Advertising is dead: long live advertising

Today was WARC day. WARC ran four seminars on a range of topics relating to strategic planning and creativity. We covered one of the topic areas – targeting – in our film, so I’m going to cover another. which was WARC’s Top 100 Campaigns of 2016, and two great cases of advertising effectiveness (which had us laugh and almost weeping).

The first was BBDO Mumbai’s campaign for Ariel, ‘Share the load’. This campaign set out to persuade Indian husbands to help their wives out by learning how to use the washing machine. The team behind the campaign shared seven inspiring principles that they felt underpinned their best-in-class work. These could be applied to any brand or project that we work on.

1. Content is king, but context is King Kong.
2. A point of view counts for more than differentiation.
3. Empathy is a universal currency (i.e. really get to know your consumer)
4. Not just insights – it’s how you incite.
5. Think inside the box (i.e don’t move too far from the category).
6. From condition to conditioning (they ran sessions where the team explored their own lives, rather than brainstorms).
7. Create acts, not ads.

Here is the case.

Here is the ad.

We also saw a great case from the US for Kraft Mac and Cheese featuring powdered cheese. Yum. That will have to wait for another helping.

What should brands do next? First, great ads can still work. Make sure you give them a clear purpose relevant to the category. Second, humanity is essential to great planning work. Keep the human alive and find the human in amongst the data.

Sean Healy, Global Head of Strategy & Product


Demonstration is far more powerful than talking

Today at the WARC presentations we were shown how Kraft Mac and Cheese, a beloved American icon, ensured reappraisal and growth by creating the world’s largest blind taste test.

When Mac and Cheese decided to remove all the “nasties” from their product the internet went mad as people feared the taste they and their kids loved would disappear. Therefore the client’s brief was very clear: demonstrate that Mac and Cheese had removed all the nasty additives but the taste had not changed.

Understanding behavioural economics and the idea of loss aversion, the agency decided to hold off launching and instead put the new “healthy” Mac and Cheese in the same box saying nothing. Only after three months and over 50 million boxes sold did they then reveal the new packaging and communications telling everyone that they had not noticed they had been eating the new recipe, thereby demonstrating that the taste had reminded the same.

What should brands do next? Understand that doing and demonstrating is far more powerful than saying. Be brave in the decisions you take, but plan for contingency if needed. Integrate teams across media, PR and creative to get the best ideas and ensure that everyone has a can-do attitude.

Ben Lukawski, Group Planning Director


Focus on the Bronze

Today I attended a very interesting session hosted by WARC. Four creative and research heavyweights were asked to give their perspective on “Is creativity losing its ability to sell?”. Unsurprisingly, everybody argued that creativity is more powerful today than it has ever been and quoted many examples of cases to reinforce this claim – so far so predictable. Then it got interesting – the debate morphed into one focused on the industry’s misplaced current obsession to award work that communicates brand purpose rather than work that demonstrates the greatest sales impact.

What should brands do next? If you want to find the best, most inspirational work at Cannes, look for entries that are awarded Bronze – awards that engaged some judges rather than all – rather than those awarded Silver or Gold. That’s where the real gems lie.

Martyn Stokes, Group Planning Director

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