Wednesday, November 30, 2011

it's advertising year zero (movin' on up)

Following yesterday evening's session at 474Labs, our internal agency learning and sharing group thingy - in which Mark Earls kindly beamed in from London at the unholy hour of 6.30am, to talk to us about some of the ideas from his new book 'I'll Have What She's Having' - there's probably only one song to play to wrap up the experience.

Before we get to that, I have to say that increasingly I'm leaning towards the feeling that we are in the midst of a year zero type situation in this advertising business.

Year zero inasmuch as the vast majority of the received wisdom and the-way-we-do-things-round-here needs to be erased, rewound and start again from scratch.

Here's what I'm talking about (and this is all covered in Mark's ouvre)

- How many of the decisions we make day-in day out are independent, rational (ie thought) choices versus those that are emotional, social and sensed?

- Is the real role of advertising about constructing messages to try and effect 'persuasion' on the individual or is it more about creating ideas and meaning that can be shared?

- In this context who exactly is 'the' consumer? Or even 'consumers' plural. We are people, and what interests us most is other people.

- Is changing behaviour about telling or getting 'consumers' to do what we want? Or is it more about demonstrating behaviours we want to encourage and creating situations or interventions which amplify those behaviours and involve people in positive activities that facilitate positive copying?

- Should brands and companies focus on creating meaning, with purpose, and serving the social needs of their customers, rather than targeting, impacting and penetrating and otherwise waging war on them?

- Are we, agencies, slaves to the big idea and big strategy when in fact:
the big idea is: there is no big idea

- Is lighting lots of small fires, making little bets and fanning the flames of the things that take actually a much better plan?

These are pretty disruptive ideas for this industry to handle.

This means stopping in it's tracks any briefing that contains anything that infers 'what we want the consumer to think'.

It's year zero. No antecedents. The end of all the past and the beginning of the future.

Massive thanks to the Herdmeister for his time and wisdom, cheers fella.

I was blind, but now I see...
You made a believer, outta me..

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