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


Should We Be Called Sellvertising?
June 2, 2011, 6:08 am
Filed under: Comment

I recently got in a debate with someone about the definition of a good idea.

While we were in agreement that it had to be something that quantifiably – and positively – affected business, we were in disagreement about whether that was all that mattered.

In short, she thought it was and I thought it wasn’t.

You see my perspective is that increasing sales is pretty easy … especially if you can play with elements such as price, promotion or distribution … the hard part is achieving this growth while maintaining, enhancing or building the brands meaning, value &/or reputation and ultimately, that is why companies pay agencies a shit load of money.

Now of course, it could be argued that the way many agencies approach their work means it’s completely contrary to this – just like it could be argued that many clients are so short-term focused that the only thing they care about is the cash rather than the brands value [though that’s because they think a brand is only made up of a name, a font, a template and a couple of corporate colours] … and while there are definitely some agencies/clients who fall into this trap, there are still a hell of a lot who don’t … however if adland ignores the importance of ‘what you say and how you say it’ in favour of purely promoting the shortcut to profit, then we will continue to create our own decline and irrelevance.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe profit is sanity and turnover/awareness is vanity … however great ideas and business commerciality are not mutually exclusive and if you do it right – which means embracing channels such as retail, packaging, NPD, DM and yes, even sales promotion etc etc – you can build better profits and value for today as well as a healthier future for tomorrow.
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45 Comments

Bet the person you were arguing with worked in direct marketing.

Comment by DH

Oh my god, you’re right. How the hell did you work that out?

Comment by Rob

Up early Rob. Or did you pull an all nighter?

I knew they worked in DM because that’s the sort of shit they say. Have you seen the work they think is good. It’s bollocks.

Comment by DH

Up early, meetings.

To be fair, not all DM is bollocks, it’s evolved a lot since the letterbox violations of the 80’s but there’s still a lot of shit spouted by that particular discipline – of which ‘being the most effective method of communication’ is one of them … all built around the premise they can quantify specifically how bad they have done.

Talk about reframing – it’s almost genius.

Anyway I’m off – and I look forward to following your career as a member of CSI or something.

Comment by Rob

meeting? youre going to a fucking meeting? you mean youre doing some fucking work. call dan, let him know his money is only 99.3% being pissed down the fucking drain.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fascinating.

Comment by john

I know, but thank you.

Comment by Rob

sarcasm i fucking presume dodds. or maybe you are impressed at how fucked the ad industry, campbell, planning and this blog really is.

Comment by andy@cynic

Great post Rob. It’s amazing how there are people in adland who continually fail to grasp the purpose of what we are paid to do. It’s only in the last few years the industry has openly stated they’re focused on achieving tangible results for the clients business and now we have some who have taken that so literally they’ve forgotten we do it in a way that plants seeds for tomorrow and not just picks the crop for today.

Terrible analogy but you know what I mean.

@Dave, why do you say the person Rob argued with is in dm?

Comment by Pete

You’re absolutely right Pete, that is a terrible analogy.

The comment about the industry only seemingly coming to terms about helping our clients improve their business is sadly, very true. Actually to clarify that, it’s seemingly only recently that people inside the advertising agencies have acknowledged we have to help our clients make money – which begs the question, what the hell did they think advertising was about – shouting in pretty pictures and films?

We call ourselves creative but to many forget we’re commercially creative – though the profit margins some agencies are getting proves we’re not that bloody good at that either.

Comment by Rob

It was bad, apologies.

Comment by Pete

too fucking late pete.

and i fucking hate how people think commercial creativity means it has to be shit. it doesnt, it means it has to be fucking brilliant but it means you have to think rather than watch a shots reel, check out youtube or read a bunch of fucking wacky blogs which is maybe why so many people are shit at it.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re in a good mood today aren’t you Andy.

Comment by Rob

plant and crop? who the fuck are you, farmer fucking pete. get a fucking grip.

Comment by andy@cynic

it wasnt me

Comment by peggy

what wasnt?
do you ever fucking sleep?
do you ever have something better to do?
where the fuck is your investment in my once in a lifetime deal?

Comment by andy@cynic

that woman he talked to.
no. i remember when i could sleep forever.
no. all the other stuff is even more shit.
dont tell me it hasnt arrived yet and fuck up my night even more than reading about some weird conversation no one should have to have in the first place.

Comment by peggy

alright, im going to wash some dishes to entertain me.

Comment by peggy

you and billy are made for eachother.

Comment by andy@cynic

you will tell me why wont you

Comment by peggy

while youre pondering over a pc answer im going to sign out for tonight. deadline extended hehe

Comment by peggy

who was this idiot that thinks adland is about doing their best fucking impression of a stall down the local shitty market? what clients do they work on? getting sales is one thing, getting them in such a shit way that you have to spend more each fucking time to convince people to give them a second fucking look is a whole other fucking thing.

for the easiest fucking job in the fucking world (after planning) adland is fucking great at making it sound like were splitting the fucking atom.

great work gets intrigue, desire and results. you achieve that by starting the whole fucking process with a clear fucking goal and some audience understanding. thats fucking it. it should never be to make the best fucking tvc the world has ever fucking seen in their shitty little lives.

and no campbell, this doesnt mean im saying planning is useful, dont get ideas above your fucking brain cell count.

this has depressed the fuck out of me which puts me in the perfect fucking mood to have dinner with billy.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m with George, I like it when you talk like this – but that’s mainly because you stop insulting me for a few minutes.

Comment by Rob

I like it when you write posts like this Robert. I especially like it when Andy writes a comment that shows his advertising brain, not just his extensive vocabulary of vulgarity. Your point about some believing a brand is made up of a name, logo, font, template and colour is especially pertinent and tragic.

Comment by George

i always show my fucking brain, youre just too fucking thick to understand it. how the fuck did you get out of drinks with billy. best bit of fucking planning youve ever fucking done.

Comment by andy@cynic

Certainly the most effective.

Comment by George

Good points, particularly the last para.
The buying cycle is called a cycle because it is a cycle. Different touchpoints do different things.
See ad > then buy product thinking is wrong and delusional.
E [Token sensible commenter]

Comment by eaon

Stop ruining it for everyone else.

Comment by DH

Personally, I thought this was a great post to revolve your debate
http://www.adliterate.com/archives/2006/11/a_ready_reckone.html

Comment by Harshal

Another lesson for planners, if you’re going to steal, steal from 5 years ago, not last week.

Comment by DH

priceless top tip

Comment by peggy

Ah yes, the halcyon days of blogging when I had no idea what a planner did and Mr Huntington used to be found in the Breakfast Club of a Friday morning. How things have changed – though I’m still confused by planners.

Comment by john

I was about to say … if you know what a planner does, can you tell me.

Comment by Rob

Most of them should do 20 to life.

Comment by john

You could argue most of them are … have you ever worked in an ad agency?

Comment by Rob

I have never earned that privilege.

Comment by john

How did you get so lucky?

Comment by Rob

I’m unemployable.

Comment by john

Because you intimidate everyone with your brilliance you mean.

Comment by Rob

The problem with most blog posts and nearly all conference presentations is the sweeping generalisations, where there is a silver bullet for everything.
I got a lot out of some APG courses, but it also drove me nuts how everything was geared towards FMCG brands and, even worse, ‘brand ads’.
It just doesn’t work like that. I hate to say it, but some ads and stuff ARE about creating shorter terms sales, or deal with short term issues. Some deal with longer term, more fundemental issues…all need to contribute to how people feel about the brand, and that builds up over time. justify price premium, no scratch that. Oh sorry, I’m talking like a planner.
What I’m trying to say is that EVERY project needs to start what is is that comms can do that other bit of the business can’t. That’s it. Sometimes that’s incredibly tactical. To put that in context, in my sexy time working on a retailer, the second most effective was some decent brand fame stuff, the most effective was actually telling people ‘we’ll take you old bed away for free’ because put off replacing their bed for ages because they can’t be arsed to get rid of it themselves.

Comment by northern

Don’t get me wrong NP, I’m not saying short term sales should be ignored – far from it, I am a huge advocate that we should be doing things that gets real tangible value from our work, not just claim ‘awareness’ is the be all and end all.

The issue I have is that people think sales/retail and brand are mutually exclusive – and they’re not – and if you approach things with care and passion, you can do things that get results today and literally help the business in the longer term.

Comment by Rob

The other thing – and it’s something I’ve just been telling someone today – is that everything has to start somewhere.

I say this, because I am sick of hearing people say “you can’t do that because it’s not what the brand is known for”.

Who say’s that?
Where is that written?

Of course there’s a bunch of things you can/should take into account, but at the end of the day, if you want to do something – and hopefully you’re doing it for good reasons [beyond just cash acquisition] then why the fuck can’t you start doing a new thing today?

Sorry, just a rant with even more flaws than usual.

Comment by Rob

just do it

Comment by peggy

its almost as fucking bad as buying esquire but ive checked out ad age and worked out 99% of the industry should be called wankertising. hope that fucking helps answer the question on absofuckinglutely no ones lips.

Comment by andy@cynic

interesting. i would never have guessed the ad biz is representative of th erest of the world.

Comment by peggy




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