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Practical Advice For Gary And Neil’s Pocket Book

Posted on July 30, 2002 and read 9,300 times

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In a recent Marketing Magazine issue (November 11, 2002), Gary Prouk offers up some opinion for agency-hunting clients that believe there is no art to the advertising business. He was smart enough to not mention any of Leo Burnett’s cross-cultural studies in his story, but he forgot that his readers actually might have a view bigger than the Rogers family of media. Perhaps if being set-in-your-ways is being wrong, than he never wants to be right, but to reason your opinion by name dropping…to each his own I guess.

However, when I read Crossing the Line by Neil McOstrich, a man I truly admire (Kudos on the Panisonic spot by the way), I thought oh my god, he’s clearly missing the beat here. What good is badmouthing those that might infringe on your business, even though you admit they are clever? And then I remembered what advertising is all about in this country, sameness and protection.

Ok Gary, now let’s really get real. Your opinion that “creative directors in Canada can’t turn anything around. Unless their name is on the door and they share control of the company’s books,” Is spot on. Too bad we couldn’t change that though, eh?

But why is it that advertising is either art or business? Can it not be both? Are Taxi and Rethink in trouble?

Your guess “that Mitsubishi wasn’t impressed with all those award-winning agencies they saw here (in Canada)” assumes that they didn’t like the agencies doing BMW and GM’s work. I doubt that’s the case.

One last thing Gary, please don’t try to pass off something you say without any real thought as something that a person named Bill Bernbach told you to pass along to the rest of us that don’t get it. Is this the same Bill Bernbach I think it is? Sure, Bill wouldn’t put stock in awards, it’s not an accurate measure of results, but I think he’d even consider the findings of a recent Leo Burnett study that showed an 86% correlation between ads that win creative awards and also meet their business objectives, before making sweeping statements.

And Neil, Neil, Neil. Please tell me you guys called each other before you wrote to Marketing.

This is just a ploy for more business, right?

To paraphrase your own words, if advertising is showing respect for both the product and consumer alike, and the media choice is decided solely on it’s relevance, than what does it matter if you’re appalled if it still works under those conditions. I am completely confident that PJDDB will continue to strive for and deliver that “precious advertising by-product (word-of-mouth)”, but don’t feel you have to limit your solutions and anyone else’s to your own personal comfort zone. If the message isn’t more astounding within this new context for the audience and isn’t, at least sometimes effective in delivering business results, the people spending their tightened budgets on advertising wouldn’t do it. Can you even believe that those lazy “ambush marketers” were energetic enough to dupe the guys from Sony/Ericsson? And how did they manage to penetrate the “media-savvy” radar well enough to impress Cam Thomson? There is even some guy called Goodson, an expat, who thinks these ads saved advertising. It’s a good thing he left Montreal, before he got what was coming to him.

Heck, even Jean-Marc believes that, “in order for advertising to remain effective it needs to be constantly evolving. New, quality creative presented in different media will continue to entertain consumers as it has for decades.” But what would he know about consumer’s opinions?

The simple truth: The carnival visitor, like the consumer, enjoys a little titillation every now and then. However, there is no doubt that the narrowest minded carnival guest would never subscribe to an exclusive diet of candyfloss. Its just fluff. Yet, even they’d easily understand that this medium has a place even if they can’t pin it down to one they’re comfortable with. It’s a choice for a person to act. It’s not a sentence.

Stick with candy-coating your old ideas.


Jay Thompson
VP of Stuff
ihaveanidea






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