Like a "blankie" being pulled away from a baby, Russians have had the guilty pleasure of beer advertising removed from their lives - at least from 6AM to 10PM. That's the gist of a new law due to be signed by Vladimir Putin sometime next week. In Russia, beer ads account for ten percent of television ad revenues amounting to potential loss of $1.4 billion.
"Attractive, obsessive and aggressive beer advertising makes it extremely attractive for consumption," Duma's Security Committee head Vladimir Vasilyev told parliament on Saturday. Well, yes, Vladimir. That's sort of the main idea about advertising - to make people want to buy stuff.
The law will prohibit images of people or animals in ads and requires 10 percent of ad space to be devoted to health warnings. Additionally, beer ads may not appear on the front or back covers of magazines and may not appear inside sports arenas and cultural institutions. Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of boring, all text ads buried in newspapers or perhaps Google will see a spike in its Russian AdWords business.
Needless to say, beer advertisers are pissed. Association of Communication Agencies President Vladimir (is everyone in Russia named Vladimir?) Yevstafyev reacted to the law saying, "This is barbarity, wild and irresponsible petty tyranny. This is nothing but cheap populism."
Following the fragrance industry's tactic of attacking olfactory senses with magazine "Smell-O-Rama" ads, Volvo is placing a spread ad in Car and Driver, Road and Track and Motor Trend which will include a smell strip with the scent of burnt rubber. The headline of the ad will read, "The invigorating new fragrance from Volvo." Please don't let Septic Tank companies in on this one.
Famous "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" creative guru Hugh MacLeod offers twelve tips for anyone heading into or already part of the advertising creative process. While causing the most stress between creative types and business types in the advertising business, the number one and most important trait one must possess to succeed creatively is to "Ignore Everyone." Giving in to consensus dilutes a renders all ideas un-creative. All early stage ideas should be allowed and encouraged. Never stifle the process. That is until politics come into play and there's no choice. While in the ad business creative control ultimately rests in the hands of the one paying the bill, that does not mean the creative process needs to be hamstrung by arm chair quarterbacking during the idea generation stage.
An idea is great because it is different. Not because it had been vetted by research or by focus groups. Most great creative never sees the light of day because it is forced through a rigorous process of checks and balances that forever waters down any breakthrough idea it might once have had. Of course, advertising is not art for art's sake but art with a commercial purpose so while allowing a great idea space to breath, making sure that idea supports a given strategy can not be ignored. No one said creating great advertising was easy. But allowing great advertising ideas the chance in the first place is well within our grasp.