Q’s with…Mark Tutssel

The problem with TV, as Mark Tutssel sees it, isn't that people have lost the ability to watch spots, but that the industry has lost the ability to write them. That's what he told a group of Leo B'ers in Toronto last month for the network's quarterly Global Product Summit, which he says acts as the network's 'barometer of health.'

The problem with TV, as Mark Tutssel sees it, isn’t that people have lost the ability to watch spots, but that the industry has lost the ability to write them. That’s what he told a group of Leo B’ers in Toronto last month for the network’s quarterly Global Product Summit, which he says acts as the network’s ‘barometer of health.’

After his speech, ‘Life Beyond Live Action,’ he noted: ‘There were 25,000 commercials in North America last year. But I can’t think of a dozen good ads.’

His suggestion? Animate. Follow the entertainment biz, which has witnessed a surge of box-office-friendly animated films and a burgeoning popularity in video games. ‘Now more than ever, we must make our ads stand out, and I would argue that animation can help us do just that,’ he said.

How so? ‘It can make ideas more memorable and, more importantly, more engaging, allowing both the creator and viewer to use their imagination and indulge in a world of fantasy or exaggeration.’

Strategy caught up with Tutssel after his talk. The Leo B vet, who has been with the network for two decades, was ECD at its London office from 1999 to 2001. In those years it nabbed an impressive 135 major awards, including 15 Grand Prix, making it the top lauded shop in the world.

Why aren’t more ads entertaining?

Advertisers make the mistake of thinking consumers are interested in their product – they’re not. There needs to be an underpinning of the rational in advertising, but the best advertisers [realize] there needs to be room for courage and intuitive creativity to turn a rational argument into something powerful and engaging.

Sony [PlayStation], which won best advertiser at Cannes, always does amazing work. Ken Kutaragi, [president and group CEO] said that the biggest [challenge] is stopping himself from selling product. He said: ‘We’re selling the brand.’ That’s very media savvy.

What does it take to get it right?

Where most advertisers fail is in the execution of ideas – that’s what sorts the men from the boys. With Honda ‘Grrr,’ [image shown above] the ad has rewatchability. That’s the acid test of a great commercial.