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The ad community love to talk about being all about business.
They love saying how they’re committed to solving client problems.
The bang on about how they’re focused on effectiveness.
But it’s not true, is it … at least in the way most businesses want their problems solved.
As I’ve said before, even when agencies say they’re ‘media neutral’, it still implies their solution to every problem involves some sort of media.
Or said another way, stalk rather than attract.
That’s one of the reasons I believe the best people in the business are at the creative end of business, not the business end of creativity. They understand what’s really going on … what really needs to happen … and can develop ideas that solve that problem, regardless of the advertising. In fact, the role of any advertising they produce is there to amplify the solution to the masses rather than be the solution.
Of course it’s hard … especially when some marketers believe their role is more about producing communication rather than driving the broader business … but it can happen, it just doesn’t happen enough.
Now compare that to clients.
Adland loves to act like they’re better than many clients.
OK, in some cases, that’s absolutely true … but compared to many, we are slower, less innovative and less pragmatic than we like to admit.
Don’t get me wrong, I think adland – or should I say, some of the people in adland – are incredible, but my issue is that for all the talk we do about being instigators of commercial opportunity, I believe we see more commercially creative ideas from clients than we do adland.
Case in point, Spotify.
A while ago, they launched this:
What I love about it is that it works on so many levels:
+ It reinvigorates interest in their existing users.
+ It intrigues interest from none users.
+ It drives incremental usage and revenue for the brand.
+ It drives new revenue for artists who – until that point – had been ignored.
No digital centric, integrated campaign that takes users to a bunch of online ‘documentaries’ – after you’ve got past the pre-roll nightmares and a bunch of specially created – never downloaded – apps that are tied together with some pithy, snappy end line … just a real idea, that intrigues and interests a specific segment of society/culture that has a genuine commercial value for the company.
Of course, like all great ideas, it’s so simple you can’t work out why no one did it before – but that’s what great marketing is, the ability to see opportunities that have commercial and cultural value and then express it in a way that draws people in.
Then do awesome communication to inspire and seduce the masses.
In a World where too many in adland seems to think an idea is some sort of over-infalted, ultra-convoluted, complex range of executions and apps, the reality is there are an incredible amount of powerful, profitable, infectious and, crucially, simple ideas that are hidden in plain sight and the sooner we stop wanting to align with the latest shiny new thing [to make us feel good and look relevant] and get back to opening our eyes so we can see and understand what real commercial ideas are – and build off that in brilliant, creative ways – the quicker our industry will get back to where it belongs.
Of course for that to happen, clients need to get back to giving us business problems rather than pre-defined marketing decisions, but it also requires us to care about what they need, not just what we want them to need.
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