Alternative marketing thinking


The Most Important ‘C’ In Advertising. And No It’s Not Creativity

If it works, people will know who it’s for. If it doesn’t, they won’t,” Ian Armstrong, Honda’s manager of customer communications talking after their path breaking live Honda Skydivers ad.

What comes before the product, before the strategy, before the idea, even before the execution? Really what is the most important ingredient in advertising and marketing that truly stands out?
The c world. “C O U R A G E”.

Look at the Honda ad again. It could have gone wrong on so many fronts. Bad weather, for example. With all the pre-publicity that the ad received. The blog, and all that started building into the ad weeks before it was to be aired. Even something as simple as losing the link during the stunt, could have made the agency and surely the client rethink the idea. Now that everything went well no one talks or thinks about the thin line that separates stupidity and genius.

Honda is not one isolated case of a client and an agency being brave. Marketing blog talks about the recent Nike Tiger Woods ad titled Never, that aired during the US open golf championships. You can read how the ad came about in this ESPN story. From the perspective of this story, there’s a little history that we need to keep in mind when evaluating this ad. That Tiger went into the Open with a problem knee that could have given up anytime. And as an advertiser Nike could have kept this ad track for another event, another time. But the C world popped up again, the world knew that it would take something special for Tiger to pull of the win and if he did, as he did, that would be pretty spectacular. Nike went for broke and came up winning.

In this newsletter we have often spoken about the Sony Balls commercial, but little did we know of the battle that the agency had to win to ensure the ad happened the way it did. Laurence Green the Chairman of Fallon London spoke of how the agency had to sell the ad some four times to the skeptical client, who finally bought in.

Agencies have often spoken of how they had to fight with cleients to get their best ideas out. We think fighting is the wrong word. It’s about building a relationship that instills belief within the group that an edgy idea like the skydivers is what is required for the brand at that moment. Surely the WK London team could have thought up any number of interesting ideas that could very well have replaced this one and done it by being a lot more in control. But both the client and the agency had the courage and the confidence to pump for the world’s first live commercial and the publicity that would bring.

As media gets more and more fragmented, we will see a lot more edgy, breakthrough and courageous ideas in the months and years to come. And, as with any great idea, we will need a lot of creative thinking to come up with them. But the ultimate ingredient in seeing it through? Courage.


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One thought on “The Most Important ‘C’ In Advertising. And No It’s Not Creativity

  1. Isn’t it like a chain reaction, from courage comes conviction ans then creative & so on. I once read this phrase some where, “when you have nothing to loose, you win everything”.

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