The Back Page Challenge

The consumer is in control. Whaddaya gonna do about it?

The consumer is in control. Whaddaya gonna do about it?

To make a dint, marketing needs to adapt, evolve, reinvent its sorry self. Adverts need to be part of pop culture, not just imitate or interrupt it.

Ads should not only entertain, they should have a POV, take a stand, make waves – say and do something unexpected.

Like the Dove Real Beauty campaign did. So, we’ve asked Ogilvy & Mather toppers Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk to share their insight in the form of a new marketing manifesto.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for TV

By Janet Kestin & Nancy Vonk, CCOs, Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto

* Last month Circuit City, the big U.S. electronics chain, announced that it was going to give away a free TiVo with every television purchased.

* According to The Economist (Aug. 5/04), consumer spending on media paid for through sales price or subscription has overtaken advertising as the main form of revenue for American media companies.

* And carefully planted word of mouth is kicking paid-for-media butt.

* So what will this new ‘my time, my terms’ consumer-driven world mean to that all-important arbiter of great ads – the awards show?

INTRODUCING THE 2010 CONNIES (Consumers’ Choice Awards)

JUDGES: Your mom, your dentist and anyone else with a wallet.

BEST STEALTH IDEA: Use of bacon clings on eggshells so every egg is a reminder. Advertiser: Biden’s Breakfast Pork.

MOST INGENIOUS USE OF FREQUENCY: Genetic modification of raccoons, which are now seen everywhere in Toronto, with the message ‘Wear fur. I do.’ Advertiser: People for Fur.

CLEVEREST NEW ADVERTISING COMPANY: NeurAd, for its development of a brainwave technique that allows advertising to go straight to the cerebral cortex without stopping at a television along the way.

BEST USE OF MEDIUM TO PUT ITSELF OUT OF BUSINESS: Television, for advertising personal video recorders resulting in viewers skipping all the commercials, and requiring the launch of the all ad channel which can only be received by subscription.

MOST INNOVATIVE AND BROAD-REACHING: Anti-Gravity Soccer, played on the moon, therefore seen by the entire globe in just two viewings. Talk about reach. Advertiser: Kicku Soccer Gear.

SERIOUSLY though, here are some Rules of Engagement to consider in the new ad world order…

Despite all the evidence that marketing must adapt to a changing reality, most of us still get our thrills from television. No wonder, since most of our shows still reward mainly television. Here are a few things to consider as we go into the brave new consumer-driven world:

1. Don’t just find the answer; find the right place for it. Insist on not doing a TV spot if the solution lies in a mind-blowing stunt plus PR. Witness the new Rethink bulletproof glass demo for 3M’s Scotchshield. (They filled a bus shelter with money, applied the film to the glass and invited people to break in. The stunt cost a paltry $6,000, and garnered many times that in free publicity.)

2. If a billboard campaign is the best way to get people talking, go there. (And remember, like Dove did, that sometimes the conversation is more important than the sales pitch.)

3. Embrace the event like Crispin Porter always does.

4. Avoid the pop-up and create a thoroughly unique, deeply

consumer-driven Web experience like Wong Doody did for Alaska Airlines.

Check out

5. Consider the blog.

6. The medium and the message have become virtually inseparable. So don’t just fight for the message, fight for the medium. The awards shows will catch up.