Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The case for optimism, Part Two.

I barely was able to write one post about optimism and the ad industry when I decided to push myself and write another one. 

Generally, I write my posts before I write my titles. And when I wrote yesterday's title, for whatever reason, I appended a Part One to it. That left me on the hook today to think through Part Two--more reasons for optimism.

Some of my reasons for optimism arise from having started GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company roughly 26 months ago. 

Since that time, I have improved upon my Ogilvy salary. Without bragging or alerting the IRS, who seem to take two dollars out of every $1.75 I make, I’m doing ok financially.

But my personal flirtation with Mammon is not why I am sanguine. I am hopeful because clients--and not necessarily only small clients--are waking up to the need for good advertising.

They need it because it works. 

That's why I get calls.

Almost every week.

I am making good money not because I charge a lot but because I deliver a lot of value. If my assortment of clients can see the value, the return, the energy good advertising can deliver, why should I not be optimistic that the currently stultified, committee-ized, technocraticized bulk of the industry won't soon awaken to the value of advertising, too.

Of course, waking up clients (and agencies) to the most powerful wealth-creation tool in the history of humanity will not happen simply. You can't set your watch by it like mosquitos in the summer. And there will be no colossal gong from an industry Big Ben stirring us into belief. It will take a thousand tiny clarions--you, your partners, your account team, your planners saying "good advertising works," to rouse the clients of the world. 

It will take a re-reading of Bill Bernbach. Imagine if we thought about and talked about Bernbach statements like this one with one-tenth the vigor we think about things like the metaverse. Imagine if your Twitter feed were filled with discussions about the statement in bold below, not the new new new thing. Imagine if we talked, instead, about the old, seminal things.

Imagine if we went into every meeting with every clients and said this from Bernbach: "Creativity is the last unfair advantage we're legally allowed to take over our competitors." Imagine if we believed that. And were inspired by winning marketshare and mindshare for our clients instead of some silly trophy.

If we had the balls and the ovaries to speak with that self-assuredness, maybe we can make a case for optimism. For every C-suite denizen and every client who says, there's nothing different about our ______, imagine if we, as people and as an industry responded with, "That's why you need creativity. To show the world in arresting, interesting and memorable ways who you are."

I am and will remain optimistic because against all odds when you tell clients about the power of creativity and show them real creativity, they listen. They don't buy it automatically. They don't do everything you want them to do. They don't always invest as they should and step boldly into the light, but they'll start.

And that's how we start bringing out industry back to the place it should be. We should say:

Advertise. It's the greatest creator and propagator of wealth and fame in the history of the world.

Advertise. After all, many of the world's most valuable brands became the world's most valuable brands through advertising.

Advertise. And let us carve out, for you, a small portion of a person's brain where your brand can live. We can't do that just listing bullet points.

Advertise. And demand that we make ads that are even better than the shows people are watching people so people will watch our ads, enjoy our ads and share our ads. (And buy our products.)

We shouldn't say:

1. Advertise. Instead chase people around the web and sell repeatedly their data.

2. Advertise. Accept instead incremental gains of between .025 and .033 a quarter.

3. Advertise.  Rather assert that you can do nothing more than announce a BOGO sale-bration and Raymour and Flanagan-a-thon.


Advertise. Let us do things cheaply without really understanding who you are.

I'm optimistic because I know a thousand people in and around the business who are good and are waiting--too long--but are waiting for a dormant industry to wake up to its capabilities. To wake up and lead clients. Not to stay asleep and be flagellated by procurement.

Sixty years ago, Bob Levenson at DDB wrote an ad about the power of advertising called "Do This Or Die." I won't repost it here, because I've talked about it so many times. You should have it on your hard drive. Or have it memorized.

In his last line, Levenson talked about "our own skilled hands."

I'll appropriate that here.

We have the hands.

We have the minds.

We have the skill.

My quandary about optimism comes down to this:

Do we have the will?

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