Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Branding the Branding Industry...

I've got an Adidas one on my left buttock. Picture via MLeak. Usual rules, etc.

Or 'why Get Smashed should be a reminder to have fun'.

You'd have thought, with all of the branding we do for clients, and how we state that keeping their identity and touch points is so important, we'd be a little better at taking our own advice.

With the endless pontification and navel gazing on the internet, I fear it's gotten worse. I mean, yesterday's shit storm about the new Cadbury's ad is case in point. The amount of people being terrified about the implications of their jobs, whether the planning function is defunct - is absolutely astounding.

I view it as a bit of a special case, as I've said before - a one off; it works because of the context, the media spend (very very clever), the fact that Cadbury's is like oxygen to chocolate lovers, and that it's undisputably number one in its marketplace.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. Honestly, I don't think I know another industry that's so bloody frightened of its own shadow. We make ads, we try and make people buy things/do good/influence behaviour. Nothing more. We sometimes act as if we believe we're Clarkson, Piers Morgan and Adolf Hitler rolled into one, and we're very very sorry about everything we've done, past present and future.

Just stop it, please. Because, if you don't, things like this press conference will start to impinge, and we'll be left with a throughly sterile and boring industry, clamped down by the powers that be.

And, in a worst case scenario, this self-loathing seems to descend to everything; older members of staff wishing they were still in the 80's or 90's, junior staff with no real opinions of their own, fighting to please people at the expense of their own mental state/health.

I think a large part of the problem stems from the fear of being seen as an empty, pointless industry - and God knows, whenever cameras are rolling, it usually appears so. Raymond Chandler's words resound: "Chess is a elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency".

Why can't we celebrate the nonsense, and focus on what we're good at - helping to build businesses, brands and institutions. None of this self-reflective, ultimately destructive bollocks.


Carl said...

Well said sir!

mikemystery said...

Ill second that. Too much hand wringing on the whole. But planners seem to be a bit more ahead of the game when it comes to the new economy. It's us creatives that are going to be screwed in the next few years though.

Brett macfarlane said...

There was a time, back about 1968 when a single ad or a smart position could make a brand. Since then is has been a battle between the managers and the people who talk to the people – the “agency.”

Every day, most companies unfortunately become more ubiquitous. So many fight this by by navel gazing and gazing at the navels of the competitions. But don’t blame them. Their duty is to know that the competition is doing. Not how to do more with themselves.

The duty of an planner, and absolutely an agency, is not to know what the competition is doing but above and beyond what the greater culture is doing. You know, like the target audience. Sorry to break it to you but the greater culture is not at home waiting for the next great shot of a set of shoes, foot montage or a car. No matter how important such may seem

We so often forget ( and we forget to remind our clients) that the last thing the very people we want to speak to want to see, is the very ad we are showing them.

Nonetheless, good stuff Will. In my country you would be over qualified to be a senior planner.

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