Friday, May 10, 2013

An old flame rekindled

Desire is a funny thing.

We often can't pinpoint when it begins. Yet I can still picture the exact moment I was love-struck by Jaguar. It happened when I came across a British Racing Green E-Type in the paddock of an SCCA Trans Am race at Road America in the early seventies.

I still want one.

Does that make me the perfect target for the new Jaguar F-Type?

Who knows? But after seeing this spot, I wouldn't mind taking one for a test drive to see if I could fall in love all over again.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bad ads are bad for business

After a recent run of particularly distasteful ads, clients, account supervisors and creative directors may want to revisit this study from Harris Interactive and Adweek of a few years ago.

What it boils down to is obvious. Offensive advertising drives customers away.

So why does it keep happening?

Because everyone wants their ad to "cut through the clutter," to be memorable, to drive social buzz, to appeal to the holy grail of marketing targets – 18 to 34 year olds (which in and of itself is insane, but that's another post).

Advertising is harder than it looks. Creating interest in toothpaste, underwear, web domains, appliances and other items that most people really don't spend a lot of time thinking about requires you to take risks to get noticed. But it also requires you to be smart.

There's nothing wrong with being exclusive and creating work that appeals to your target, but it rarely pays to be offensive.

I'm not sure if more people are making dumb decisions about their advertising now than a generation ago or if we just see more of it thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Whatever the case, the price you pay for lack of judgement is much higher now than ever.

So in the immortal words of Sargeant Esterhaus, "Let's be careful out there."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Audi keeps on trekking

30 years ago, when you thought of European luxury car brands, there were but two: Mercedes and BMW, the former owning a position of superior engineering while the latter differentiated through performance.

Somewhere around that time, Audi asked the question, "How do we get a piece of that sweet, sweet high margin, luxury market?"

Building on their signature feature Quattro, Audi decided to differentiate through technology, which either by luck or incredible foresight aligned nicely with the rise of our gadget-obsessed generation.

So it only makes sense that when Audi goes to the movies, they do so in technology focused films. Thus, the Audi R8 is the natural choice of Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. And, it is only logical that Audi is the official vehicle of the latest incarnation of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series.

That's the beauty of a well-defined brand. Not only does it inform product design and development, it makes it easy to align promotions, placements, endorsements and other marketing activities.

And that's why Audi is on a roll.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Show us the money, please

Advertising is a game rigged in the clients' favor. They're the house and we're the marks.

They want pay-for-performance. Contracts always have a 90-day out clause. We work nights and weekends because the client will "know it when he sees it." And even when the work does produce results, that's still no guarantee we won't get fired.

Yet even as clients profess to want an agency that's a "partner," they go and do something like this...

I know that agencies aren't perfect. I know they sometimes miss the strategic mark. And when they produce ads like Innocean did for Hyundai, they deserve to be fired.

But I know one thing agencies aren't.

A bank.

P&G, InBev and the other corporate behemoths are stretching payments out 75, 90 and even 120 days to make more money with "their" money. In the meantime, agencies need to dip into cash reserves or borrow more money to make payroll and pay suppliers.

As an industry we're happy to give you are hearts, our souls, and even at times our dignity. The least you can do is pay us on time.