Thursday, July 3, 2014

Old school of thought

(reposted from 10/29/12)

I miss the One Off.

The One Off was a singular great idea/great execution/great ad that stood alone in the limelight. It was unencumbered by contrived brand extensions. Unfettered by social media integration. And unburdened by the false prophecy of 360 degree synergy.

Look through the awards annuals of days gone by and you'll find page after page of great One Offs.

But the One Off is on the endangered species list. Today, Creative Directors will trash an idea simply because it is a One Off. As if that were some kind of pejorative.

Or worse, like some crazed Joe Pesci character, they'll stick a great idea in a table vice and squeeze it until it yields banners, mobile apps and "something fun we can do on InstaGram."

It's all such nonsense. Sometimes a great spot is just a great spot. And that should be more than enough.

Ask the man, the woman, or the CMO on the street which brand does the best job marketing itself and you will no doubt hear, Apple. This is more than a little ironic since Apple is a company that defines the cutting edge of digital technology. Yet they refuse to play in the digital marketing arena.

When it comes to advertising they don't subscribe to the flavor of the day. They are iconoclasts. And refreshingly old school.

Steve Jobs, and his successor Tim Cook, never bought into the Java-scripted, HTML, inflective paradigm shifting mumbo jumbo that is being peddled in executive boardrooms across America. They know snake oil when they smell it.

But what if the greatest One Off of all time, Apple's original Super Bowl spot, were in the hands of folks who didn't know how to leave well enough alone?

I suspect Tank Top Girl would have her own Facebook page. We'd know where she buys her athletic shorts. The workout routine that produced such stunning triceps. And the high protein, gluten free cereal she eats every morning before her daily assault on convention.

Similarly, the Big Brother character would have his own Twitter feed. And a team of 20-something social media writers would be working night and day, wearing out the dictionary and the Thesaurus to come up with authentic sounding Orwellian doublespeak.

And of course there would be a website where users could enter their own target of disdain and, through the magic of algorithms and UX design, see their ex-bosses, old girlfriends, and former landlords, destroyed by a rebellious airborne sledgehammer of destruction.

Oh the hours of meaningful brand engagement that would produce. Yeah, right.

Thankfully, 1984 was not like 2012.


Butler said...

This comes across as so clammy and defensive.

Social media makes for an easy target, but let's not forget that the vast majority of traditional advertising is complete junk too.

The core components of 'good marketing' are common to all mediums.

Rich Siegel said...

Clammy and defensive? I've never heard that before. Thank you.