No need to get huffy

In response to Barry Base's grrrreat response in the Oct. 9 issue of Strategy:...

In response to Barry Base’s grrrreat response in the Oct. 9 issue of Strategy:

Barry, Barry quite contrary, let me apologize for issuing ‘the challenge.’ I certainly didn’t mean to frighten you. And you needn’t have gotten all huffy about playing the 12-stringer (an original Rickenbacker; you say, and electric, if you don’t mind. Are you a Byrds or Beach Boys fan?) I, myself, play the Harmony banjo, Goya guitar, Boosey &Hawkes trombone, and am reputed to be the best gut-bucket player on the planet. Wanna jam?

I must say I am very disappointed in your roaring to the parapets with legions of names and accomplishments firmly in mind. (Your brag ad on page 15, which emulates the Rogers ‘Imagine’ series, seems unnecessary after such a response.)

My own experience with product, service and government advertising is also extensive (please visit our Web site at ~sadamson if you would like to share in some learning and insights we have obtained with our somewhat-less-than-empirical evidence) and I, too, have worked with ‘esteemed’ and ‘legendary’ ad guys (including the late, great Nick Fraser, Rob Barlow and others).

As for being ‘naive,’ as you ‘kindly’ suggest: Yes, I have retained (and hope to, always) my child-like wonder and fascination with advertising. I see it as a marketing communications device designed to influence people. And being a social psychologist, I love to collect and study evidence about how well it does. And after about 25 years, I think I’m beginning to understand it just a little. Don’t know if I’m sophisticated or not, but I do try to be wary (thanks for pointing out the traps).

Are we done with the arrogance and smarminess yet?

You see, Bar’, here’s the thing. I am always on the lookout for people who can produce predictably effective advertising. Advertising that will, more than half the time, deliver a motivating impression about a product, service or institution in an attention-arresting way. My ‘challenge’ to you isn’t about self-promotion (I don’t do much of that sort of thing); it’s about this search for perfection, the ‘unified theory’ of advertising, if you like.

I believe that advertising is the heart of brand marketing, that it should be accountable and that its effectiveness can and must be predicted. From the thousands of ad studies I’ve done, I have come to observe that – either by gifted inspiration or linear, logical design – some people can produce superior advertising far more often than other people.

If you’re one of these people, terrific. I sincerely hope you are. But, given the attitude behind your bi-weekly prognostications (sesquipedalian obfuscation if I’ve ever heard it), it begs to be proven.

Pick what you feel is your best current ad. One that hasn’t as yet eliminated world hunger or created peace in our time. We’ll give you a free appraisal. We’re the best. Trust me.

Tery Poole



Research Consultants

Toronto, Ont.