Yesterday we began a 4-part series called The Age of the Complicator. This is Part 2.
The art of advertising is really quite simple: Find something that makes your product seem more appealing than the other guy's and find an interesting way to communicate it.
Put a straightforward idea like this into the hands of today's advertising professional, however, and he will quickly turn it into a dog's breakfast. You'll wind up with planners and analysts and strategists and managers and global chief something-or-others of all types.
A process will soon develop. The process will consist of meetings and briefings and presentations and downloads and uploads. Anathema to the process will be sitting and thinking.
Something that should take a day and a half will take two months. But that's okay. The hours are billable.
Every now and then, as a byproduct of all this activity, an ad will appear somewhere.
When the ad appears, it won't actually be about the product. It will be about the "lifestyle" of the user. Or about what the product means in the emotional make-up of the user. Or, maybe, it won't be an ad at all. Maybe it will be a "conversation" pretending not to be about the product.
Where's the logic in all this?
You see, the more complicated the process, the more powerful we ad people are. If advertising is just about finding something appealing and communicating it...well, anyone can do that, right?
But if advertising is about the mysterious workings of the consumer's mind, and the arcane elements of cognition, well, now we've got ourselves a nice little business.
So we can't afford to have just one smart person sitting around trying to figure out an interesting way to make a product more appealing. We need to surround her with planners and analysts and strategists and managers and global chief something-or-others of all types.
Advertising is the only sport on the planet in which 20% of the team are players and 80% are equipment managers.
This series continues later this week with Part 3. In it we describe why "advertising has become so complicated, and we are so confused, we don't even know what we're trying to do."