OPINION: The old ways are not always the best ways

If you want to understand why buyers and planners are so desperate for innovative ideas, try recording all the advertising that you see in one day.

If you want to understand why buyers and planners are so desperate

for innovative ideas, try recording all the advertising that you see in

one day.



I tried it this morning as I analysed my usual bed-to-office diet of The

Big Breakfast, Radio Four, The Guardian, The Sun and hundreds of tube

posters.



The running order went something like this: Pepsi Max, Gillette’s Mach

3, Vanish mousse, Woolworths, Knorr Micro Noodles (x2), Milky Bar, Red

Bull, Film Four, Gainsborough Studios, John Charcol,

BridgeTheWorld.co.uk, Abbot Ale, Austravel, the Cosmo Show, Madame

Tussaud’s, Go, Vittel, Media Xchange, National Telephone Team, British

Journalism Review, Harry Hill, Berocca, Jilly Cooper’s Score!, Kickers,

Peoplesound.com, Ryanair, HMV, Tiny, Direct Line, Advanced Hair Studio,

Sky.



This was a far from exhaustive list and reflects less than two hours of

one person’s day.



Did any of the ads really achieve stand-out or elicit a response? Well,

the Madame Tussaud’s poster was nifty, showing a picture of a Jonah Lomu

waxwork with the catchline: ’Get closer than England ever have.’ I

should also award points to Media Xchange, British Journalism Review and

Advanced Hair Studio (’Thicken thinning hair’) for hitting their target

market.



The Jilly Cooper poster made me smirk, although I don’t know why. But

most of them would undoubtedly have had zero impact had I not been

scribbling the names in my notebook.



Perhaps this explains why people like Tracey Darwen, Starcom Motive’s

head of development, are so desperate for media owners to come up with

genuinely different ideas. She claims, and she is not alone, that too

many media owners rely on traditional advertising solutions because

they’re easier to understand, easier to process and require little

thought.



But I refuse to believe the ideas aren’t out there. When BJK&E and its

client DaimlerChrysler recently offered media owners pounds 100,000 for

their best idea, lots of sales teams came up with hundreds of great

concepts.



The finalists - More Group, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Telegraph

and Sky - all devised low-budget but brilliant campaigns.



Why doesn’t this happen more often? Perhaps it’s because the

opportunities are too few and far between, although planners and buyers

will always be tempted by something really clever (that they can take to

their client as their own piece of brilliance). But it is more likely

that media owners fall back on double-page spreads and 30-second spots

because they simply do not have enough time to come up with more

creative solutions. A few organisations have hired strategic thinkers in

creative sales roles - a few more media owners need to follow their

lead.