CRAFT: COLUMN; Ads should show investment, planning and care

Looking back, I remember Dennis Auton, my first creative director at Young and Rubicam. Commercials were presented to him adhering to a strict formula. He would view an ad three times mute, and then three times with the sound track. He said: ‘We receive 80 per cent of our information through our eyes.’ Try looking at some of the commercials today without the soundtrack.

Looking back, I remember Dennis Auton, my first creative director at

Young and Rubicam. Commercials were presented to him adhering to a

strict formula. He would view an ad three times mute, and then three

times with the sound track. He said: ‘We receive 80 per cent of our

information through our eyes.’ Try looking at some of the commercials

today without the soundtrack.



Over at J. Walter Thompson in Berkeley Square, the intellectual debate

of ‘stimulus’ and ‘response’ was taking place. Creating the desired

response in the agreed target market - what is that required response

and how do you get it?



I don’t look back and consider all our yesterdays to have been golden.

The strength of British ads today lies in the excellence of the creative

thinking - although the same strengths are not shown in the way business

is handled.



Allegedly, there are more than a million pounds worth of disputed

insurance claims - none to do with the weather - bruising both sides of

the production industry. The disputes panel could sit weekly from now

until September and still not clear the backlog. The very existence of

this panel means that the ultimate authority to manage the production

process is spread too thinly. The lines of real responsibility are too

blurred. That has to change.



Evidence is creeping in that all of us involved in advertising may have

forgotten that we have to earn the right to be seen and heard. Opinion

makers, it is rumoured, are up in arms over some of our selling methods,

especially to children. It is nearly ten years since any consumer

research was done on the acceptability of advertising. Then, the

positive response was in the high 80 per cent. I hope that the new

research being done doesn’t show a steep decline. Getting back to the

high ground requires more investment, more planning, more care.



Is confusion now an art form? Have we pushed the moral boundaries too

far? Do we measure success by the number of column inches of comment

that an ad generates?



Every day we spend thousands of pounds of someone else’s money on the

creation and execution of advertising messages. No wonder money is once

again becoming a key issue. I used to have a client in the North of

England who, when confronted by his latest production estimate, looked

me in the eye and said: ‘Michael, if it is in my film I’ll pay, but if

it is in yours, you pay.’ That sharpened the thinking.



Mike Gilmour heads the advertising production consultancy, Bird Bonette

Stauderman Europe



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