In the space of just one week, I've heard the following in conversations:
"That VW Force thingy was lovely but I bet it's got nothing to do with the product"
"Did that Gorilla actually sell any chocolate?"
"I bet Fallon lost Sony when the client got sick of lovely ads that didn't sell any TV's"
"What's the point of that Swagger Wagon thing? How on earth will that sell MPV's to parents?" Read this if you're wondering.
You get the gist. Whenever something original, that tends to enter public consciousness emerges you get the same old yah, boo, hissers. Clever, funny, beautiful etc but will it actually sell anything?
(Please don't pelt me with specifics on the above stuff, of course there are issues and viewpoints on all, just indulge me with the general picture)
Basically, there's an inbuilt assumption that genuine creativity and proper commercial payback are diametrically opposed. Sure, creativity brings awards and kudos but does nothing for the bottom line.
You even get inside agencies. It wasn't long ago when someone told me that burgers we're never going to change society - which is right of course, but misses the point about getting people talking about the brand. Which brings me to my main point.
You can take Millward Brown's Brand Pyramid, Hall and Partners persuasion and consideration measures and shove them where the sun don't shine. The IPA Databank shows that work that wins creative awards are more effective than the ones that don't. In fact, the more awards they win, the mor effective they are. Even more telling, creative award winning work is 11 times more efficient at selling stuff than other work.
Have a look at this bloke from Brainjuicer's talk:
And there's two major reasons why:
1. Very creative campaigns get talked about - which increases the effect. In other words, they create fame, they make people see the brand as the one making waves in the category, which in turn raises quality perceptions, price premium and all that other stuff without actually 'ratioanally' justifying any of it. Which brings us to point 2.
2. This kind of work is high on emotion and low on rational messaging, in fact, the rational stuff probably gets in the WAY of selling.
That's right, emotions have far more effect on buying behaviour than rational product messaging.
Of course it does, our instinctive side is far more highly developed than our rational side - and has the greater influence, we just convince ourselves it's not like that. That's why research, and testing work' is so tricky, we don't really know what influences our behaviour.
Throw in the fact that most people are light buyers in any given category and you soon work out it's more important to create the right feeling than the right message - it lodges itself in the subconcious for much longer.
That Gorilla thing that said nothing about Cadburys chocolate? 60% higher ROI than previous campaigns for chocolate.
So why do these myths pervade the corridors of our clients and, lets be honest, where we work? Because it challenges the fundamentals of everything they're taught in their marketing degrees and MBA's. It flies in the face of the awareness, familiarity, advantage and bonding brand metrics they tie their budgets and futures to. It questions the very way they work.
And since they pay the bills, agencies join in myth 100%, it's easier, we sell processes rather than ideas. Which is suicide. What we have that they don't is creativity, lets use it. And planning has a massive responsibility in this. I'm not suggesting rampant creativity per se, the work still needs relevance and credibility etc, that needs planning to create the correct space for the creative department to let rip.
It also means planning needs to help clients feel confident in what they're buying. I don't mean a shrill for the work, I mean when you get the right work, you provide compelling evidence it's the right thing to do.