This Olympics-focused editorial series is written by Ronald Urbach, Chairman of law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP and the co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at the firm.
It has begun, the Olympics. Even the name sounds grand. For the athletes, it reflects years of overwhelming personal effort and training focused on a singular goal - to win gold. For each country, it's time to fly the flag and show pride. For London, it's the moment where they can show off to the world. For the agencies, advertisers, marketers, media, and the people and businesses that live and work in the ad ecosystem, they see the Olympics from their own unique vantage point.
But for me - a lawyer and head of the preeminent law firm in the advertising industry, and someone who has been living and breathing advertising and marketing his entire professional career, I see things through a very different prism. Over the next two weeks, I am going to give you my thoughts on what I am calling, the Olympics of Advertising.
So everyone is piling on TBWA for two its most recent Apple commercials in which a Dell Dude-like character comes to the rescue of people in the midst of various computing nightmares. The piling on is well warranted for one simple reason; Apple products are supposed to be so easy to use that you rarely have to call in an Apple Genius for help.
This guest article is written by Jim Signorelli is CEO of StoryLab Marketing.
"Hey There, I'm Terrific!"
How could anyone expect to sell anything this way? Telling someone you're terrific is so, well...crass, obnoxious, Neanderthal, anything but effective. Right?
Curious, I created an experiment. I set out to see how people would actually react to someone saying "Hey there! I am terrific!", not in written words, but in a real face-to-face interaction. So, taking life into my own hands, I stood out on a street corner to see how passersby might react.
After a startled stare and/or a quizzical "huh?," I either received a polite "no thanks" or a profane description of what I should do with or to myself. Consequently, I gave up on this experiment early on so I don't have anything that would come even close to a projectable sample. But I'm going to take a leap of faith and hypothesize that the chances of someone responding with "okay, I'm buying whatever terrificness you're selling," are slim to none.
So why would I do such a thing? What's to figure out? Nobody talks this way. So what's the big deal?
This guest article is written by Dave McMullen, Partner and CEO at redpepper.
It wasn't that long ago when we were taught the key to successful marketing was focus. Sending a clear message to a well-defined target audience was the only way to build a brand. Today's marketers know that this is no longer the only way, nor even the best way. In fact, many marketers are facing an increasingly complex landscape of consumers, media platforms, and service providers that can cause them to spend more time trying to save their job than creating effective marketing.
Multifarious marketing is multiple groups working toward multiple goals on multiple platforms and reaching multiple audiences with one core message. Below are a few notes on navigating the new world of "multi".
This guest article is written by Jim Signorelli, CEO of StoryLab Marketing in Chicago and author of StoryBranding: Creating Standout Brands Through The Power Of Story.
Finding your authentic brand's story is not a luxury for the touchy-feely. Given our overloaded channels of communication and the general lack of trust (and boredom) with advertising messages, finding your brand's true emotional core and expressing it through your brand's story is a must.
But first, you must know what you're looking for.
If you ask any storywriter, "what are you trying to say through your story?" chances are you will get some expression of their worldview or values. If you ask the same question of a marketer, you might get something that resembles a unique selling proposition or what is now commonly referred to as an elevator speech. Brand stories are something very different than elevator speeches, and far more powerful.
Advertising Age just published a round up of last week's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and took a look at five of the hottest topics discussed. There was controversy surrounding the judging of the Media Lions. There was the acknowledgement of technology's increasingly important role in advertising. There was the growing debate over the relevance of effectiveness in judging work. There was the shifting viewpoint among giants P&G and Unilever over the importance of copy testing. And there was a bit of hang wringing over the increase in the number of clients (as compared to agencies) attending the festival and whether or not Cannes will transform itself from a festival of creativity into a global marketing event.
And it is this last point that, in our mind, is worth further exploration. It appears Cannes is undergoing the same seismic shift our U.S.-based SXSW has experienced over the last few years. Just as Cannes was once a small conclave of agency types, SXSW was once a small conclave of early adopter widget heads. Now, both events have, rightly so in our opinion, expanded to include other elements of their respective domains.
It's funny how quickly things change. When Adrants launched in 2001 and then became a business in 2003, things were still pretty traditional. Banners ruled. DSP stood for digital signal processing (not demand-side publishing). RTB was something Wall Street did. There was no social media. There was no social business. There was no content marketing. And there were certainly no brands producing their own content. Because God forbid the line between advertising and editorial be crossed.
See PayPerPost. We trashed them and CEO Ted Murphy. But times change and what was once unacceptable is now, mostly the norm. We're good friends with Ted Murphy now and, like many other publications, now sell "content sponsorship" deals all the time. Even Adrants, which always prided itself on cutting through the bullshit and keeping the ad industry honest now straddles the line.
Today, that line that used to exist between advertising and editorial is becoming ever more difficult to see. It's not as if "pure" editorial was never before influenced by marketers intent on insuring their message play out in as many places as possible. It's just that the "vetting" that used to exist between marketer and consumer has mostly disappeared.
Last night at Galapagos Art Space in New York, the long-awaited debut of the Cornelius Trunchpole documentary, Art & Corny, premiered. For over two years, Cornelius Trunchpole, famous ad man from the sixties, has been promising a comeback. And if the documentary is to be believed, the man has, indeed returned.
In the documentary, produced by contagiousLA, industry luminaries such as Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, Steve Hayden, Gerry Graf, Barbara Lippert, Michael Wolf, J. Walter Thompson II and, yes, George Parker discuss the effect Trunchpole had on them.
This guest article is written by redpepper founder Dave McMullen.
Most ad agencies live and die by a single metric. Some measure everything about it and all around it. Others ignore it and just hope they get it. It's the fuel that drives the modern advertising business.
It's the billable hour.
In order to grow profitably, agencies need to hire more people and bill them out at a minimum of 65-75 percent of their day. Unfortunately selling, assigning, and working by the hour and for the hour is not very motivating. And this can cause problems in an agency's culture by killing the inspiration needed to find creative solutions to problems.
Sadly, in the ad business, copycatting is all to prevalent. Sometimes it's unintentional. Sometimes it's just chance. Sometimes it's an agency "repurposing" old work for a new client. Sometimes it's the client asking a new agency to "repurpose" the work of another agency.
Whatever the case may be, it's always a sticky situation. We'd like to believe maliciousness is never in play. We can't really ever be sure though.
The latest case of copycatting comes from Work Labs, a company that prides itself for creating brands designed for the everyday worker. One of these products was Work Beer, a microbrew brand that was developed in 1999 and brewed for a short time by Main Street Beer Company. In 2005, Work Labs developed an ad campaign for the microbrew.
Yesterday, Work Labs Founder Cabell Harris contacted us (after it had been called to our attention by another source) to tell us his 2005 campaign for Work Beer looked strikingly similar to a 2012 New Belgium campaign for Shift Beer. You can see each campaign side by side here.