The amazing thing about modern media is that it allows brands to be extremely smart. We can track impressions, clicks, interactions, sales and a magnitude of things that allow us to drive efficiencies and make every penny count. There is no doubt that these developments have helped countless numbers of brands to not only be able to afford advertising, but also to build great businesses. However, there is a danger that the level of metrics we can now apply to advertising can temper ‘the big idea’. There is still very much a place for bold and unapologetic campaigns that can make brands famous.
What I’m getting at is that we should aim to drive conversation through advertising, and I’m not just talking about on social media; actual conversation! Famous ad campaigns are worth far more than the initial set up costs and basic tracking metrics suggest. Whether it’s Cadbury’s Gorilla, Sony’s Bouncing Balls or Protein World’s Beach Body Ready ad, all these campaigns have (for right or wrong reasons) added to modern culture much like pop songs, celebrity deaths or sporting victories, so much so that it’s difficult to remember how recent or long-ago the campaigns actually happened (Cadbury’s Gorilla is 10 years old next year which means I should probably stop referencing it…).
Fame often can’t be attributed to a particular media channel and doesn’t necessarily demand huge budgets. Yes TV can help achieve it (just look at Three with their dancing ponies), but so can Outdoor, (Carlsberg’s ‘Best poster in the world’ & Paddy Power’s ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’). It’s not just the ‘traditional broadcast channels’ either. Digital can be used to achieve fame, helped by the emergence of new formats and the prevalent use of video; just look at Fiat’s Motherhood film and Volvo’s Epic Split.
It seems that there is definitely something in taking an idea and having the conviction to run with it…to go with gut instinct. I doubt the fact that the word ‘market’ sounds a bit like ‘meerkat’ would win first prize in a pun competition but Compare The Market ran with it and it has become one of the most recognized brands in the UK, spawning toys and books alongside its price comparison service. I’ll leave it to Binet and Field to analyse how to achieve fame through creative but what I will say is that in my experience brands can definitely be bolder and understand that the more scrutinized and sanitized ideas become after inception, the less likely they will be to achieve notoriety.
...the best brands know how to consolidate on a famous idea, aligning creative, media and PR...
Like Compare The Market, the best brands know how to consolidate on a famous idea, aligning creative, media and PR to maximise presence and ensure saliency across a broad audience. John Lewis has become the master at doing this over the Christmas period; launching the creative in shows like Gogglebox and X Factor; driving conversation through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter; amassing column inches in all the national press titles; releasing the ad’s song into the charts; offering the characters/objects. It is an approach that has worked over a number of the years now and their association and fame around Christmas just gets stronger.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about focusing on the big idea and forgetting about the tools, metrics and data we have at our fingertips (that would be a lazy suggestion for a media planner to make). It’s about using these extremely powerful assets to catapult the big idea to Fame.
I mean, which brand doesn’t wanna live forever?
Toby Adamson – Campaign Manager