Thursday, September 2, 2010

A story about lamb chops.

Imagine you've got a farm with a couple hundred lambs. You get the idea. You're in the lamb chop business. Over the years, demand for lamb chops starts declining. It declines slowly at first. Slowly enough so that you can say, ok, my business is still viable. But over time, you realize you're hardly selling any lamp chops at all.

Unfortunately for you, you've got a whole lamb chop infrastructure bought and paid for. Pastures. Slaughterhouses. Butchers. Feed. The whole megillah.

Now someone approaches you. He's got an idea of what to do on your lamb chop farm. He tells you that if you sew two lamb chops together, they make a pretty nice baseball glove. All of a sudden you find yourself buying that. What other choice do you have? Very few people are eating lamb chops anymore and you're losing your shirt.

So you start saying to your remaining customers when they ask for lamb chops, "You don't need lamb chops--what you need is a lamb chop baseball glove."

The thing is, you can catch a ball with two lamb chops sewn together (don't ask me how I know this) but doing so is a truly boneheaded idea. It's not what nature intended lamb chops to do.

Odd as the above sounds, advertising agencies today are doing essentially the same thing. They are saying to their customers "You don't need an ad, you need an app." Or a viral video, or a mobile idea. You get the idea.

I'm sorry if I'm busting anybody's buttons, but there are times when good old traditional advertising is absolutely the right thing to do. No disrespect to lamb shops intended.


Unknown said...

I'm reminded of the old Saturday Night Live skit for "New Shimmer"--it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping...and it's delicious!

Brian Belefant, DGA said...

Beautifully put.

Sean Peake said...

@Jake P:
"and just look at that shine!"