We are all competing with the Xbox


Not too long ago, if you had something interesting to say or something exotic to show you had a pretty decent chance of actually getting through to most people. And I really mean “most people” as in the majority of your nation or culture. After all, people led fairly predictable lives full of repetetive tasks and a slow information flow. You might think I’m referring to agricultural villages in the early 1900’s, but no, I mean the 70’s when I grew up.  At that time you could even catch the attention of a classroom full of 10-year-olds by telling them of far away places and historical times.
Those days are gone. Now, teachers are up against the Xbox. Or 48 tv-channels. Or the Internet. And they don’t stand a chance if they try running their old routines. This goes for all of us. Even if your target audience isn’t comprised of clan-members on WOW they are still likely to have high standards of reference when they decide what they’ll pay attention to. Do you really think your average print ad will do the trick? No, you’re right, it won’t. So what to do?
We all have to work with what’s unique and/or sought after. When it comes to education I’m convinced teaching could be much more effective if the classroom experience was had out of the classroom to a greater extent. Involving more grown-ups (parents, volonteers, etc), integrating subjects, and getting more hands-on experimenting will probably also be good things to try.  All of those are things the Xbox can’t do.
For businesses this means NOT trying to do what the market leader is doing, especially if all the competition is copying the leader. This is not news to any marketers, and still, incredibly many marketers do just that. The fastest path to getting some attention is usually to earn it. Create something worth paying attention to. Write a book about the stuff you know and your clients don’t and give it away for free. They’ll still come to you for help, trust me, but this time they’ll listen. Don’t piggyback on bought celebreties. Instead find some that actually like what you do, and put the spotlight on it. If they come to you instead of the other way around you’ll also save yourself some of the embarressment of having sponsored the wrong spokesperson (someone up for sponsoring Tiger Woods? anyone?No? He still plays very well.)
So remember that the next time you try to get some attention in this day and age: We are all competing with the Xbox.

How to avoid dirty quick-fixes and encourage longterm solutions in democratic elections

What is the problem?

The strategy for politicians and political parties today is to make promises of a better tomorrow if you vote for them and where tomorrow was once a metaphor for a long future, but nowadays it’s literary tomorrow.

Why is this a problem?

Personally I don’t think that the literal tomorrow is fixable, it’s way to late. Politicians arguing about how which brand of silver-tape to use to fix the leaking boat is less appealing to me when I have the strangest feeling that no one is working on a solution to avoid the giant iceberg ahead. It makes the whole process of voting a bit pointless, and people that are not engaged by old school ideology catchphrase questions less likely to vote at all.
(If you don’t consider that a problem you can stop reading now)

The solution


Instead of one we should elect three cabinets layered like this:
1. The Here and Now Cabinet.
2. The Not Yet But Soon Cabinet. Dealing with issues 4-5 year into the future
3. The Way Ahead of You Cabinet. Dealing with issues 10-15 year into the future

What would that accomplish?

For the Here and Now Cabinet the effective strategy to get elected probably remain the same. Vote for me and you will get less taxes, higher income or why not both? We still need people looking out for the quick fixes. They would however have an option to sync their message with long term goals as well.
However to get elected for the Not Yet But Soon Cabinet and would have to win the debate dealing with consequences of policies that the candidates for the Here and Now Cabinet are proposing. Their strategy would also be to co-tail and follow up on popular policies from the Way Ahead of You Cabinet.
To be elected for the Way Ahead of You Cabinet you have to debate your opponents on really big issues.

Why not just have one cabinet with ministers looking out for the different perspective?

Without prototype testing I can’t say for sure that that wouldn’t solve the problem, however I do see the risk for business as usual if the day to day work is not split into three separate entities. If you have tasks you have to solve today you are less likely to devote any time to plan tasks that have due date ten years from now.

What’s next?

Obviously there is a massive amount of details that need to be tested before rollout, and you have probably spotted problems with this model already. I don’t mean problems like it would be impossible to radically change a the parliamentary system of a country, that’s just short term thinking, but real what if problems. If you do, please post your feedback and especially if you agree that this is a problem.. And if you can think of a problem and a solution as well that would be even better. Why not do your own blogpost response? Post the link if you do.
The next step I’d like to try : Test a prototype by role-playing a mock government scenario to find problems. Would you like to join?
This entry was posted by Tomas Seo on Seoism.com.

Storebror gör bättre reklam

Foto: stevec77

Foto: stevec77


I förra veckan hade Dagens Media en viktig belysning av reklamens roll i samhället, och framför allt hur våra politiker ser på reklamens roll. Ungefär samtidigt startade Premier League. Två parallella och tillsynes orelaterade händelser som tillsammans inspirerat detta blogginlägg.
De flesta av våra riksdagspolitiker har inte speciellt mycket övers för reklam och ser inte några större positiva effekter. Trots detta lägger deras partier ett par hundra miljoner på marknadsföringsinsatser inför det stundande valet. Lägg till detta att de myndigheter och andra offentliga instanser man ansvarar för varje år investerar ett antal hundra miljoner eller mer för att påverka oss medborgare till att tycka olika saker och bete oss på ett visst sätt, eller bara för att infomera om sin verksamhet och hur vi medborgare ska använda oss av deras tjänster.
Låt oss lämna diskussionen om hur framgångsrika våra myndigheter är i den här formen av insatser därhän och i stället fundera på hur bra man är på att köpa kommunikationstjänster. Å ena sidan ska myndigheter och övriga sektor tillämpa offentliga upphandling. Å andra sidan finns det mycket kritik mot hur detta tillvägagångssätt fungerar – se till exempel här, här, här och här. Främst handlar det om att det är skillnad på att köpa konsulttjänster – där leveransen och innehållet i tjänsten ska skapas för varje enskilt projekt – och att köpa t ex en städentreprenad där tjänsten ska utföras enligt ett fastlagd schema med tydliga kriterier. I många fall verkar det tveksamt om det är inköps- eller kommunikationsavdelningen som gör utvärderingen. Och än värre blir det när huvudkriteriet verkar vara timpriser snarare än kompetens, kvalitet och prisvärdhet. Men dilemmat är naturligtvis att det finns en lagstiftning som stipulerar att offentlig sektor måste göra den här typen av upphandling. Så finns det en lösning?
Det är här som Premier League-premiären kommer in. Jag ska villigt erkänna att jag är anglofil och attraheras av allt från ljummen överjäst öl med lagom lite kolsyra och vinägersmakande pommes frittes till bollsporter där landskamperna pågår i flera dagar och en landsbygd där medborgarna dör i rask takt i olika TV-serier – för att inte tala om deras självregleringssystem för reklambranchen, med ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) som främsta exempel.  Men ett annat av alla intressanta engelska fenomenen är tyvärr i princip okänt här hemma och då tänker jag på deras intelligenta system för att hantera reklam- och kommunikationsbehoven inom offentlig sektor.
The Central Office of Information (CIO) är ” the Government’s centre of excellence for marketing and communications”. Namnet till trots är man så långt från Orwells centralstyrda storebrorssamhälle man kan komma. CIO är inte bara en upphandlingsmyndighet, utan framför allt också något så spännande som en riktigt vass strategisk resurs för de myndigheter som behöver kommunicera med sina medborgare.  Att vara VD för CIO är ett av de mest eftersökta och prestigefyllda uppdragen en engelsk kommunikationsexpert kan få. Nuvarande VD är Mark Lund var till exempel tidigare VD och grundare av Delaney Lund Knox Warren (DLKW) och dessutom ordförande för engelska reklamförbundet. Även om den ekonomiska krisen lett till nedskärningar inom CIO har han ansvaret för en konsultverksamhet med närmare 500 medarbetare som arbetar inom ett antal olika områden, där några av de viktigaste är:
1)     Att skriva ramavtal med byråer och andra konsulter för myndigheternas räkning.  Med totala reklaminvesteringar på över £ 200 miljoner är det klart att det handlar om många olika byråer inom alla olika discipliner, men framför allt så handlar det också om en upphandling som utvärderar byråer efter kompetens, inte bara efter pris.
2)     Att hjälpa myndigheterna att skapa effektiv kommunikation, inte minst genom att vara en strategisk resurs för att skapa en bra uppdragsbrief och tillhandahålla hög kompetens om hur man påverkar medborgarnas attityder och beteende.
3)     Att producera aktiviteter på egen handför myndigheternas räkning , inte minst när det gäller PR och on-line.
4)     Att skapa relevanta sätt att mäta och utvärdera kommunikationsinsatserna och därmed höja effektiviteten i det man producerar.
Den senaste årsrapporten från COI visar t ex att man under de senaste fem åren skapat effektiviseringsvinster för engelska myndigheter på mellan 3,5% och 10% per år. Men mer intressant är den samlade kunskap som man besitter om attitydpåverkan, beteendeförändring och kommunikationseffektivitet, och där man har producerat ett antal intressanta rapporter som den här och den här.
Vore det för mycket att önska att en liknande enhet fanns även i Sverige? Då kanske vi skulle slippa debatten varje gång en myndighet gör en upphandling och skriver avtal med konsulter baserat på en (orimligt) låg timtaxa. Och vi kanske också skulle få några fler politiker som faktiskt inser vikten av reklam/marknadsföring, för den offentliga sektorn såväl som för företag, och den samhällsnytta kommunikation (och vi som köper och producerar dessa tjänster) medför – oavsett vem som vinner valet om några veckor.
Inlägget publiceras även på Micco Grönholms blogg The Brand-Man

Strategy doesn’t spark new ideas – that’s the point!

How do people come up with great ideas? Do they systematically work themselves through the target group description and the business strategy via the marketing plan and then come up with that one earth shattering creative solution that makes the brand a classic and the business an instant success? Of course not.
Actually, there’s a myth floating around stating that if you have a great strategy you’ll get great ideas for implementing it but that is simply not true. Instead, strategy is the filter that lets a bunch of random and loosely connected ideas and insights emerge as a coherent and forceful set of actions in the real world. This is what makes strategy so important. It’s what sets the direction and shape of the impact the organisation creates in the world. But ideas are created in a totally different part of the universe. They need brains and stimulation.
Have a look at this diagram I made:
Creative and strategy
1. Brains need stimuli to work well. Some of the best stimuli is often found in the background material that was produced when developing the strategy. Use this, but reduce it to a good brief. It’s not the data but the insights that matter! All prior knowledge and experience is also a great help. The notion that young people are more creative is pure bullshit, they are simply less self critical and that is a fantastic asset when trying to come up with ideas.
2. Brains are the main thing here, and anything that makes them operate better is valuable. Make brains feel safe (no, not helmets, it’s about confidence!). Don’t rely solely on brainstorming. It doesn’t work for everybody, and you get a better spectrum of ideas if you vary the circumstances. Alternate between rushing and taking time to think, between going solo and working together, between writing and doodling, use projective techniques (e.g. write a letter to Ronald McDonald or the King of Sweden explaining why your brand is so right for him), etc.
3. Ideas change when expressed. Sometimes what felt great in your mind look pathetic when stated on paper. That’s OK. Save it anyway. You just created great stimuli for another time or another person. It’s better to get 1000 half-assed ideas down on record and choose later, than to be self-critical and end up with a poor set to choose from. Collecting and cross-stimulating idea spawning brains is terribly important and one of the main reasons for having Creative Directors in advertising agencies. Someone needs to have this role in every team. Actually, everybody should do it but someone needs to be responsible. After getting it all on paper, put it in a place where it can be accessed, and make sure ideas go forward in the process.
4. Now, finally, the role of strategy is to function as a screen to filter and format whole batches of ideas into a shape that gives them mutual support and creates an impact on the world that reflects the values, visions, ambitions and goals that the organisation stand for. The really great brands and organisations of the world manage to do this, and because the ideas that get implemented share a core of strategic alignment they support eachother and creates a “gestalt” that we usually think of as a personality or a philosophy when viewed from the outside.
So, do strategy first and use it as a screen in the final descision making, but never expect strategy to replace the creative process. You need both and in the correct order. And that’s all it’s to it.

GENERATION I: THE FALLACY OF INDIVIDUALITY

It’s time for marketing to stop promising false notions of individuality. 

The fallacy of individuality.

Individuality is overrated. In fact it’s become a distressing, destructive and depressive idea. Earnest psychologists such as Oliver James, author of the Selfish Capitalist, propose and provide evidence, that it actually causes a variety of mental illnesses from anxiety, to isolation to depression. In short it can make you mad. Alain de Botton, this time a philosopher, eloquently described our society as one that champions impossible ideals and puts people in perpetual anxiety over whether they are ‘occupying too modest a rung or are about to fall into a lower one’. Even hard nosed economists have woken up to the fact that the overly simplistic Adam Smith’ principals of the ‘invisible hand’ in business have led to a collective failure of financial systems commonly known now as the ‘the recession’. The ambitions of the few are the cause of the suffering of the many. Regardless of which pet discipline you like: psychology, philosophy or economics it is clear that this business of individuality has gone too far.

As marketers we have to acknowledge our responsibilities.

Naturally, these problems are due to a number of factors; politics, schools, t.v. media etc, however I will discuss how marketing contributes to this mess. Marketing and advertising still continue to play a significant role in the psychological, social and economical implications of selfish capitalism. I believe that it is a particular, type of marketing that is responsible. It probably began with a strategy that eventually became the archetype for many others. It promised individuality, granted permission for humans, who are normally social animals, to become selfish capitalists. It declared that you should: ‘Have it your way’.

Individuality often built on insecurity has been drummed into consumers minds, sunk into their hearts and shoved down their throats for decades … here is a small collection from Wikipedia:
“Have it your way” – Burger King
“You. First” – Banglalink GSM
“Expect great things” – Lucent Technologies
“Expect the world” – New York Times
“Express yourself” – Lavazza Coffee
“How many bars do you have?” – AT&T
“If you don’t get it you don’t get it” Wash. Post
“It’s for you” – BT
“See what you can do” – O2
“Broadcast yourself” – YouTube
“Yours is here” – Dell
“Where do you want to go today” – Microsoft
“Be extraordinary” – E-Trade
“What’s in your wallete” – Capital One
“Accelerate your life” – US Navy
“It could be you” – National Lottery
“Be the first to know” – CNN
“So where the bloody hell are you?” – Tourism Australia
“Thousands of possibilities. Get yours.” Best Buy
“The power to be your best” – Apple
“Live your life” – American Eagle
“Entertainment your way” – SKY
“Hear what you like when you like” Rex Records
“Drive your way” – Hyundai
“Your Airline” – Air India
“Make yourself heard” – Ericsson
“Because you are worth it” – L’Oreal
“Your Fragrance, Your Rules” – Hugo Boss
“You Gotta Have it” – Lisa Frank
“You are the one who’s number one” – Pathmark
“It’s time for U” – UPN

Generation I: A definition.

Marketers have often built this promise of individuality loosely on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. ‘Self-Actualization’ that appears right at the top of this hierarchy is a result of individuals fulfilling their potential. Fine in theory, but has horrible implications when practiced in marketing. The idea that consumers should engage in a relentless race to own and consume products & services that promise selfish individuality have created what I will call Generation I.
Generation I is the ‘Insecure’ generation. For decades marketing has largely used Maslow and other theories of individuality as the basis for setting aspirations and expectations that are generally impossible to match in reality. It has in fact created a viscous circle that played on and fed people’s insecurities as Chuck Palahniuk explained once:

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need”

My contention is that Generation I is – in reality – far from the self-satisfied, self-proclaimed individual, independent and influential rulers of their cocooned universes. It is an insecure generation that is caught in a perpetual race of trying to keep up with the Joneses and engage in mindless materialism. Of-course some materialism is necessary such as homes, clothing etc but the kind of materialism discussed here is insecurity based. It’s the type that is a response to the enormous pressure in western and developed societies to be an individual. To stand out. To equate one’s progress with their possessions.

Czech Dream
A couple of documentary Czech film makers launched a campaign around a spoof new mega mall in Prague. They’ve literally built an ad campaign promoting the non existent store. The film charted the journey from the ads to thousands of people who’ve come to the store on the launch day. After the collapse of the soviet system and years of lack of western style materialism there was an insatiable appetite. The filmmakers were essentially firing a warning shot, asking the question do we really want this? Should we jump head on into mindless capitalism? On the opening day of the fake store thousands turned up all hoping to buy a new t.v. set or perhaps to fill a deeply set insecurity.

Individuality is the basis for isolation which breeds mental illness.

Plato stated the obvious eons ago, hinting at the dark side of individuality:

“Winners stand alone”

The irony is that even at it’s moment of supposed triumph, individuality becomes isolation. Standing out, is by definition, breaking away from the group and the community. This is even more worrying. Multiplied by millions of marketing messages, un-supervised financial institutions and disappointing politicians, societies become a fragmented collage of highly macho and individualistic dreams. A collection of individual-group-thinkers. The so called triumph of selfish individualistic capitalism becomes society’s collective failure.

The trouble with marketing is that most of it is still stuck in a selfish capitalist mode.

Let’s consider how consumers today are claiming back their rights to be the social animals that they are. The astronomical explosion of social media online in many ways is consumers’ way of claiming their rights to simply connect and belong. To co-create and collaborate, meet and organise themselves and others around them. Technology have not only made them more inter-connected but also inter-dependent.
On an another level research from the Future Foundation has shown that at least in western societies where women have been making great progress into public and professional lives this has resulted in a move towards the more feminine values in culture of sharing, socialising and collaboration.
Meanwhile in ad land, brands are still peddling archaic macho strategies and toxic notions of individuality. Desperately failing to grasp the full implications of what consumers are doing online and where culture is going. They are being autistic in choosing not to hear what consumers are saying which is: ‘thanks we actually want to hang out with our friends if you don’t mind’. Or as a respondent in a group recently told us more aptly:

“I want to be independent like all my friends”

Individuality in a way is only a route to what people need – that’s belonging. Belonging is perhaps the more ‘human’ way of building brands.

The future is co-operative & collaborative – our survival – no less – depends on it.

From the environment, to poverty, from medicine to technology, social systems that are designed to bring people together, brains together and above all collective actions are exactly what we should champion and build in marketing. The reality is that in the wake of the recession the business world needs to look into more co-operative and collaborative forms of progress that go beyond the selfish capitalism of the few to the greater good of the many. The far more interesting model for a better form of capitalism is to think of ways where contribution not mere consumption is the objective. Brands that selfishly existed to make the customers consume more without a further contribution beyond their product are at a grave risk of becoming nothing more than a cost without a care. Some of this thinking is captured in co-opportunity – a new a book by John Grant. In it, he discusses the nature of new types of models where it isn’t communication anymore once you add the social dimension – it is actually a social innovation. The co-operative mentality I am proposing and the actions described by Grant are all indications of what social could mean to brands, it’s not individuality that they promise anymore it’s the genuine actions that demonstrate true commitment to their consumers and society at large. The basis of this commitment is not a fake promise of ‘if you buy this you will be individual’ it is the higher healthier delivery of what people really want and that’s not individuality but rather interdependence.

How can brands be built around interdependence instead of false notions of individuality.

Is it possible to create collective identities where the objective is not the selfish, lonely and impossible illusion of individuality? The answer is yes:
Firstly, the fundamental shift that marketers need to make is that a brand is not an image that could be managed simply by changing the ad campaign. It is an experience. An experience in it’s widest sense of the word. A brand like IKEA is not managed by simply changing the ads it’s a brand that is fundamentally an experience in every aspect from the product to the packaging to what you could do with the product eventually. At it’s core is a social idea – democracy of design – this is translated into every aspect of that brand. It is an ethos, a commitment and an intention to improve the lives of the many people. (for more on my thinking on brand as an experience read this article).
Secondly, brands that build their marketing around bringing people together instead of pushing them apart by encouraging, facilitating a sense of belonging between it’s customers will be better placed to survive in the hyper connected world of today. See box.
Thirdly, it is fundamentally about ‘doing’ not ‘saying’. Delivering the ethos of interdependence has to be something that the brand ‘does’ in order to show that it cares enough about its’ public to do something about it. Brands should be living up to commitments not producing campaigns.

T-Mobile: Life’s for sharing Campaign UK.
In a really competitive telecoms market T-Mobile needed to differentiate beyond price and offers. A strategy was established built on how life is lived live and broadcasted instantly to friends, family and strangers using mobile and web. Telephony was changing how people related to one another. Everything was lived now and shared now.
With this as the backdrop the idea was to create iconic and spontaneous experiences that gel together friends and strangers. The events were designed to be amazing enough to compell audiences to share. DANCE was the first out. An outbreak of spontaneous dance in Liverpool street captured the imagination of those present with random people joining and broadcasting the event on multiple digital media live and as it was happening. This campaign and it’s sibling SING in Trafalger Square were hugely successful for the brand on all metrics. But most importantly it delivered on the brand idea, the consumer reality and the commercial objectives. Above all it was a genuine brand experience that was worth sharing. A good example of the ethos that brands should do not say.
Life’s for Sharing.

What if?

What if we didn’t sell stuff based on a fake sense of individuality and ultimately isolation?
What if we didn’t give consumers the poor substitute of a mental experience instead of a real life one?
What if we didn’t aim to make consumer run towards goals that they can’t achieve and consumerism that feeds nothing except insecurity?
What if we stopped playing on people’s insecurities and started working on building their confidence and self esteem?
What if we stopped telling people have it your way when what really matters is a way for everybody to succeed co-operatively?
This is ultimately not a question of which advertising strategy we should pick, it is a question of can we take our responsibilities seriously enough to ditch toxic notions of individuality and start delivering on inter-dependence.

Hur får du ut det bästa ur planning?

Del 3 i vår serie med intervjuer om planningens roll i Sverige

Plannern bör fokusera på att hjälpa de stora idéerna som ska göra skillnad för framtiden och inte att hävda sig själv för mycket. Det ena tar ju tid från det andra. Men PlannerFed är en agentur som kämpar för vissa frågor på uppdrag åt våra planners. Vi tror att fler duktiga konsulter får chansen att göra skillnad om planning blir mer känt och tydligt i Sverige, något som man ännu inte kan ta för givet. Så medan du fokuserar på planning presenterar vi här ett par färgstarka planners från byråer och vår agentur.
Intervjuerna är gjorda av Christopher Norman som är en flitig juniorplanner och varumärkesstrateg med en stor dos nyfikenhet. Stort stort tack till dig!

Intervjupersonera i filmen är:

Anna Nordell – Saatchi & Saatchi
Saher Sidhom – Great Works
Stefan Rydén – PlannerFed
Olle Svensson – Gyro:HSR

Links to the future of planning

The first issue of our relaunched Admap magazine considers what the decade ahead will hold for planning, including:

  • The future of planning: a roundtable discussion featuring six of the industry’s leading lights (open access)
  • A new agency model: Simon Clemmow on why planning and agencies are joined at the hip (subscriber only)
  • Emerging brand wisdom: Guy Murphy describes the fun to be had in developing markets (subscriber only)

Browse the full issue of Admap at www.warc.com/admap.

Inside the US consumer’s mind

A new partnership with the Futures Company brings to warc.com an extensive series of insight and analysis pieces on the US consumer courtesy of its Yankelovich reports. These include:

  • Consumer profile – Hispanics: their attitudes, behaviour and values (open access)
  • 12 things about Moms: from over-parenting to the influence of Oprah (subscriber only)
  • Men – It’s a Guy Thing: tracking changing trends in the male market (subscriber only)

You’ll find a full listing here, and we’ll be adding many more over the coming weeks.

On the Warc Blog

Our new blog is the place on warc.com for keeping up with the latest news, views and content  and, of course, where you can post your own thoughts on what you find. Recent posts include:

  • Dan Calladine on the potential of the Apple iPad
  • Simon Law pondering the phenomenon of Super Bowl advertising
  • Warc News Editor Stephen Whiteside’s assessment of UK adspend in 2010

You’ll find all the latest posts at www.warc.com/blogs.
And finally, one last reminder that our Measuring Advertising Performance 2010 conference takes place in London on March 10th.
If you’re not a subscriber to Warc and would like to profit from ongoing access to a huge range of ideas and evidence on all aspects of marketing, media and communications, simply email us at enquiries@warc.com to arrange a trial.
Kind regards
James Aitchison
Warc

Great insight requires great creative – even in B2B

I have worked with several B2B brands, and most of them had a very good grasp on what made their customers excited. Others quickly recognized the importance of what I  found out while researching their target markets. Insight seems to come natural to people in B2B markets. Unfortunaltely, I can’t say the same for their grasp of creative execution.
Now, here’s a cautionary tale on the dangers of not being able to make the leap of faith from strategy to execution: You’re in B2B. Everyone you deal with is a pro. They might not buy one of your products every year (because it’s a huge machine that costs $50 000) but they are experienced and know what they want. You also know what they want, because like you’re buyers you’ve lived practically you’re whole life in this business. And what they want is a turbo-charged RX450 compressor powered Rock Combustor that will run 4500 hours or more before requiring maintenance.

Tomas Lundgren

Tomas Lundgren


There are many other firms selling similar machines, cheaper, more expensive, higher powered, etc, but you are the only one who sell such a low-maintenance machine at a reasonable price in the high-power segment. You’ve got your insight into the target audience down pat. If anyone buys this, it’s because they know maintenance is a real drain on the overall budget to keep a machine fleet operational. So, you brief the agency. The agency people nod and take notes and go to work.
They come back with a concept that is visually daring, has a memorable pun in the headline, and really stresses maintenance costs, but it doesn’t show the machine. Instead the image shows a guy dressed in a business suit asleep in a bed (aren’t we supposed to appeal to a male audience here?) with a “dream bubble” above where dollar bills are jumping across a fence. You immediately feel uneasy. This doesn’t look like what your company usually put in its ads. Actually, no one in your industry have ads that look this way. There’s supposed to be a machine in the picture. Or a bikini babe. Or both.
You’re customers are serious people that buy serious, powerful equipment for serious amounts of money. This is not going to work. So you say you like the copy and appreciate that it makes a good, strong point for maintenance cost reduction, but end up giving your great-idea-but-I-don’t-know-if-I-like-this speech to the agency team.
The art director stares at the table. The copy writer says it reinforces the headline that you said was good. The account manager tries to make a case for it, but quickly accepts defeat and takes the team back to the agency to have another go. A week later they arrive again, this time without the art director. It now looks like a typical industry ad, but nice. They’ve used your best product shot and done some quite magical effect in some image processing software and it looks stunning. Your boss is gonna love it. The guys at engineering is going to pin it to the wall and buy you a round. The customers are going to be impressed. This is going to work!
But of course it doesn’t.
Your customers, while not insensitive to the seductive image of a powerful yellow machine in a glowing late afternoon light, are so used to seeing product shots that they just skim over your ad. They are busy worrying about all that money disappearing in maintenance, and actually, they haven’t been able to sleep very well lately because they are going to take serious heat because of that budget running wild. They sure would like to find a low-maintenance machine, but can’t.
Your company still sell it’s quota that year. You even get a little bonus, and you’re very popular with engineering. Everything has worked out fine, just like last year , and the year before that.

För eller emot planners?

Follow an interesting series from Redscout SPUR about planning future, identity crisis for planners and possibilites as well as provocations. PSFK publish the story from Redscout in a series of videos for the month to come. Keep an eye out for new videomaterial as we will keep posting them here too.

Intro – En diskussion kring planning

Avsnitt 1 – Är planning impotent?

Avsnitt 2 – Talang

Avsnitt 3 – Är planners första klassens undersökare?

Avsnitt 4 – Relationen mellan planners och annonsörer

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Avsnitt 5 – Planners framtid

Redscout presented Spur – Viewers Respond