It’s always easy to see what someone should have done, when you’re not the one having to do it with a few million people watching.
Advertising is the same way. Come up with the greatest TV spot since Mean Joe Green for Coke or Apple’s 1984 ad. Everyone has an opinion, thinks they have a great idea, and then says “Wow, advertising would be a fun job to have.”
Well, it is fun, except for clients who want everything yesterday, and want to pay you a week from next Tuesday for the work they got 3 months ago. And, oh yeah, the potential client who passed your shop up because you told him the truth about what he should buy with his budget, only to go to some big lame shop who had him spend 3x more for half the creative- and then the guy tells you that your ideas are too “big city” and that you should teach his wife how it’s done.
And then, there’s The Apprentice, the TV show, where the Donald sends teams of amateurs out to create an ad campaign in a couple of days. You know, there’s nothing to advertising anyway. Well, last night, the “street smarts” and the “book smarts” both failed miserably in creating a campaign for the new Dove body wash.
Yeah, millions of eyes on them, real pros to help them, and two absolutely terrible ads were produced. So, what does this prove?
Does it prove that there is something to this business; a craft, an art, a bit of psychology, science, that great ads aren’t done by committee? The easy answer is yes- it proves it.
But, let’s look at the flip side, probably 20 million people watched this train wreck production of two crappy ads, and Dove body wash is probably better known now than it was on Thursday morning. That even bad advertising works. Yeah, that explains why a certain local Honda dealer who has done the ads people love to hate for years keeps doing them. It explains why that potential client is happy with an agency that does crap for him. It explains why everyone and their mother think they can do this (yet I have to admit that every once in a while my Mother comes up with a good idea).
I had a new client this week ask me about their new “logo.” I tried to explain to them that it wasn’t really a logo; that it wasn’t something I could see from 10 feet away that I would recognize instantly for what it was. I told a logo is something you recognize, a brand is something you would be willing to pay extra to wear, or even want to tattoo on your body.
And while there are lots of ads out there that are perfectly adequate, how many do you really want to watch over and over? How many would you pay to see? Me, I buy books of great ads, I have a collection on our server, and I even asked the Nike Store if there was a way to buy the reel that was running on the 4th floor in the theater.
I’m a freak. The rest of you love to skip the ads (except on most Super Bowls).
And then after the Super Bowl, you all think you can come up with something better.
So, would all of you out there who think what we do is easy, go watch this episode of the Apprentice. Lucky for the budding apprentices, Donald only fires one of you. For us, they fire the whole team.
Does it still sound like fun?
Thank you Donald for showing the world that advertising isn’t something for amateurs.