Monday, August 5, 2019

"To generate radical improvements in marketing creative." Made easy.

Last week, in my social feeds and yours, there was a lot of bushwa about JP Morgan Chase, using an AI program called Persado, to write its ads.

Persado is only the latest of about 32 million technology gimmicks, marketing pseudo-science and data-dumbfuckery to promise magic. 

The only thing that works in creativity, in breaking through to a viewership that 99.9% of the time doesn’t care and 99.99% of the time is inert, is to be creative. 

Really creative.

You have to do something attention-getting. Funny. Smart. Big. Irreverent. Touching and so on. This has been proven time and again, but because creativity is capricious, hard to do, hard to predict and a pain in the ass to work with, many marketing people spend their days, nights and power-points looking for a scientific substitute.

There is no scientific substitute. 

The only thing that works in marketing is creativity.

The next feeding-frenzy on social media and Lucullan industry offsites is “how do we get better creative?” On this topic, too, there are all kinds of wild theories, usually assertively proclaimed by people who have never done it before and firmly grounded in a foundation of cotton-candy.

So, over my almost 36 years in this benighted business, I’ve heard them all.

·      Let’s give creative people more time.
·      Let’s gang-bang.
·      Let’s not gang-bang.
·      Let’s be agile.
·      Let’s bring in creative technologists.
·      Let’s incorporate user experience people.
·      Let’s remove media from the equation.
·      Let’s incorporate media into the process.
·      Let’s let people work from home.
·      Let’s go open plan.
·      Let’s have hot houses.

The list is as long as Rip Van Winkle’s beard.

But like most of these discussions, what’s completely missing is a basic understanding of human nature. What really motivates the people who do the work of creating the work. Who put their minds, hours and careers on the line to try to do something good.

Without being too revealing and personal, I’ll just say this.

The best clients to work with, the clients who get the best work from their agencies all have one thing in common.

They are kind.

That’s not complicated. It’s simple.

It’s treating people with respect. It’s listening. It’s being nice and appreciative. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying thank you. And understanding the magnitude of what you’re asking.

That’s kindness.

Kindness doesn’t come from an algorithm, or an MBA program, or processes devised by technocrats (of which there are too many.)

Kindness comes from being kind. (Of which there is too little.)

When the curtain closes on my already-too-long career, when I've finally decided I have overstayed my welcome for more years than I am comfortable with, I will remember only a few clients and even fewer agencies.

The ones who were kind.

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