Reporting from the digital front line

I still maintain that very few people in advertising agencies really understand what clever digital agencies can do for their clients.

And I had this further drummed into me last week as one of the judges of the NMA and Marketing Week’s Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards.

So I thought I’d jot down some observations on the work from the perspective of a planner from an above the line tradition trying to understand what is going on.

Gorilla – those remixes in full

I am a big fan of the Cadbury’s gorilla ad and fully expect to see some stonking sales results coming in thick and fast.

In the final instance I just think somethimes you need a bit of this – good old fashioned salience delivered by a fame seeking commercial.

For all the analysis, particularly online, I had overlooked they way it was perfectly built to be remixed – or simply have a new track laid over it.

So here are a few of the best remixes I could find on you tube. My personal favourite is of course Total Eclispe of the Heart.

Let the BBC’s troubles be a lesson to us all

The BBC is in trouble.

It stands accused of endemic audience deception – most specifically over the fabrication of phone and interactive competitions where the participants have no chance of winning and the declared winners are either fictitious or members of the production staff.

Oh and there was some argy bargy about the Royal Family as well but any opportunity to give the parasites a kicking is fine by me.

One from the vaults

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Lee Scratch Perry. Image courtesy of Ariel Publicity

When it comes to the back catalogue of the recently departed and much missed HHCL its easy to reel off the famous stuff the agency made over the years from Tango Slap to Pot Noodle’s Slag of all Snacks but I thought I’d draw attention to some of the less famous stuff that I love.
This isn’t easy because most the work predates You Tube and so only exists where fanatics have uploaded old ads, but there is some stuff there to enjoy.
First up is a campaign for Guiness in Ireland and about the launch of Guiness Extra Cold from the early part of this decade.

A new golden age for radio?

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Listen with mother – backbone of the BBC light programme schedule form 1950 to 1982.

If there is an orthodox medium that has been given a shot in the arm by new technology it has got to be radio (not Last fm and all that marlarkey) but good old gardeners-question-time type wireless.

Radio is in robust health in the UK, most especially the BBC which has recently seen both reach and share of listening hours increase and part of that success is down to new means of distribution, particularly digital TV and the internet.

So it was nice of those people at RAJAR to put together some charts on all of this when they released the lastest figures for radio listening recently.

Ethnicity – adland’s forgotten mission

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There is only one creature more obsesssed with shiny new things than the marketing community. Image courtesy of Amkhosla.

At the Future Marketing Summit I talked about the way people in marketing exhibit acute neophilia – a love of the new.

This is all well and good, but a the result of this is that we charge in to new places, spaces and technologies without the slightest idea of what the rules are, whether they add value to our client’s business or critically whether we are invited.

And then we get bored and forget about it transfixed by the next new thing.

And what happens is we over estimate the short term impact of new things and underestimate their long term impact (e-commerce, PVRs, web 2.0, social media, China and the like). Incidentally Ray Amara calls this behaviour the first law of technology.

I call it marketing’s Attention Deficit Disorder.

And one of the things I worry that we got bored of and which could have had a far more significant impact on real people, is ethnicity.

Sorry Mum

I know I seem obsessed with Persil.

But here is how to make proper Dirt is Good advertising rather than the tat on our tellies. It is for Ala Omo, which is the equivalent of Persil in Argentina. It works because it turns the intellectual concept of dirt being good into something very tangiable and visceral, it is advertising that you become involved in rather than advertising you view. The endline is interesting too, it translates as “What they learn stays, dirty goes away”.

And guess what you are going to think every time you are about to bollock your kids for getting grubby? “What an arsehole I am”.

If you click through I have put up an English translation. If you don’t speak Spanish I recommend you read it first.

Thanks to Adstructure who posted the ad and translation and put me onto this.

Come on BBH sort it out.

Dirt really is good

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Image courtesy of LalliSig

Poor old Dirt is Good.

Everyone is turning against it – especially in the planning fraternity.

And why? Well it stands accused of the most heinous crime – it doesn’t work.

It may have strategist’s hearts a flutter but it is not shifting detergent – certainly in the UK.

Well I want to ride to it’s rescue and suggest the problem is squarely with the advertising. Not the executions but the role advertising is being asked, or has elected, to perform.

And I want to round off with the contention that ‘advertising is the new below the line’.

Rumsfeld on the future of advertising

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Donald Rumsfeld at Princeton in the ’50s because I couldn’t bare to defile adliterate with an image of the man as we now know him.

I have started quoting Rumsfeld rather a lot.

Not the quote “I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started” nor the outstanding “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” Neither of these are much use in charting the un-navigated waters of marketing communications.

But this one.

“There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

You may pour scorn on him mangling our language and scrambling our brains but its sheer genius.

Or at the very least it helps articulate the relationship between advertising and digital agencies and their practitioners.

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