Remember the ad gurus of a few years' ago who told us that interruption advertising was dead, and the future was about permission based marketing, conversations and engagement?
These are typical quotes from the time.
“The common opinion is that the age of interruption marketing is coming to an end.”
“People are not passive consumers of marketing messages any more.”
“In today’s world people buy advertising, not the other way round.”
Well the launch of the YouTube Thai channel this week was a reminder – not that we needed one – of how wrong they were.
While the corporate spin was all about encouraging and helping local talent, the launch was also aimed at the big advertisers, who can now swap those annoying little banners at the bottom for full screen ads, and force you to watch before your video begins.
Yes there is a skip button, so you only have to endure the first 5 secs. For now. How long before YouTube introduces a 'premium' service for advertises that sees the skip button disappear?
Of course being interrupted by (mostly) intrusive, inane, crap advertising annoys us all, but who cares as long as there's a slim chance you might not hit the skip button after the obligatory 5 seconds of mandatory viewing.
Interruption is here to stay.
In a recent Campaign Brief post, Andrew Lok compared the traits of cats and dogs to the qualities required of agency people (dogs more fun, cats lethargic, etc).
As we enter into the Year of the Wooden Horse, we thought it might be apposite to see how agency personnel might look through an equine lens. So in the spirit of the season here’s our guide to the creative stable.
The Racehorse: A thoroughbred – at least in his own mind –, sleek and totally focussed on passing the winning post in first place. A real ‘look at me’ horse whose self image is of a white stallion galloping through the surf at sunset, possibly with a naked rider clinging to its mane. This is an animal that’s been bred to believe that he is special, and if he’s not trotting around the winner’s paddock come award’s season he’s likely to throw a tantrum. But this creature is also high maintenance, often sulky and sensitive, which doesn’t make him very popular with the rest of the stable. Not that he cares of course. Fawning management, desperate to maintain some sort of creative profile, colludes to keep him believing in his own legend.
The Stallion: Less focused than the racehorse, the stallion wants control and to be master of the herd. This is a horse that does a lot of snorting and stamping of hooves. Stallions tend to act more aggressively during the awards season, when they feel somewhat threatened by the racehorses. However, most of the time, he maintains his position by laying down scent-marking manure piles and urination spots to communicate his dominance as the numero uno.
The War Horse: Strong, dominant and often intransigent; this is a horse that you don’t want to get in the way of at full gallop. Management’s favorite for leading the team into battle. It’s not the smartest of animals but, nostrils flaring, and hoofs drumming it’ll bear down unflinchingly on any enemy. It’ll also run down anyone who gets in its way. However once its protective armour (management’s backing) is removed, it is revealed to be a much more timid beast that seeks to ingratiate itself with the rest of the stable. Not a horse to be trusted with the oats.
The Carthorse: A great docile creature assigned to haul the heavy loads. Often seen with its junior partner the pack horse, or assistant art director. Stolid, reliable, plodding and usually to be found toiling away on the agency’s less glamorous but more profitable accounts. This amiable animal is held in contempt by the preening racehorse for his willingness to work on accounts offering few creative opportunities, but for the same reason is generally liked by the rest of the herd. These horses are required to work extremely hard to make up for the indolence of the racehorses. Several charities now run sanctuaries where these noble animals can live out their last years in peace, instead of going straight to the knackers yard.
The Hack: A dying species with most having been put out to pasture long ago. But you can still occasionally find one in the dark corner of a bar, complaining that it’s all gone to pot, it’s not about ideas anymore and the kids these days haven’t a clue. These old nags can be entertaining for a while but are probably best avoided.
The Gelding: Every agency has at least one of these; otherwise known as the creative director.
The Filly: A dancing, prancing creature that can sometimes be a bit of a handful. Quite often found sniffing around the bottoms of the racehorses, with whom they like to hang around. Beware when feeding apples to these skittery creatures, as you are liable to get nipped in the process.
The Mare: Generally a calming influence on the herd and definitely too few of them in our creative departments. Our favourite animal by far.
The Bucking Bronco: Nobody wants to ride this one: up one minute, down the next with a mean kick. And woe betide anyone who finds themselves at the wrong end when he’s been nibbling at those funny flowers in the corner of the field again.
* Any resemblance to agency people we have worked with is purely coincidental.
** The word ‘he’ refers in all cases to he or she.
Just when you thought nothing was deader than the advertising jingle, up pops a Cannes Grand Prix winner that Don Draper would be proud of.
Dumb Ways to Die has proved that there's life left in this ancient advertising form.
And if the praise being lavished on this particular campaign (not to mention the 52 million YouTube views) is anything to go by it's a form that's possibly about to make a big comeback.
Of course nothing is really new in this world, and it's good to see a tried and trusted technique being revived.
The only difference may be that today, Don Draper wannabes probably have to add a bit of digital sugar coating to sell such antediluvian concepts. So a jingle with a great bit of animation becomes a viral-video, linked to multi-platform digital media content, resulting in multi-touch-point engagement.
Are we jealous? You bet.
And we hope the trend continues.
Who knows, next year we may even see the return of the print ad with body copy!
There was a recent report in Campaign Asia on the average client payment times to big agencies that we found staggering.
The quoted average time it takes WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic to receive payments was 221, 156 and 276 days respectively.
276 days. That's 9 months! How can any business function this way? Let alone one that operates on already slim margins.
To us it speaks volumes about about how the big agencies are now valued by global clients; how low we as a business have sunk in the food chain, and what little value these global conglomerates put on what we produce.
It also shows just how desperate traditional agencies have become, when even with their already skinny margins, they agree to do business on these terms, effectively becoming bankers for their clients.
Luckily our clients have generally respected our payment terms (this might have something to do with the fact that we only work with clients we trust and value), but if the squeeze continues, it's difficult to see how smaller agencies will survive in the long term.