The Law Society has hired J. Walter Thompson to improve the image of
solicitors across England and Wales (Campaign, last week). Good luck JWT
- you’ll need it. However, this is only the latest in a long line of
tasks that advertising alone cannot hope to solve.
The news came as the Ministry of Defence revealed that despite doubling
the spend on Army recruitment advertising to more than pounds 18
million last year, it is still some 4,000 trained soldiers short of its
108,000 target. The same goes for the Royal Air Force and the Navy.
There is much scratching of heads - many believe the Army, in
particular, has never had better advertising. Could it be something to
do with the endless stories in the press about cuts in the military, the
ensuing confusion as to why the forces need to recruit at all, and the
shadow over future job security that such stories cast?
There is also much wringing of hands over the efficacy of anti-speeding,
anti-drink drive and anti-drugs work. The criticism usually runs along
the lines of ‘they’re spending all this money and people are still dying
of...’, which is, of course, a totally legitimate concern.
Apart from asking why saying ‘don’t’ to a young person in an ad should
have any more success than in the home environment, we should redirect
the question and ask what hope does a pounds 2 million ad campaign have
against the multitude of images and stories, both real and fictional, in
our media and at the movies, that glamorise fast driving, violence and
the drug culture?
Think of other hospital-pass accounts: beef, banks and energy suppliers,
and what becomes obvious is the need for integration in the truest sense
of the word. It’s time for the public relations and the advertising
industries to stop viewing each other with suspicion and hold hands in
the manner in which Freud worked with BBDO on the recent Pepsi ‘blue’
launch. We look forward to ‘why lawyers make better lovers’ stories with