The following question was first put to me exactly four years ago, in June 2011. I dodged it.
Does the wider range of media and technology available today mean we have more or less creativity as a result?
The sign above the peep-o-scope machine on Great Yarmouth pier read: ’They’re ALIVE! They’re STARK NAKED! They’re ONLY ONE PENNY!’
If I am to conform to the Columnists’ Code of Practice, some reference to the millennium is mandatory: so here it is. It is my contention that the language of marketing has become increasingly sterile and formulaic; and that, over the past thousand years, the most pernicious contribution to the dumbing down of marketing language has been the bullet point.
Oh how I chuckled when I read these words in Campaign last year: ’Some of Britain’s oldest brands - Hovis, Mr Kipling and Bisto among them ...’ And the reason I hugged myself is this: Hovis is 110 years old, Bisto is 90 - while young Mr Kipling will not be celebrating his 40th birthday until 2007.
Why is my shaving cream more interested in other men than in me?
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that with all those words in the English language, we’d never expect one word to do the job of two. But we do, and it causes great problems.
ANALYSIS: The advertising world mourns its lost titan - Advertising lost one of its great exponents last week when David Ogilvy died. WPP non-executive director Jeremy Bullmore recalls a consummate builder of the brand
There are very few people, in any walk of life, who exercise a profound influence over tens of thousands of people they’ve never met. In advertising, there’s only ever been one: and he died last week.
When people still working in advertising agencies realise that I first started with an advertising agency over 40 years ago, they get a sort of wistful gleam in their eye - and I know exactly what they’re going to say.
As a novice copywriter, I wrote strip cartoons for Horlicks. Each story plotted the roller-coaster career of a different protagonist. 1: drama - narrowly averted disaster. 2: diagnosis - night starvation. 3: prescription - Horlicks. 4: outcome - a good night’s sleep followed immediately by promotion to works manager or twins, according to context.
Brand owners, it seems, simply cannot leave well alone. Every few months there’s a re-fit, some added jojoba essence, a new flash on the pack or a relaunch. The dispassionate observer finds it puzzling.
Scan down the index of almost any book on military strategy and the index of almost any book on marketing and the overlap in vocabulary is remarkable. Strategy itself, tactics, targeting, weapons, armoury, campaign, aggressiveness, operation, concentration of forces: you’ll find them all in both. Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart could as well be a visiting professor of marketing.
This is a serious column about individual responsibility and socks.
Advertising agencies go to great lengths to present new creative material in a highly finished form based on an impermeable strategy and with a smooth underpinning of irrefutable logic. This is the main reason why so much new creative material is rejected.
Anybody about to commission shop signage, pack instructions or their new users’ manual should first stop and think about the new London taxis.
Not all marketing people understand the difference between doing nothing and leaving well alone. As a result, doing something is perceived as good, doing nothing is perceived as bad and doing lots is a lot better than doing a little.
The Royal Air Force this week breaks its first TV recruitment campaign since the end of the Cold War.
This is how to tell a bad play from a good play. At some point in the course of a bad play, an affronted character will exclaim: ’What do you take me for?’ This is often extended to: ’What do you take me for - a fool?’ Or at peak moments of melodrama: ’What do you take me for - a whore?’