Is it just me or have I missed something with recent adverts on TV? Correct me if I’m wrong but I always believed that the job of an advert is to sell/brand a product or service and make money for the business the advert is for. It seems that a “cool-creative” film for the portfolio of the agency or director has now become far more important than what the ad is selling. There has always been a temptation of getting a client to pay for one’s own creative portfolio however these were always in a small minority and soon left the advertising market. Now it’s everywhere. How many ads have you seen where the film is simply stunning with incredible technology, CGI, effects thrown at it but you could not remember what the ad was for the next day, or worst still, associated it with someone else’s brand.
I am fully aware that every generation will try and push the boundaries and try new ideas, as that is where true creativity lies. But I stress the word “new ideas” and most of what I see now are old ideas which were tried back in the 60’s-70’s and dropped because they don’t work. There’s no point trying them over and over again to see if they might suddenly work now, the human race has not changed that much dramatically, unfortunately evolution takes a bit longer than that, – usually 10-20,000 years! I of course refer to techniques such as using negative advertising, dis-association, flash repeat cuts and various other ideas that were being thrown around a long time ago. As the very apt saying goes “those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it” and how true that is. Selling techniques have not changed one little bit and a seller in the local market pushing his towels and sheets by bucket loads is using a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. He creates an image around a product you supposedly won’t find anywhere else even at twice the price, demonstrates how strong, long lasting they are and how easy it is to remove the stain and if you act now, you can have three for the price of one… Sounds familiar? It should, it’s the way all successful adverts work.
It’s time to get back to basics and stop the white-wash of technology to impress a viewer. Humans like human contact and interaction, they understand emotions and are emotive, they like a story and they also like to see it to believe it. Do that, and remember to at least mention the product name four times, and you’ll have an ad which people will remember and recall properly. The more products we can help sell through better adverts, the quicker commerce will recover and we can all start getting out of this terrible recession.