Monday, August 6, 2007

The science of marketing.

There is a long article in today's New York Times about Digitas and their ability to version ads that will lead to increased effectiveness over time. Here's a slice of that article: "The plan is to build a global digital ad network that uses offshore labor to create thousands of versions of ads. Then, using data about consumers and computer algorithms, the network will decide which advertising message to show at which moment to every person who turns on a computer, cellphone or — eventually — a television." You can read the whole thing here:

Here's what's wrong with this, the latest example of advertising as SCIENCE not CRAFT. It ignores the function of creativity in reaching customers. It reduces advertising to an "if/then proposition." If we move the photo up in the banner, then it will have this effect on the customer. Life, and the human mind, are not that simple.

What is simple is this: George's Law of 21st Century Advertising: Creative intrusion and breakthrough + sophisticated analytics and follow-up = success. In other words, if you believe as I do that the basics of communication haven't changed since Raquel Welch starred in One Million Years BC, you still have to stay something compelling, interesting, funny, engaging, memorable before your can return and say something again. You need that permission. It's easy, boys and girls. Advertising is like dating. To meet someone and go out with them, you need to do more than be in the right place at the right time, you need also to have something to say.

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