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When I started in adland, Steve Henry once barked something at me that still stays with me to this day:
“If you want people to do something, you have to entertain them. That’s the trade”.
He was right.
I am seeing way too much advertising – whether it’s new age digital experiential shit or old fashioned TVC’s – that has had all the energy and life sucked out of it, replaced with contrived seriousness or the illusion of luxury.
Please don’t confuse what I’m saying as validation for the other type of communication being made … the sponsored [shit] joke.
Spending a fuckload of cash to bring some bad joke to life just so you can put your logo on the end and pretend you’re popular isn’t right either.
[Are you hearing me beer companies!? Jesus, at least do something original]
As I’ve said many times, we’re in the ‘commercial creativity’ business.
That’s 2 words, not one … and they have to be read together, not with a fullstop inbetween.
That means what we do has got to fulfill a bunch of criteria.
At it’s heart it has to encourage people to want to do what your clients brand needs them to do … but rather than brainwash, bore or bully them into it … it has to be done in a way that not only makes them think, be interested and excited – it has to done in a way that makes them want to be part of something.
Sure it’s difficult. Sure it doesn’t always work. Sure it doesn’t mean everything has to be over-the-top. But as people only do stuff that is in their interests, not the brands [which is why we are supposed to have planners!] we have to make sure we do things they notice, are interested in and will care about … and that is the power of entertainment.
Few people want to watch ads – at least those not in the industry.
Few people want to be treated like an idiot or a child at school.
Few people care about helping a companies shareholders.
But part of our job is to make people give a damn.
Wake them up.
Get them interested.
Encourage them to think and hopefully do something different.
And that is why entertainment [with purpose] is so important because as Steve said [read: shouted] if you’re going to interrupt people’s lives, you better do it in a way that makes that interruption worth while … make that moment stay with them for far longer than the specific interaction … and that’s not going to happen if you approach every interaction with either the overt seriousness of a companies ego or the contrived silliness of a company that has nothing meaningful to say.
We need to take leaps.
We need to push boundaries.
We need to press cultural buttons.
Not for creatives sake, but for commercial effectiveness’ sake … and any planner, suit or client who fails to get this is fundamentally missing the point of what we do, what we can do and what moves a huge proportion of society.
Wow, all this just to justify showing the best wrestling video of all time …
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