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campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 November 2010 12:00AM
PLANNERS NEED TO LEARN EMPATHY
One thing that really fucks me off are planners who are obsessed with being regarded as "intellectual heavyweights". The books ... the associations ... the language ... the references ... the speaking engagements ... WANK. WANK. WANK.
What makes it even more annoying is that rather than focus on trying to do something that people - real people, not ad groupies and wannabes - think is smart, their goal is simply to be labelled as a genius.
OK, so there are some planners who are genuine geniuses (you can tell because they don't make a fucking big song and dance out of it) and there are some guys who just find the pursuit of high-end knowledge really bloody interesting. However, in the main, planners are supposed to be able to understand and relate and adapt to all segments of the masses, so if they have their head permanently stuck up their arse - or think no other group or lifestyle is as interesting or as important - the chances of them actually understanding what the real issues and opportunities are is minimal and so everyone ends up losing.
And don't give me any of this "but they could offer a smarter perspective" bollocks. What is a "smarter perspective" anyway? If I had to be specific, I'd say it's when someone has an interesting approach to a particular issue - but that doesn't mean ignoring the situation, it's about really understanding it, which requires empathy with the audience, not disdain.
If anything is "intelligent", it's when someone does something clever that not only shows a deep appreciation of the challenge, the audience and the opportunity but can somehow pull it all together and nurture the wider team to create something that infiltrates society because it's relevant, resonant, interesting, exciting, energetic and effective ...
To paraphrase David Ogilvy, the masses aren't irrelevant or uninteresting, they're your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and kids - so for those wannabe planning professors, my advice to you is to pull your head in and remember doing clever things is going to make you look much smarter than just talking about it ... especially when what you're saying is basically a repeat of what someone else has already said, which you highlight by not being able to relate the "nugget of genius" to any other real-life situation.
JAPANESE MARKETING IS A TRIUMPH
Well, we haven't heard from Triumph in a while. No, not the motorcycle maker, the Japanese lingerie-maker. You may remember some of their marketing stunts such as the Ass Off that aimed to discover Japan's best butt. Or the marketing of a bra that carried a quit smoking message. Or their introduction of bravertising in the form of a Hanshin Tigers Bra that honoured the Japanese baseball team.
Now the brand is out with a bra designed to introduce tourists to Japan. Yes, only the Japanese can come up with ideas like this. The bra - which is really a bustier - carries images of six Japanese landmarks including Mount Fuji and the Asakusa district. And upon pushing one of three buttons on the bustier, a message will play, saying "Welcome to Japan" in English, Chinese or Korean.
But wait, there's more! If a hot Japanese chick is going to walk around in this bustier and allow total strangers to press buttons atop her boobs, she might as well have a matching miniskirt she can flip up to show horny tourists a map of Japan.
Yes. Only from Triumph. Only in Japan.
HOW GOLDMAN SACHS GETS IT RIGHT
There are many brands that feel cold and alien. Look at some of the financial and banking brands, multibillion-dollar institutions yet they have no connection or relevance to the vast majority of people. There are plenty of business and management brands that fall into the same trap.
If you wish to see an example of how to humanise and improve the perception of your brand, look no further than the "10,000 Women" project being run by Goldman Sachs.
A five-year project providing business education and guidance to 10,000 female entrepreneurs who otherwise would not be able to access that kind of training. It feels like a warm and genuine piece of community work from a brand that has usually felt blank to me.
Not only that, but I take away from the video a better sense of what Goldman Sachs feels like as a company; as well as a strong perception of accessibility and friendliness. The opposite of how I pictured the brand not ten minutes ago.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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