Let us entertain you…

Well after all, isn’t that what us modern admen (and women) do?

It’s an interesting question and one that was recently posed by a student who came into our offices to interview me as a so-called (cringe) ‘industry expert’, in preparation of writing his thesis on the subject The Rise of the Advertainment. It got me thinking. Being a planner, this happens often.

Way back in the 70s, we were going about our joyous, carefree life, flares-a-flapping, with minimal interruption from the big, bad world of advertising. Nobody had internet, our phones were glued to the wall, there was three channels to watch on telly and the first ever radio ad had just been aired by a big hairy bearded man…not Dave Lee Travis but one we remember far more fondly, our very own Captain Bird’s Eye. Ads did exist, and they did impact. Mums around the world were convinced infant formula was “the way to raise your baby”, a few years later us kids were just satisfied that “a finger of fudge was just enough”, and who from that era doesn’t remember singing along to “I’d like to teach the world to sing”. In fact, even in its commercial infancy we probably viewed around 500 marketing messages a day. The good ones live on in our minds.
Forty years or so on, and an explosion of communication channels later, the number of marketing messages we’re exposed to is estimated to be in excess of 3,000 every single day (some cite as much as 5,000). Now that might sound like an awful lot. But if you add up every marketing message you come across in your daily life you’d be surprised…from logos on our breakfast cereal, TV ads, badges on cars to slogans on sweatshirts, taxis submerged in commercial messages, ads in newspapers and magazines, on every available wall space in the underground, the entire back of a bus, texts to our phones, every two minutes on the radio…and that’s only on the way into work before we’ve even switched our computers on.
As a consequence of this mass communication, our brains have become experts at filtering out information that we regard as non-essential to us. This has led a mass switch from the informational, rational-led ads to a more expressive, immersive and conceptual generation of ads. Suddenly we’re surrounded by drumming gorillas, orchestrated flash mobs and ads that stalk you around the Internet.
Emotion rules. Agencies around the world rejoice. Now we can have fun and simply entertain the world and get paid squillions for doing it. Nope, rewind, that was the eighties. Sorry to crush the dream of all those advertising wannabees out there, but advertising today is blood, sweat and tears all the way.

Never, ever has advertising been quite so challenging. It’s no longer enough to transmit A-class product benefits and stamp a logo on it. And long gone are the days of glossy mega ad budgets. A modern successful brand needs a standout personality; to be authentic and in-touch; to have absolute clarity on what it offers; to communicate this in a highly engaging, creative way (often in mere seconds); to deliver it through the perfect blend of channels and to be one step ahead of its competitors. Or bang, bang you’re in the adtrash of your consumers’ minds.

Never, ever have brands had such a need for good ad people at their disposal. Ones who don’t shy away from challenges; who don’t opt for the lazy route; who make it their business to know your brand as well as you do; who totally get your consumers; who think on their feet; who never settle until they’ve found you the best solution; who’ll stand up and be counted.

Forget the thought… Let us entertain you.

Entertain the thought…Let us make a difference.