp,

You recently outed the fact that 'originals never fit'.

Well, I bought a pair a couple of weekends ago that fit perfectly and remain to do so. Even after a 40 degree wash.

Nur nur nee nur nur

Anonymous said...

One of our classmate came up with a strategy for rich tea, which is SWEET BUT NOT SO SWEET. This is similar to gola tho. So their execution is about people being sweet and offer people helps and no so sweet version. LOL.... This is similar to Gola, but seems better that Gola. Thanks for your tips and looking forward to hear more.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

I always find the best student campaigns are the ones that give you a reason to buy the product. Obviously that has to be done in an interesting, unusual way, but a reason none the less.

I think students are forgetting this. Anyone can think of a mad idea for a campaign, but it's thinking of the ones that can sell. Kinda like the real world.

Anonymous said...

lol 12:28, I think the jean is about attitude isn't it? At least it made you buy them and didn't turn you off.


Anonymous said...

Can I offer some extra advice, particularly to Anon 12.43pm.

For Christ's sake, check you're not writing gibberish.

Anonymous said...

Truths are important. Reasons to buy are important but these days I just don't think a simple insight is enough. Nowadays a product needs a story and a campaign that the audience can participate in. Simplicity may be at the core of it but the work itself, if it is nothing more than a simple insight, will feel flat.

Anonymous said...

@G 12.45
I think poster was being funny. Woosh.

Anonymous said...

scamp, can you give us an example of a winning strategy then? that both tells the truth and sells the product?

Stuart Parkinson said...


Volvos, they're boxy but safe.

Anonymous said...

12.51 pm what's the matter with you? Don't be so cruel to me. I have my point of view, if you have a reason to against me why don't you say so, at least I know why, and not just saying I am talking nonsense.

Scamp said...

1.40 - crikey, there are thousands of examples like that, no?

But if you mean one from a student book, then there was a campaign I saw the other day for 'Visit Iceland' where the strategy was 'See God's special effects'.

That's a true selling-point - the incredible scenery of the country - expressed in a fresh and surprising way.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:52 Call me old fashioned, but all the entertainment value, special effects, story lines, and drumming gorillas in the world won't even replace the product's USP. The trick is in giving that USP a memorable spin and a powerful take away.

Sure, people remember the weird and wacky commercials. But do they really remember the products? I don't think the basics of advertising have changed since the dawn of time, no matter who Cannes decides to raise to the throne these days.

Anonymous said...

Hang on a minute Scamp,

re: Iceland ads

'see Gods special effects'
That's a great truth. Unless of course you're an atheist.

Which you are, are you not?

Anonymous said...

Those aren't strategies Scamp....they are straplines or advertising ideas masquerading as strategies.....

Anonymous said...

these two strategies are awful and lazy.

that's what they are awful and lazy, and they're done by a student team!!!

Hang on, surey there's something in that?

Anonymous said...


I remembered those ads, was pretty good aren't they? Well the point was it was based on the truth but twist it a little bit. That's what made it fun. I still remembered the Ribena one those, really funny.


Anonymous said...

speaking of questionable strategies; picture this. I saw some guy carrying a new mop on the bus last night. A NEW MOP ON THE BUS HOME. What the hell was he thinking?

The only person should should bring a mop onto the bus is the poor cunt paid to clean it, once the puke dashed N34 has pulled into the depot.

I have to question his strategy.

He looked like a right twat.

Anonymous said...

The Iceland ads with a truth are 'mum's gone to Iceland' because a a mum has definitely gone to Iceland.

Anonymous said...

best strategy ever. diet tango: you need it because you're weak. so right yet so wrong.

Anonymous said...

My mate got run over by a steam train last week.

I was really upset, but he was chuffed to bits!

Charles Edward Frith said...

Highly subjective view there Scamp. Gola Sporty but not too sporty?

Perfect for those that think the ubermensch sport brands are full of themselves. It's obesity the marketing world is dealing with.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, I think I want to leave advertising, no I do I really I do. I can't be arsed with this crap any more. I'ts just full of crap, I hate myself for liking it, so I'm not going to like it, I don't like it. I do like it, no you don't control yourself dagnamy. I don't think I'm very well, I feel ill. I get a strange knot in my stomach as I get off the tube in the morning, I think bad things about account people, my ECD is a cock, no he's not a cock, he's just thick, he's nice and everything, I just feel sorry for him, trapped and scared. I don't want to be like him, I want to go home. Please can I go to the pub Mr, I wont be un nice or stuff in this no way thats mad, i want to work in the Big Yellow Storage company, clock in at nine, clock out at 6, boxes lots of boxes

Anonymous said...


Am I the only one that thinks the Ribena 'Made From the Blood of Berries' campaign was poo?

It's just a funny (ish) sentence. It's not even a strategy.

I know Ribena is a fun product but who wants to associate blood with food or drink? Particularly a kid's drink? It put me right off my squash!

...& you talked of a strategy that sells Scamp. In what way does that sell Ribena. It simply points out that it's made from berry juice, albeit it in a rather macabre way, hardly a huge lateral leap...

Anonymous said...

Fenton Benton, i hear you brother:

Jaguar. For man who'd like hand jobs from beautiful women they hardly know.

Anonymous said...

Sony. Because Caucasians are just too damn tall.

Metamucil. It helps you go to the toilet. If you don't take it, you'll get cancer and die.

I'm a little bored today.
Could somebody say something controversial.
About Dave Trott.

Anonymous said...

Mr Scamp, in addition to refusing to post offensive comments, how about doing the same for people who can't string together a coherent sentence? Your excellent tip seems to have attracted a bunch of [sorry, you can't say that] this morning. Probably students. Urgh. I suppose you could start this new policy by refusing to post this comment. A sort of ironic in-joke between you and, well, you.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw that guy with the mop on the bus. He had oversized Timberland boots on and hair on his knuckles right?

I can't believe more people aren't talking about this.

It made me feel physically sick.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I sound like a reet miserable twat in that earlier comment.

Sorry (just in case my mum reads this blog).

And how interesting that you can't say that word on here. I might start testing out which others you can't use.

You bunch of badger jockeys.

Anonymous said...

Why can't people write properly any more? I'm dyslexic as fuck but I can still string a sentence together. Unlike most people on this thread.

Anonymous said...

Re: 12:43, sweet but not so sweet has been done for alpen cereal bars. They had teddy bears in s&m gear and so forth