It hit home again today as I got handed yet another brief that numerous accountniks and one other creative director had allegedly looked over and approved. It was a fine document, with good insights into consumer behavior and all, but it lacked the one critical ingredient of a good brief: a hook.
Like so many awful briefs, it basically summed up all this fine research with the line : Buy Spacely sprockets because they're good sprockets.
Not something you can disagree with, right? Sounds reasonable. I mean they're good sprockets, Why wouldn't you buy them?
Well, that's where we actually get to make a difference. We take the facts and turn them into an image. I'm not going to spew out all the bullshit "LoveBites" crap, but a brand that stands for something, be it innovation, hipness, fairness, fun, simplicity, or class, is a step ahead of a brand that has no image whatsoever. Which is, if you think of it, the case with 99% of the brands out there.
Take Pepsi, for instance. I mean Pepsi tastes good. It tastes better than Coke to most people because it's a bit sweeter. But when they took the campaign to the next level, when they said "hey, the target thinks that Coke is for old people" and made Pepsi "the choice of a new generation" (I'm screwing up the tag line, I know, but it's late and I don't feel like Googling it) then BBDO made Pepsi into something bigger. They gave it a brand image. (Fully aware that I'm using past tense in that paragraph.)
Now there's clearly not a straight line from a good insight to a brand image to the One Show book, but even badly executed ads off of good insights rise to a level somewhat higher than that of well-executed ads off of insipid insights.
That's the real danger of the current craze for "accountable" advertising, e.g. DM and Web work. Those ads are selling a specific product and they want you to buy (or click) on it immediately. Branding be damned. So that at the end of the day all you're left with is "Buy Spacely sprockets because they're good sprockets. Act now and save 10%."
Not real compelling. And easily beaten by the guy who saves you 11%.