When in doubt, nothing wins people over like a good story. Playing the bard is a standby for good CEOs and, we think, great marketers.
That's one reason why we found Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman's The Elements of Persuasion so interesting. It doesn't just emphasize the importance of telling tales to persuade; it does so from a branding and sales perspective, without neglecting the importance of listening, and sharing plenty of relevant stories along the way.
It's also compact, easy to read, and orange. How do you beat orange?!
We always thought it was funny that Unilever would champion girls' self-esteem via Dove (courtesy of Ogilvy) and premit mass objectification of lusty ladies via Lynx/Axe (courtesy of Bartle Bogle Hegarty).
Boston's Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is less amused.
"The hypocrisy is Dove positioning itself as a brand that cares and is trying to teach girls to resist this messaging," said associate director Josh Golin. "At the same time Unilever, in the form of Axe, is putting out some of the worst messaging there is."
Our take? Unilever's just a parent company.
We think it's perfectly fine for someone working in the advertising industry to dislike the AMC series Mad Men and to share that opinion with the industry at large. But, when the second sentence of that opinion reads, "I got through about 10 minutes of it before I changed the channel, trying not to squint as I yawned so I could see what was on the latest episode of Dirty Jobs," the next five paragraphs, which contain blatherings about how the show should be more realistic to industry's "magical" era, become baseless.
For someone to write a review of a television show, which has been on the air for at least 12 weeks, after only having watched the first ten minutes of the premiere episode is half-witted at best and most assuredly irresponsible journalism. McKee Wallwork Cleveland Partner and Creative Director Bart Cleveland is the half-wit who brings us wacky commentary such as, "what I really wanted it to be more like was Mad Max. I wanted the hero to be a little off his rocker about doing great work. I wanted to see him threaten to jump out a window to sell a bagel ad." Mad Max? Oh yea. That'd be an accurate portrayal of what we do.
Here's a music and video campaign called Not For Sale. The object of the game is to raise money to stop the global slave trade, which is a $32 billion industry, apparently.
We're very moved but, having come from a country whose favourite export is mail order brides and domestic helpers, we're feeling a little nonplussed.
For each girl that's bought out of slavery, another handful leaps in, encouraged by angling parents and crappy governments (which, instead of using its money for roads or transport, may fund stupid shit like Imelda Marcos' shoe fetish, a social tragedy romanticized by fashionistas worldwide).
In the end, trying to end slavery is about persuading corrupt governments to stop swilling their countries and make more productive decisions. But that'll probably happen around the same time Bush stops throwing America's dollar value at the War on Terror.
After our stokage, then disappointment, over the latest Bravia ad -- snippets of which look suspiciously like this Kozyndan panoramic (sent to Passion about two years ago) -- Sony gave us the following statement.
Here's some food for thought as you consider just how smartly your marketing budget is being spent. Recently, a media buyer refused to place a buy on a site because the site's content was deemed unsuitable. All well and good but then the same media buyer placed the same buy on a blind ad network (a buy that is made without knowing on which sites the ads will appear).
We bet you can guess what happened next. Yup. The ad appeared on the site that was deemed unsuitable because the blind ad network buys ads from the same, so-called unsuitable site. One, perhaps, can't fault the buyer since they had no idea the ad would appear on the site they thought should not be part of the buy but doesn't the entire blind buy thing seem idiotic? It's like, "Hey, let's throw some money at a stripper and see what sticks to her thong." Not the most efficient use of one's cash.
If you think strange homages and coincidences in advertising creative are a new thing, you would be mistaken. Writing on Freaking Marketing, Robert Rosenthal shares with us the fact the famed David Ogilvy-created Rolls Royce headline, "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" wasn't exactly original. Perhaps this is common knowledge is some circles but it's the first we've heard of it.
In a very level headed examination, Rosenthal explains how a headline, "The only sound one can hear in the new Pierce-Arrows is the ticking of the electric clock" appeared in a Pierce Arrow print ad in 1932, many years before it appeared in a Rolls Royce ad. It's nearly identical to the Rolls Royce headline.
Certainly Ogilvy was old enough to have seen the ad but, as we've seen many times before, coincidences happen and even if work plays off former work, it's usually done, as Rosenthal points out, simply to accomplish whatever the campaign set out to do. While everyone likes to say there are no new ideas today perhaps they've been gone for over 50 years.
UPDATE: In comments, Rosenthal, after digging deeper, tells us the headline may have come from the Technical Editor of a magazine called The Motor. Oddly, it sounds like we may have known this before but don't count on our brain cells for much. We're just sharing the facts as they present themselves.
Ahh. Here's what Profitable Marketing Communications aspired but failed to be because the authors were too busy trying to be memorable writers. Jason Burby and Shane Atchison make no such pretension.
Actionable Web Analytics reads more like a textbook than an indulgent marketing tourguide. Its lessons are practical, actionable, simply explained and well-illustrated.
Buy it. You don't even have to read it; if it's on your shelf, you'll actually seem smarter. We'll even overlook the fact that co-author Shane looks like a hipster.
Believe it our not, everyone that writes for Adrants does not, contrary to popular belief, live in New York. So revel, herewith, in the story of Angela as she masters the art of traveling on an Adrants budget as opposed to an Advertising Age budget which, for Adrants readers, is a very good thing.
After all, do you want the highly-edited, overly-tame version of Advertising Week - or do you want the gritty reality of life in the big city as seen by someone like you: People without huge expense budgets who go from glitzy hotel to cab to advertising conference and back again without reveling in everything New York has to offer? Read on.
You never know when you'll need the skills necessary to support your survival (and cool factor) if you happen to find yourself at a youth hostel during Advertising Week on a (trendy) Bohemian budget. And after three days doing it, I'm a PhD. Read on to glean the fruits of my loving labors:
1. Buy a map. This serves two purposes: locating all the 1 Line stations in Manhattan, and all the shot-in-the-dark buildings the Advertising Week people chose for the seminars (couldn't one location have done the job?).
If colleagues ask why you never take a cab home, say nonchalantly that you know the Subway like the veins on the back of your writing hand. They'll be impressed. Or at least they'll look like they are.
We really wonder if people do their homework before launching what they believe will become something akin to the next YouTube. The idea of commercials as content has been done many times before and has failed each time. However, the recently launched Firebrand doesn't seem to care and believes its offering of the "coolest" commercials served up MTV VJ-style will connect "consumers directly with their favorite brands in an integrated environment." How many billions of time have we heard that before?
We tried really hard not to laugh when Firebrand CEO Roman Vinoly said, "We program TV spots like a DJ spins music in a club. There is a rhythm and flow to it." In an attempt to spin Firebrand as something other than a massive database of commercials, Vinoly adds, "On Firebrand, you'll see more car chases, explosions, gags, drama, heroes, Oscar-winning actors, directors and producers in an hour than in a month of HBO." Right, dude. They're still fucking commercials. Not The Sopranos.