Special Edition – Global Quotes: COVID-19, What it Means to the Advertising Industry

In a London-based publication on advertising, Shots conducted Q&A interviews with various agency and production firms around the globe.

They were asked one thing: How are you and your company coping with the current restrictions and what impact do you think they will have on the industry and your business?

In this special edition of Quotes, relating to that question, we hear how businesses are coping, what the potential fallout of this crisis could be, and about the initiatives being put in place to foster creativity during this isolation period. Here are some highlights.

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Recovery will happen, however, many of the brands and clients we work with have other priorities right now and we are very sensitive to this. Sarah Cutler, Director of Partnerships, makemepulse London

Right now, the world is in isolation physically and emotionally – I believe there will be a reaction to this. Simon Hatter, Founder & Creative Director, Rumour Has It Amsterdam

Some are set up for success and, for others, this will be a wake-up call.  Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Toronto

The world must keep moving and creative problem-solving has a vital role to play.  James Razzall, President, Advertising North America, Framestore

As crippling as this crisis has been for our industry, finding ways to support brand messaging in a time where consumers are looking to them to give back is a vital role. Justin Wineburgh, CEO & President, Alkemy X

Our Chinese co-workers shared their best practices at a very early stage, both from a business and safety aspects.  The worst scenario would actually be not to come prepared for what’s next. We must help companies and brands to be up and running just before lockdown ends.  Olivier Lefebvre, CEO and Partner at FF Paris

The best response is to think how you, as a brand, can be genuinely useful to people. Sam Walker, ECD, Uncommon London

This will result in less projects and less work and unfortunately, in the long run, put companies out of business. Espen Horn, Executive Producer, Motion Blur Norway

I see this hitting of the pause button not just as a problem but, just possibly, as an amazing opportunity.  Charlie Crompton, Managing Partner & EP, Rogue Films London

Due to the fact that there is zero new business coming in… we also started to develop self-improvement ideas for the whole company.  Patrick Volm-Dettenbach, Executive Producer, ELEMENT E Filmproduktion Germany

The world is also changing how it consumes media. Print will likely take a hit (Playboy was the first to announce it had stopped printing).  Héloïse Hooton, Founder, Hooton Public Relations

Our biggest priority is to relieve the anxiety of everyone in the company. Joseph Bonnici Partner & Executive Creative Director, Bensimon Byrne Toronto

I am convinced that advertisers will have to continue communicating through campaigns/commercials, especially once life returns to normal. Ruben Goots, Founder and EP, Hamlet Belgium

What will never change about our business is that creativity, craft and smart solutions will always win the day. Ari Kuschnir, Founder & Managing Partner, m ss ng p eces

It is simply impossible for any business to survive a period of expenditure with no income over a prolonged period of time. What we don’t want is a lag in getting going again and that is very much the views of the agencies we have spoken to. Spencer Dodd, Joint MD & EP, Merman London

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If this crisis has one upside for entrepreneurs, it will be to force us to focus on essentials, reinvent how we do things in a leaner way.  Simon Cachera, Co-Founder, Victor & Simon Amsterdam

 

 

 

If you liked this post, check out some others here . . .

Creativity in the Corporate Ivory Tower? Sheesh, surely you jest?!

This is not a whodunit, nor is it a Perry Mason murder mystery about the Case of the Kangaroo Court. What it is, however, is the Business Case for Creativity.

An excerpt from a review of the book itself reveals, “Debate in the advertising and marketing industries has raged for decades: does creativity make advertising more effective? Or is it just the folly of creative people looking to win their next award?

“The arguments of both advocates and cynics have until recently been based on conjecture and anecdotal evidence. James Hurman’s seminal creative effectiveness book The Case for Creativity brings the debate to a conclusion with three decades of international research into the link between creativity and business results.”

Tom Roach, BBH’s (Bartle-Bogle-Hegarty) effectiveness head, was asked by Thinkbox to present the business case for creativity at their spring event. Inspired by Thinkbox’s own  innovative slide desk, the presentation he gave brought together the best evidence for the value of creativity in marketing communications. Here are excerpts from that presentation along with my own take on the case for creativity.

Case for creaivity

Simply stated, without creativity one has nothing. The beautifully executed creative plan of an advertising campaign can not be overshadowed by something comprised of “just the facts.” The campaign must have charisma, its own personality, to be believable. However, being believable doesn’t necessarily mean playing it safe or conservative.

Take this attitude from Keith Wood of Unilever in his Forward of the book:

Forward-Case for Creativity

That may be the case but the industry still has a ways to go and many more folks need to know. While this may be true, can we say there is a crisis in creativity? If so, how so and what is it?

First, let’s take a step or two back and ask: “What do we mean by creative?”

Well, there’s this . . .

Novel . . .

And this . . .

Good ideas . . .

And this somewhat in-your-face guideline . . .

Make it different . . .

Okay, all good and fruitful definitions and clarifications of what creativity is or entails. As with several key issues in the business world, creativity is complicated, especially when the problem is multifaceted and everyone on the marketing committee has a different viewpoint.

But, is there a crisis in creativity? Well, let’s see.

Trends Wrkg Against

Campaign effectiveness has fallen (UL), Budgets have been falling (UR), Short-termination has been rising (LL), Long-term cases have lost efficiency (LR)

Ad Blocking

Hmmmmm, looking kinda murky, isn’t it? Let’s consider this :

Rising Sea

 

Smart Phones

Autos

Ah, yes, nothing like differentiation in car ads!

 

Case for creaivity

 

Creative Companies

S&P 500

Disruption

Creative Execution

Emotional

Ad Slogans

While the above slides are true, I vote for more thoughtfulness and less cutesyness. In some advertising, the ad could have the audio muted (saying what the ad is about) with just the video or image shown, and most folks wouldn’t be able to tell what product is being promoted. Let’s face it, cars and cologne can be interchangeable. And, I guess, trucks are destined to be driven only in the “out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere” scenarios.

Creativity Brings

I’d like to add at least one more: Intangibles. Sometimes you just don’t know what makes a good ad good. It just works.

 

Our Objective

I definitely agree with this last poster. Effectiveness is key to creative execution. Smart creativity is a must. Play to one’s audience still applies but do so without insulting their intelligence. I’ll go out on a limb and say that, generally speaking, a twenty-something copywriter has little to no understanding of how best to relate to the “senior plus” set, unless he can relate to his grandparents.

Case for Creativity Book

If you want to view a more in-depth portrayal of this presentation, see the Business Case for Creativity. It’s not your ordinary slide deck. Neither is the book on which the presentation is based.

Friday Fun Quotes: Advertising and Otherwise

Continuing a series of various illustrious quotes, here are some worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring. Hopefully, you will, too.

Some quotes are from the American Advertising Federation newsletter “Smart Brief,” while others come from various sources. Enjoy!!

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Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.   Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018

There is no way for the American economic system to function without advertising. – John O’Toole

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. – Albert Einstein

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared. – J. K. Rowling

I’ve always felt advertising was a major instrument of the free enterprise system. Effective advertising can not only have a truly powerful impact on clients’ fortunes but for their stockholders and employees as well and therein a great ripple effect on our economy. Liener Temerlin

To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well. – Isaac Asimov

I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive. – David Ogilvy

Be honest, truthful, and altruistic. If you concern yourself with taking care of others, there’ll be no room for lies, bullying and cheating. If you’re truthful you can live transparently, which will enable you to establish trust, the basis for making friends. – Dalai Lama 

There is no material with which human beings work which has so much potential energy as words. – Earnest Elmo Calkins

Inspiration can strike at anytime, anywhere. But usually not at 1 a.m. in the office. – Lee Clow via Lee Clow’s Beard tweet

So, whatchathink? Gotta favorite? Lemme know.

Hall of Fame Quotes – Advertising & Otherwise

In another in a series of various illustrious quotes, I showcase some worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring. Hopefully, you will, too.

Some quotes are from the American Advertising Federation newsletter “Smart Brief,” while others come from various sources. Enjoy!!

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A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost. – Bob Pritchard

Rules are for people who don’t know what to do. – Keith Reinhard

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without. – Cecil B. DeMille

A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable. – Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them.  David Ogilvy

Like the musical score, a mission statement is only as good as the performance it inspires. – Keith Reinhard

Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun. – Bob Pritchard

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.                    Bob Pritchard

Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable. – Leo Burnett

Anxiety brings with it massive energy and it is what we do with that energy which separates us.  Laurie-Beth Robbins

 

So, gotta favorite? Lemme know.

See ya next time!

Quotable Quotes: Sir John Speaks, Again.

In a recent blog, I published an excerpt of an interview with British advertising legend John Hegarty, co-founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty. While he was there in Cannes for their 2018 Festival of Creativity, he had more to say during a lunch event.

Here are some of Sir John’s pearls of wisdom:

The fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed, the tactics have. But the marketing industry has forgotten the art of persuasion.

Marketing people don’t step out of their bubble enough and see how the general public live.

The separation of media and creative was one of the biggest mistakes ever. The market isn’t always right.

The three pillars of branding: Is it memorable; am I motivated by it; is it truthful? We remember ideas and things that move us.

We’re living in a celebrity culture, not a fame culture. Fame adds to a brand’s value, even if you’re not going to buy it. A brand is not only made by the people who buy it, but also by people that know about it.

The foundation of brands is trust.

Data has been around since the nativity, but we’ve become slaves to it, like we did with market research.

Message to creatives: read things other people aren’t reading.

Being the biggest isn’t the same as being a brand leader.

Have a favorite? Let me know!

Sir John at 2018 Cannes Festival of Creativity on, well, Creativity.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve been involved in the advertising and marketing industry for a long time. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed it. I love creating things. I love the creative process, creative problem solving. I love creativity.

Creativity is, in part, what this blog is all about. It’s also, me thinks, one of those words that is vastly overused, and when you ask several people what is meant by it, you’ll get several different responses. It’s difficult for most folks to equate creativity with, say, engineering. Frankly, I think it was damned creative when the design and engineering of the Golden Gate Bridge came about.

Creativity is always evolving. We, as creative practitioners, should be evolving right along with it. So, whenever I see an article on the subject or hear a renowned expert talk about it, I want to read and listen to what is said. Maybe I can pick up some tips.

That happened recently when reading an issue of AdAge. I thought I’d share some of what I read.

The expert: Sir John Hegarty.

Sir John Hegarty Cannes 2016

Sir John Hegarty attends The Cannes Lions 2016 on June 20, 2016 in Cannes, France.
(June 19, 2016 – Source: Christian Alminana/Getty Images Europe)

Sir John was attending the 2018 Cannes Festival of Creativity where he’s been coming since 1989. A founding shareholder in Saatchi & Saatchi and a co-founder of TBWA London before starting Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 1982, Sir John has himself been behind hall of fame work for Levi’s, Volkswagen and Audi. Never shy about his opinions, Hegarty took the opportunity of yet another Cannes Lions to share a few thoughts on the current state of creativity with Ad Age.

A few excerpts from the interview by . . .

You’ve bemoaned the increasing role data and tech have played in the creative process.

I was accused by Martin Sorrell of being a dinosaur because somebody said “Hegarty doesn’t believe in data,” which is not actually true. Data is fundamentally important. One of the greatest stories ever told, the Nativity, came out of data collection, didn’t it? You’ve got to remember a brand’s job is also to convert.  . . . Go out and throw your net wide. How do I know who’s going to like what I’m selling?

Meaning that with targeting, advertisers are preaching to the converted?

It’s not that. It’s a lazy way of marketing: “Look at the data, what does the data tell us? It’s an instruction manual!” No, it’s not an instruction manual. You’ve got to think about how you’re building the values of this brand. I know I’m boring and I say this all the time, but a brand is made not only by the people who buy it but also by the people who know about it.

“Those people” being the brand itself and also agents of the brand?

If I say to you “Rolls Royce,” you say, “Ooh!” You’re probably not going to buy one, but by talking to a broad audience who understands what your brand is about, you become part of culture. We are forgetting that part of advertising’s function of course is about effectiveness, but it’s also helping that brand become a part of culture.

Last year the talk was all about Fearless Girl. There doesn’t seem to be a corollary this year.

I’ll get provocative here again: Fearless Girl did what for the brand? I don’t know what brand it was associated with. We’ve lost connection. We’ve confused persuasion with promotion. Everybody got hugely excited about the Nike FuelBand 10 years ago. I thought it was a brilliant promotion. I used to be a runner. There was no way I would ever run in Nikes. New Balance, yes. I don’t care how many FuelBands you create, I won’t buy them. I don’t think you make a great running shoe. You have to persuade me.

What do you make of consultancies moving into the agency space?

Why shouldn’t these people get involved? Unless you understand how to convert that into a communications program that stands out in the marketplace, then what’s the point? The trouble is agencies are their own worst enemies and are not very good at establishing a trusted rapport with clients.

You mentioned the Nativity being the original data-informed creative. You look at the Ten Commandments, some of the most enduring “content” ever, and it was written on stone. The oldest medium there is.

Exactly. The greatest brand in the world is the Catholic Church. Best logo. Every lesson in marketing is there. The point is: Two thousand years, some problems, still going. Where will you be in 2,000 years?

Well, gee, Sir John, I don’t know where I’ll be in 2,000 years. I imagine I’ll most likely have been turned into a pile of dust somewhere or maybe I’ll have been recycled somehow. The key word here is imagine-ation. It’s the heart and soul of creativity. Each one of us has an unlimited imagination and boundless creativity — even when we think we don’t.

It’s when limitations are thrust upon us that our abilities are challenged. At times, our creativity is even called into question. As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It’s what we do with our knowledge that’s important.

How may we apply creativity and that imagination to do something constructive with that knowledge, to contribute to society, to help educate someone; heck, even to make someone laugh. We must keep on creating, keep on striving.

Does it take a mindset of creativity to be creative? Huh, imagine that!

Wanna put some fun back into advertising? Sure ya do!

Remember when advertising used to be, dare I say it, fun? We actually enjoyed working in this industry. And, I’m not even talking about our three-martini lunches!

The work. The creativity. Client interactions. Clients actually willing to work with us. I know. Sounds like it’s all from a galaxy far, far away.

Well, not quite. You’re invited to come join AAF-Houston on Wednesday, May 16, for a special appearance by a renowned creative from The Richards Group in Big D, Chris Smith.

Come be our guests and learn how to put some fun back into your advertising. Feel free to register right now!

ChrisSmithLuncheon_update HR2

Images: Potent Portraits of Creative Expression

Images have a way of striking our emotions. Creativity is fueled. Emotions are stoked.

Some folks get upset, angry, sad. Others become calm, excited, enthusiastic, joyful.

Shock, horror, puzzlement, admiration.

Some find peace while others find fear. Art and photography have a way of doing this. Museums and art galleries tend to bring these feelings out in all of us.

These past few months I’ve come across a variety of different images, different ways of conveying creativity. Since that’s what this blog is all about, I thought I’d share  a taste of what I’ve viewed.

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“Pamela’s Voice” in Night Gallery

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, and, yes, even Rod Serling’s Night Gallery in your mind are fine examples of artistic and creative expression. Those of you outside the U.S. who may not be familiar with Mr. Serling may find this rather intriguing regarding the paintings featured in his Night Gallery.

 

A few weeks ago I wrote about a summer conference I attended at Houston’s Jung Center on Imagination. As they often do, the Center featured several paintings on display at that time. A few caught my eye for one reason or another. If you’d like more information about these images, please contact The Jung Center.

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“Chaos” – Margaret Wheeler (Grami)

I was struck by the vibrant colors immersed onto a dark background, but with areas of white and yellow stubbornly bursting through. I thought, “Chaos, indeed, but in a quiet, peaceful setting.”

 

 

 

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“Rising” – Kutani Village, Japan – Roy Spann

 

I just thought this was a neat photograph. Then, the more I looked at it, I thought . . . “Hmmmm, umbrellas in variety of colors . . . would make an interesting ad for Travelers Insurance.”

 

 

 

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“Protector” – Tamer Ghoneim

This reminded me of some very cool abstract art that Apple may have for a screen saver, very vibrant in colors – you can’t take your eyes off it. I couldn’t. It’s actually a photo print on metal.

 

 

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Part of the Vanzant Driver presentation, “The Street of Heaven Was As Glass”

 

Vanzant’s discussion was intriguing on “The Visionary Imagination” alongside Jay Wehnert. This illustration was one of several artistic expressions presented that challenged the “boundaries of the imagination.”

These next two images below were not part of the Jung Center’s exhibit, but two very different photographs that caught my eye.

Notre Dame %22Winter%22001

Iconic Statue on the Notre Dame campus

This first one was sent to me from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN as part of a Thank You for supporting the university.

It captures one of the iconic statues on campus during Winter with the Golden Dome peaking out from the background. Note the areas of snow  acting as “winter eyebrows.”

This second one was an ad I saw in a publication, Arts+Culture, based in Dallas, Texas. It’s one fine publication covering the arts and culture scene in Texas.

The photo immediately captured my attention because I wasn’t sure if I saw what I thought I saw: A young girl “shooting the bird.” Then I read the caption: “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” Thomas Jefferson said that and I’m inclined to agree.

Little girl gesturing

“Nic Noblique – Sculptor” – photo of Azo by her mom, Audra Sewell Noblique.

The ad is for Nic Noblique -Sculptor. When I emailed Nic for permission to run the ad featuring his daughter, he told me the ad had received quite a few comments and he’d gotten good response from it. The photo, taken a few years ago when Azo was seven (she’s now 12), afforded their daughter the opportunity to flip the bird and “get it out of her system.”

I applaud both Nic and his wife Audra, not to mention their daughter, for having the guts to run an ad like this, and Arts+Culture Magazine for having the maturity to approve it for publication.

Art is a very subjective medium. Advertising can be as well. Both can be perplexing. As varied as our society is today, so are the images we confront.

Kudos to the creatives and artists who continue to push the envelope with taste and style and who entice our imagination and intrigue our minds.

And a thank you to those museums and galleries who think enough of the contributions to our collective, creative universe to exhibit and publish these works.

To the creators, go the spoils.

To the viewers, go the enjoyment.

To everyone, onward. Create!

Advertising Hall of Fame Quotes-Part 7

As it’s been some time since I last submitted for your amusement various illustrious quotes, I thought I’d showcase the seventh in a series of various worth-remembering “sayings” which I find interesting and inspiring, and, hopefully, you will, too.

Mostly excerpted from the newsletter “Smart Brief” from the American Advertising Federation, these quotes are usually from a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame but not all.

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61. All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.

— William Bernbach

62. Plan the sale when you plan the ad.

— Leo Burnett

63. When a client comes to us with a product, he is, in effect, giving us a problem to be solved. … Some of the biggest advertising mistakes are people who imagine they know what the problem is, or they’re not even thinking about; they’re just coming up with that brilliant idea and trying to force the problem to fit it.

— Mary Wells Lawrence

64. In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times, they have to. (Note: Doesn’t mean they realize this, however.)

— Bruce Barton

65. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

— Samuel Beckett (could have been in the Hall of Fame in his time)

66. The agency’s account executive should be able to step into the sales manager’s shoes if the sales manager drops dead today.

— Morris Hite

67. I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death.

— Leo Burnett

68. We simply cannot allow the First Amendment to be legislated away. If we ever compromise, we’ve sold out the industry’s future and made fools of those who shaped its past.

— John E. O’Toole

69. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

— David Brinkley

70. Nothing comes merely by thinking about it.

— John Wanamaker

Got a favorite? Lemme know.

‘Unfairy Tales’ Wins Cannes Grand Prix

This animated spot is simply awesome. And touching. And serious. And gripping.

It sort of grips you by the throat as you’re reaching for the Kleenex.

UNICEF_UnfairyTalesMalakandtheBoat16

Every so often I see a commercial or piece of design work that intrigues me or, in this case, stops me in my tracks. The photo still alone does that but the spot goes on to do more damage to my soul.

According to Advertising Age’s “Creativity,” 180LA and UNICEF have earned the Cannes Grand Prix for Good for the “Unfairy Tales” campaign, a series of films that first seem to start out like sweet kids’ stories but then take dramatic and, at times, terrifying turns when you discover the children are fleeing for their lives from war-torn Syria.

Among the stories were the tale above, “Malak and the Boat,” which chronicled a seven-year-old girl’s harrowing journey on the seas, and, at the end of the trip, is the only survivor of a boat that had been once full of her fellow countrymen.

Kudos to the men and women who had the guts to go forth with this message and for the artful way in which it was created and produced. While the animation brings a potent emotional punch to the stories, the appearance of the real-life protoganists at the end of each short really drives the point home.

Visually stimulating animation and poignant storytelling.

A powerful combination. We’d be well served to see more of this.

The short films mark the debut of UNICEF’s #actofhumanity global initiative, designed to promote positive perception of the tens of millions of refugee children around the world.

The Grand Prix for Good is chosen from all the Gold Lion-winning work that was created for charities or not for profit, as well as those with public service messages, with the exception of those awarded in Pharma, Health/Wellness, Innovation and Film Craft. Such efforts are not eligible for Grand Prix in their respective categories. The Titanium/Integrated Grand Prix jury determines the winner.

Nicely done and well deserved!