the future of advertising manifesto

I received an email from a reader asking me if I worked at an above-the-line or below-the-line shop. Apparently, he did not think that it was possible that the place I work at might think big enough to integrate the brand message across TV, outdoor and *gasp* in-store as well.

It’s time to wake up.

There is no more line. You don’t have to take my smallish challenger shop as an example. Look at Crispin and how they have affected Burger King in-store and packaging. Look at what they did with Mini, where they pulled the brand personality all the way through to the owner’s manual.

Though there will always be something about traditional television and print as a medium that lends a sort of insitutional credibility to the product and a sort of bigness that will excite a consumer (and an internal organization and sales team, like the classic Fallon cat herder spot for EDS), true big ideas are bigger than the medium.

If advertising agencies are going to continue to lead the brand development, they will have to think media neutral. Big money TV production just isn’t going to cut it anymore (David Lubars and BBDO, I’m talking to you).

The brand personality and messaging must be pulled through to the consumer touch points. Apple does this with advertising, product design and in-store design. Mini Cooper did it with advertising, product design and the little touches like the owner’s manual and the dealership experience.

Campbell’s soup did it with their shelf-management system. Not very sexy, but just as creative and even more groundbreaking than anything at Cannes.

It’s time to think bigger than the tactics we used to rely on.

It’s time to recognize that true creative advertising doesn’t always involve high production values or a great headline. It’s time to forget about the line that work might fall above or below and the categories of award shows and think independent of the baggage that comes from “being in advertising.”

If I never win the One Show but come up with an idea as revolutionary as the Campbell’s soup shelf management system, I’ll be happy. Not because I don’t need the glory or the silverware – I would really like some of both, actually – but because if I do come up with something that revolutionary I’ll be rich, bitch!

And that’ll do it for me. It really will.

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