Look, I love planning – not so keen on a bunch planners – but what we do and how we do it has a lot of [underrated] value.
BUUUUUUUUUUUUT, sometimes what we do is – let’s be honest – a bunch of bollocks.
We either do stuff to feed our own ego or do stuff that doesn’t take the brand conversation anywhere new … which not only buggers up our client and bores our audience, but feeds the level of hate many disciplines have for us.
And to be honest, I don’t blame them.
As much as it might be sensitive to say, sometimes the biggest insight is “there’s nothing new here”.
However that takes a lot of balls and courage to admit because essentially, you’re saying you can’t take something to a new place, and that is very hard for the ego to take.
But here’s the thing … it’s not that you COULDN’T come up with something, of course you could, the issue is – whether because of the client request, the category situation or the products overall parity – you couldn’t come up with something that would make a significant difference in the situation you find yourself in and when that happens, the best advice I can give is to give the task to a great creative or design team and sit back, knowing that the biggest contribution you’ve made, was getting the hell out of the way.
I say this because I saw this:
In a whole magazine of ads, these were the only ones that stood out.
AND I DON’T EVEN DRINK ALCOHOL.
Sure, they are just well designed images … sure they don’t say anything deep and meaningful about the brand … sure, they’re not exactly redefining the category … but you know what, maybe they don’t need to.
Maybe they just want to look fresh and fun and attractive so that the next time you’re in a bar or a club, you will ask for Stoli instead of the countless other vodka brands that try and claim to be anything other than a bloody alcoholic drink.
Of course, someone will now tell me a planner was involved in this account … and if they were, good on them, except I would love to know what they actually did given the only difference between this brand and countless others is the name, the design and the flavours.
Planning has a lot to offer and a lot to give … but if the work you do can’t – or won’t – elevate the brand and audience to creatively infectious and intriguing new places [even when they’re old situations], then all you’re really doing is ‘packaging the strategy’ rather than ‘creating the future; and the only people who benefit from that is the agency who will charge you out for essentially writing a bunch of powerpoint decks that no one will ever read.
Fuck, I hope no one in the creative team reads this.
Or my planning team.
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