Wrong all along?
Boulder Digital Worksheld an impressive two-day conference in New York last week called ‘Making Digital Work’. We couldn’t be there but the conference’s live stream gave us a way to follow along.
Faris Yakob‘s keynote – ‘We’ve Been Wrong All Along’ (deck above) – was a pulsating opening to the conference and once he’d posted the deck on his site, I shared it with my colleagues, along with some of his accompanying text:
‘So, even though we know, and all the academic research confirms, that decision making is primarily emotional, and that rational messaging in advertising doesn’t really seem to help, we persist in structuring briefs around the core proposition, a model we all derive from Rosser Reeves’ model of advertising, which insists communication is primarily about message transmission – which it’s not – and that advertising is the same as selling, which it’s not.’
In my mail to my colleagues, I asked if we’d ever be able to convince any of our clients of the truth of Faris’s conclusions, especially given how crucial testing is in the preparation of their communications.
This sparked a response from Gavin, our senior Art Director, which I thought I’d share:
“Many years ago at Cannes I asked John Hegarty how much of what BBH produced ended up failing when it was put in front of consumers, he said; “Our fair share!”.
I think this is essentially why clients tend to be cautious, wanting to at least make sure that they are getting the rational message across… that is, in the event that their agency fails to deliver an emotionally engaging piece of communication.
Because of this sad fact, in order to actually be given the opportunity to produce emotional, brand personality-building campaigns that work, requires embracing one of two options; either getting the client to believe in the agency’s ability to deliver and thus investing in the risk, or the agency believing it can deliver and investing in the risk.
Creating great emotional communication that actually works is no easy feat, it is at best, hit or miss, as there are soooooo many things that can, and do, go wrong. Sure emotion sells, but since it relies on execution to deliver and is essentially non-tangible, it requires faith… faith that is for very good reason, in very short supply.
So we have a choice, we can either convince the client to invest or invest ourselves…
Who knows… which will it be?”
Be sure to check out Faris’ original post and check the comments for an interesting continuation of the discussion from his readers.