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Work together to reach our share of attention and relevance

Work together to reach our share of attention and relevance

I was recently giving a talk to marketing and communication students, and to demonstrate the changing role of advertising in our lives, I asked how many of them had played “the ad game” when watching TV.  I explained the rules: when an ad comes on, you race to guess the advertiser brand before it is named.

They looked at me like I was mad. I could see them thinking, “What the hell is this guy talking about?”. Of course, none of them knew the game, because none of them paid much attention to TV ads.

I tell this anecdote not because I think I’ve unlocked the meaning of life, but to highlight a key concern we have today in marketing: where do we connect with our consumers? To this question, I add another more worrisome reflection: how do we ensure, once we do connect, that we have something relevant to say to them?

I don’t think anyone has a magic solution, but what we have proven is that it’s very difficult to connect and be relevant if a brand’s media and creative strategies don’t go hand in hand.

Every day, we come across creative ideas that don’t work for the media they’re ultimately appearing on, and we see media strategies for which the creative content is a poor fit. How many times have we all driven past an outdoor ad that (probably) has wonderfully creative copy, to find it’s too small or too long to read on the move?

How long are we going to continue to ignore the consumer, who’s giving us clear signals that they’re not interested in advertising unless we present simple, relevant messages? How much longer are we going to take to put together media and creative strategists to work together? Who moves first, the agencies or the advertisers?

It's not actually that hard. In the years in which “the ad game” was played, the agencies were called “full-service agencies”. Perhaps the past holds the solution for the future.

Juan Manuel de la Nuez