There have been some awesome ad campaigns over the years – Here’s one! But there have been some shockers too!
There are about 65 million people in the UK. It’s a tiny little island of the coast of Europe. Yet historically we have been one of the most powerful trading companies in the world, and still ranks one of the largest economy in the world. The population of the UK are some of the most sophisticated consumers the world has ever seen. Our kids, frighteningly, still knocked us into a cocked hat in those terms. They are super consumers already, being able to spot an ad a mile of or a sales pitch from 50 yards.
I’d argue there are VERY few people in our country (or most other places in the developed world) that could not have a reasonable discussion about advertising and / or marketing. I think we could stop even an old Granny in the street (with respect to Grannies everywhere!) and ask them about their favourite ad campaigns on TV or on the radio or wherever. They may pick the brilliant Cadbury campaign above for instance, or one of the many Guiness ads from over the years.
If you were to poll 10 would be entrepreneurs about their plans for their new business, I’d bet advertising and / or marketing would be top three for most of them. We have a believe in the often insidious power of advertising in this country. A deeply held belief that has been layered over us over decades of watching and listening to commercials.
So powerful is our conviction in the power of advertising, our Government, our elected body of law makers, have legislated against it, to PROTECT to vulnerable amongst us. Quite correctly, one can’t advertise tobacco, alcohol, gambling etc. by law. Thats a pretty serious set of beliefs right there.
So why then, do you think, do I have to employ people to go out and sell advertising on my commercial radio station? Why do entrepreneurs like you, and SMEs like you all over the UK, not just here is South Wales, resist buying TV or Radio or Outdoor, or Press, or Social Media or whatever.
I’m not talking about mega brands that spend billions on advertising of all shapes and sizes every year, I’m talking about the local and region businesses that our economy is propped up by. Businesses for whom an efficient ad campaign can make a huge difference.
I’ll tell you why, and its advertising’s dirty little secret. The vast majority of advertising sales people out there today, don’t have the first idea of what they are talking about when it comes to advising their clients on what to buy.
So, having bought bad advertising, these people consider that advertising doesn’t work. at least for them. It clearly works for everyone else, but thousands of pounds later, having tried all sorts of different ideas out, whatever was trotted out by the sales person at the time, they have evidence that it doesn’t work for them.
In fact there are only two reasons why people don’t buy advertising – or anything else for that matter. They can’t afford it, and therefore we should not be selling to them in the first place, or more likely, they don’t see how it will work for them. Based on the fact they tried it before and it didn’t work. Probably multiple times.
So like other things they think they need, like insurance, or mobile phones, or rent or power costs, that they would rather not spend on, they make every effort to minimise the costs of what they do buy. They drive the rates into the ground. And why not? If there is no value in what they are buying, other than that derived from the actual act of advertising itself, why shouldn’t they drive the costs down. It’s just another transaction right?
If there is no strategic value worth paying a premium for, or any obvious return on investment, then everything will be down to minimise the cost of the activity they do undertake. Thats if they undertake any activity at all. Interestingly, in advertising, there exists a strange sort of business know as the media buyer, or sometimes local advertising agency.
I have met many great people at ad agencies, and many creative and worthwhile campaigns have been bought by them. But there seems to be a trend these days to support the advertiser in driving the costs of media down. They all appear to be trading on the ability to ‘buy it cheaper’ rather than make it better. Obviously, once the advertising has been stripped right back to its cheapest from, and any positive relationship with the media owner decimated by the constant erosion of margins, the advertising is likely to be even worse than it would have been.
Look, it’s not complicated OK? I can demonstrate how to advertise on an etcher-sketch in 15 seconds! (Thanks to Bill Hicks for that one!)
1. Stand for something. Be better or faster or in some other way different. Or cheaper.
2. Then tell as many people as you can, as many times as possible.
You can make the message more refined, target the audience more specifically, and cleverly reach them with all kinds of sophisticated media buying. But the principle remains the same.
TV Radio Outdoor Press or social media. The principle remains the same. Stand for something, and tell as many people as you can, as many times as possible. There, you didn’t need an ad agency to understand that did you? It’s not complicated is it? Why do we make it complicated then?
To justify the retainer we want to charge? Or the media commission we expect you to pay? Or to cover our lack of the basic principles of advertising theory and the ability to present same to our clients in simple, easy to understand terms.
As the great Dave ‘Giff’ Gifford once said ‘Its not rocket science people.’
I’ll tell you what, it’s so simple I’ll make you a deal. Tell me about your advertising problems and I’ll solve them. In 30 minutes or less. For free.
It won’t harm, and you never know, it might even help!
Oh OK, heres another awesome TV campaign from VW, enjoy!