A year ago, people in our creative department compiled a list of
words women use, but men don’t. Regretfully, I’ve lost the complete
ranking, though I remember ’hectic’, ’pelmet’, ’hob’, ’slingback’ and
’ruche’ made it comfortably into the top 30.
Similarly, there are words account people use which creatives don’t.
’Deliverable’, ’timescale’, ’deadline’, that sort of thing, usually
prefixed with the word ’key’. That’s why I hate the word ’integration’
It sounds like an account person’s word. As if all it needs is the right
procedures, guidelines and gant-charts. Not so.
For real brand integration, you first need what creatives call a ’big’
’campaignable’ ’brand’ ’idea’. A fourth-emergency-service-if-only-
everything-in-life-was-pure-genius idea. A thought that can transcend
not only media but marketing disciplines.
Then you need faith in that idea.
Recently, the biggest of these big ideas has been BT’s ’It’s good to
talk’ strategy. Behind this beguilingly naive endline is a massive
thought. Yet it hasn’t so far led to the ’integrated’ campaign it
deserves. Why? Well BT’s early faith in the idea was yanked out of them.
And it still hasn’t fully returned.
The product strategy, granted, is spot on brand. BT, true to its
beliefs, has created an entry-level product: an incoming-calls-only line
for pounds 9.25 a quarter. The monochrome execution conveys this fairly
well. But, in an evident loss of faith, someone has chosen to test
another execution, featuring a gratuitous rabbit.
I’m all for testing, but this? For my money (and, with BT, I suppose it
is my money) I’d try an on-brand, letter-only version instead.
Similar lack of faith befell the two Norwich Union spots. A clear idea,
showing how people spent money saved on their premiums, is stymied in
execution. Why cram three testimonials in? And why shoehorn in the line,
’But he still enjoys the benefit of excellent protection and a friendly
service’, presumably in deference to some spurious mandatory?
Have faith, Norwich Union: I trust your cover and, as for friendliness,
I don’t expect to call 0800 888 999 only to be told to piss off. Adding
this sentence raises more doubts than it banishes - like saying a
product contains no cyanide or something.
Next a series promoting the internet service provider, VirginNet, a
brand which suffers from too much self-belief rather than too little.
The non-USPs are clearly conveyed, and the work sits well within a
campaign. Yet ultimately this product is exploiting a brand, not
building one. Deep down, VirginNet thrives on having a monolithic
competitor - or at least a mission.
And where the Virgin brand is the sole differentiator (cola, clothing)
it doesn’t work so well.
Finally, a letter from one Rupert Longmire, who clearly seeks to become
the Johnnie Boden of cufflinks. He’s halfway there, displaying an
engaging faith in his offering. It’s an approach which Boden and J
Peterman have made work in their own niches, communicating a quirky,
faintly obsessive interest in the product. One caveat, though - to
successfully convey this feeling, you must spurn marketingese in your
copy. At times Mr Longmire has too much of the aspirant copywriter to
convince. For me, too, ’a token of our sincere thanks’ comes into the
same category as ’hectic’.
Brief: Demonstrate telephone accessibility for everyone
Agency: Cramm Francis Woolf
Copywriter: Mike Ide
Art director: Gary Shacklady
Brief: Generate maximum response from target audience while being
sympathetic to the brand image
Agency: Space City
Copywriter/Art director: Victor van Amerongen
Brief: Demonstrate that VirginNet provides the simplest way to get the
most out of the internet
Agency: Archibald Ingall Stretton
Copywriter: Matt Morley-Brown
Art director: Steve Stretton
Brief: Generate high-value sales for luxury goods
Agency: Spirit DPM
Art director: n/s