Sunday, October 26, 2014

Some Philosophical Bullshit For You

I studied Philosophy at university. Well, in theory I did. Like many students I was more interested in going to discos and eating kebabs, so I only really got around to seriously looking at Philosophy in my last term, which was probably a little late.

Nevertheless, occasionally I observe something in advertising that dredges up a Philosophical memory.

Last week I was wondering... are many of the disagreements that we have with Clients, and among ourselves within an Agency, real disagreements, or are they just disagreements about language?

The splendid fellow with the pipe you see above is Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), one of the founders of the Analytic School of philosophy, who believed that most philosophical problems aren't really moral disagreements or religious disputes or whatever, just disagreements about language.

He argued that if we could just be super-clear in our use of language, the problems would go away.

I reckon that's a cool tip we should try to adopt in advertising. I mean, so many problems arise because you show someone some ideas, but what they wanted was what you call strategies (although they call them ideas). Or you ask someone for ways-in, and they come back with scripts, which is what ways-in means to them, although you meant something else.

So, can we not just agree upfront what we all mean by terms like 'idea', 'strategy', 'thought', 'execution', 'territory', 'way in', and 'platform'? 

Then we'll hopefully spend less time floundering around like a fish in an empty bathtub.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Has The 'Ta-Da' Moment Had Its Day?

On another website, a Chief Marketing Officer was saying that he hates the 'ta-da' moment, when an agency does the big reveal of their new campaign.

So... why do we do it?

If we scrapped it, we would certainly save time and money. A 'big' presentation takes a day or two days of studio resource, plus the cost of the materials, which pretty much all ends up being wasted.

And it would save stress. There's always a late night or two putting that ta-da together. And the big build-up to the reveal can create big anxiety; if you haven't cracked it, it's a disaster.

I also wonder whether it's harder for clients to give honest feedback in that kind of session. The agency have clearly been to such a huge effort, and (hopefully) show such passion in presenting it, that human nature surely dictates at least a little positivity, even if none is warranted.

Yes, the passion and presenting skills of the agency can sometimes get a client excited, even over-excited. But is that necessarily a good thing? It's like when you go shopping - sometimes the pumping music and the gushing enthusiasm of the sales staff gets you buying something that you later realise doesn't suit you, and nobody wins.

So what's the alternative - emailing the work? We could theoretically give clients an email update every 24 hours.And the advantage of this method is that we wouldn't go for any longer than 24 hours on the wrong track.

But it seems a bit of a shame.

As a CD, I'm a buyer of ideas myself, and I know from experience I'm much more likely to respond positively to something if the team is there to bring it to life in front of me, rather than just sending it via email. Also an idea is much more likely to grow and evolve, in a face-to-face session.

So call me crazy, but how about if we deployed some technology to help? Like a Google Hangout?

I'm proposing what I modestly suggest we henceforward call the 'Veksner Triple-Screen Method'. You divide the screen into 3. On the left, the brief. On the right, the work. And in the middle, the face(s) of the people you are talking to. 

What do you think?

Or are you a fan of 'ta-da'? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Care About Grammar? Stop Reading.

There is a Facebook group called 'If You Don't Know The Difference Between You're And Your, You Deserve To Die.'

Quite amusing. Although personally, I don't get too wound up about grammar. It's far more important to be saying something interesting than to be saying something correctly.

In fact, I don't believe there even is such a thing as correct and incorrect usage. Not really.

However, I'm making an exception for the new trend towards using initial caps for every word in advertising headlines. This has to stop. 

Immediately, please.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Trick That Guarantees You Will Get Your Ad Bought

Simply mention the product name repeatedly, throughout the ad.

Like this.

The good news is that the Client will probably really like it.

And it will sail through research.

The bad news is that it will almost certainly be a terrible ad.

Here's another example, the (in)famous Go Compare campaign.

But what if it's a print ad, I hear you ask?

Simple, just make the ad out of the logo.

It's a shame I couldn't find my all-time least-favourite example, a poster from the UK for budget hotel chain Premier Inn, which showed a little girl snuggled up in bed, cuddling their logo.

She really loved that logo.