A Rare + Brilliant Ad


MAWER2 

This is the best Financial Services advertisement that I’ve seen in years. It’s the kind of ad that comes around maybe once every ten years – and makes me wanna scream and say; Fuck! I wish I had designed and written that ad!

Most ads in this category say nothing worth while about what the company can do for you. They'll try their luck with come-ons like; “Call us for a free consultation. Our experts can show you how to grow your returns while reducing your risk.” 

Really?

They’ll probably offer you a free coffee, tell you to reduce your debt, open a TFSA account, and top up your RRSP to reduce your taxes.  

Admittedly it’s tough when most of the financial services and products you’re selling don’t come with a fixed ROI.

Admittedly it’s a lot like Advertising where two ads in the same medium can garner dramatically different response rates.

And at a time when there are a dozen or more cheap Apps and free YouTube videos making all sorts of (unattainable investment achievement) promises it’s tougher than ever to explain, to the uninitiated why anyone would pay an (ongoing) professional service fee.

Well kids . . . that’s where this ad for MAWER is simply brilliant and brilliantly simple. 

My hat’s off to MAWER + Company, their ad manager, ad director – and especially their copy writer. 

 

 

About love and brands


valentine-580

A while ago the lunch time conversation with a group I work with took a romantic turn and it became a great metaphor for better understanding brand romance dynamics.

When Mary asked Adam “when did you know you were in love?”, the first thing that shot through my head was: “Which time?”.  I bit my tongue, silently listened to the group – fascinated by their emotional triggers and remembered some of the emotional triggers for those who were attracted to a brand named Frank Wehrmann:

  • Ann-Marie liked the way I dressed.
  • Pam liked the way my loyalty to her revealed itself in tough times.
  • Susan loved my quirky smarts.
  • Pauline liked my earning potential.
  • Inge valued my "Canadian outside - German inside" cultural mash-up.
  • Michelle liked the fact that I was a single father. She likes kids, but not babies and never wanted to go into production.

Brand Lesson #1:

People fall in love with brands for a wide variety of reasons - often it's not one of the obvious ones. You can help them fall for your brand by watching and listening to them rather than just telling them how great you are. Look for ways of making them feel that you are accommodating their individual needs while you court and accommodate millions of others. Think “MASS INTIMACY”.

Brand Lesson #2:

People love (or hate) well defines brands. This applies to where they are, what time period they represent, what social status they support, etc. Accordingly, some brand managers create spin-offs in an effort to cover more of the waterfront. This strategy usually doesn't work well.

Brand Lesson #3:

What you plan for and what happens are two very different things. Keep an open mind.

While I’ve had some very strange relationships in my time, they have all contributed to the rich tapestry that is my ongoing journey of self discovery. Master Gurudev taught me to become aware that every decision I have made in in my life has led me to where I am today.

Think about that last sentence before you read on.

 

Lesson #4:

We are the sum total of all that we breath into our brands and allow them to become. That required an intimate understanding of how they are loved or left – and why.

A brand is a partner on our journey – just like my wife, my son and our dog.

 

 

 

Goggle (self serving) Best Practices


Google-BP

Here’s a screen grab of a typical Google Best Practice deigned to help me optimize my Google Ads account. This ones all about ad testing (or research):

  • Test one variable at a time.
  • Use a 50/50 split to reach statistical significance faster.
  • Avoid making changes while the experiment is running.

This (elementary) advice is so biased and self serving it’s painful.

  • While testing is the best way to improve the poor online advertising response rates (and ROI) many companies experience, Google does NOT tell you that you should have done a lot more homework before setting up your online advertising campaign. Before you turn to any media vendor, you should already have research at hand that tells you which medium or media will provide you with the most effective response rate – not the cheapest one. There’s a difference.
  • The Google Best Practice advice is, by any professional standard, entry level advice – good enough to get you started but not insightful enough to help you win the race. Google’s Best Practices are not the profound or insightful musings of an advertising research director. Most are really not worth reading - unless you're just starting out. And if you're starting out, this stuff will stunt your growth and education. 
  • Google’s Best Practices help keep Google top of mind by giving itself another seemingly legitimate reason to send you a push notification – encouraging you to think about using more Google products and services.

The best thing you can do for yourself, your agency and your clients is to learn to think for yourself. To sort out what’s most important for the brands that you represent and to do so by exploring all viable communication options – not just the cheap and convenient one – the one that’s just a few key-strokes away.

 

REMINDER . . . Alexa is not your friend – she’s owned + operated by Google.     

 

 

Charlie the philanthropist


blog-3-12-2009

While any ball was a good ball as far as Charlie was concerned, he did prize some balls more than others. On our morning walks he just loved to hunt for abandoned tennis balls at our local tennis court. One summer he found over a hundred balls which, as his ball-account grew, he shared with his dog-friends in neighbouring parks. Dogs who were less able to hunt for their own balls. 

Charlie taught me how much joy there is in finding little treasures. Bringing it home, having it for a while, and then giving it to some-one who needs it or will enjoy having it as much as, or more than, we do.

Sometimes it's just a beach pebble or a piece of driftwood. That doesn't matter.

What matters is the emotional state that's elicited. Philanthropy is a wonderful state of mind because the act of giving to others generates ripples of goodness + kindness in the lives of the giver and the receiver which then radiate outwards to touch the lives of others, prompting more and more acts of random kindness.

 

 

 

Permission to do better creative


Recently I criticized some creative work and was in turn criticized for doing so. My client told me that, while the work wasn’t out of the box, it was "solid, and besides - the client is conservative and a small business manager" - meaning risk-averse? I’ve heard this sort of defense frequently enough over the years that it's prompted this little rant. 

Any and all creative ideas or work that you + your agency presents should leverage your client's USP. Your job is to turn the client’s advertising expenditures (both media + creative) into wise business building investments. The difference between a good and a great ad campaign begins with a different mental perspective; like figuring out how to help the brand stand out from the crowd while remaining “on brand”.

Relative to your competition . . . you can make a brand stand out with greater REACH (using as more media channels), greater FREQUENCY (telling the story more often), greater RELEVANCE (breaking down and effectively describing as many relevant product or service benefits as possible), and MORE STOPPING POWER (doing something that stops the audience, causing them to take notice of and comprehend your message - and then take positive action). 

When ad agencies review their portfolio to see which work should be submitted for an award, they're invariably looking at message relevance in the context of stopping power.

When agencies recruit graphic artists or writers they too look at the candidate's portfolio and judge the body of work's message relevance in the context of stopping power.

Ads with a lot of sales potential need to be sold to the client first. To reduce un-billable agency (client related hours) it's helpful for the account team to know what kind of work the client will buy, and to make that clear to the creative team. 

Because not all clients are created equal consider "gauging" you client's risk tolerance when it comes to both MEDIA + CREATIVE work. After all, the two must work hand-in-hand.

Ask your clients questions regarding their perspective on communications risk - and how your agency can help them manage it.

Is the "same-old-same-old" the lane they really want to live and die in, or is there some room + desire to explore new ways of reaching and talking to the audience

What specifically is "risky" for them - and what isn't? Don't assume . . . ask. 

How does an understanding of the client's specific "risk triggers" open up opportunities for you and the agency to do better work for the client - on time, on budget and on brand? 

Are they willing to set aside a "new media ideas" testing budget? 

Are they willing to set aside a "new creative ideas" testing budget?

Can the agency and the client agree on realistic, outcomes and metrics that will help you steer future media and creative discussions, recommendations and marketing plans? If so - great. If not - good luck.