Everybody loves great advertising

The only problem is, people’s interpretation of what constitutes good work varies dramatically.

And no, this isn’t going to be a rant about how clients don’t approve good creative work. It’s going to be a rant about creatives, account handlers and clients not doing/approving good work.

About 90-95% of advertising is poor to average. With only 5 – 10% of ads achieving greatness. It follows therefore, that about 90% of creatives, suits and clients are also quite mediocre too.

I have never met a client who doesn’t want a good piece of work doing for his or her brand. I have, however, met plenty of clients and agency people who believe that the simple imparting of information about their brand will see it flying off the shelves.

Not very good

Mistake #1

Consumers don’t respond kindly to monologue. Dialogue is what is needed. Not dialogue about how good your brand/product/service is. But dialogue about the hole in the consumer’s life you are so graciously about to fill.
Now we have insight. Job done?

Mistake #2

Lot’s of your competitors fulfill your potential customer’s needs too. So why should they change their behaviour to suit you?

Because you are their brand new best friend. Ergo – brand personality. Does your brand’s personality resonate with their personality?

WOMAN: I’ve got a new friend.

MAN: That’s nice. What does she taste like?

WOMAN: Pretty similar to my old friend really, but a bit nuttier.

MAN: What’s wrong with your old friend?

WOMAN: Ooh, my new friend is much funnier. And cleverer too. Sort of, well… like me!

MAN: How much?

WOMAN: Oh, about the same as the old one.

MAN: How much?

WOMAN: £2.95.

MAN: Three quid! That’s a quid dearer than your old friend.

WOMAN: But she wears much nicer packaging. Sort of, well… like me!

So, we have some brand personality, we have consumer insight, we have knowledge of the competition, we have knowledge of the market, we have knowledge of the brand. What else do we need?


I am an ardent believer that great creatives don’t produce great ads, but great agencies working with great clients. (Creatives do produce great work in isolation but it rarely sees the light of day without the insights and creative briefs provided by their colleagues. Unless it’s for awards like The Chip Shop awards or spurious ambient media in the international awards.)

It’s no surprise that some of the world’s most award winning agencies such as AMV, DDB and TBWA are also some of the largest. They don’t just have great creative teams. But great planners, account handlers, producers and perhaps most importantly, great clients. Great work sells.

So, we’ve got some talent, we’ve got a great client, we’ve got a shiny new ad centred perfectly on a crisp sheet of A3 kappa board. Is it a goer?

Mistake #3

Is the consumer ever going to consume your shiny new concept in this way? No. They are going it to see it amidst the other 1,499 brand communications they have been bombarded with on any given day.

I’m not saying we should present all our concept work in context of where the consumer will view it. I still love the simplicity of the kappa board, but at least let’s show a couple of jpegs of our beautiful concept in situ to show the client just how much cut through it has. (Or doesn’t have.) By doing this we can show the client just how important it is to have cut through. We’re not just doing it because we’re petulant creatives. We’re doing it because it would be remiss of us to fritter away clients’ money on invisible mediocrity. We’re doing it because we know that award-wiining ads outperform non award-winning ones. (Gunn Report.) We’re doing it because we actually care.

Very good

We need to remember that the work we are creating isn’t for us, but for our clients. It’s their logo on the ad, not ours. It’s their money, not ours. So, why not work with them to meet their objectives? It is only by knowing what the client’s business objective is that we can hope to meet their marketing ones.

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Filed under Advertising, Ideas

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