Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And now a word from Bill Bernbach.

My boss asked me what I want him to get out of a meeting with a high-level client. I thought and thought and then I remembered this.

Rewrite it for your clients and for your agency.
It's nearly 50-years old. But it could have been written yesterday.

Avis Rent A Car Advertising Philosophy

1. Avis will never know as much about advertising as DDB, and DDB will never know as much about the rent a car business as Avis.
2. The purpose of the advertising is to persuade the frequent business renter (whether on a business trip, or renting an extra car at home) to try Avis.
3. A serious attempt will be made to create advertising with five times the effectiveness (see #2 above) of the competition’s advertising.
4. To the end, Avis will approve or disapprove, not try to improve, ads which are submitted. Any changes suggested by Avis must be grounded on a material operating defect (a wrong uniform for example).
5. To this end, DDB will only submit for approval those ads which they as an agency recommend. They will not “see what Avis thinks of that one.”
6. Media selection should be the primary responsibility of DDB. However, DDB is expected to take the initiative to get guidance from Avis in weighing of markets or special situations, particularly in those areas where cold numbers do not indicate the real picture. Media judgments are open to discussion. The conviction should prevail. Compromises should be avoided.


Tore Claesson said...

It sounds so simple, it makes such sense. And almost nobody follows those simple rules. When I was much younger and knew much less about advertising these rules ruled. And the work that I was part of doing was sometimes really great.
But something happened on the way. The integrity disappeared. It started at the agency side I reckon. Together with the almighty pitching procedures for most everything. Pitching for no money other than the hope of getting the grand prize make us beggers and devalue our work. No matter how many good arguments some will put up in defense of pitching. Our industry's in general become one of suppliers rather than one of experts and talent. We don't seem to know ourselves when we have a good idea or not. Only the client knows apparently. We merely show a number of things and hope something will fit the bill. If you don't obey you're seen as arrogant and impossible. There's still some pretty good advertising out there. I assume it's so because smart clients go to great agencies and let them go about the work. I don't even know if the percentage of great work is higher or lower today than when DDB and its likes ruled. The only thing I know for sure is that I haven't been at an agency with that sort of integrity for a while. That might be my own fault.

Meg Hoppe said...

I think the industry lost the ability to run the show a long time ago. Not sure why – too many copies of Quark on too many nephews' computers? Advertising is “fun” so the client wants to get more involved?

I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been in where the client says, “Well, you’re the experts, but…” Which is always followed up by something like “…but those colors reminded someone in the office of a blanket,” or “…but I’m more of a geometric shapes guy versus a bendy shapes guy.” Not sure it’s the same with large agencies, but ours is finding it hard to be recognized as an expert because clients are following the Wal-Mart shoppers’ rule – they’re only willing to pay what they have to, not what something is worth. Okay when you’re talking about coat hangers, not so smart when you’re talking about marketing.

Meg Hoppe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg Hoppe said...

This article is 2 years old but shows why it's so hard to help clients:

george tannenbaum said...

Thanks for responding, Meg. I'll check out the article.

Anonymous said...

Wow George, this is one of the best post ever..Thanks for sharing it..