Friday, December 17, 2010

Lost in Miami.

Yesterday from out of the blue I received a note from a young copywriter who is looking to move. She wondered if I would take a look at her book a provide some feedback. And, if I would help her insinuate herself into the agency at which I work.

There was a campaign for a kid's toy. A toy that's sold well for probably 60 years and needs no advertising, though their ads (spreads, of course) regularly festoon the pages of awards annuals. There was a campaign for a sneaker company impelling young wearers to graffiti rooftops rather than streetscapes. There was an ad for a dog food that talked neither about dog food nor dogs.

In all, a typical book from Miami Ad School.

Oh so cool. And oh so irrelevant.

Here's what I wrote to the young copywriter:

"I need to start this note by admitting that, while I'm not old, I am somewhat old school.

I think your portfolio is good for what it is.
But there are no ads in it.
No things that are hard to sell.
Nothing that feels like it takes a mainstream brand and helps it sell what they make
or helps regenerate and revitalize their brand.
I look for books with that kind of rigor.
Cool is not the only strategy.
How do you sell a Nissan Maxima?
What makes it better than a Camry or an Accord?
Not just cooler, but what's important about the machine,
the design, the engineering, the experience it delivers.

Yes, I come from Ogilvy and Ally & Gargano.
We examined real products with real in market problems.
That's the day in day out job of advertising.

I worry with your book.
How do I put you on an assignment for a client that spends
$10 million with my agency when I don't see any ads for
products or services?

Sorry if I'm being harsh.
And I'll admit, I think Miami Ad School has lost their way.

77% of the wealth in the US is controlled by people 55+.
Where are ads to those people?"


TheBigMacGaul said...

So, did you like the book?

wyatt said...

FACT. I say this to people a lot. Cool spec work is great, but there are no guardrails. What will those ideas look like once processed through brand voice, brand guidelines, approved pantone color palettes... what about direction, design, does it speak to the brand? the campaign? are you extolling the virtues that the client wishes to promote, all the while redefining the experience said product/service delivers? and is it speaking to the target? how will it do in testing?

today I said to someone here in Montana who is a bar owner (and, of course, makes his own ads on his laptop) that advertising is judged on performance that is driven by ideas. money is the key, and the idea needs to work hard in order to produce some for the client or everyone is out of a job.

wyatt said...

and by that I mean, what the fuck am I doing a.) talking about advertising while hanging out in Montana and b.) reading ad blogs at this time of night while on vacation?

dammit, they got me too.