Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Inspiring Brand Loyalty on FOX

Last month, I had a hugely entertaining time talking over the big issues facing the advertising industry. Was this around a boardroom table? No. Was it in a smoke-filled room? Not on your life. It was where it should be, out in the open for everyone to hear, and it was on the FOX Business Network. When people tell me that television is dead, I reach for my remote. I’ve had a fantastic response to that one short interview. TV is still the best and fastest way to make powerful emotional connections. As a way to present ideas, it is unparalleled as long as your ideas are clear, focused and make sense fast.

So what did I talk to FOX Business’ Dagen McDowell about? First I disabused her of the notion that ad spending is becoming a thing of the past. I told her that as far as I’m concerned, advertising is the most fun it has ever been, and in large part that’s because all the rules have been thrown out. The reality is that our biggest client, P&G, has increased its advertising spend and Toyota is unstoppable. Sure, some companies on lower levels are finding it tough and have started playing defence, but that’s not the way it is at the top. What great companies see in tough times is opportunity - and we’re right there with them.

For us, times aren’t tough, they’re exciting. In our industry, most of us are faced with a simple proposition: change or become irrelevant.

We’ve chosen to change. The digital revolution is the best thing that has ever happened to us. For a start, it has meant that the average age of our staff is now around 27. These are all people who grew up in the digital age. Give them a fountain pen and they’ll just squirt ink on the floor trying to figure out what it is. They don’t find advertising a risky profession to join. All they see are opportunities to do cool stuff that they never believed possible. It has never been easier to attract great talent into our business. Make a movie, develop a computer game, collaborate with feature film directors, dance with wolves. Their horizons are as big as they want to push them – and you sure won’t see me fencing them in.


Susan Plunkett said...

Kevin, as part of your digital revolution, have you thought of offering the occasional podgram on KRC? You need Mac/PC compatibility of course. Stephen Fry offered his last podgram also as a 'blessay' so you had the choice to listen or read, or do both!

Chris said...


What I called blurring in your ‘The Write Stuff’ comment, (that you agreed with-in terms of its collaborative context), you called inclusiveness!

Inclusiveness can also simply mean shopping sprees of acquisition to surround you with skills, passion, great ideas and youth.

It’s not whatever it takes, because sometimes that skill, passion, great idea and even youth can be marred by its individualism having been bought or ‘taken away’.

If you work in a blurring context, it means you have worked every relevant change in the digital revolution and that you know how to roll your sleeves up with your youthful teams. You know how to inspire the furthest limit of interactivity and not confuse it with just being a TVC. And-sure-it can still occasionally be entertaining to watch you being interviewed as we download that instantly online or – in some cases just switch it on in our internet TV browser, channel or on our phone.

I’m not sure exactly when you consider the Digital Revolution, which you obviously acknowledge, to have been?

My embrace of modern technology, particularly the internet, 2.0 and Mobile 3G makes me quite a bit older than the average age restriction you suggest you have in your organization!

The streams of digital revolution that inspired old fogies like The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, Daft Punk and the late Mach Arom, who founded Ogilvy One Interactive are exactly the same streams now that allow any age group with a reputation for innovative thinking and ‘doing’ to identify with today’s ever-young and demanding audiences and artists.

But generally, I don’t buy my average age groups that collaborate with me in making cool stuff, like our reskinned and best selling Java Game, (or achieving four 2007-2008 Content Awards and counting); I have to inspire them with a knowledge. Knowledge in how to change a clear and good idea into something bigger and beyond an ad. A knowledge that never treats video clips or sound as obligatory, but as part of the interaction or engagement.

That’s not revolution, its evolution.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

Digital has opened up just another avenue through which the message can be sent. Like you said, a lot of people have been saying TV is dead. Bollocks.

Yes, people's attention spans may be measured in nanoseconds, but that does not mean that it cannot be caught. That's where the creativity comes in.

One of my favorite spots recently has been Bacardi's Pizza Delivery. Simple, socially responsible, brilliant.

Chris said...

I’m on holiday! Happy hols everyone! Fair POV Piotr. Not ever having been a person that ever said TV was dead; I do recall getting a resounding and generic “bollocks” when I first suggested that the internet would transmit TV or full screen video!

I agree that attention spans need capturing and that’s where the creativity comes in! But in just one of my own local markets, I cannot think of any recent TVC, (other than Cathy Freeman’s emotive Earth Hour) that has really done that for awhile. Some of the Bank stuff sticks out as well. The two that I always remember with relish are as long ago as 2004, (I have long term span). Did you ever see Brandhouse Arnold Worldwide Melbourne’s Levi’s Red Tab ‘like a red flag to a bull’ with a group of teenagers being chased through a hotel by an angry bull? Or Clemenger BBDO Sydney’s Smith’s Crisps spoof on the 2004 Olympic Games?

The digital avenue is in fact an extremely wide and two way street and not sending messages that have to be “got” in a nanosecond. 15,30,45 or even 60 seconds is always a great introduction. And yes, it’s down to their creativity on how much more of the engagement is picked up on.

I was in one of my favourite spots yesterday,(the MCA in Sydney)and an American artist hanging out called John Baldessari had this giant piece called “Composing On A Canvas” comprising of an acrylic painted font asking questions derived from contemporary art theory and being the questions Baldessari thought most consumers should ask themselves while looking at uncomplicated paintings.

If even a couple of these questions came to my mind when viewing TV, I’d be singing its praises……In a nanosecond!