30 July 2008

The Prepared Mind

Responding to our bank of "Insights and stimulus from everywhere" Amudham Balakrishnan, Fortune, Mumbai finds something he feels he may use in an ad one day.

Any Male in Sight? 3

Jayanarayan, JWT Bangalore, shares something he read on "Why men don't write advice columns..."
Here is why.
Dear Walter:
I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt.
I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady. Iam 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years.
When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore.
Can you please help?
Mrs... Sheila Usk

Dear Sheila:
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.
I hope this helps.

Here's a commercial that has captured this sentiment in a different way!

23 July 2008

JWT celebrates 40 Years of Account Planning in London/Campaign UK Report

40 Years of Planning, Campaign, by Suzanne Bidlake , July 16, 2008
JWT hosts an evening marking the 40th anniversary of planning and looking forward to what the future holds for the discipline.
As the sun went down on July 15, a 130-strong crowd gathered under a tee-pee on a roof-terrace overlooking Harrods to give praise - to account planning.
The ruby-themed event at JWT's Knightsbridge HQ was to celebrate the birth of account planning at the agency, exactly 40 years ago to the day, under the aegis of the legendary Stephen King.
A stellar line-up of speakers entertained, informed and bamboozled an audience that included Martin Boase, one of the founding fathers of the discipline, and clients such as Philip Almond, the European marketing director of Diageo, and Simon Clift, Unilever's global marketing chief.

Speakers Jeremy Bullmore, Jon Steel, John Grant and Guy Murphy, JWT's worldwide director of planning, paid homage to King and called for planners to look to the past for answers to the future.

Constant themes were the need for more old-fashioned rigour in fact-finding and data-mining (not just "being cool and smart and hanging out with the creative department") and also for more ambitious target-setting.

Planners were variously urged to get angry, to shake up clients' obsession with short-termism, to find a big theme and to continuously get under the skin of different cultures.

JWT chief executive Alison Burns painted a picture of planners as weird, dull, bookish guy-without-a girl types in her introduction to the evening. They are the navigators of the plane piloted by the account managers, she said. Rarely adequately recognised, they come into their own when things go wrong - landing the plane on just one engine and one wheel - and still the pilot all too often gets the glory (and the girl).

Yesterday evening was different. It celebrated their contribution and attempted to shed a light on how planning would live its next 40 years.

Here's a sample of wisdom imparted.

Jeremy Bullmore, non-executive director, WPP
Bullmore's talk was entitled, "In praise of antimonies", partly to show off, he admitted. "It's quite a long word, not many of you know what it means, and I do," he said, setting the tone for his talk, delivered with comedic timing throughout.

The main thrust of his argument was that there must be some antinomy, some conflict, between the planning and creative functions for great ideas to flourish.

He talked at length about planners' post-rationalisation when being shown an idea by two "under-educated" types in black t-shirts.

In real-life, "a client might be asked to spend 35 million pounds on, let's say, an animated vampire duck, on the sole basis that someone in a black t-shirt tells them it is pushing the creative envelope," he said. "I have yet to meet one who will. And this is not a reflection of their cowardice. Post-rationalisation is not only respectable but absolutely essential."

In a planning world inhabited by "ad tweakers", performing elegant pirouettes rarely troubled by a fact, and "grand strategists" who crush people to death with PowerPoint presentations, planners in the future need to find a middle ground that embraces both approaches, Bullmore said.

In a later Q&A session, Bullmore said that marketing was more necessary than ever to combat the harmful consequences of excessive consumerism. "We have never been in greater need of good marketing than now," he said. "But it won't all be for crisps."

Jon Steel, WPP's advertising strategist
The promise of planning is really tested in existing business, not new business, Steel said. "In the absence of great creative, planning will never make the work better," he suggested, adding that great planning requires "hard work and information."

"I lament the amount of grounding I see in a lot of creative and planning today," he added.

Changes in clients' world had also contributed to the situation, he argued. Short tenure of chief marketing officers (an average of two years in the US) meant "doing the right thing is not as important as doing something" to them.

Also, the term procurement used to conjure up images of illicit night-time activities. "Now it's a constant day-time word," he said, "and no damn fun at all."

Steel called for anger and energy among planners to "change the disappointing marketing status quo".

"Who is really setting big, hairy, audacious goals?" he challenged. "We need to be more ambitious in our targets."

Planners can spend hours debating how many of them can fit on the head of a pin and whether Paul Feldwick can pass through the eye of a needle, he said. His answers, given as an aside, were "not many and no".

But the chief role of planning, he reminded the audience, is to help clients set the right objectives for their brands and businesses. "To move forwards, we need to look backwards," he suggested. If planners were merely "cool", "we should fire them", he said. Similarly, those who are not good with numbers and can't do quantitative research should meet the same fate.

"The fundamentals of planning may not sometimes be very interesting but planners and planning ignore them at their peril," he warned.

John Grant, marketing consultant

Thanking the god of fashion that he'd put on a white t-shirt rather than black under his cream linen suit, Grant talked at pace, without notes, charting the life-cycle of brands and relating them to planning. Perhaps, at 40, the discipline is in the throes of a mid-life crisis, he mused.

Taking the brand Brad Pitt as an example, he reeled through the life-cycle stages: who's Brad Pitt?; get me Brad Pitt; get me Brad Pitt for less money; get me the new Brad Pitt, and who's Brad Pitt?

He wondered whether the trend for "fast strategy" meant that planning had reached the "get me planning for less money" stage.

At 40, he said, we can go one of two ways. One is stagnation, in which we become smaller versions of ourselves, repeating the same old arguments. The other is generativity, in which we start believing in something more important than who we are and what we stand for.

Grant has identified sustainability as his personal generative issue and has thrown himself into it for a book on the subject.

But planning needs to find its own generative question, he said. It may be about the future model of the agency. "Saving the ad agency might be your generative thing," he suggested. "Let's look for the bigger space and the generative issue."

Guy Murphy on planning on global brands

Murphy said King would have wanted to remind planners that they are in the business of "helping clients make more money from their money".

But are we so obsessed with new media that we are creating "bits, not brands?" Murphy asked.

Geographic expansion into regions where prospects are huge, with the opportunity to spread risk, makes an irresistible cocktail. "This is marketing's mojito," he said. "It's a chapter of planning yet to be written and we must pioneer it."

The onus is on culture-neutral brand ideas, capable of flexing around the world and based in human truth, he said. This would contrast with a lazy carving up of the world to reflect client structures.

The new-style planners JWT wants to recruit can be likened to piranhas, he said. They are likely to come from places other than the UK and US (combating idea racism) and their multi-cultural experience will mean they will be more creative than the generation before them.

"How long will it be," he asked, "before Cannes consistently awards the Grand Prix to global campaigns?"

To read readily dowloaded pdfs www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in
To view the speeches, http://www.planningbeginsat40.com/.

JWT Atticus Winners 2008

See some more JWT Atticus winners here

Thayalan Bartlett, JWT Sri Lanka on Branding in Turbulent Times.


“Thought Catcher: Moensie’s Blog on Brands and Digital Culture”

01 July 2008

Book Review: Aparna Jain, JWT Planning, Kolkata

We are like that only: understanding the logic of Consumer India
By Rama Bijapurkar

From one of India’s most respected thought leaders on market strategy and consumer behaviour, this book outlines the reasons behind the seeming contradictions in India’s consumption pattern. While India is undeniably an important future growth market of the world, is young and is just beginning its consumption journey, it ‘has been the source of belied expectations and frustrating resistance to conventional global offerings’. Bijapurkur attempts to explain the realities of emerging economies and dispel many myths through powerful examples, many of which have been drawn from her own experiences.
While doing this, the author delves deep into the minds of Consumer India, traces the rise of new economic classes in conjunction with cultural shifts, the changing structure of the rural economy, the woman consumer etc. She does this with the aim of easing out the seeming incongruities of what she calls ‘schizophrenic India’ and asks marketers to define their ‘target India’ for themselves as the first step to winning in the Indian market.

See a full summary of the book in power point here http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

Trends in Indian Fiction: Aparna Jain, JWT Planning, Kolkata

Indian authors in English: What are they writing about?

Here are the top 6 themes that have caught the attention and imagination of our authors in the recent past:
· Emerging India
· Modern, urban India
· Woman authors taking on bold, new themes
· Social awakening
· Historical writing
· International issues

Within each of these broad themes, the issues captured are diverse, have been treated differently and in some cases rather innovatively. Hence, under ‘woman authors taking on bold, new themes’, we have a graphic novel looking at lesbian relationships along with a book on the Mahabharata from Panchaali’s point of view. While writing about the past, authors have covered debates like the Revolt of 1857 and they have explored Indian scandal in the backdrop of the socio-political environment of the 1950s. Books on urban India have captured dysfunctional India, lonely India and cricket crazy India. However within this variety, we can sense some similarities of thoughts, concerns and topics, mirroring to an extent the lives and times of the readers that they are writing for.

See the full report here http://www.coffeeanddonuts.co.in/

The Prepared Mind 4

Continuing our series on where to look for ideas, stimulus inspiration. An oft repeated theme in advertising: attachment to certain food... food so good, you won't share. An example from Friends: Ross and his sandwhich.

Any Male In Sight? 3

How men greet men, after an absence. Do they really...?