Wednesday, April 13, 2016

We gotta have a Movement.

There was a time in advertising --uh-oh, old man on warpath again -- when the goal was to move the merchandise. If we can help the client raise sales figures 3%, 7.1% or 9.4%, we were doing our job. And doing it well.

And barring the hiring of a new Chief Marketing Officer, we could expect to be retained for another torturous year.

Then, someone got it in their head that we needed to "engage" the consumer.

Through the magic of social media we could have ongoing "dialog" with the people buying our enamel-strengthening toothpaste or twice-baked wheat crackers.

If we reached them with enough touchpoints, the thinking goes, we could actually have a long-lasting, meaningful "conversation" with the folks who wipe their asses with our 4-ply quilted toilet paper.

But that was not sufficient.
Soon, we were asked to go "viral".

Write, craft, design and cobble together a long form video -- with $80,000 -- that once uploaded onto a free YouTube channel, will spread like wildfire and threaten to dethrone Justin Bieber or that cello-playing cat.

A tall order.
But not the tallest.

Because now there is rarely a brief that crosses my desk, and when I say desk I mean picnic table set up for the freelancers, or pops up in a pdf via email, when I'm lucky and get to work at home, that does not include the delusional instructive to "create a worldwide movement."

A Movement!

You see it's not enough that we sell more Craftsmen Staple Guns or Toyota Scions or Arby's French Dip Manwiches, now it's our responsibility to turn those converted sales into brand evangelists.

To get them off their duffs and into the streets. Marching with uncontainable enthusiasm and nothing more important to do with their time than to get others onboard and spread the love of their new Hefty Stretchable Trash Bags.

It simply defies all manner of logic and common sense.

It has taken me 20 years and I still can't convince my daughters to make their beds or put the dishes in the dishwasher. But now, and for no apparent reason, you want me to persuade people that your new Parkay Butter is so good and clings to bread so well, they should eat their toast upside down?

And you want me to do it with a 76X128 banner ad?

Got it.

I'll show you where I'm at in 6 hours.


Théo said...

Brand + Evangelist (+ Barista) = Brandgelista

Unknown said...

You can start a movement with a banner if you make it edible. It has to be mostly fiber, upside down, and covered in Parkay.

Unknown said...

Im so glad you have taken point on this. The insanity of what is possible with a banner ad campaign for $80,000 is all too real.
Combine that with the Victor and Spoils of advertising and you quickly realize we are in a race to the bottom.

Warren Eakins said...

I can't wait to see what you come up with Rich, on pins and needles. It is so ridiculous these days, marketing managers, planners and account people deliver this dribble with straight faces, as if they believe it. Do you think they actually do? I've been fortunate to have had a number of rather large successes in my career and not one was the result of planning, not one. When I was at Mcgarry Bowen we launched the original Droid smart phone, it was an amazing success, the launch TV had futuristic airplanes dropping pods like bombs to introduce the phone, which got one second of screen time. The reason it was so successful was we only had 10 days to name the phone and come up with a $100 million fully integrated advertising campaign. There wasn't time for planning, or endless meetings, no time for either the client or the agency to over think things, it was all about developing great and effective creative. After the launch an article appeared in Wired magazine stating that, 'Another dud might cement the public’s perception of the Android smart phone as a flop. And a failure would likely mean the end of Motorola. “There was a lot riding on it”, says Andy Rubin, CEO of Android, inc. “I was betting my career on it.” Great creative saved their bacon. The real hero was John Stratton, Verizon's CMO at the time, he took a lot of heat, but he told us to,"Just keep swinging those elbows." Shortly after he was made the CEO.

laurenne said...

My last 5 briefs have said this: Let's create the next 1984.

And it's for a coffee or a perfume.