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

So This Is How Ronnie Corbett Feels …
July 21, 2011, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

The baby industry – like everywhere in the World – is very competitive in China.

Despite a one child policy, you can’t walk down an alleyway without bumping into some pregnant woman.

Because of this, shops are desperate to get their unfair slice of the baby action … so while many take out ads or do a direct marketing campaign to new mother groups, there’s a shop near our office who did something much more interesting.

No, they’ve not hired me to stand outside of their shop [let’s be honest, if anything that would have the opposite effect] they’ve put a set of giant furniture outside of their store.

What this has done is not only get people to notice the store, but talk about it.

Not just Mum’s and Dad’s … but people who have no kids, aren’t old enough to have kids or are to old to have any more kids.

With a few bits of wood, they have found a way to capture attention, convey the magic of the store and cleverly represent what they do and who they do it for.

Now imagine if an agency had been given that brief.

Would they have come up with it?

Do you think?

While I’d like to think/hope a couple would [us included] but my gut tells me that most of them wouldn’t.

They’d come up with a film … an app … a poster … a youtube video …

Sure it would look good … sure it would probably be bursting with energy and colour … but I’d bet it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful or effective as building an oversized table and chairs and placing it in front of their store.

And here’s the thing, adland could do that …

Adland should do that …

While there are many reasons this sort of solution is the exception, rather than the rule – I feel media agencies have a big part to play in it all.

Of course it’s not purely their fault – as I said, creative agencies and their ego is very much to blame too – however because clients tend to judge their effectiveness by the level of media exposure they’ve achieved [R&F] – rather than by specific business goals – media agencies are basically being encouraged to push for creative work that can be placed in measurable media channels because it help ensure they get their fees.

What this means is that if an agency did come up with the idea of building a giant table and chair to promote a baby shop, they’d be told it would be better if they turned the concept ‘into an ad’ because that way they could achieve better R&F scores.

While I appreciate media and creative agency separation has driven massive profits for holding companies, I don’t know whether clients have benefited nearly as much.

My view is that unless adland gets back to remembering what it’s here for – which, contrary to belief, is not about awareness or achieving sales without longer term benefit – then we will continue to dig our own grave, and that would be a tragedy because I truly believe adland is one of the most powerful and valuable assets for business … though to realise that, it requires everyone to be focused on the same goal, not what will drive their personal profit centre.

44 Comments so far
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i fucking guarantee you want that fucking table and chairs.

fucking guarantee it.

only you could want something that is designed to make you look a bigger twat than normal.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

Errrm, yes I do.

But Jill wants them more … does that make me less sad?

Comment by Rob

quarter decent fucking post though. whod you get to write it for you?

Comment by andy@cynic

theres not one fucking good media agency, just some fucking good media people.


Comment by andy@cynic

M&B were great. Then they sold to WPP.

Comment by DH

uncle dan wieden was right when he said “show me an agency thats sold to one of those evil, bean counter run, anti creativity holding bollocks and ill show you a good company thats become a bland pile of bollocks.”

or something very fucking similar.

Comment by andy@cynic

this post sounds very fucking close to you endorsing awareness but you wouldnt do that would you because youve spent decades slagging anyone who suggest that.

Comment by andy@cynic

Watch him say something like it’s “focused awareness” because the furniture is placed right outside the shop.

Comment by DH

the king of post rationalised bollocks.

also known as a fucking planner.

Comment by andy@cynic

What Dave said.

Comment by Rob

which reminds me, have you got dan to launch the w+k car yet?


well if you stopped spending all your time writing fucked up blog posts maybe you could make the fucking thing happen.

Comment by andy@cynic

Suddenly those 3 wheel cars you have in England don’t look so bad.

Comment by DH

theyre called robin fucking reliants and you need to treat them with some fucking respect.

Comment by andy@cynic

The point you’re making in this post gets to the heart of one core issue facing the communication industry. To compound the problem, a very large part of the situation is entirely of their own making. More and more comms companies appear to have a business ethos modelled on the financial institutions. Short term gain and get out before the whole house of cards begins to fall.
Bar the disturbing photo, this was a very good post.

Comment by George

tried calling you but when you answered i couldnt hear what you were saying. i thought it was a bad line but now i know its because you had your head shoved up campbells fucking arse.

dont give a fuck if campbells churned out bollocks or brilliance, stop with the fucking fawning.

Comment by andy@cynic

its bollocks.

Comment by andy@cynic


But I would say that wouldn’t I.

Comment by Rob

Excellent points George. Excellent post Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Instead of how Ronnie Corbett feels, it should be how Bazza feels.

Comment by Bazza

getting the insult in before we can. smart fucking move.

Comment by andy@cynic

Where is this shop, I want to sit in that chair and look thinner than I really am.

Comment by Cheryl

Standing next to Rob will have the same effect.

Comment by John

.. and to all the agencies who are going to try and do some experiential/intervention work based on this idea, don’t bother.
the reason this works is because the situation that makes this cute little table set interesting is diametrically opposed to contrived agency life: these people are close to the money, on a limited budget, can feel the effect of their work on their business, cannot afford complacency and having to use those constraints to be interesting.

all of which are real qualities of creative – not some fucking department in an agency or title on a business card. /rant

Comment by lauren

Great points Lauren. That’s why I get quite pissy when “creatives” claim any consideration/mandatory/barrier affects the creative output.

Well, to be fair, it does – however my point is, issues drive creativity whereas freedom encourages indulgence, at least when you’re in the commercial creative business.

Comment by Rob

Ah come on. A creatiev agency is just as responsible. There’s still a million of them around who want to make TV ads because that’s where they make the money.

There are plenty of good media people who want to do the right thing, just as there are some good creative people.

The promblem is that there are money hugry people who are fucking shit on both sides of the fence.

Comment by Nathan

Hi Nathan …

Please don’t think I am letting creative agencies off interms of all the fucked up things they do to drive ineffectiveness – god no – I’m just saying that media agencies, and the way they need to prove their value to drive their remuneration, are also contributing to it.

Comment by Rob

“PLENTY of good media people, and SOME good creative people..”

what side of the fence are you writing from again 😉

Comment by niko

An ad agency would have come up with a fancy 360° proposal including very detailed daily rates and CE breakdown.

The thing is, was giant furniture the right answer? In other words, you did take a picture of the thing and posted it online, but did you actually buy anything in the shop?

Comment by adrian r mediavilla

That’s the thing, I did. And I don’t even have any of the little money sucking buggers.

For the record, they were for my god kids, not Gary Glitter.

Comment by Rob

It’s called differentiation for a reason. It involves being different. That can be achieved via ads, DM and all the other stuff you mention but it has, at heart, to be different from everything else and not just different from the last iteration. Too many agencies and clients forget that.

Comment by John

True … however many agencies would probably claim they do that, while forgetting that differentiation can also be done via things such as tone, media choice and – if done properly, rather than blandly – values, to name a few.

Comment by Rob

As George and Lauren pointed out.

Comment by John

well well well, theres no need for a media agency here. at least not for the furniture. someone in the event planning biz would probably be more suited. but then isnt everyone talking about integrated. so no reason for an ad agency to not make some ads etc. and the media service to plan and book it all… the point seems to be that the ad agency has taken on much more responsibility in this scenario – which resembles almost client degree…

Comment by peggy

The ability to think of an idea, free from particular channel or discipline expertise – at least in my mind – is the ultimate embodiment of commercial creative thinking.

As Lee said when we started Sunshine, media neutrality still means you think in terms of ‘media’, and what he wants are people that can think in the most generous terms possible … hence a creative or media agency should be able to come up with this, and some would, however due to the influence of income, in many cases, this sort of thing would be overturned in favour of a more traditional approach.

Sure an event planning biz could have come up with this – so could a furniture builder – but I’m not talking about them, hence my post and issues about the negative influence of media agencies on driving genuine commercial effectiveness, not just media metrics.

Comment by Rob

the ad agency comes up with the idea.

actually i said that to you once too. that media neutrality still means media. but then wood can also be a medium.

Comment by peggy

He said it first and to be honest, Rupert Howell said a similar thing about 10 years before that. Ha.

And yes, wood can be a medium … so can plastic, water, umbrellas and cheese but it’s how you use it, where you use it, why you use it and when you use it.

Comment by Rob

its not about who said it first from my pov. but about thinking the same way. i remember i wrote you an email when you wrote some post about asking if media neutrality is a reasonable phrase or something…

totally agree with your medium subscription. they are just a tool. which is the point of having an idea vs an executional idea, i.e. ad idea or furniture placed in front of a store for that matter

Comment by peggy

when was that photo taken because everyfuckingthing youre wearing has to be at least 8 years fucking old.

and before you get excited and think your freddie fucking mercury dreams have come true, the only reason i know that is because your dress sense is so fucking awful i always look in fucking amazement when i see you and your shitness burns itself on my fucking retinas.

what the fuck does your babe wife see in you? theres not even any fucking charisma.

Comment by andy@cynic

Excellent, and yes we really should be doing that kind of thing.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Wasn’t an ad agency at all involved in the huge Pampers World thing that started ages ago and has continued for a while, letting people experience what it feels like to sit in baby furniture…?

Comment by Angus

looks like it has lovemarks all over it…

apropos of nothing only seen the trailer, but seems like the little one in namibia managed to establish an extended abdomen within a year… too cute.

Comment by peggy


Comment by Angus

Creative and media agency personnel should think outside of the box when creating work while focusing together on business goals. This “ad” is brilliant for entering the consumer’s world and creating an experience of the brand which leads to a story.

Comment by Carol L. Weinfeld

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