Advertising commandments that should be consigned to history
A view from Jon Collins

Advertising commandments that should be consigned to history

Framestore's worldwide president of integrated advertising loses his religion over some industry dicta

As advertising goes through seismic change, the old steadfast rules suddenly don’t seem quite so robust. The list of outdated dicta is becoming very, very long. And everyone has their own opinions. Here are just a few of mine.

1. Thou shalt bow down to the omniscience of creative teams. Without a doubt, advertising would be nothing without creativity. From the "Mad Men" era up to the present day, we are indebted to creative teams. But as advertising undergoes radical transformation, the creative hierarchy is changing.

As encapsulated by David Jones’ plans for a new "brand tech group," disruptive trends like big data and marketing tech mean creativity is no longer the sole preserve of the creative department. Many outsiders — from media agencies, to production vendors, technology startups and even consumers themselves — are well placed to bring new ideas to the table. Judging by the lack of creativity in recent campaigns, ideas in our current risk-averse climate are getting worryingly bland. Widening the pool of creative input could be rather reinvigorating.

2. Thou shalt never let technology lead the idea. As we become a society that prizes experience over possession, we are witnessing unprecedented innovation in creative technologies like virtual reality. When combined, these two factors build a compelling case for tech-led experiential marketing.

Although we’ve been fed the mantra that we mustn’t use tech for tech’s sake, this hunger for original experiences can be well served by brands exploiting the wow factor that comes from using the latest tech. There’s certainly nothing more cringe-worthy than a brand blatantly jumping on the latest tech bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean new technology opportunities can’t be explored in a befitting way. So let’s stop being shy about occasionally letting the tech light the way toward a great idea.

3. Thou shalt build everything around "the big idea." Brands need to lose their attachment to "the big idea." Sure, there’s always a need for a strategic backbone and coherent overall messaging. But when just one idea dictates all output, advertisers lose valuable opportunities to create the nimble, authentic campaigns that resonate so deeply with contemporary consumers in timely and relevant ways. Much more than a Facebook page or branded tweet, these ad hoc campaigns can emancipate creativity to ignite startling fresh ideas, whilst staying on message … albeit in a fresher and slightly different way.  

As the industry shifts from persuasion to recommendation and the uptake of technological solutions gives rise to a different way of connecting with customers, which unwavering directives would you like to see the back of?

Jon Collins is president of integrated advertising (worldwide) at Framestore.