The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Are We In Danger Of Doing Integration For The Sake Of Integrations Sake?
February 22, 2011, 3:17 am
Filed under: Comment

So yesterday I judged the integration panel of an Australian ad award show and basically the submissions fell into 4 distinct categories:

1/ Great idea badly integrated.
2/ Bad idea brilliantly integrated.
3/ Great idea brilliantly integrated.
4/ Bad idea badly integrated.

To be honest, there were a couple of absolute grade-A, fucking awesome ideas … ideas that I am unbelievably jealous of … but there were a whole heap of submissions that seemed to think that just because they were integrated into a bunch of different channels, it was enough to win an award.

Now I don’t know if this attitude was because of the agency or the client [or both] but just like too many people are focusing on the process rather than what the process delivers, too many clients/agencies are seemingly focusing on being integrated rather than understanding what’s right for the brand and audience to get the results they all need.

Putting aside the whole issue of whether there should even be an integrated category in award shows [my view is “no”, because we should always be doing the right thing by our clients, not making it out like it’s something special], I have to say that I think Ogilvy has to share a lot of the blame for this attitude.

Years ago, when they launched their 360 degree approach, they basically said [or that’s how it’s been interpreted] that an idea – any idea – has to work in every channel or it’s not right.

Now while I buy the thinking in principal, the problem is too many people took it verbatim and suddenly ideas were being executed in weird channels because they could, rather than because it was right and that’s my whole issue with the current integration approach … because judging on some of the submissions made today, a lot of agencies [or their clients] are advocating a “shove the idea anywhere” strategy when the reality is if they know their audience well enough, they should know how and where to develop an idea that allows them to be efficient with their approach, rather than plaster it all and bloody sundry. [Which is hardly a comms ‘strategy’ is it!?]

I am a massive advocate of integrated campaigns – though I’m still shocked how many people think taking a still from a TVC and banging it out everywhere makes it integrated when in reality, all that approach actually is, is duplication.

If people need to latch on to any phrase, it should be an integrated idea, not an integrated campaign … but sadly this is an industry that likes to talk without always appreciating the consequences.

All in all It was a good day … but what it also highlighted to me is that my speech on Wednesday is going to go down like a big bucket of slightly tepid sick.


36 Comments so far
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You can take the man out of cynic but you can’t take the cynic out of the man. What sort of award was it for, creativity or effectiveness, though separating them out is where the problem starts.

You have covered all I’d want to say but I’m interested to know if your fellow judges shared the same opinion or were you the odd one out?

Good post and great point about some people mixing up integration and duplication.

Comment by Pete

Hi matey …

As I’ve always said, I think awards definitely have their place, but there is a certain amount of “flaw” that is automatically built in – and your point about their being a divide between creative and effectiveness does my head in. Sure, I appreciate their are many elements that make up communication, but sometimes people do forget to include the reason companies pay us to do this in their evaluation.

The show I was judging was more of a creative award, but typically I kept evaluating it with a “does it stand a chance of working” criteria. Of course with no actual results it was hard, so I just compared it to the written submission that accompanied each entry and while some were great [or should I say greatly written] there were some where you ended up shaking their head and saying are they [1] taking the piss or [2] thinking we’re all stupid.

Saying that, there were a couple of absolutely brilliant ones and what makes me especially happy is everyone gave these a ‘gold’ which shows that regardless of your core discipline, creative intelligence shines bright and is celebrated by everyone.

Mind you, there were a couple of times where there was a bit of a clash, with me doing a bit of the clashing, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

Just noticed the time.

Jetlag or did you set the automatic post time to the Australian timezone?

Comment by Pete

Jet lag. Oh the jet lag …

Comment by Rob

The only reason a planner would be invited to judge a creative award is for comedic value. Did you play up to your court jester role Rob?

Comment by Billy Whizz

I tried to Billy, but some of the work made sure it took that role.

Comment by Rob

Love this, and as you know I’m of the opinion that awards categories shouldn’t exist at all. Just tell us your idea, and if it’s good, it’s good.

Also this bit “there were some where you ended up shaking their head and saying are they [1] taking the piss or [2] thinking we’re all stupid.” is so very very true, it hurts.

Comment by Rafik

I was hoping you’d comment because if anyone would know, it’s you. I must admit I’m glad you agree, but then I guess there’s some things that are impossible to argue with – even if I’m sure some “regular” people on here will give it a go.

Hey, you owe me an update on certain things don’t you!

[That was a rhetorical question, saying “no I don’t” is not an option]

Comment by Rob

Update = on to the next round, waiting.

>: I

Comment by Rafik

that would win a fucking effectiveness award unlike every fucking one of campbells overlong posts.

Comment by andy@cynic

You wouldn’t say that if he’d shown you the email he got last week Andy!

Comment by Rafik

Good post Robert. May I ask how many gold awards were handed out.

Comment by George

I don’t know if I’m supposed to say – but fuck it, there were 2 submissions awarded Gold and while they were both fucking the epitome of creative intelligence, one was just ridiculous genius and it made me incredibly jealous because I wouldn’t have come up with it and yet it was so bloody obvious. Proof that not all the good ideas have been taken up quite yet.

Comment by Rob

you fucker campbell, you know this is something i feel fucking strongly about. if you think im going to disagree with you just because you fucking said it youre fucking more stupid than i thought you were. or look. and you look fucking super stupid.

integration is just the next fucking buzz word in a long fucking line of fucked up advertising buzz words and whats even fucking sadder is that for many wankers, having a digital component in a campaign means its integrated. another example of the industry chasing the buzz words not the fucking result.

best part of this post? 2nd last line. lets hope you fuck them off so much you never get another freebie fucking holiday again. i know dan the man is thinking the same.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s a great point Andy – so many people classify ‘integration’ as simply having a digital component within their campaign, I mean – how simplistic [and wrong] can you get?

Mind you, these are often the same people who call it ‘new media’.

The sad fact is too much marketing/advertising gets chosen because of convenience [both interms of choices and terms] rather than effectiveness which is why I have started asking people to imagine I’m a shareholder in the company in question and ask them to justify their choices to me. You’d be surprised how effective that is in separating advertising fact from reality fiction.

Comment by Rob

you sound like you forgot im a fucking genius.

Comment by andy@cynic

If it weren’t for your jet-lag, I’d rip into you for equating marketing and advertising.

Comment by john

Yes, sorry about that John – completely fucking stupid, but then I am completely and utterly fucked.

[In a tiredness sense, the ‘broken man’ element is a given]

Comment by Rob

Unfortunately, it’s been shown that chasing the right buzz word will win you the right awards, which incredibly, many creative directors are still getting evaluated and heavily-bonused on.

Basically make sure you’re chasing the right buzz-word at the right time and you’ll be fine.

Comment by Rafik

This is a very good post indeed – I was actually thinking about that the other day because I try to avoid certain words like the plague.

And JWT (faultless it’s not and all that) actually had something good to say about what everyone now calls “integration” when they came up with ‘channel thinking’ in the brief. It sounds just as bad to me but anyway to name it ‘channel thinking’ but for now it’ll do. They’re saying that coming up with channels isn’t mandatory when you write the brief (hoorah) because they should be revised along with whatever creative thinking comes out of the brief. The ‘instructions’ even go on to mention that it should be about any kind of contextual help that could help the brand (!)

Essentially no one should force “channel thinking” onto anyone before an idea even exists but somehow we decide to hammer the damn channels anyway till the idea goes in because sometimes the client will hammer you if
[a] the idea does do a LOT of justice and solves a business problem in more traditional channels and there’s evidence to suggest that but sometimes ends badly because the budget doesn’t cover it and so instead of starting a new creative process for channels you can afford (bad), you decide to take the idea and put it online (worse, sometimes) or they even love it so much and take the TV ad and put it online and nothing else (also bad)


[b] they have an expectation for work in ALL these new and interesting channels (nevermind if there’s an audience there or what they do and that sort of thing) because it’s worked for others and it should work for them (and you spend more time trying to convince them otherwise instead of spending it on creating exciting stuff)

That’s my way of saying I really love this post

Comment by andrea

Integration is about reach. Reach should be determined as part of the strategy. Advertising is then made to fulfill that strategy and therefore already knows the channels in which it is working. Ergo, unless you’re trying to reach every media user on the planet, your campaign doesn’t have to wok in all media. It only has to work in the one’s you’ve determined you’re using in order to sell stuff. Cart before horse or am I missing something?

Comment by john

Apart from the r in work that is.

Comment by john

You have made more sense about the role and requirement of a comms strategy than 99% of all the media ‘experts’ I’ve heard talk.

Comment by Rob

What’s a comms strategy?

Comment by john

BTW, I found out today that the idea I am incredibly jealous of [that is mentioned in this post] was done by my hero/mentors agency, Happy Soldiers.

I should have known.

Still jealous about it though.

Comment by Rob

What I took out of that was simply:

When it’s right: integrate, don’t duplicate

Comment by Rob Mortimer

“360”, “media neutral” or whatever the buzz term du jour happens to be is often misinterpreted this way I find – where the planner, account team, client or whoever demands to see an idea applied to entirely inappropriate media for the idea and/or brand, just because they want to be seen to be integrated.

Worst of all is when they think it’s something as simple as an image and headline repeated and reformatted to fit.

Then there are the creative teams who begin with presenting a TV script, followed by the assurance that it’ll work across all media.

Sigh …

Comment by Andrew

are you trying to tell me mr south african did the work that gave you a viagra salyte? isnt like fucking incest or something?

Comment by andy@cynic

it’s the put everything everywhere methodology. good afternoon.

Comment by Marcus

also known as the ineffectiveness award. the effoffs.

Comment by andy@cynic

also known as cocks.

Comment by Marcus

I thought ‘integration’ was like ‘assimilation’, which is code for ‘colonise the fuckers’ and/or ‘make ’em be like us’.

clearly i’m wrong.

Comment by lauren

also known as george fucking bushs foreign policy. or that ginger bitch aussie politician from years back. or the brit governments plans for australia.

Comment by andy@cynic

Ogilvy 360% please do not make me laugh, I am not in the mood today, not in the mood at all
While we’re on the subject of ‘integration’ if I see one more article in Campaign featuring talking heads dinosaurs about ‘it’s the future’ and ‘how to do it’, or yet another invite for a pointless WARC conference on ‘the future of integration’ I will do something that would scare even Andy

Comment by northern


Comment by Rob Mortimer

stop turning me on you bitter and perverted bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

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