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I think advertisers have been getting a lot of slack lately for creating platforms and campaigns that go against traditional media standards.  There will always be television, radio, print, and the like, but now, there is also room for new ideas and new emerging media platforms to change the way consumers learn, think, and act.   

The current debate that I’m constantly reading about is the argument over the creative approach and what ideas pass the “client approval test.”  Even on the last episode of Mad Men, I distinctly remember Don Draper stating, “Most ad men say that the client gets in the way of good work.”  Whether or not you believe this to be true is debatable, but the question remains, how creative is too creative? 

I recently read an article that made a lot of sense to me.  It talked about the fact that marketing and advertising shouldn’t be all about creative solutions.  More importantly, advertising should focus on being surprising, relevant, consistent with the brand message, believable, and different.  What does this all mean?  Well, let’s look at a recent example. 

I’m always trying to think of the big idea.  I think everyone in the industry is too.  I’ve talked a lot about digital media, augmented reality, and integrated consumer platforms. Often times it is easiest to apply these new mediums to glamorous consumer based campaigns.  For example, everyone can think of advertisements for Apple, Coke, and Gatorade. I think it’s a great starting point for amateurs just getting their foot in the door.  In fact, most of what I study and write on tends to be big brands: Subway, Little Caesars, Axe, and Old Spice.  The fact remains that these types of thinking, out-of-the-box, untraditional, and ultimately creative, can be implemented across all brands and products. 

Let’s look at Proctor and Gamble’s new platform for teenage girls.  Ultimately, this was a platform designed to increase the sale of feminine products.  The client originally thought, we can’t do exciting, innovating advertising because we’re selling one the most unglamorous products on the market.  Wrong.  Sure, social media wouldn’t be a great way to spread the word about the newest way to stop leaks.  What could work though?  A site called BeingGirl.com that allows girls to “Learn and share about growing up and puberty while having fun playing girl games and listening to the latest teen music.”  

What does the campaign consist of? Conversation, not promotion.  

This is the key trend we are seeing in advertising right now.  It’s no longer about pushing a product.  It’s about listening to consumers and allowing interaction between product users.  Why do I think this is such an effective promotion?  Because it deals with the fundamentals of marketing with a new, consumer focused approach.  Everything the site communicates has a purpose.  It provides essential information for its target market.  It contains strategic content that leads to bottom line results.  Lastly, it targets the consumers exactly where they are - online.  

What it comes down to is this.  Let your ideas shine through.  Creativity is no longer the end-goal. Let's not forget about perennial thinking and the importance of an undying message.  Gone are the days of immediate reward, welcome to the time of indefinite consumer initiatives.

Inspiration provided by:
Earning Fans vs. Buying Eyeballs
www.brandinfiltration.com/dailygrind
I Hate Creative, and You Should Too
www.adage.com/smallagency/post?article id=139628

 
 
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I just recently read a white paper on the idea of incrementalism as it relates to big businesses.  Incrementalism at its core means this:  to make small, often unplanned changes over a long period of time.  For some companies, this way of thinking works well.  You've got a winning strategy, why change it.  The most basic example of this way of thinking would be to examine the process of creating a website or a blog.  Many people start a website, add a little bit of content each day, and incrementally move forward in creating a so-called "finished product."  But the problem I constantly find in terms of incremental thinking, is that the "finished product" is never actually reached.

I believe in big ideas and big changes.  It constantly keeps people interested, connected, and consistently guessing.  I appreciate innovation, experiments, and calls to action.  In today's society, ideas that break traditional boundaries and barriers are the ones that turn out trends.

let's look at some of today's Big Breakers vs. Slow Movers.

The What You Want, When You Want It Category

Redbox vs. Blockbuster:  Capitalizing on cheaper movies, more locations, and no-hassle membership, Redbox has completely destroyed Blockbuster in recent years.  Blockbuster moved incrementally in marketing and distribution relying too much on their brand name.  Redbox was innovative and broke ground with a new form of movie rental and distribution, people caught on, and the rest is history.

iTunes vs. Best Buy:  Cashing in on ease of use and accessibility, the iTunes store allowed individuals to buy music by the track, legally, and downloadable directly to an iPod.  They cut out the middle-man and made it unnecessary to drive to the store, buy a full CD, and download it to your computer.  Best Buy missed out on legal, digital distribution, leaving the market open for Apple to dominate the industry.

The Music Industry

We see incrementalism all the time in the music industry and a lot of the time we don't even notice it.  Bands are consistently capitalizing on the current trends.  Many of today's bands are just getting lost in the shadows of similar, but more popular bands.  Bands like Fall Out Boy have amassed thousands of bands holding tight onto their coattails in an attempt to make a quick buck.  The artists that are going to pave the way for the future of the music industry are the ones that are daring to be different.

Lady Gaga:  Different - hugely successful
MGMT:  Different - hugely successful
Kanye West:  Different- hugely successful

Cell Phones
Cell phones are all the same.  Except for one- the iPhone.  A huge idea; this thing has a full-web browser, apps, a video camera, a iPod.  It blew competition out of the water.  Apple didn't take an existing phone and incrementally improve on it like most companies - they created something completely unique and new.

The future depends on big ideas and big innovations.  The current economy could not only use them, but it desperately needs them.  We are the future of business and we will decide the direction of the economy.  It's time for us to move past incrementalism and move more towards imagination.  The internet has allowed us this option and it's the people who understand this who will truly benefit.  

My challenge to you.  Find a way to make a big, positive change in your life today.  Incrementalism can only work for so long.   Eventually you'll lose interest in yourself and people will lose interest in you.  Make it happen.  Make a change.  In such an oh-so-similar society, those who stand out will be the ones who succeed.
 
 
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