Turn your Creative into a Strategic activation


Turn your Creative into a Strategic activation. Today I will argue that although we all love to comment and criticize advertising (don’t we?) when we take the role of business owners, agency, marketers in companies and startups, we don’t give space to excellent and Strategically positioned (Ideas) Creative.

Turn your Creative into a Strategic activation

So, Alexa lost her voice. Why on earth, Amazon would need this Superbowl 2018 ad? Just because the full-blown US audience was there, connected? Did it want to posture as a Leader in the global audience? (true, no matter how many brands (Chinese, EU, startups) will follow, they will only be an Alexa-like offering). Did it want to educate us on how voice assistants will disrupt our lives (the humour always helps for Brand and ad recall)? Alexa ad ‘conquers’ a territory.

This is the first and most basic lesson on Advertising and Creative that aims to position a brand and mark the industry segment this brand operates (and conquers). Is it complicated? Is it naive for you? But can you tell a Creative idea that you recently saw in your local market, that does such a simple thing, that is “…conquer a territory and lead“?

Bonus track: after Alexa watch Ellen’s Virtual assistants’ response (either an own initiative or a nice sponsored deal).

Surprise me with a Movie trailer, which isn’t a movie

In the 8″ narrow web attention span, you need to win. If you search for the old-logic TV ads for Tourism destinations (Egypt, Greece, Turkey etc), their “recipe” is the same for years: hot sun, inviting seas and beaches, and good food. Haven’t you seen thousands of these?

Why on earth did Australia create a tourism film that the viewer thinks it’s a Movie trailer? Because the Australian NTO is smart and their agency strategic: “It’s a country, not a movie”. A story, known faces, and a plot and filming of a movie trailer. Mixing the influencer Chris Hemsworth and the ‘brand name’ Crocodile Dundee, the iconic Australian franchise.

If you want supporters, be true and original

To be original, most of the times, you should disposition and go against a prevailing insight, something that most people follow, even if they have never thought about it.

The advertising industry has always contributed to a sexist culture, creating stereotypes like the “perfect mother” and the “sexy beer girl”. The usual cliche for women in advertisements is that they clean, they cook, they offer beers like inviting you to an adventure (always nodding to the masculine target-audience).

Here’s an ad that uses with a great creative “recipe” (start with what is commonly believed + reminding visually the issue (in our case the woman’s inferior (advertising) role) + present a new position) which always works and gains supporters.

Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.

Bill Bernbach

Even a price promotion advertisement can be elevated

Creatives thought about it: any price promotion is a pack-shot tag that has a big, bold % number. Isn’t it boring though? Yes, very boring. How can you show leadership, and through a story create a nice platform to use over social media and own channels? Here’s the example of Sprint.

I’m sure you have been exposed to many price promotions (that don’t work, because you think you’ll remember them). Sprint uses Evelyn’s AI, and a bit of the “Westworld” series’ mystery, to make a plain-simple price promotion to be the result of automated (robot) calculations. Nice? Why don’t we see more like these? No answer…

The way Brands communicate has changed, but not for all…

In 2013, the Dollar Shave Club became viral cracking the US and UK markets, going against Gillette and other razor companies. The mail-order razor company’s success stemmed from the brilliant YouTube video and the business success led to a $1 billion buyout by Unilever. It was a startup. Nothing to do with tech. Simple idea: disrupt the men’s routine behaviour of buying razors.

Now part of the multinational conglomerate, Dollar Shave Club’s advertising is taking a more traditional route. Killing ideas? Is this what big legacy companies do? “Be on the safe side,” they tell you. “Do it like before,” …doing backward steps.

The media (big) budget isn’t ruling anymore

20 years ago, any well-articulated Brand was pushing 4 content pieces per year: the main new product of the year, 1-2 promotions and a cut-version. According to former PepsiCo president, Brad Jakeman, nowadays, Brands are pushing up to 4.000 pieces of content.

20 years ago, in Advertising everything was simpler: any campaign’s success depended on securing the right media placement and having enough (big) budget. 80% media and 20% production cost more or less. But why on earth, still, Advertisers behave with practices of 20 years ago? Why don’t they learn from the BBH’s new Audi work on Facebook, the “Seriously silly”?

The over-production of Content leads to boring (and ‘crap’)

It can be so boring sometimes…

…or even more boring (with abbreviations and things the audience can’t read!!!) than you would expect (again spotted by @Dr_Draper):

The traditional agency and media model remain relevant for producing and launching big TV campaigns (mostly for awareness and scale purposes). But creating and managing dynamic, everyday ad content (for hundreds of touchpoints) is often left to in-house marketing teams, who are typically under-resourced and lack the skills to produce successful content efficiently.

You can say, it’s logical since advertisers now have access to a vastly increased number of ways to reach specific customers. But while data might be your new way into insights and information, Creativity and bold Ideas will become even more important that before …and a scarce ‘virtue’.

Supercharge your creative production

Your advertising content production should also be an ongoing process that, with help from the new breed of innovative creative technology platforms, responds to how audiences receive your messages. Make creative and media equal partners in driving your strategy and you’ll deliver better results for your business.

Then, search for stories that create an experience. A now-legendary example of brand storytelling is the Dove “Real Beauty” promotional campaign, originally launched in 2003. It features “real” women, as opposed to models, to inspire us to think about every woman as beautiful, no matter her age, race, size or occupation. One ad, Sketches, features women describing their faces and the faces of others to an unseen sketch artist, revealing the gap between negative self-perception and the more positive perceptions of others.

According to an article in Harvard Business Review, seeing a character-driven story makes us more empathetic. We neurologically connect with stories, and their messages then connect with us.

As Adweek puts it, “Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ is one of those legendary campaigns that changed everything, not just for the Unilever brand but for the category and, indeed, the industry as a whole — helping to usher in an era when brands could be more honest about the artifice of messaging, and become more real and relevant to consumers.”


We are in search of Creative ideas that ignite dialogue, preference and engagement (true engagement…). We are in a scarcity of Creative talent. We are in search of agencies contributing real value and going deep in the Insights’ world. We are in desperate need of Advertisers that want to make a real change in impact and creating empathy with audiences (not simply promoting commoditized ‘quick-and-dirty’ posts). That’s where the magic of brand storytelling exists.

That’s where you will find growth again…

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