It’s official. Advertising is a turn off. A recent survey revealed
that one in three people actively avoid advertising messages. This is
bad news for the advertising industry - what are we communicative
creatures to do?
It’s no good staring into a pint of beer hoping to solve this dilemma,
you’re better off looking at what lies beneath it: the beer mat or the
back of your bar tab. I’m not saying the medium of TV has passed its
sell-by date. Rather that since the advent of remote control and the
imminent arrival of digital TV, the advertiser’s message faces death at
the hands of channel surfers. We’ve got over the surprise of seeing ads
on the back of seats in taxis but now postage marks, petrol pumps and
eggs have muscled in on the act.
The medium has become as big a creative challenge as the message;
creatives are being forced to radically re-think how they tackle a
’Simply’ creating a memorable message no longer cuts it. We need to
think up innovative ways to get the message across. Channel 5’s launch
showed the new spirit of advertising with a non-TV campaign that
encompassed everything from my Sainsbury’s receipt to postcards in
coffee bars carrying miniature versions of the 48-sheet poster campaign.
It was a fresh and innovative approach of saturating the public
consciousness with the message.
Sky Sport showed a similar inventiveness when it recently ran a ’tease
and reveal’ campaign in the men’s press. The Sky ads which gave a new
twist to the dull ’tear and smell’ device traditionally used to sample
perfumes, delivered a waft of fragrance - Ralgex, the unmistakable smell
of the locker room.
At the end of the day, the agency’s primary client commitment must be to
’get bums on seats’. If that means putting ads on toilet seats, so be
it. Agencies of the future will place no other boundaries on their
creative team’s imagination. ’I refuse to get my hands dirty with such
unsexy aspects of the communications business,’ retro creatives
The attitude not only exposes a misunderstanding of what it takes to be
a brilliant creative today but will ultimately risk the long-term
success of the agency.
Those who think real advertising is exclusive to TV are clinging on to
the past. They are as cutting edge as Gordon Gekko walking down the
beach holding a mobile phone the size of a shoe box. Advertising is
becoming the more streamlined discipline of multi-level communications -
let’s see who is brave enough to embrace it.
Phil Capon is the creative director of Capon Kirchner Balmforth