Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bring on 3-D thinking

Great article in Precison Marketing today:

Response rates to direct mail are plummeting. Everyone with Sky+ is fast forwarding through the ads. No-one under 20 watches TV at all, ever. People don’t even notice that newspapers carry ads any more, and posters have become mysteriously invisible to everyone but poster contractors and ad agencies.

Yes, as we we’ve all been saying the marketing landscape is changing. We’re all moving from push to pull, opting in, blah blah blah. You’ve read the Long Tail, and The Cluetrain Manifesto, or at least the first two chapters.

And the word of the year is engagement. I think I’ve heard it used more times in the last few days than Elizabeth Taylor’s close family ever did in her entire lifetime. Love or loathe the terminology, it’s true that we’re now in a world where we have to produce marketing that people actually want. It has to be entertaining, informative or helpful to get anywhere in this changing world.

This year’s PM Awards reflect this. The overall winner was an online idea, and there were less straight direct mail entries – but the winners all demonstrated ideas that capture the imagination. The great Bob Monkhouse prostate cancer campaign. A lovely neoprene postcard about surfing in Wales. All great because they leap out of their medium and, yes, engage you.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that ‘engagement’ doesn’t mean ditching the old media – but nowadays, it often means combining them in an interesting way. Then there’s this year’s overall winner, the Argos Big Jar. A great idea. Nearly half a million hits later, the campaign has demonstrated how genuine 3D thinking can make a difference.

Nowadays, the beauty of our business is that we’re needing to think outside the box, beyond execution into big ideas. It’s a bit like art in the old days, it always used to happen within a frame. That’s how Brian Sewell still wants it. But try telling that to Damian Hirst.

John Townshend, creative partner, Rapier

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