Advertising to do Something Great

4 08 2007

I’ve borrowed a book from Dave to read while I’m here at the beach. It’s called “The Radical Leap” by Steve Farber. It’s a great read, and it’s a leadership book that makes fun of buzzwords, which is refreshing.Farber talks about why people lead and who is made to be a great leader. In every office, in every agency, there has to be a leader. Someone who will stick their neck out for something innovative, something new. Sometimes, they will fall flat on their face. They will fail miserably in front of everyone.But the fear of doing nothing, of making no impact whatsoever, will drive them. Farber says it is love of what they do that drives them.When a leader succeeds in advertising, it can be truly great to watch. And that is the effect of good advertising, be it print, TV, outdoor, whatever. It is fantastic to watch an image that really communicates a thousand words. That communicates a number of emotions, or even just one emotion, perfectly. That tells a story about the brand. It brings to life the passion and love an organization has for their product, service, or customers.A leader in advertising cares about what he or she does, and the effect they can have. So much advertising today seems to be sleep walking. Uninspired. But when someone cares, their ads truly captivate attention. The message they communicate is powerful, and they have succeeded. They have created memorable advertising.Well, that’s the effect Farber’s book has had on me. If you are looking for a quick, inspiring read, pick up a copy. See what effect it has on you.


My Love for Lovemarks

1 08 2007

So as Bridget can tell you, I love Saatchi & Saatchi. More specifically, I love Kevin Robert’s Lovemarks idea. I think it’s brilliant.I think it takes a special mind to come up with such a simple, easy-to-remember concept that hits the nail completely on the head. Lovemarks are, from Kevin’s site, “brands that inspire loyalty beyond reason.”Basically, Lovemarks free brands to be consumer-centric. They allow brands to escape price-cutting, design changes just for the sake of changing, and other things that do not further the product. As Kevin says, companies may own brands, but Lovemarks are owned by the consumer.Consumers feel an emotional connection to brands, and this gives them a reason to buy. A reason to actually chose their brand, not just get the cheapest one. For our Coca-Cola pitch, we used a character to create an emotional connection between the consumer and the Coca-Cola brand. We wanted to further their relationship to the point where a consumer would go an extra distance to get a Coke as opposed to a Pepsi or another cheap brand.So how do they accomplish this? How does Saatchi & Saatchi build Lovemarks? Well Kevin Roberts has it right. He has it built from the ground up to create Lovemarks for their brands. Their employees have a tight relationship with their clients. Their office in LA is almost completely engaged with Toyota. They have turned away clients because they didn’t have the ability to give them all the attention they deserved. This is an almost novel idea (Jerry Maguire) but one that is not always followed.And the results have been pretty positive. Their latest client is JC Penney. For anyone who grew up in the 90s, you know Saatchi & Saatchi have their work cut out for them. JC Penney is not a teens first choice for clothing. But I really like the ads Saatchi & Saatchi have put together for Penneys.(I apologize for not finding a way to embed these directly into this post, but I do have the links!)This first one is called “Zombies”. I think it’s great. It’s humor, but without stuffing it down their target (teens) throats. It’s a great way to say, “we’re out there, and if we’re for you, come out and shop at JC Penneys.” I think the teens totally get the imagery, and the slight creepiness is no big deal. It worked for the Burger King King right?The second ad is called “Doodle Heart.” And I totally love it. This ad has perfect music, perfect setting, and a story we can all relate to. It’s perfect. It tells a great story, and shows off the clothing just that little bit, without stuffing it down anyone’s throats. Would you notice it was a JC Penney commercial without the final graphics? Maybe not. But this commercial is actually memorable, and actually memorable as a JC Penney commercial. And that is a huge win for Saatchi & Saatchi.Way, way more on Saatchi & Saatchi and Lovemarks to via Ads of the World

Speaking Up, part 1

31 07 2007

I read a few great articles on working at a small agency yesterday.The first two are by Bart Cleveland, and are titled “A Mistake is Not Necessarily a Failure” and “Why Do You Want to Work at a Small Agency”. The third is by Eric Webber, and is titled, “Big Agencies Could Learn a Thing or Two From Us”.I should add that these are part of this great series call “Small Agency Diary” from Advertising Age.These articles by Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Webber outlined most of the things I have hoped were true about a small agency, but never knew for sure. For instance, Cleveland talks about how a media planner might even be welcomed into a meeting full of creatives, who are hard at work developing “The Big Idea” for their latest client. If this happened in a larger agency, according to Mr. Webber anyway, “eyes would be rolling so fast they’d look like old-school slot machines.” And I think that is too bad.I was in a situation once where the creatives had shut themselves off completely from everyone else. They formulated their ideas in secret meetings far away from the prying eyes of someone, say, from the account planning team.But one step into those meetings, and it was clear the creatives had actually spent TOO much time together. Ideas were being shot down before they were even said, because the individual knew what the leader would say, or what their creative peers would say. And this completely stifles creative thought!The unfortunate truth is, even the best creatives have their road blocks, their bad days, their days when they would rather just play video games and cannot be bothered with concepts. And that is OK. Everyone has those days. But that is when it’s best to cross-train. When it’s best to walk into a different team’s meeting and say, “I would really like to help.” And, as Mr. Webber says, sometimes you are welcomed in a smaller agency.Now I’m sure sometimes you are not, and that is fair too. While it’s nice to be free and move around different teams, we also need some specialization to organize how tasks get done.But imagine, as Cleveland writes, that the client suddenly has a change in their business environment. All of a sudden, your campaign (however cool to look at) no longer works, or no longer possesses an edge, no longer gives consumers a “reason to buy”. How fast can your agency move? What if you, an assistant with the media planning team, have an idea? Would you be welcomed into a creative meeting?To me, this is one of the act-or-die situations for an agency. If you move on this opportunity, churning out an evolving campaign to take advantage on the new marketplace environment for them, you could win BIG. Your client could take over new business and have you to thank for it.But if the creative team struggles, as can happen, all of a sudden you are crushed. Your other teams are frozen, WAITING on the creative. But if you walk into that meeting and present your idea, confident, you may just save the business. And that seems like the magic of a small agency.