Be careful what you wish for…
Every time I watch the Superbowl, I find myself (under the interrogative look of my friends) bitching about the effectiveness of “xyz” commercial that somehow succeeded in producing laughter among the audience. Then I start explaining that too often the joke becomes bigger than the brand and when it does, chances are you will most likely remember the punch line than the advertiser. If you just invested $2.6 million for a 30 sec. and everybody misses the point, it’s a huge waste of money.
Unfortunately theses days, many advertising professionals seem to put more emphasis on building their personal portfolio than on their client’s interests. You must first ask yourself, do I want a great ROI or help somebody win an Oscar?
Back to Basics
After countless books written about how to get what you want in life and the common acceptance of the basics of the law of manifestations, we all seem to agree that the first thing for everything is clarity. Whatever you are aiming for, you must be clear on what you want to determine the purpose of our actions (as brilliantly explained by Jack Canfield in The Secret). Guess what? Those universal principles are not only true in your life but also in advertising.
Setting a goal and determining the purpose of an ad before designing it sounds obvious to some, yet it always amazes me when I see brilliant creatives from famous agencies prioritizing their personal glory instead of goal oriented results.
A Real Case Tragedy
This is the sad story of Meubles Napert. Meubles Napert was a very prosperous family owned furniture store chain. When Kevin, the youngest son, took over the company and decided to invest massively in his positioning, he hired one of the most dynamic, provocative and successful young ad agencies in the province called AMEN.
The agency advised Mr. Napert to go with a powerful and provocative generic campaign featuring real clients of the retailer having as last names, the name of their main competitors (Most furniture stores in Canada are named after their founder). The above ad stated, “Leon is shopping at Napert” and was targeting the national giant, Leon’s http://www.leons.ca/.
The campaign was praised by the creative industry, as the agency found a brilliant and funny way to build a relationship between the advertiser and its competitors, and created a lot of controversy among Napert’s competition.
Praised by some, hated by others, the campaign was on everybody’s lips. It was a pure success but 7 months later, the company filed for chapter 11. What went wrong? Of course not everything was to blame on the campaign but nevertheless, the campaign failed to bring sales up because while everybody else was advertising queen size mattresses for $599, Napert was spending money advertising the fact that their advertising agency was more creative than those of the competition.
The agency either failed to listen to the client who had successfully sold furniture for years or failed to learn how to successfully sell in this industry.
Before even thinking about ANY advertising attempts, always determine your purpose by asking yourself: What’s my objective? Why am I advertising? What results do I want to produce? If you want to sell more, advertise as such. It may look less sexy and you might not win a prize for creativity but at least you will bring more sales.
A great creative campaign can definitely make you but also destroy you if it fails to produce the anticipated results. Does a furniture retailer need an award winning creative campaign to take its business to the next level? This is something a client objective driven agency should ask themselves before taking Napert’s money. As we all know, an Oscar doesn’t necessarily translate to a blockbuster success and vice versa. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of purpose that will lead every choice in any production. Keep that in mind when you choose your agency or agree on a concept.