Radical thinking for the brand advice business
Should be a second arrow in the other direction.
“Cliche in – Cliche out”
An appeal for a broader range of stimuli ?
you’d have to draw his arse to get it completely right though
According to the OED a cliche is
1 a hackneyed or overused phrase or opinion.
2 a very predictable or unoriginal thing or person.
Many brands/adverts rely upon
1 commonly accepted notions & popular culture
2 familiarity – being ‘normal’ hence predictable.
Therefore planners MUST embrace cliche; it is what we do.
Hmm, this is fun.
Or is it the bit that only I have been missing all these years?
Clearly much advertising uses a point of reference that we understand from which to transfer meaning to the brand, however I disagree that this has to involve aby contact whatsoever with overused phrases and opinions or predictable and unoriginal people. I still say we lynch them.
LOL. I was being ironic :) Of course you and i believe that making surprising new connections is the lifeblood of brands.
But we might be in the minority? I am thinking of the millions of research debriefs saying stuff like ‘photos contain treasured memories’, plus all the Kodak advertising that led to. Imagine if they had actually listened for something unsaid; for instance to explore the way that no two smiles are ever the same.
There is a lot of rediscovering the wheel in planning and qual research in many agencies for sure. Beer strategies based upon comedy, music and sport. Jeans ads featuring cool looking people that you might want to look like or chat up. So much of marketing makes pop idol look authentic.
It would be interesting to speculate as to why planning gravitates towards cliche. A friend on the creative side reckoned that they could predict what 90% of creative briefs would say. What are the reasons this happens?
1. is too much planning led by people with too little experience. In studies of creativity it is reckoned to take ten years before someone starts contributing truly original work (rather than rehashing conventions)?
2. Is planning as a service pulled towards familiar comfortable notions which clients readily accept?
3. Does nobody ever tell planners that if the brief and media choices are entirely predictable and cliched there is a really good chance the work will be too?
4. Are planners lazy and smug. Many I interviewed were very sure of their contribution, without me being able to spot what they had actually added beyond putting their stamp on things (eg the ‘they based the slogan on the proposition in my brief’ syndrome)
5. Is planning divided into two sorts; working within the status quo vs radical (as the subtitle of your blog suggests).
I have just updated the cartoon to make my revulsion for cliched thinking even more apparant. Enjoy.
BTW I think that half the problem is that while agencies are past masters at nurturing and protecting fragile creative ideas they are rubbish at doing the same for strategic ideas.
… or perhaps, in a creatively driven business, they see strategy as -at best- a means to an end, it is something we do on the way to creative and not something in its own right. I’m not saying it’s right: it’s jsut an observation.
Given this perspective we find ourselves in a context where time and resourse for strategy are pressed, and the path of least resistance is taken. The ‘path of least resistance’ translate the client brief, tack on a few of the MD’s favourite cliches and we’re off to the races.
I hate cliches …. here’s to path of greatest resitance.
My god Jemster – Isn’t that the truth.
Client brief + MD’s Cliches = Strategy.
Strategy – CD’s Cliches = Work.
And thats how advertising happens
…so this assumes everyone bar the planner contributes cliched nonsense.
You’re right and I hold planners primarily responsible – I just like the symetry of MD and CD.
Reduce/reallocate budgets, that will go someway to preventing cliched thinking.
And then, ban the word advertising from every tangible object within the agency environment.
by deduction then it would be
work = client brief x cliche
that should be
work = client brief x cliche squared
(but I can’t get the little squared symbol to work one here … probably because I’m a complete dingbat)
Work = (Client Brief ² – “Interesting”) + Salary
work + client brief x Cliche²
work = client brief x Cliche²
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