Earlier today I watched this video on John’s blog and I have to say it made me want to poke my eye with a new-media fork (You know I’m your #1 fan John, right? and the content of the post is great as usual…).
The last advertising agency on earth my ass.
Sorry ya’ all but that’s just another shallow, smug, so-2006, new-media-evangelists-hyperbollocks. Aren’t we over the advertising is dead mantra already? Advertising agencies are not going anywhere. Bad business is screwed whether they are selling juice or advertising. Or not. There are quite a lot of shitty brands or less than mediocre ad agencies that still make good business.
Come on, most advertising has always been and will always be shit. Like most of all stuff is shit. As I write this post I’m watching a re-run of Friends on E4 and the ads on the break are simply generic beauty brands crap that look the same for 20 years now (new formula, laser effects, close-up on the irresistible, larger-than-life mascara that will make your wrinkles disappear etc.) And I can’t think of any mass ‘beauty’ brand that does anything worth talking about (Dove might be an exception but this can only strengthen my point as they still rely heavily on TV) and yet they still make buckets of money and even more when they run a less than OK advertising campaign.
That’s because two facts remain:
1. Most consumer brands are and will always be low involvement goods that no one gives a toss about their marketing. There are very, very few brands that their consumption cycle is led by fascination, enthusiasm and cultural meaning. I wholeheartedly believe that most people don’t want any engagement or relationship with most of the brands beyond the simple need for their products and services to work (whatever their ‘work’ is) and to give me good value for my money. These brands will always need advertising and promotions and a good comms and media plan to sell their stuff cause nothing else will make you even think about them. As Rishad Tobaccowala has said ages ago, “When I have a headache I want my headache to go away. I don’t want a relationship with Tylenol.”
2. There still isn’t a single media or creative solution that can get you any near TV advertising reach and hence awareness if you have the money to spend. Here my fellow digiratis - take whatever budget you want and make something ‘engaging’ or ‘interactive’ or ’socially-digitaly-conversational’ for Country Life butter. You will still have to pay loads of money for media buying because guess what? No one cares. So let’s see if you can get any near the results of this piece of crap that increased Country Life sales by 90% during the duration of the campaign.
And what about that meerkat or the Gorilla as well as T-Mobile dance/sing-a-long? Were they purely youtube phenomenon? of course not. They didn’t have a chance without huge spend on traditional media. Even the most culturally digital brands still and will always need great TV and outdoor ads in their mix. Nike, Honda, Burger King to name but a few are doing fantastic marketing, some of it is just really great TV advertising so don’t give me this last ad agency on earth crap.
I said it once and I’ll say it again: old things are not being replaced with new stuff, they add to them. Of course it’s not about advertising any more (it has never been) but let’s admit it - advertising is still pretty damn effective - whether you do great advertising or shit advertising. Yes, in some cases it will prove less and less effective and relevant and brands will surely have to adopt to a new reality with more engaging marketing but as long as we will have great innovative stuff from the likes of CP+B and W+K don’t kill advertising agencies categorically just yet. It’s infantile.
Everything changes, nothing is changing*.
*The cleverest thing I’ve ever heard from a planner.