I was having a conversation the other day with someone who considers themselves an advertising expert. You see, that’s the funny thing about advertising. It’s one of those career genres that everyone considers themselves an expert. It’s very subjective, and if you have an opinion, well, you’re an expert. It was really enlightening, and I felt honored for the opportunity — especially because I’m just a lowly advertising professional.
Anyhoo, this “expert” was telling me about this great campaign he’d seen the other day for a mattress company. I was intrigued because I always thought “great mattress company campaign” was an oxymoron. But hey, I’ve been wrong before.
As the conversation continued, it didn’t take long for me to realize that he really didn’t understand the difference between an idea and a campaign. Makes sense. Unless you’re in the business, why would you?
You see, anyone can come up with an idea. Except for Nickelback, of course. (That’s another blog topic) Ideas are one-offs. They’re rebels. They don’t need to follow anything or anyone. They’re typically focused on just entertainment, and nothing else. That’s why they don’t build any equity.
Campaigns, on the other hand, are a little more tricky. They have a certain code they should follow. If an idea is just a single execution, a campaign’s DNA is the opposite. It’s an idea that’s executed multiple times through various marketing channels – centralized around one clear message.
One more time for emphasis: One clear message.
I repeat this because a great campaign by nature should be disruptive. If the messaging is clouded, the more vanilla it becomes. Whenever a message is concise, it has the chance to resonante. It gets people talking.
The VW Lemon campaign. Got Milk. Mac vs. PC. The messaging of these campaigns not only endeared themselves to the public, but they became a part of pop culture. They were smart, because the messaging clearly reflected the values of their brand.
Weaving these values into the messaging isn’t a piece of cake. But when you do it well, you have the opportunity to truly build a following. People begin an almost symbiotic relationship with their brands. They adopt their brands’ values.
This is the ultimate goal of every campaign.
Back in the golden days, a great campaign from DDB or Ogilvy consisted of consecutive tombstone advertising (Headline, photo, then copy). Today the landscape is much different.
Campaigns are continually trying new ways to infiltrate themselves into the public eye. Social media, radio, guerilla, events, etc. The list is and will always continue to grow. Especially since we’re now entering a time where VR and even drone usage are coming into play.
It’s an exciting time to be an advertising campaign.
But you probably already knew that. You’re an expert, right? Just kidding.