The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Emperor’s New Clothes?
June 29, 2006, 11:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Another day, another proprietary  tool’. 

However, Media Planning and Buying Company, GROUP M, has done more than just re-package the same old bollocks with an exciting new name … oh yes, they’ve created a ‘tool’ that can measure how much advertising ‘engages’ consumers ’emotionally and/or behaviourally.

Sorry, but am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing actually creates an greater divide between brand and public?

Don’t get me wrong, I love how science can answer things previously thought of as unanswerable – but advertising is not a science … infact it is one of the most simplistic things on earth! 

For me, the problem is that business doesn’t allow its people to try new things – and I can sort of understand why, because mistakes are bloody expensive. However what it has resulted in is most marketers only approving communication that is quantifiable – be it creativity, media, R&D etc etc – because then, if something goes wrong, they have the ‘data’ to explain why they acted in the best interests of their company.

The irony is that for all the research and information we have available, we now have less successful brands than at any point in history – even when clients spend so much on research till it say’s everything is going to be a great success!

A colleague of mine, Fred, has written a wonderful paper on the ‘Rise Of The Focus Group’ [’t get me [or him] wrong, we love research – it is a very valuable and valid methodology that can really help guide the development of communication – it’s just that in the wrong hands [and it’s in alot of wrong hands at the moment] it can screw up ‘potential’ better than any teacher or parent.

My problem is that I can’t help  feel this ‘engagement tool’ is going to screw up creativity and imagination to an even greater extent … because apart from the results being reliant on the interpretation of the individual ‘expert decoder’, it’s still asking people to ‘switch on’ their rational side of the brain [even if it is done subconsciously] and this will naturally skew the ‘findings’ because in the ‘real World’, everything we do is emotionally led, rationally justified.

Anyway, you can read Group M’s hype at … … and please bare in mind that media companies have a long history of launching ‘new tools’ pronouncing they can save the World of communication when in reality, they tend to end up doing the same old thing they’ve always done.  Think about it … for all their talk about the ever-changing media consumption habits of the consumer, if you analyse where the majority of the media money is invested by them, you’ll find it’s generally in the same old QUANTIFIABLE media they’ve always used.  Hmmmm ….

13 Comments so far
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Just read Fred’s engaging piece on research. I’ll have to invite him to talk to my students in the new semester!

Comment by Mark

You’ll love him – he’s far nicer and smarter than I’ll ever be! The bastard!

Comment by Rob

As he said in the prisoner “I am not a number, I am a human being.”

How can you expect to engage with people if you see them only as quantifyable numbers?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Exactly – I couldn’t agree more and this is something we go to great lengths to have ‘taken into account’ with the clients of ours that are abit more into the ‘traditional’ method of communication research.

I’m going to find a paper I wrote for MTV and put it up for people to see. It basically says Brands could learn alot from Bands because despite billions spent by corporations, people still care more about the Artic Monkeys than they do about Revlon!

Comment by Robert

Oh, and I saw your entry on the PLF site and let me tell you, I’ll take your bet – I’ve done worse … and I have about 25 written warnings over the years to prove it, ha!

Comment by Robert

25! Thats a record surely…

I agree about the brands. Agencies could learn too from this: If you producethe same album for 30 years people will stop listening!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hahahaha – unless you’re Staus Quo or Coldplay!

Comment by rob

I would really like to read your piece on MTV.

Comment by Mark

Status Quo is such an apt name in retrospect.

So the Quo are Loreal, and Coldplay are Revlon…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Which came first? The definition or the band name?

Comment by Rob

The definition is from Latin (hence ‘Quo’), but the fact you even asked the question says it all!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rick Parfit has to be at least 5,413 years old by now.

Comment by rob

True, I believe he now has to be referred to with the prefix “Ye Olde”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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