Advertising & Practical Thinking

The advertising profession is cold and cruel. The power of practical thinking is a perfect antidote.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterbacking...

Last week, The National Football League joined a group of advertisers seeking consumers to generate advertising for their respective brands.

Consumer Generated Advertising started in 2005 with brands such as Timex, Chrysler, and Ban Deodorant developing promotions asking the consumer to come out with the next advertising idea the brand would use.

The NFL, in 2006, is following the footsteps of Chevrolet and Frito-Lay by seeking ideas for commercials to air in the broadcast of Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007.

There is something wrong here!

Those who follow the sport of football know the intricacies of the game. Many have played the game at various levels – Pop Warner, High School, and College. Many play Fantasy Football (a great brand!) There are thousands of journalists who cover the sport.

Does this mean that one of these people will be called to play quarterback for an NFL team should they lose all their QBs to injuries during a game?

Not likely!

Yes, all of us are “experts.” Especially, when it comes to advertising. After all, we are exposed to thousands of messages each week. We know which ones we like (very few) and which ones we detest (most of them.) Does that mean, we use only the brands whose messages we like? Not really!

When our favorite NFL team’s QB makes a wrong read and throws an interception, or the DB misses a tackle, the cry goes out, “I could have done that!”


The same holds true for creating great, or even good, advertising. It takes an experienced professional.

Yes, the consumer should “own” the brand. The advertising professional, not the consumer, should “create and own” the brand advertising.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Friday the Thirteenth Thought...

Marketers and Agency people: "Think like your consumer. Act like your consumer. Be your consumer."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On this snowy Thursday...

Without the "ah ha" insight, there cannot be a great idea.

(yes, it is snowing in Chicago, and it is not even mid-October!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday's Thought...

Find an "insight" that is so remarkable, that people have to talk about how remarkable it is.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Tuesday Evening Thought...

Talk with the consumer.
Not at the consumer.
Not to the consumer.
Better yet, let the consumer talk with you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Monday Morning Thought...

The Client creates the brand.
The Agency positions and stewards the brand.
The Consumer makes the brand.
And, the Consumer owns the brand.

Friday, October 06, 2006

One Last Thought for the Week...

Today, marketing should be about "wants," not "needs."

Look at everything from the consumer's perspective.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Harvest Moon Thought...

It is not what consumers see or hear about a brand.

It is what they feel about the brand.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

“Is Nothing Sacred?”

A question posed by Mr. Al Ries (whom I admire) in his article “From Famous Advertising Name to Meaningless Initials” (, October 1, 2006). He goes on to state, “Initialitis has infected the world of branding.” Mr. Ries is referring to J. Walter Thompson changing its name to JWT (what he calls meaningless initials.)

Yet we live with IBM, BMW, SAP, UBS, MTV, KFC, CBS, ABC, and NBC. All three letter initials. The first six brands mentioned are amongst the top hundred global brands. We will not even get into all the TLAs -- Three Letter Acronyms -- spawned by the dotcom world.

Mr. Ries also writes, “Every powerful brand needs two names. A real name and a nickname. Why is this so? Because the use of nicknames help consumers establish closer relationships with the brands they admire.”

He may have a valid point. However, a few of the most admired brands of “today” are Starbucks, Google, Yahoo!, Apple, and Target.

Back to JWT. The agency is part of the WPP Companies. And, what does WPP stand for?

When Sir Martin Sorrell wanted to build a worldwide marketing services company, he used the initials of his existing company, Wire and Plastic Products Plc, a UK manufacturer of wire baskets. (Raise you hand and pat yourself on the back if you knew this piece of trivia.)

There has to be a reason for the name change to JWT. Must be to create a "global" brand and rid itself of all the regional name extensions/affiliations. Very practical.

Then there is the venerable BBDO, as a "four letter" name for a great agency. Wonder how many of those who work in this global agency can recall the four names the initials represent!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Carrot or Stick?

In England, householders are offered rewards for recycling more of their "rubbish" and cutting down their waste, with many local authorities offering prizes including cash rewards and community gifts.

In Seattle, WA, consumers are warned not to mix recyclables with non-recyclables. If they do, the authorities stop picking up their "garbage."

Now we also know the difference between "rubbish" and "garbage."