Dave Trott is a legend and an advertising hero of the old school (not Don Draper old school). He has an uncanny knack of getting to the heart of the matter in a really engaging way. He writes that 89 percent of advertising is never noticed or remembered.
That is a pretty damming indictment of our industry, where almost 90 percent of what we do doesn’t work. As marketing communications professionals, it is our sole mission to create work that, well, works. It’s our job to create communications that people engage with.
Without that, everything else we do is futile.
So we all know that idea in theory, but how do we do that? It’s not an easy question to answer, because making complicated ideas simple never is.
What makes great work that fits into that elusive 11 percent? If we go back to basics, single-mindedness in communications is key. What exactly are you trying to say and why? We call this center of the idea ignition. The ignition approach drives ideas that ignite changes in behavior. Fundamental to ignition is media-neutral ideation and inclusivity.
At gyro we call this the “fight against the racism of disciplines.”
An ignition culture believes in turning on its head the old-fashioned creative model of producing a big “above the line” idea and then reworking it to various different media. It works on the belief that ideas should ignite through media and work both top-down and bottom-up.
Don’t confuse ignition with another iteration of Integration 2.0. It goes far deeper than that and is born out of a belief that the old elitist approach to creativity doesn’t work anymore.
When I started out in this game, account handlers were “bag carriers” and salespeople. I once worked at an agency where confrontation was encouraged and a senior creative threw a chair at me in an internal meeting. Those were the days …
Today our client services staff is a team of highly skilled marketing consultants with a high market value in their own right. The ignition approach requires that any thinking is driven from a tripartite meeting of minds of planning, account and creative leads.
Effective marketing is single-minded in message, with execution and tactical planning flowing from that central idea. The idea must be relevant, credible and most important differentiated.
One of my very first agency superiors, a creative director who had won a load of awards doing TV for one of the pharmaceutical giants, locked me in his office at 7 one evening and said that neither of us was going home until we’d agreed what made the client’s product (a truck, for the record) different. Was it any bluer, quicker, fast, slower, hotter, colder … ? He didn’t care, but without that, no one was going anywhere.
Whilst employment law in the UK has changed somewhat since then, the sentiment hasn’t and I remind myself of that every time I look at a task.
Today, with a multitude of media, that single-mindedness is more important than ever. In fact, the propagation of communication channels means that the idea needs to be even bigger and more expansive. That is why people talk about territories, not lines. It’s also the reason Gatorade’s Replay work keeps cleaning up at award shows. And it’s also why Dulux’s Let’s Colour campaign captured hearts and minds.
They’re both big, simple, expansive ideas with a brand truth at their heart.
A client told me last week that some clients make you rich and some make you famous. I don’t agree. The two are inextricably linked. Discretion being the better part and all, I will quote my boss rather than Dave Trott:
It’s the duty of all of us, every single day, to strive to produce work that makes us and our clients famous.
Now, go ignite something. Be part of that elusive 11 percent.
by Danny Turnbull
General Manager – gyro Manchester
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network