Advertising (2) — Creativity

If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative. David Ogilvy (O&M)

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. David Ogilvy.

Is creativity in brand communication getting better, getting worse or staying the same?

Ad agency execs will tell you that creativity is alive and well and that memorable and effective advertising is as prevalent today as it was in the past. They will also add that the fragmentation of media creates an environment whereby delivering a highly effective message is diffused and expensive. And, the new media options (digital) require new forms of creativity.

The detractors will take the view that the demise of mainstream media has hurt creativity but not as much as the changes in the advertising business itself. They point out that only small, independent shops can replicate the talent of the past. The large agencies are too busy worrying about overhead and financials than concentrating on the quality of the work.

An ad agency executive friend of mine who sold his shop to one of the conglomerates tells the story of an annual agency-wide meeting a few years ago:

All the company Presidents were asked to report on the activities of their business unit. Speaker after speaker – from New York to New Delhi – talked about revenues, profitability, new business development, overhead, etc. Finally one exec from a highly creative firm couldn’t stand it anymore and got up and shouted, “Are we ever going to talk about the f*****g work we produce?”

What’s your view? Is the advertising creative in the booze business better or worse than it used to be? Hit the comment button to the upper right of this posting and let me know your view. Or, send me an email.

Finally, the most appropriate quote from David Ogilvy for this blog…

Many people – and I think I am one of them – are more productive when they’ve had a little to drink. I find if I drink two or three brandies, I’m far better able to write.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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A Booze Business Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in the land of Makaplan, the ruling Prince was having some problems. Business was not good and the people were not happy.

“How will we manage to increase our wealth if our sales are not growing? If you can’t do it, then we will find someone who will move our goods and at a more profitable rate,” they exclaimed.

The Prince was worried and turned to the King for help. Alas, the King, who was from another land, had no idea how to increase the wealth of Makaplan. “What do you think?” asked the King.

“Well, I could do what we always did in my previous kingdom when I was just a Duke,” said the Prince. “What is that?” the King asked.

“First, we will tell everyone that the cost of our products will go up soon,” said the prince.

“How will that help?”

“Don’t you see, they will buy more at lower prices than they will soon pay,” said the prince. “Our sales will go up.”

“What about the year after” asked the King?

“Well… in my previous Kingdom, we also put new things up for sale. That brought us more business; people are always looking for new shiny things” said the Prince.

“Are you sure that both these things will increase the wealth and keep people happy?”

“Absolutely” said the Prince.

He also thought to himself… “If that doesn’t work, next year, I will be the King.”

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The Best Meal in Town

To a large extent the booze business is in the entertainment industry with food and drink at the core. After a hard day of meetings, conflicts and difficult decisions, then and now, people in the industry go to dinner — partly for business, partly to get to know the local colleagues/adversaries and partly for the meal.

One of the senior Seagram executives was known for his love of Italian food. He was and is a real gourmet, with knowledge of pasta, sauces and the differences among regional Italian cuisines.

One day he found himself in Montgomery Alabama on a market visit. It was a long day of meetings with the trade, consumers and local Seagram people.

At the end of the day, the Seagram manager said in a southern drawl, “Mr. Smith, it’s been a long, hard day and I know how you enjoy your eye-talian food and ah’ve arranged for us to have dinnah at the best eye-talian restaurant in Montgomery.”

“Really?” said the worn-out exec. “Where are we going?”

“The best place in town…Olive Garden.”

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