Author: electricginger

4 Old Fashioned Rules of Advertising in Action

A while ago I read this excellent article by Martin Weigel in which he debunks a lot of the received wisdom that passes as “facts” in our lovely industry and instead highlights 4 fundamental rules of advertising that every campaign should fulfill before it does ANYTHING else.

Simply stated, these rules are:

1) Be Interesting
2) Be Memorable
3) Scale it
4) Sustain it

I even made a sign to stick on our wall to remind ourselves of this and help apply it to my personal discipline of media planning

Old fashioned rules of advertising

Now a lot of people have commented that these rules are way too simplistic for the new “digital first” world and that it needs to be all about “social content strategies” and “building brand love” and “owning” a “territory”. Now those things may or may not be important, but the fact is, if you achieve all those things at the expense of the 4 rules above then you have simply created a digital white elephant. You’ve spent loads of money creating something that no-one is buying, but you can’t get rid of because someone has formed an emotional attachment and so you spend even more money on its upkeep and getting people to come and see it in order to justify the original cost.

When you lay out the 4 rules like that it seems so bloody obvious, but I keep seeing campaigns proposed which forget to do ANY of them.

Often, the ideas are only “Interesting” to people who work in advertising, they are instantly forgettable and even the people who work on them forget what they made. They rely too often on some mythical “viral” effect and the idea is merely a tactical gimmick that has no longevity at all.

With that in mind, I absolutely LOVED this new campaign from a CARWASH company of all things!

This is the first execution:

In its own right, this surreal humour is brilliant. It instantly sparks your interest with the line “There’s something I should tell you” and then makes sure it is memorable with a series of mental and visual images that you aren’t going to forget in a hurry – Bacon Underwear anybody?. Then the simple line of “It feels good to come clean” and the fact that the whole thing is shot in a carwash means you can’t fail to take out the basic understanding that the advertiser needs you to understand if this is going to affect their business in any way.

It’s simple and near perfect.

What they don’t worry about is “Owning” a particular USP or anything – Obviously every single car wash could use the line “It is good to come clean” and nothing in the advert differentiates the basic proposition from its competitors – but it does make it memorable and distinctive and that is the most important thing.

If it was just the one execution, it would be a good campaign, however what makes it great is the follow-up executions which simply feature increasingly bizarre confessions from the same couple. What I particularly like is that each advert starts exactly the same way, but then has a series of alternative endings. That means that if you enjoyed the ad the first time, you are rewarded for continuing to watch multiple times when it comes on TV and hopefully you will keep watching just in case there is a new execution rather than thinking “I’ve seen this, so I can ignore it”. That’s a brilliantly simple device to sustain an audience’s interest.

What is also interesting is that as a local advertiser, Hughes Carwash has no real interest in getting global viral Youtube views (and so far it hasn’t – only 6000 or so on each video) but it can simply buy local TV spots to generate the scale that it needs. TV spot advertising is still the most effective and efficient way of getting lots of relevant people to watch your AV advertising. Again this keeps getting forgotten in a world of viral “hits” that accumulate about the equivalent of 1 primetime TV spot in views.

The (apparently) incredibly low production budget means that this advertiser has been able to create an almost endless supply of interesting and memorable TV ads that will hopefully drive their business forward in the city of Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).

There are many, many much bigger brands with much bigger budgets that could learn a great deal from these guys.

The unsustainable exploitation of social media

Just a quick post to highlight this opinion piece on the Drum which suggests that brands might be to blame for a decline in consumer interest around social media sites.

Steve Cater goes on to recommend that brands seek not just to exploit social media as a pure media channel, but instead to add value to users rather than sucking all the value out of it.

I wholeheartedly agree – and this resonates loudly with my Sustainable media manifesto that I wrote a couple of years ago.

Interestingly, on the same day, the Drum also posted a piece about Sky media’s adsmart proposition, making the point that to be successful it would need to benefit viewers just as much as it benefited brands.

It is good to see a momentum of opinion behind this attitude, I just hope that advertisers start to pay attention.

Revisiting an old theme – media sustainability

A couple of years ago I wrote a bit of a manifesto on why we as advertising professionals should be looking to enhance the media we use to communicate our brands offerings rather than just exploiting the eyeballs we find there – I think it is still relevant and so wanted to share it again in slightly cut down form


This image formed the spark for the philosophy and manifesto that I’m about to deliver so here goes:

Here’s what I believe:

1) Human attention is a valuable natural resource, allowing us to learn about the world around us, adapt our behaviour for optimal utility of that world and to evolve our attitudes for maximum enjoyment of the world

2) Human attention is NOT an infinite resource, there is only so much new information we can take in at any time and only so many things that we can be persuaded to care about

3) All marketing and communications require that we capture that human attention

4) Human attention naturally concentrates and clusters around certain content and media because of the value it contributes to their lives, NOT because of the amount of advertising they find there

5) Just like any natural resource, over-exploitation of the human attention to media will inevitably lead to the dilution and eventual destruction of that attention and make it impossible for us to harness it any way, positive or negative.

(Yeah I love that pic!)

6) It should therefore be the responsibility of advertisers to not just exploit a medium for the audience that it attracts, but to invest in that medium with sustainable communications to ensure that it continues to deliver value to consumers and in turn provide a continuing resource for brands to communicate to those audiences.

Some advertisers might claim that they already do this – by paying to advertise in a medium they say they are investing in the quality of content that medium can provide. And maybe that used to be true. Maybe some consumers do watch advertising in the knowledge that they are entering into a contract with the media channel to “pay” for the content they choose to watch by also watching content that they would rather not. However I think we are deluding ourselves if we think this is true of most advertising messages.

As advertisers we “buy” an audience that media owners “sell” to us. Because of that we think we have a right to put pretty much anything we can get away with in front of that audience and we approach every consumer contact with the question “what can my brand get out of this?”.

A perfect example of this is the recent news story that Ford had “secured” a corporate page on Google+. What I found remarkable about this was that a) Ford had ignored Google’s request for advertisers to back off until they had worked out how to showcase corporate accounts and b) No-one seems to have a clue what Ford are doing there and what they hope to get out of it. All that they seem interested in is the fact that there are 10 million+ people already signed up and that it is currently unexploited so they get to be first. No-one knows how people are using Google+, what it is all about and what they can get out of it, but Ford are happy to steam in and plant their corporate size 9 footprints over everything.

This shouldn’t be surprising. As soon as an emerging technology develops into something that looks a bit like a “medium” then every client I have wants to know “How should I be using it?” There is an assumption that if there is an audience then we should be exploiting it. The same happened with Twitter and I can’t even think about doing a campaign without being asked “what will my facebook page look like”.

I also look at the dead and dying media brands that have failed to keep up with the ever increasing demands of advertisers and investors and so have been abandoned by the wayside. Internet brands such as Myspace that has effectively been ditched – at a loss of half a billion dollars – because no-one could work out how to make it work for advertisers.

I start to feel an element of responsibility for this. If every new medium is disected and assessed solely based on it’s ability to generate advertising income then potentially viable media products and businesses that could have had another business model are simply allowed to fade away.

Now maybe this isn’t a problem whilst there is a steady flow of sacrificial lambs for us to exploit, plunder and destroy, and maybe it is fine when consumers don’t have a choice whether or not we target them, but I believe the days of being able to exploit media with impunity are numbered. Consumers have more and more tools that enable them to choose whether to engage with advertisers or not and the longer we abuse their good will and force interruption to their media consumption with unwelcome messages, the quicker they will learn how to switch us off. Indeed there is legislation coming which will force consumers to make that choice (see anti-cookie European legislation)

So here’s where I start my campaign for sustainable communication (I got here eventually!).

I believe that the most successful advertisers in the next 20 years will be those that understand that we have a duty to respect the contract between advertisers and consumers and deliver true value in our communications.

We need to ensure that we are investing in successful media, not just by buying media space, but by delivering content and messages that in and of themselves increase the value that consumers take out of that media space. Rather than saying “what’s the next big thing” all the time, we should be saying “how do we make the current big thing work better for consumers” so that we don’t have to start all over again when we have bullied them out of the media that they used to love.

For my part, whenever I am asked to consider a new media opportunity, I am going to endeavour to start with the question “How can I make that media better for the consumers who are consuming it” rather than “How can I make a quick buck here”. And let me be clear – another generic TV ad with animated animals or a beautiful woman selling perfume does not make my experience of that medium better. Most ads that your average advertiser likes are frankly wallpaper for your average consumer.

Over the next few weeks and months I will be adding examples of campaigns that are either examples of great sustainable communications or worrying examples of media exploitation.

Please feel free to send me any good examples of either.

As a starter for 10, please check out the mediaweek award shortlisted Panasonic Advertiser funded programme “How to take stunning pictures”. This was a piece of TV content on channel 5 that out-performed it’s alloted programming slot and was hugely popular with consumers and client alike. In addition Panasonic were able to clearly convey their commitment to helping the average photography enthusiasts get the most out of amateur photography. And it sold Panasonic Lumix cameras – lots of them.

Real ambition for Real Time Planning

This morning I saw a great presentation – #Ownthemoment – from our Twitter sales representatives in which they highlighted the most effective ways to take advantage of Real Time Planning behaviours using the twitter platform. Particularly they highlighted 3 types of event you can look to associate yourself with – Live, Connected, and Everyday.

They then proceeded to highlight a variety of planned “newsjacking” type behaviours that actually mirror the kinds of tactical reactive advertising the press advertising industry has been indulging in for years, but that twitter has provided a low cost and more immediate entry point to. See this Innocent example around the recent furour surrounding the Gareth Bale transfer

gareth bale

Their key point (which I very much agree with) is that Real Time Planning is MORE about the Planning part than it is about Real Time. Most of the “reactive” campaigns that have been celebrated in our industry are in fact meticulously planned responses to highly predictable events. The key is the effective analysis of data to predict likely scenarios and then have a plan for when those scenarios eventually emerge.

That’s all fine. There is definitely a place for placing a series of small reactive bets that IF they pay off can deliver a proportionally huge return on investment. Using the framework of “Live, Connected or Everyday” moments is a sensible way to structure our social communications if we want them to appear relevant and get consumers to engage with them.

My problem with it is simple – it is just too small. Advertising spend on Twitter represents approximately 0.1% of all advertising spend globally. If we generously guess that it has an equal effectiveness to all other advertising then it is essentially worth 0.1% of all advertising effect. If you then manage to align the planets correctly and hit the jackpot with a promoted tweet that is bang on for your brand and a rising trend that day, you might be able to increase its effectiveness by a factor of 10 – or 1000% – giving it a total value to the average campaign of 1%. But it takes a lot of work and a lot of failed attempts to get that jackpot moment. For every Oreos blackout moment

oreos

there is an Epicurious Boston moment and hundreds that just don’t get noticed at all.
epicurious-boston-tweet

That isn’t to say that Real Time Marketing isn’t important – quite the opposite – I think it has the potential to revolutionise the way we run marketing campaigns, it is just that I want to make it worth more than 1% (at best!) I want to find a way to apply those Real Time insights to a medium that can make a real difference.

On average, TV advertising makes up 63% of all advertising spend and is rising. If we can use these real time insights and cultural understanding to make our TV budgets work just 10% harder, then that is worth 6% of all advertising budgets. To put it in money terms – the potential prize for getting it right with twitter is global increase of $5billion (and I think that is incredibly generous), but the same level of effort could conservatively be worth $30billion if applied to my TV budgets.

I know where I’d rather focus my efforts.

Xbox ONE – the product that Microsoft always wanted to make – shame they didn’t ask us what we wanted to buy

As a gaming enthusiast that never gets to play videogames any more, I’ve been following the developments at E3 with some interest.
Xbox-One_2584436b

This year is a big one, the proper launches of the first true next generation consoles (sorry Wii U, you really don’t count.) We’ve had to wait for these for longer than any other generation of console and the consumer demand has been growing steadily.

Of the last generation, the original Wii was the big winner in terms of console sales, although it never really competed with the Xbox 360 and PS3 as true gaming devices in terms of the number of games sold.

For the hardcore gamer, the Xbox 360 was the big winner, especially in Europe and the US. They did so much right: The price point was keener (due to the fact that they didn’t include an expensive technology in the form of a Blu-ray drive that they didn’t know if people wanted); the key exclusive games were truly newsworthy – Halo 3 and Gears of War and the new controller was just a really intuitive evolution of the original xbox s controller that everybody loved.

Within this package, Microsoft were also able to sell us a lot of stuff that we didn’t know we wanted. Xbox Live Gold, Live Arcade games, A wide suite of entertainment apps, Sky Player on the Xbox – brilliant. These things have all increased the influence that the console has had on the living room and made it an essential subscription each year.

So Microsoft should know the secret of success – Give people what they are asking for, at a price they are willing to pay, with some killer games that the fanboys can shout about. If you want to sell them something completely new, then don’t expect them to pay for it upfront, find a way to get it in the back door. It worked for Kinect for example. When they launched their new control device, it managed to be the fastest selling consumer device of all time!

So why have they got it so wrong this time?

They’ve launched the console that people wanted, but then insisted on attaching a piece of unproven technology that most people don’t want. The Kinect might have sold very well, but my understanding is that the attach rate for games was pretty low – just like the original Wii. There is a market for waving your arms around in front of the telly and most people are happy to have a couple of games like that, but the low sales of all the Kinect driven games that followed showed that it wasn’t ever going to be a big volume driver. On a personal note, my own Kinect camera is still stuck in the Garage from when we moved house. The Xbox came straight out, but I’ve had absolutely no reason to take the Kinect out again.

The inclusion of the Kinect wouldn’t be a problem if it was essentially a bonus, but by having it included, they have added about £100 to the retail price in comparison to the PS4.

That seems to be a huge mistake. These two consoles are going to be released at pretty much the same time, they will be perceived to be roughly equivalent in gaming power and so the only difference is that one comes with a £100 bit of kit that only a small proportion of the existing customer base will want – sound familiar? (For Kinect see Blu-ray)

Both this launch and the launch of the PS3 suffered from the same sense of hubris.

8 years ago, Sony were determined not just to launch a new console, but to use that console to win a format war – (a format war that frankly wasn’t worth winning as the physical format is dying quickly and being replaced by downloads and streaming) By focusing on the secondary business objective AND GETTING CUSTOMERS TO PAY FOR IT they lost the primary battle. They probably felt that they could because of their vast superiority in the previous generation – the PS2 is still one of the best selling consoles of all time and trounced the original Xbox – but they very quickly fell into 3rd place because they took their eye off the ball.

The same hubris will be behind what I expect to be the failure of Xbox ONE. Someone at Microsoft clearly has a vested interest in getting Kinect into every lounge in order to make it central to every family, rather than just the geeks upstairs. However by taking that choice away from their customer base they risk a mass exodus to PS4 – this is especially the case considering that the Xbox ONE has no backwards compatibility with the 360, so there is no tangible rational reason for current users to be loyal. The only thing left is “exclusives” and with a fairly average Halo 4 in recent memory and other franchises losing their freshness, I’m not convinced that there is enough to keep people in the Microsoft world.

The only saving grace for Microsoft is that Sony have a tendency to fuck this stuff up. The PSVita was a phenomenal piece of technology with huge amounts of innovation and style, but then they decided to insist upon proprietary memory cards because they wanted to force customers to buy extra cards and for Sony to make the money on them. In the short term this meant increased ARPU, but in the long term it just meant a lot fewer users and is now already a console we talk about in the past tense.

Anyway, rant nearly over. I just don’t understand how they can get this stuff so wrong. I haven’t even started on their decision to not allow used games etc (even though I kind of agree with this one) but everything that the twittersphere is buzzing with is all based in the same problem – that Microsoft have just made the product that they feel best fulfills their business strategy, rather than basing their business strategy around the products that people actually want to buy.

Real Insight about Real Beauty

In my job, and when I train new recruits on the key skills required to do my job, I really try to focus on the power of a compelling human insight. All too often brands will focus on what it is they want to say and what it is they have to sell, but if marketing communications are going to be in any way successful they have to have a deep and real understanding of what their audience need to hear.

If I’m honest, those true insights are very rare, often they are just superficial observations masquerading as insight, or even worse, just a post rationalisation of the “brand truth”.

But when you find a campaign that has really harnessed a human insight it can blow you away, and a very recent campaign for Dove has just done that for me.

It is a well known saying that people who repeatedly buy into brands, aren’t buying what the brand does or even how it does it, but they actually are buying why they do what they do.

That’s why the Campaign for Real Beauty has been held up over the years as a brilliant example of how to generate a powerful emotional response to a brand and in doing so generate a powerful brand affinity (I’m loathe to say “loyalty” but this comes close)

Saying all that, the Campaign for Real Beauty sometimes managed to be a bit condescending and still got caught up in more traditional cosmetics industry habits. At the end of the day, every single one of the women in the original campaign was really beautiful, even if they weren’t Cover stars for Vogue.

AZJ0165N_1.tif

This latest evolution of the campaign is truly brilliant however and captures the human decency at the heart of the campaign and it does that because it is based on a real insight that is generated from a place of genuine empathy and sympathy.

The insight is simple – Most people are more aware of their own physical flaws and imperfections than they are of other peoples, so effectively people are less beautiful in their own eyes than they are in other people’s and that this is a potentially crippling perception. What is brilliant about this campaign is that they not only managed to convey that insight, but they managed to transform real women’s opinions of themselves.

Watch the documentary below and see more of the campaign here

I feel good about doing the job I do when I see stuff like this.

IKEA – Old fashioned advertising that is perfect for a digital world

Hello all, I’ve been away for a while and thought I’d ease myself back in with a nice simple creative commentary

It pains me to say it (having recently stopped working on IKEA’s business and so can’t take any reflected glory) but I’ve been really impressed with the work that IKEA have been doing recently in the UK, it feels like it has really started to click for them.

They seem to have found the holy grail of the perfect balance of rational and emotional in mass market broadcast advertising as well as finding a good reason to develop engaging content for active consumption online. They’ve created a properly integrated and multifaceted campaign and to do this they seem to have gone back to traditional advertising basics. I reckon that the Adcontrarian would love this.

This season they appear to be promoting their storage range. It is a product area that IKEA are rightly proud of as they truly innovate in this area and pretty much everybody has something of this ilk from IKEA, but the problem is it just isn’t “sexy” like a sofa or a kitchen. It is just stuff to put other stuff in. About a year ago they had great intentions to get people interested by trying to create a war of the sexes with a “who’s messier: Men or Women?” But although an admirable effort it just didn’t take off with their customers.

This year they have clearly gone back to the drawing board and I think they have delivered some stunning results.

Building on the success of their last two kitchens campaigns (Kitchen Parties and Playing with my Friends) Mother appear to have decided to commit to the “music video” format for the central strand of their TV campaign. As such, the first thing I saw was this beautiful advert posing as a music video that serenaded the benefits of having better storage solutions. They managed to take an incredibly rational and potentially dull topic and make it all about falling in love, the most emotionally engaging topic of all.

For all the developments in digital media, a powerful TV campaign is still the single most effective way of driving brand and product consideration, it is also the first part of a campaign that people are likely to see and so it is vital that you nail that element and I (and most people commenting on Youtube) think they have. They’ve managed to showcase loads of products and the benefits without feeling overly commercial. Tying it together at the end with “Make room for your Life” they have taken last year’s broad theme of “Happy Inside” and made it more clearly relevant to consumers’ needs.

If they’d stopped here I’d say it was already a definite improvement on last year, but they also understand the power of different media and have taken the same theme and brought it to life in different contexts to move people from just a nice warm fluffy feeling about IKEA’s storage solutions to a more definite understanding of how YOU can use it to improve YOUR life. They’ve avoided the temptation of taking a still from the TV creative and have presented real stories in a very simple but compelling press format that could have fallen straight out of the pages of “Ogilvy on Advertising”

Ikea - Expedit Shelving Unit_2842806

The scan from a newspaper doesn’t do it justice, but the strong visual, coupled with with simple straightforward copy that connects human passions with practical solutions is actually incredibly refreshing. But isn’t it weird that it is surprising and refreshing to see an ad which basically just follows the rules on what we’ve always been told makes a great ad – such as this one

volkswagen_lemon

What Mother have been able to do however that Bill Bernbach couldn’t is then help consumers really witness the true benefit of Expedit shelving to Harry – this press ad sends readers who are interested to watch the story of Harry’s Vinyl on ikea.co.uk – a lovely 4 minute “changing rooms” style piece of content that is focused on using storage to help people do more of what they love. It manages to be emotionally engaging, yet at the same time is completely commercial as every item used is tagged so that viewers can go look it up for themselves later.

There is an alternative for the girls which focuses on Jess’s trainer obsession/business and so allows them to showcase their bedroom furniture range as well.

I think that this is a really smart integration of traditional advertising and digital content that fully delivers against solid business objectives. I dearly hope that work this good helps to sell more IKEA furniture!

Defiance – A Transmedia opportunity that gives a new lease of life to in-game advertising

The in-game advertising industry has not had a happy few years. Back in 2002 when Massive Incorporated first brought us the ability to dynamically insert adverts into Xbox360 games the future looked bright and predictions at the time were that in-game advertising could reach over $1billion within a few years.

The future looked even rosier when Barack Obama’s campaign used In-game advertising to engage with the valuable youth audience. Pretty much every presentation by an “in-game” media owner used this example for the next 3 years to demonstrate the value of games in marketing.

But then it all went wrong. After Microsoft had paid “between approximately $200million and $400million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Incorporated) for Massive inc in 2006, they then shut the business down at the end of 2010. Add to that this year IGA and Double Fusion (other dynamic advertising offerings) shutting or severely cutting back their UK operations after Sony ended their contract with them and it felt like the market for dynamic in-game advertising was basically dead.

I’ve spent a while trying to figure out why this medium wasn’t successful and I think it comes down to one thing. Advertising revenues are a drop in the ocean for Games publishers compared to their main revenue direct from the £40 they get for selling each of the games. The last thing they felt they could do is risk the ire of their passionate fanbase by selling out to advertisers that might spoil the experience. Simply put the medium didn’t need advertising, so they priced themselves out of the market. On a cost per impact basis, dynamic in-game was some of the most expensive display advertising on any media.

However, that might be all about to change.

This week, Syfy channel announced they had started production on a new TV show “Defiance”. This is a show with a fascinating difference. It is being produced in conjunction with a new video game, also called “Defiance”. Now that might not seem like such big news – there are often videogame spin-offs of Movies and sometimes TV shows – and they are nearly always incredibly disappointing.

The difference here is that the game is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG – think “Call of Duty meets World of Warcraft”) and the narrative and universe will be intertwined with and mutuallyaffect that of the TV show. This means that the game will evolve dynamically as the story of the TV show progresses and vice versa.

The reason that this should work as a marketing vehicle for 3rd party brands is because this is being developed with brand partnerships in mind from the beginning.

Syfy understands the need to make its content commercially attractive and the financial success of the show will come down to whether or not brands buy into it.

This has led to two key actions

1) Syfy are inviting brands to get involved with the TV show early in the production process.

2) The TV show is a science fiction drama, but set in the near future, so modern day brands can play a sensible role in the narrative.

What is really exciting is that this is a truly transmedia project where the layers of the narrative are built up not only between multiple media channels, but where people can engage in different ways with the plot and actually have an effect on how it evolves.

As a multiplayer game, there is also a very natural social element to the game which will ensure a huge amount of online buzz as new gameplay element get revealed in the context of the TV show.

This Project represents incredibly exciting opportunities for brands to build awareness, relevance and engagement with a highly social affluent young male audience – all in one vehicle. This could be the way that games finally find a financially viable way to incorporate paid for advertising without alienating their players.

I for one hope that it is.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – The best advertising is a great product

I wrote a post a few weeks back after the launch of the “new” ipad, where I bemoaned the fact that Apple seemed to have fallen in to a trap of marketing “more” rather than “new” or “different” – so the “new” iPad was just the old ipad but with more pixels and the faster processor required to cope with more pixels. I compared it to the Galaxy Note 10.1 which incorporated a digitizer and “smart” stylus that I really could see having a revolutionary role in work life.

The problem with the Galaxy Note 10.1 however is that they had forgotten the “more” part. So as Apple were redefining the standard of screen technology, Samsung’s 1280×800 screen seemed positively archaic – It is barely better than their new Galaxy s3 which is a quarter of the screen area. It is a similar mistake that Samsung have made with the Galaxy s3 – by all accounts a brilliant device, but the thing that has got the fanboys foaming is that they haven’t upgraded the camera beyond the original 8MP. The fact that improving the number of pixels beyond 8MP usually has a detrimental effect on picture quality is lost on most people – all they understand is “more”

So it is really interesting to see that Samsung have actually delayed the release of their new tablet in order to make it a truly competitive device and add “more” to “different”. Early rumours were that they were just delaying it in order to incorporate a faster quad core processor, but in the past 24 hours runours have emerged that they are also incorporating one of the fastest Graphics chips on the market, which would only be necessary if they were also significantly increasing the screen size. As a gadget geek who would really rather never buy an Apple product this is exciting as it sounds like this new tablet could be a product that I can buy without compromise, where no-one with an iPad can have any sense of superiority.

It’s a brave move, but given the success of the 10.1’s baby brother (the Confusingly named Galaxy Note) it suggests that there is a market for this product and it could finally bring some diversity could open up the market and challenge Apple’s dominance.

All that, and yet no advertising or promotions or any form of formal communications. Just a great product.

here’s hoping

Media or Creative first – are we really still having this debate?

When I started in the media industry 12 years ago, the talk at the time was about how media planning should come before creative thinking. It was common talk amongst all media agencies and it had a lot of resonance in a world where media opportunities were exploding with the mass take up of the internet, the proliferation of digital TV and the rise of digital radio (what happened there!?) The difficulty of wading through all the multitude of media options gave real momentum to the claim of the media strategy to be an integral part of the marketing strategy. Within a couple of years it was seen as pretty much conventional wisdom, although there was some reluctance on the part of other advertising services agencies, understandably. But it was pretty well accepted that the context of an advertising message could often be as important as the message itself.

So the article below from Antony Young, would be exactly the type of article I would expect to have been written 10-12 years ago. Except it wasn’t written at any point in the previous decade. It was written last week.

here is the article in full : Six Reasons Media Strategy Should Come Before Creative

I was really quite shocked to be reading something like this in a publication such as AdAge in today’s marketing environment.

Not only did I think that the value of “the medium” had already been well established in our industry, I also thought that we had grown up and moved well beyond any kind of debate which put media before creative or creative before media.

Surely there is general consensus in our industry that what is required is a collaboration between all the key disciplines to ensure that all elements of a marketing campaign work in an integrated and orchestrated way to deliver against marketing and business objectives.

Surely we have moved away from protectionist attitudes such as “my discipline is more important than your discipline” Putting it simply – placing an irrelevant message in perfectly targeted media environment will have no more success than placing a wonderfully crafted message in front of an audience who have no interest in the product. It’s daft to claim that the media is more important than the message, but equally the message shouldn’t ever be developed in isolation of the media options.

I believe (and I thought most of my peers also believed) that the creative approach and the media approach should stem from the same overall communications strategy and should feed and nuture each other in an ongoing, organic, iterative, real time process. Surely the concept of a linear process where you make an ad, you buy some media to distribute the ad and then walk away is something that our industry has walked away from long ago?

But maybe I’ve been deluding myself. If the article above is anything to go by the media industry hasn’t really gone anywhere in the past 12 years.