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Today, people are so bored by what we do that they are willing to do anything they can not to receive our advertising messages. They even pay large sums of money to prevent it, as shown by companies offering ad-free contents, such as Spotify, Netflix and many others. I love how the great David Droga puts it, “People’s attention has to be earned. We can’t just assume that we can bombard them [with messages] into submission anymore, which is how it used to be.”

Big companies – or big brands with large budgets – don’t run the show anymore. Now, each person has the power, from his or her house, on the bus or while standing in line, waiting to order a burger. Likes, retweets, shares and comments are the new trophies that the best brands are striving to collect. They want them because that’s the new way to show affection, give a reward, and ultimately, to be relevant.

Being relevant must be a key goal of any brand. The art lies in how to achieve it. People like what they like and they always like something that provides some value. It can be a smile, a great experience or any help to raise their children.

It is essential that the brand understands its goal and really strives to fulfill it. A long time ago, a conversation between an Amazon customer service representative and a Thor’s fan became viral all over the world. The representative introduced himself as Thor, and the customer asked if he could be Odin, during the conversation. The resulting role-play was a wonderful, fun-to-read chat full of commitment to provide a top quality service. I’m sure that this chat built a lot more brand value for Amazon than many of its traditional campaigns, for many reasons, but mainly because it is real, credible and special.


Jeff Rosenblum produced the inspiring documentary “The Naked Brand.” In it, Alex Bogusky says “Being a great company is the new brand.” True. People believe in what they see and not in what advertising says. Modern brands
must know that actions speak louder than words. Toms or Zappos are clear examples of that. Their business model claims to offer value to people, Toms donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes sold and Zappos has built its whole campaign around an unparalleled customer experience. Close to home, we can take a look at Andre?s Carne de Res, an iconic Colombian brand that became big because of the experience it offers to customers, from its beautiful graphics to the presentation of each dish and the service provided by each of the serving staff.

This is why our job as advertisers has become more exciting now than ever. Now we cannot limit ourselves to think in terms of the 30” story we will air. Now we have to have liquid ideas, as David Ogilvy said, “There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements.” We need ideas that travel and transform in the hands of people who make them theirs.

These ideas can be audiovisual, or a physical experience, a service or a product. The important thing is that they feed great brands, always giving a clear purpose and offering value to people.

I am convinced that the new challenge of our profession as advertisers and marketers is to help, coming up with ideas, so that brands provide value to people’s lives. If we can do that, maybe we won’t save the world, but we will surely make it a better place, and that will make people love our job again as much as we do. 

Ogilvy & Mather is a leading communication network. The company comprises strong offerings in: advertising, social media, direct marketing, data analytics, retail marketing, rural marketing, activation, public relations and healthcare.