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Four forces that have changed advertising forever New times have redefined what it means to be “creative” Ad agencies pride themselves on their creative prowess. But their definition of “creativity” has always been quite limited. To most ad agencies, creativity refers exclusively to novel combinations of images, copy and sound applied to print, outdoor, radio and TV. This is what wins awards, keeps fragile egos inflated and attracts clients who don’t know how else to judge an agency. The only flaw in the system is that an agency’s need for recognition from other agencies can eclipse the needs of the client. Agencies abuse their clients’ trust when they advise them to run campaigns that have dubious value to a client’s business, but are likely to win an award for the agency. And when these types of ads win awards, the business result for the client is always given short shrift, if it
were created solely for the purpose of winning awards. The credit for this crisis of conscience doesn’t fall on the ad industry. It was a matter of survival for the industry born of four factors: Evaporating advertising budgets Advertising budgets are down for the count. What’s left is being re-allocated with much more dedicated to online activities. Clients around the world are expecting more results with less spending.
This tourism ad disguised as a want-ad generated $100,000,000 worth of exposure on a $1,200,000 budget.
is mentioned at all. This is not to say you can’t be entertaining and solve real marketing problems at the same time, you can, but curiously this has never been a requirement in assessing what is a “great ad.” If recent statements from the ad in-
dustry’s two most prestigious awards, Cannes Lions and The One Show, are any indication, the era of agency self-indulgence seems to be coming to a rather abrupt close. Both shows have said that, as of this year, they will stop rewarding campaigns that
An indomitable media environment Media strategy used to be pretty simple until long-tail media options both on- and offline spread target groups paper thin. Monolythic blocks of eyeballs are gone. And most agencies are still scrambling to find effective online media strategies. Continued on page 7 >>>>>>>
Brand Rants voted among world’s top marketing blogs
Rewarding creativity at independent agencies
Readers have submitted and voted for Brand Rants at The Daily Reviewer. They compiled an exclusive list of the Top 100 Marketing Blogs. According to the site: “The Daily Reviewer selects only the world’s top blogs (and RSS feeds). We sift through thousands of blogs daily to present you the world’s best writers. The blogs that we include are authoritative on their respective niche topics and are widely read. To be included in The Daily Reviewer is a mark of excellence.” “Considering there are around 200 million blogs on the inter-
net today, I’m pleased,” said brand ranter Sean Duffy. Thanks to all our readers. Check out www.brandrants.com
Creating great advertising is always a challenge. And there’s no more challenging place to create great work than at a small- or medium-sized independent agency. You’ve got clients with modest budgets and low risk tolerance, allowing little breathing room for innovative ideas to take shape. The TAAN Titans are a tribute to the persevering men and woman in the creative departments of TAAN’s global network of select independent agencies passionate about creating great work.
honest shade An of green
of MIcrosoft Head weighs in at Cannes
Brands going global are better off with a local agency 8
Steve Ballmer predicts the future of advertising 6
2009 20 00 09 THE TITAN AWARDS
Continued on page 4 >>>>>>>
has (finally) landed App-vertising
The new advertising in your customers’ pockets 6
2 AGENCY REVIEW
NEWS PUEBLA, MEXICO
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
Found: The Holy Grail of Advertising
n this issue of the Tribune, you’ll notice a lot of talk about change. Digital and environmentally-driven change in consumer behavior is redefining what it means to market a product. It is also changing what it means to be an “advertising agency.”
For a decade, ad industry pundits have been telling us that the traditional advertising agency model is out of step with reality and needs to be reinvented: the way agencies are organized and managed; the way we work and bill; our skill sets and competencies. As an agency owner, I too have been in search of this elusive new model. During that journey, The Duffy Agency has been in a mode of rapid evolution since 2001. And after 8 years of agency soul-searching, I’m happy to say we have found the new agency model. I can define it in one word: evolution. Our quest for the model has become the model. What took so long? Ad agencies have been looking for the wrong thing. For decades, consumer behavior and media channels were relatively static. Stability was taken for granted and in a stable environment there is one optimal static model. However, consumer behavior and media channels have been undergoing rapid change since 2000. In this dynamic environment, the ability to adapt and remain relevant is the model. In our case, we have adopted a dynamic agency model based on adaptability, agility and relevance. This model takes change for granted and is built to thrive on it. The next job is to try to help CMOs and CEOs embrace change in their approach to marketing as well. I just hope that it doesn’t take 8 years.
The Digital DJ
Carlos brings his social media savvy to The Duffy Agency A life filled with endless sunny days and margaritas on the beach was laid out nicely before Carlos. But when he got his feet wet in social media marketing, he dove in all the way and ended up in Sweden. Turns out it was just the place he needed to be. Carlos soon discovered that The Duffy Agency shared his vision of social media as the brave new world of marketing and was welcomed aboard. His first initiative was to commandeer the sound system and invigorate the agency with cool Latin beats. Carlos brings his passion for music with him everywhere he goes. But we didn’t hire him just to blend digital tunes to a fine balance. He also helps our clients find the right balance of social media action to jump into out there in cyberspace. With a depth of knowledge on the latest happenings in online marketing, and experience
Rapid Fire Interview with Carlos Who was your childhood hero? Mi abuelo (my grandpa) Who would play you in a film? Elvis Presley What song are you playing on Spotify right now? Ryskee - Leave Me Amor
Sean Duffy firstname.lastname@example.org www.brandrants.com
helping clients take advantage of them, Carlos knows how to put together an effective plan for making noise and building excitement for brands online. Beyond his endless supply of enthusiasm for the social revolution, Carlos has his experience in marketing and public relations to rely on. At the ad agency Vayamex in Mexico, Carlos designed ads and purchased ad space, while at The Kool Beach Club he was responsible for public relations and creating strategies to make the club the hottest place to be. As The Duffy Agency’s unofficial digital DJ, he’s turned the office into a happening place to hang out, pumping the premises full of smooth rhythms on a daily basis. So if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by, chill out and have a chat with Carlos about social media and how you can use it to remix your marketing strategy.
What website do you visit most often? Abduzeedo Graphic Design
Name three things you can’t live without. Music, chili and the Internet What do you miss most from Mexico? My best friend, my family, the weather, the food and the beaches Does your mother have a special nickname for you? Mi Nene (my little boy)
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
Independent thinking among global brands Digital music nirvana More brands going global are picking independent agencies for strategic and creative solutions
As this issue of The Tribune goes to press, we will have just launched a new consumer brand across seven countries for one of the world’s largest marketers. The campaign includes TV spots, print ads, websites and collateral in seven languages. It is exceptional – not only for its execution, but also for the client’s choice of an independent ad agency to run it. Independent agencies around the world are getting increasingly involved in creating strategic and creative work that travels beyond the borders of their country. More independent agency heads are coming to the realization that if they partner with other likeminded agencies, they can not only successfully compete with the Goliaths and win, they can also provide better value to clients. This has led to the rise of the phenomenon of the independent agency network. But a network doesn’t just give an independent agency reach. With networks like TAAN that we’ve been part of since 2001, it also provides more efficient knowledge-sharing. TAAN members meet twice a year to share insights, experiences and expertise. With the
We have a confession to make – we’re having a steamy love affair with Spotify. The new music application makes all our favorite tunes more accessible than ever. To spread our love of music, we suggest one album every day that might have slipped under your radar. Discover your new favorite band by becoming a fan of The Duffy Agency on Facebook or following us on Twitter.
The 5 most popular Albums-of-the-day
Nimble, breakthrough and different – the independent agency’s secret weapon.
media landscape changing rapidly and new advancements in Internet marketing and social media happening daily, this model has become increasingly relevant to clients. A smaller independent agency, by its very nature, possesses the nimble feet it takes to successfully navigate these changes. And when several such agencies join forces to form a network, they may be able to provide better value to their clients than the old-fashioned, multi-national conglomerates.
While big network agencies are still indulging in a bit of soul-searching to figure out the ‘new agency’ model, the independent agency networks like TAAN are already doing it. So if you think agency size matters in creating an effective global campaign, think again. And if you don’t have the war chest you think you need to market your brand across borders, reconsider that as well. A little independent agency teamwork can go a long way.
2. 3. 4. 5.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Phoenix Mike Snow Mike Snow Every Room On Every Floor Kojak The Garden Zero 7 Homeland Security Nature of the Beast
What’s lost in translation is found in adaptation When software developer Purple Scout decided to go global, they needed the Swedish copy on their website to turn into English. So they did the most logical thing: they contacted an advertising agency. That may not seem like the most obvious decision at first glance, as one usually thinks translator in these situations. But with the website being their primary point of contact with potential clients, Purple Scout understood that delivering the full force of their message was vital to their success. And they understood that delivering their message to a new audience would take more than simply moving words from one language
to another. There’s nothing wrong with translators – in other situations they’re perfect for the job. But they will drain the motivational power out of your marketing message. And that moti-
A translator isn’t “concerned with what makes readers tick. But that’s the core focus of an adaptor.
vational message is something you’ve spent a great deal of time and money crafting. That process probably included defining your target, getting
into their heads to discover what they value and coming up with a creative execution to generate demand. A translator isn’t concerned with what makes your customers tick. But that’s the core focus of an adaptor. Their job is to understand your goals and why they matter to the reader. They take your core idea and find the right way to say it in the new language. And sometimes the way it’s said is quite different, on the surface at least, than what you said in the original work. We’ve all seen the humorous examples of translated marketing gone wrong. Pepsi famously launched in China with a slogan that originally
read “Come alive with the Pepsi generation,” but locally meant “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.” But the real danger is much more subtle. It’s more likely you’ll spend your time and money on something that looks and sounds pretty good, but ultimately falls flat with the target and fails to achieve your business goals. Having a client knock on our door already understanding all of this was a real pleasure. Being on the same page made the process run smoothly and the results satisfying to all involved. Their message was delivered as effectively as ever, and no ancestors were insulted in the process.
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
Rewarding creativity at Phenomenal response for the first ever TAAN Titan Awards held in Copenhagen
(cont. from page 1) The inaugural TAAN Titan Awards were held in Copenhagen on the 2nd of May, 2009. The show received an unprecedented 420 entries across TV, Print, Radio, Outdoor, Digital, Events and Promotions. The six members of the international jury – eminent members of the adver-
A public service TV commercial discouraging people from indiscriminate drinking wins a trophy. Cheers, ENNEMM, Iceland.
tising and marketing fraternity from Australia, Singapore, India, the UK and the US – had a grueling time judging the work. But in the end, the results were worth it. The show saw 126 entries – campaigns and single pieces – being recognized as Merit Winners and 36 very deserving pieces ending up as
Trophy Winners. The awards were presented by Fredrik Svedjetun, editor and publisher of Dagens Media – Sweden’s premier business publication on advertising, marketing and media. Take a look at some of the winning work on this page and see them all at www.titanawards.com/winners.
A business to business TV spot from Mobium Creative Group for Time Warner Cable Business Class.
Pitching luxury bedding using a virgin’s dreamlike figment of imagination. Vandekerckhove and Devos, N.V., Belgium took home a trophy for this stunning fantasy visual.
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
No good deed goes unrewarded. Charleston/Orwig, Inc., USA gets theirs for a pro bono poster for Infancy International.
One of the numerous pieces of work from a campaign for Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill that translates into a trophy on Push, USA’s award shelf.
Recreating the Sydney Opera House using dinner plates to advertise the Outback Steakhouse deservingly wins a trophy for OpusMultipla Comunicacao Integrada S/A.
The Duffy Agency’s outdoor poster for Malmo Maulers, an Aussie Rules Football Club in Sweden, nets a trophy.
Part of a campaign created by THE PARTNER to promote Hesperia Hotel’s new wedding services.
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
Head of Microsoft weighs in at Cannes festival Steve Ballmer predicts the future of advertising
ccording to Steve Ballmer, there is a new world online that marketers will either have to adapt to or perish offline. What does the CEO of Microsoft know about advertising? Plenty. In addition to buying $500 million in advertising each year, Microsoft also sells in excess of $2 billion in advertising itself. Speaking at the 2009 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival in France, Steve Ballmer painted a picture of the brave new world he envisions: A world where content is king and where all content will share these six characteristics: 1. All content will be digital. Say goodbye to your morning paper. Within ten years, we’ll all be consuming the printed world on paper-thin Kindlelike devices. 2. All content will be social. Consumers will expect to be able to collaborate, rate and share whatever they read or view on the web. 3. All content will be interactive. They’ll also expect to be able to participate with content, from commenting on it to creating part of it themselves. 4. All content will be integrated. Today, text, images, video and sound are all delivered through different me-
Ballmer on the recession that never was When asked to gaze into his crystal ball and predict the course of the recession, Ballmer said: “I don’t think we’re in a recession.” He characterized the current economic situation as a global reset. “The word recession implies a recovery. And for planning purposes, I don’t assume there dia. This will give way to a digital era where content will be presented in a mix of media types. 5. All content will be relevant. That’s because people will pull the content they want and will no longer have content pushed onto them. 6. All content will be multi-device. It
is a recovery.“ Ballmer said he believes the world’s economy has been reset at a new lower level and will eventually begin to grow from this level. He said he does not believe there will be a recovery where the economy rebounds back to previous levels and then grows from there. will coexist on big, medium and small screens (TV, PC and phone) and be optimized for each. He went on to emphasize the importance of relevance. Consumers will not tolerate content that is not relevant to them personally, and to their individual needs at the moment they are
viewing a page. Every ad will need to make sense in the context of that page where it appears and not just be seen as an interruption to the flow of content. Right now, sites like Google are among the few that can pull this off. That’s why Ballmer feels Google is one of the only companies making money with advertising online. “One thing to learn from search: It is the one place where the ads are always relevant and are welcome into the search experience. That’s not true of the rest of the Internet.” So these six rules of content are not just for today’s publishers. They are for advertisers as well. Because in a pull world, advertisers will be content providers. This may be the only way to ensure that their advertising message appears in a context that is 100% relevant to both their consumers and their product. And the most important development on the horizon? User interface. “The way we interact with these machines is going to change dramatically,” said Ballmer, citing advances in voice recognition, natural language technology, video recognition, vision and gesture recognition which will make the machine/human interface more human and less mechanical. “More natural user interface will be the biggest thing over the next ten years.”
App-vertising has (finally) landed The new advertising frontier is inside your customers’ pockets Imagine engaging with your customers through a device they have with them and switched on 24/7. Marketing through mobile applications has been a tantalizing concept to clients and admen for a decade, but has never been quite viable enough for most to dive into. Not until the iPhone changed everything, that is. In less than one year, Apple’s App Store chalked up 1.5 billion downloads. And that number doesn’t include the downloads from the app stores of BlackBerry, Google Android, Microsoft and many
others. Marketers around the world have caught the fever too – the mobile advertising market is predicted to grow from the $700 million of 2008 to $7.2 billion by 2012. It’s a tremendous opportunity but, as always, putting yourself out there isn’t enough. Without a relevant and disruptive idea, your target won’t care. It’s a fine line to walk. What seems fun and interesting to you may be tiresome and annoying to your target – and
many consumers are inherently resentful of advertisers trying to horn in on their mobile phones to begin with. With thousands of other apps to choose from, you won’t find any tolerance for fluff. But with one great idea, you can get tremendous exposure for little investment. Tylenol recently came up with just such a great idea in their Tylenol PM Sleep Tracker. Users struggling to get a good night’s rest track and analyze their sleeping patterns, add notes and receive tips. The applica-
tion racked up thousands of downloads within weeks of its release. By giving users a relevant tool, the number of downloads continued to grow organically. Sometimes simpler is better. Zippo’s Virtual Lighter app puts a digital lighter on your iPhone that responds to the phone’s movement. It was a major success on both sides of the Atlantic, netting more than 5 million downloads and revitalizing a classic brand. There will be more than 58 million people with iPhones by the end of the year. The market is burgeoning and hungry for more great apps. If you’re as excited by the opportunities unfolding as we are, we’d love to discuss how your brand can deliver the next great idea.
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
Four forces that have changed advertising forever New times have redefined what it means to be “creative”
“Effective” is the new “Disruptive”
(cont. from page 1) New Consumers It’s not just that consumers are spending more time online that has shaken the apple cart. It’s that technology has empowered them to choose how they are willing to be addressed by brands. Seth Godin predicted it in 1999 with Permission Marketing. Disruption as a model is being replaced with engagement, facilitation and relevance. Welcome to the information age.
The biggest award at this year’s Cannes Lion, the Titanium and Integrated Lions, went to a campaign that was created without the help of an ad agency at all. It was conceived and created by the slightly geeky, incredibly competent political advisor, David Plouffe, and a team of volunteers. It had no special effects, no amazing imagery, not even a clever headline. In fact, any one piece of Barack Obama’s campaign on its own could be accurately described as mundane. But the sum of these pieces was a campaign that was as original, bold and creative as any. This is to say nothing of its historic effectiveness.
Omnipresent measurability via web analytics Remember the days when there was only reach and frequency? Say hello to a new world where hundreds of metrics are measured in real-time. No more long-winded soliloquies from agency Creative Directors. You now have Google Analytics to tell you what’s hot and what’s not. These four forces are changing the fundamental nature of the advertising business – for the better. Today, agencies are being forced into accountability, like it or not. They are being forced to provide consumer insights and real strategic business solutions. And they are being forced to display creativity in every aspect of the business, not just with their words and images. These are things agencies have been claiming for decades, but have never really delivered on. The most persuasive evidence to support this argument are this year’s winners at Cannes. We saw several exceptionally novel, creative and exciting ad campaigns with nary a shocking visual or rib-splitting headline in sight. They won on their innovation, the brilliance of the concept, the skill with which they were executed, and the business result they provided for the client (see sidebar). It’s not the first time Cannes judges have awarded “big idea” campaigns like this. But the dominance of this type of campaign at this year’s Cannes Lions signals a tipping point in the marketing industry that raises the bar for ad agencies around the
world. These campaigns show a level of maturity, restraint and insight that is new to advertising. They were insightful campaigns that were created to appeal to their target audience, not other ad agencies – and they have the results to prove it. This shift has many critics, almost all of them ad agency creatives. They argue that effectiveness has no place at The One Show or Cannes Lions. They say if they want to see effective ads, they’ll attend the Effie Awards (“Effie” is short for “Effectiveness”), an award show that judges campaigns based on results. It is not surprising that the Effies have always been the object of open condescension by generations of creatives marinated in an ad culture that is phobic about measurement and resigned to the fact that an ad cannot be both “creative” and effective. The critics are quick to point out that the copy and art direction among
this year’s winners were drab despite their being highly effective. It begs the question, “Drab by whose standards?” It’s obvious that the target market either didn’t think so, or didn’t care, based on the results these campaigns produced. Could this year’s winners have generated even more spectacular results with “better” art direction or copywriting? That is completely up to the critics to prove with the work they submit to next year’s competition. Will this trend stick once the economy bounces back? Most likely. Because, even if budgets bounce back, agencies and clients still have to adapt to a PULL-driven market where it is increasingly difficult to own the media and avoid the scrutiny of increasingly sophisticated analytics. In the final analysis, the real winners at Cannes this year were clients who can expect more value returned from their advertising investment.
The other big winner was a global recruitment ad campaign with a total budget of $1.2 million US. The lackluster headline on the small black and white classified ad simply read, “The Best Job in the World,” followed by a routine job description. What made this extraordinary was that it was a tourism campaign. The job being advertised was a six month stint acting as caretaker on a tropical island in the Great Barrier Reef for $120,000 US. To apply, you just needed to submit a video to YouTube. As you might imagine, news of this job opening spread like wildfire across the Internet. 35,000 applicants uploaded 610 hours of YouTube video. In the first 56 days, the campaign website logged about 7 million unique visitors and 50 million page views, with the average visitor staying for 8.62 minutes. Every major news network around the globe covered the story, generating over $100,000,000 US in additional free exposure across traditional media as well. Again, no pimped execution – just a brilliantly creative business idea in perfect harmony with its execution. The times they are a changin’.
THE DUFFY TRIBUNE AUTUMN 2009
An honest shade of green How to come across as an environmentally-friendly company, but only if you really are one
he last few years have seen an increase in environmental awareness among consumers. More and more people are opting for ecofriendly labels and there’s been a huge surge in demand for everything clean and green – from transport to technology to clothes to cosmetics. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that great rewards await companies who either offer environmentally-friendly products and services or have green business practices. This has led to an increasing number of companies and brands approaching The Duffy Agency for help showing off their green side. Now while some of these brands are genuinely green, there are plenty of others out there who brazenly claim green credentials. “Look at me, I’m green. Buy me, and you will reverse global warming, improve air quality and save the tropical rainforests,” they say. Consumers, of course, are not morons. Their radar can pick up and tune out messages that sound like exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims. So much so that there’s a term coined precisely for this: greenwashing. So why is greenwashing such a tantalizing temptation that’s difficult to pass up for most brands? It’s like this: Demand for environmentally-friendly products is continuously rising, and this is not just confined to developed countries. National Geographic and Globescan’s 2009 Greendex, whose Internet poll surveyed consumers in 17 countries including Hungary, India and Mexico, found a rise in environmentally-friendly consumer be-
Greenpeace uses four criteria to identify greenwash Dirty business Communicating an environmental initiative when the core business is unsustainable. Ad bluster Using advertising to exaggerate environmental benefits, spending more on the campaign than the actual initiative. Political spin Communicating environmental commitments while lobbying against environmental laws and regulations.
GM’s campaign to promote itself as green prompted these activists to go on YouTube and point out the campaign’s obvious contradictions.
havior around the world. This demand has led to more and more manufacturers introducing environmentallyfriendly products into the market. And this demand continues despite the economic downturn. So you’ll appreciate why being green is suddenly the new black. Now if only some companies spent the same amount of time and money on improving their processes and the ways they do business as they do on portraying themselves as environmentally-friendly, they might make a real difference. But they continue with their indiscriminate greenwashing without realizing that, in the long run, it can really hurt their brand. Consumers can boycott it. Green activists can run negative campaigns about it. And regulators can impose restrictions and
huge penalties by way of fines if they discover a deceptive claim. Greenpeace has a website dedicated exclusively to exposing greenwash – stopgreenwash.org. The site educates consumers about greenwash, its symptoms and causes, and invites viewers to post and discuss their own greenwash examples. The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) exposes allegedly guilty corporations like GM, WalMart and Mattel every week with their Greenwash of the Week video (see them all at www. youtube.com/user/RANVideo). There’s no denying that companies have a responsibility towards the environment and can help in resolving some of the toughest environmental challenges the planet faces today. But instead of just talking the talk, they must first walk the walk. And not just
It’s the law, stupid! Communicating environmental achievements that are required by law anyway. with baby steps. The need of the hour calls for giant strides. Because the illusion of being green is not the same as being genuinely green. To be credible, you need to consider, not just your CSR approach, but practices throughout the entire company, including the real impact your products have on the environment, your recycling policy and the energy efficiency of, not just your factories, but your offices as well. It’s not what you say or how you say it, it’s what you actually do.
Is your company going green? We can help you. Sustainably.
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Call us now for a no-obligation credentials and case-study presentation. If you would like to inquire about advertising, a WebPOP™ positioning strategy or having us speak at your next event: Call Grant Adams at (+46) 40 123 451 or email him at email@example.com