The New Year is just around the corner. That means a brand new year filled with possibilities, and consumers who just cannot wait to be separated from their hard-earned cash. It also means advertisers will continue to shove the same tired promises down consumers' throats, albeit dressed as shiny new ideas fresh for 2013.
Well, enough is enough. It's high time advertisers, and by that we include ad agencies, design firms and clients, make some genuine New Year's resolutions that they actually stick to. Here's the list.
We Will Not Rely Upon Execution More Than Ideas
The trend is certainly reverting back to smart ads with substance as well as style, but let's not count our chickens just yet. There are still a myriad print ads, TV spots and billboards out there that are nothing more than a pretty picture and a logo. We will do better in 2013. We will insist on more than window dressing.
We Will Stop Creating Ads Just For Award Shows
Some ads are made to win awards. Some ads are made to get noticed, sell the product AND win awards. And some ads, they're made to get noticed and sell the product, and they just happen to win awards despite the fact that they were not engineered to do so. Sadly, the latter is dying out. It seems most ads these days are designed to win awards, whether they do a good job for the client or not. We must reverse that trend.
We Will Not Rebrand Old Products and Services as New
It's more a case of being the good conscience of our client. In the movie TRON, Sam Flynn asks what's different about the new operating system his company is releasing. The snide CEO says it's the year on the box. This is, sadly, all too prevalent in modern consumerism. Repackage it, slap a new, higher price on it, and hope no-one notices. This will not push us forward.
We Will Treat Consumers With Dignity and Respect
That means real dignity, not fake "do it while the cameras are on" dignity. It means walking the walk. It means making promises that can be kept. It means giving people genuine rebates that are easy to redeem. It means not hiding ten pages of legal copy in 7-point type. It means not using the word "breakage" in strategy meetings. It means being honest, and up front.
We Will Not Abuse Social Media Like We Did in 2012
When Facebook became the major way for us all to communicate, advertisers jumped on it like a dog in heat. Every creative brief suddenly had the words "social media" implanted in it. Campaigns meant for direct mail were suddenly turned into social media campaigns. Photo shoots had to incorporate extra "stuff" for Facebook and Twitter. It wasn't really thought through most of the time though, and it showed. In 2013, we'll do a lot better to design genuine, engaging social media campaigns.
We Will Take The Time To Create Original, Strategic Creative Briefs
The art of a well-written creative brief is dying. And it's a long, drawn out painful death. It's not like account managers simply cut the cord and said "enough with briefs, here's the plan." Instead, many of us are getting briefs with slim strategies, inadequate content and mediocre SMPs. Let us hope 2013 is the year to kick some life back into the creative brief. That's a long shot though.
We Will Be Brave
Genuine brave, not advertising and marketing brave. That means doing what is right for the client, even if it makes them downright uncomfortable to the point of feeling sick. Brave is taking real chances, not meticulously calculated risks. It means saying no to Superbowl spots and yes to direct mail campaigns, because the Superbowl spots are usually a colossal waste of money (but which agency would ever turn one down?). Brave is doing something that is 180 degrees from comfortable. And real bravado is dying out too.
We Will Not Be Afraid To Say No To The Client
As touched on above, we need to do what's best for the client in 2013 . Not what's best for winning harmony awards. Not what's best for winning advertising awards. No, we must do what is best for the client, even if they don't agree. We're professionals. We study this day in, day out. We know what will work. The client is often too close to the product to really know that. But if we're persistent, we can find ways. Do split tests between "their" ideas and yours. Do focus groups (after the fact). Slowly but surely, you will be proven right, and the need to constantly reassure the client will fall by the wayside.
These are the eight ways we could all make a difference to our industry in 2013. May they serve you well.