Last week I expressed my disapproval of the concept-less Life Water spot created by Arnell…and a commenter wrote in to disagree, saying “I am sure [it] has increased the revenue and buzz for the brand name. So if you look up the definition of advertising it has done the job and continues to do so.”
Not to be that guy, but I think that you mean that it has achieved the objective of advertising, not lived up to the definition of it.
But I digress…because our commenter goes on to say “maybe you should watch it again and also check the stock market as Pepsi is destroying coke one day at a time thanks to Arnell’s ad campaign.”
The commenter brings up a good issue…just what is good advertising? It is the kind of creative-driven work that wins awards and worms its way into pop culture? Or is it the more prosaic work that gets results.
Not to ruin it, of course, but it is a mixture of both.
But why isn’t it the work that sells things that gets all the accolades? Those Head-On spots sure move product (albeit from a small base), and according to the commenter (if you ignore things like distribution, on-trend product, competitive pricing and retailer sell-in strategy) so do the Life Water spots. They are selling crap. So why aren’t they great ads?
Part of it is that you know great work when you see it.
And a model in a bathing suit dancing to music played by some animated geckos just isn’t great work. A great ad needs a concept and if I have to explain why, you’re just not going to get it.
The other part is that an ad campaign like Life Water’s isn’t a direct response effort aimed only at immediate short-term sales. It should be doing that yes, and it should be raising awareness of the brand and product and it should be building a pipeline of future sales by branding, etc and so on.
The final part of why ad campaigns have to do more than just sell in the short term to be great is because there are so many other things that go into immediate sales – things like distribution, on-trend product, competitive pricing, retailing sell-in strategy and others.
That is not to smirk at actually selling things but rather to explain why creativity and a concept are necessary additions to a great ad (as much as hitting the ad’s objectives are)…you can’t just greatness just by the brand’s stock price.