All of us who work in the ad business ought to know what we're doing but by the look of most ads, apparently, something is very, very wrong. Writing on Advertising Industry Newswire, marketer Scott G breaks down the problems those of us involved in the creation of advertising face and offers up severl pointers and suggestions. It's not that any of this advice is necessarily new. It's just well packaged and well worth reading as if it were a refresher course.
Despite all the negativity you might read on Adrants, there are a great many minds in the advertising industry. Many of those minds work within the wall of an advertising agency or in a client marketing organization. Just as many work outside those walls as consultants, freelancers, speakers, authors, journalists, serial entrepreneuers and the like. Todd Copelvitz, a member of the first group for a period of time, is now a member of the latter group. Copelvitz has been very active in the interactive space for at least 15 years, most recently in the area of agency-side interactive and social media for several Dallas ad agencies.
Todd, who says agencies and media companies have become lazy in the face of the fast changing media landscape and shifting media consumption patterns, suggests all of those in the latter group get off their collective asses, stop bitching about what's wrong with the ad industry and put all those pontifications into practice by starting a company that leaves the old behind and acknowledges the new. Many people have made this call before. Some, because it's easy. Others, because it's a "those who can't do, teach" kind of thing. Further, some do it simply because it's what their good at. Todd hopes to turn theory into practice.
Every ad blog today is loving this Mile vacuum cleaner billboard that illustrates the powerful suckage of Miele vacuums with the image of the vacuum cleaner pulling a hot air balloon out of the sky. It's a great looking billboard and a nice concept except we're not sure it ever physically appeared on a billboard. Look closely. The whole thing looks very Photoshopped. Anyone care to comment?
Now that Visa is in on the whole graffiti thing, graffiti artists might as well throw aways their Krylon, call it a day and move on to some new, yet to be tinged by marketers form of expression. Visa, with help from artist Trish Grantham is taking its "Life Takes Visa" to Greenwich Village in the form of of a giant wall mural with the tagline, "Life Takes Expression." Below the mural, Visa will display other artwork in the form of sculpture, furniture, fashion and more graffiti from artists Christopher Natrop, Jeff Soto, Andy Diaz Hope, Anne Faith Nicholls, AXIS, Erik Pawassar, Parvez Taj, Ron Reihel, Christopher Cuseo, Eric Joyner, Elizabeth Paige Smith, Charlotte Ronson, Dario Antonioni and Hayley Starr.
While test market pilots proved Procter & Gamble's word of mouth arm, Vocalpoint, is a success and increases sales, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and Gary Ruskin's Commercial Alert are not pleased with Vocalpoint's army of 600,000 moms who spread buzz about P&G products and others because Vocalpoint does not require its "connectors" to disclose who they work for, a key tennet in the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's Code of Ethics.
While disclosure certainly appears to be the ethical thing to do, the debate as to whether it affects success can be debated until Paris Hilton can remember the name of the product she's hawking. Vocalpoint CEO Steve Knox says the company takes what he calls the "high road" adding, "We have a deeply held belief you don't tell the consumer what to say." Ruskin calls Vocalpoint and other word of mouth marketing efforts hinder trust and are causing a "commercialization of human relations." WOMMA Founding Member, Nielsen BuzzMetrics CMO and former P&G Brand Manager Pete Blackshaw adds, "There are a lot of word-of-mouth programs in play now, many of which are unsavory. As the leader in the industry, P&G has a higher obligation to set the right standard."
In the ongoing saga of documenting marketers' and outdoor companies' seemingly care free attitude regarding an modicum of common sense when it comes to positioning competitive advertisers, our eye on street, Bucky Turco, sends us yet another awkwardly placed set of outdoor posters. This time, two watch companies vie for attention on the same public phone booth. While we can't imagine anyone still uses a public telephone, that certainly hasn't stopped people walking past them. Wake up and smell the competition you knuckleheads.
Copyranter points us to Gawker today where the New York gossip site has, with the click of a button, allowed its readers to banish all ads from the site except for evian water who is sponsoring a detoxed version of the site for two weeks. Once the button is clicked, all ads disappear except for some subtle mention of evian, some soothing snow-capped graphics and a means for those who publish an RSS feed of their site to "detox" their own RSS feed. The sponsorship was done in partnership with Mediavest and Feedburner. This is what the Adrants RSS feed looks like "detoxed."
Leveraging consumer generated content, or whatever silly buzzword you want to throw at the notion of people creating stuff - as if that were something new, ViTrue Inc., following its acquisition of video sharing site Sharkle, is formalizing the process of random people created ads for specific brands. ViTrue, which has been playing in the people-powered ad space for some time, will introduce a process where marketers and their agencies can post a creative brief, solicit work, review and approve the work which will then appear on Sharkle and, perhaps on television.
On one hand, one could say it's just dumb to outside the industry to find new creative because no one outside the industry could possibly understand what makes a great ad. On the other hand, one could say our industry is an insular, ego-infested closet full of whack jobs who have been following the same lame formulas and creating the same boring ads for so long simply to win awards rather than sell product, anything would be an improvement. We're kinda thinking the other hand has the right idea here.
A couple years ago, UK telephone company Talk Talk ran a commercial that used people to form words. This month, a commercial for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad did the same thing? Some would calls this a form of plagiarism. Others would call it an effective visual element. After all, British Airways did it. Countless others have including out all-time favorite, Carlton Draught's Big Ad, itself, a knock off of the British Airways ad. Certainly these two ads are very similar but are there really any new ideas left? Does it really matter if one ad uses the same visual element as another? Does anyone care?
Ray Del Savio has launched a weblog in an effort to drum up support for getting the word "concept" added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary as a verb. Of course, all of us in the business who've been using the word to describe the act of coming up with an overall ad or campaign idea have been using the word as a verb forever. Savio's blog cites the Dictionary currently only recognizes the word as a noun and adjective.
The blog links to a petition that asks everyone to get behind its proposed addition to the Merriam-Webster listing of the word "concept." The proposed addition is al follows:
to con cept (knspt) - co cepted (knspt-ed) - con cept-ing (knspt-ing)
1. A process whereby ideas are generated for the purpose of creatively solving a problem: "The team set aside some time for concepting in order to flush out some plausible directions."
There are 56 signatures so far. We're all for it. What about you?