Monday, February 12, 2007

Why Keep A Dog And Bark Yourself?

Ogilvy said that.

He was referring to clients who had a habit of rewriting the copy that the agency brought them.

Which is why I find user generated content such an interesting predicament for advertisers. Today, a consumer's love is craved to such a degree that advertisers let them make the ads. Does the advertiser then step in and re-write the ad? No, of course not. The consumer wrote it. And since they wrote it for consumers, of which they are one, they of course must know what will work.

To some extent, I think marketing directors find comfort in this. It certainly relieves them of any responsibility as to whether the advertising is any good or not.

It makes one wonder what would happen if they gave the same carte blanche to their ad agencies?

Would the work be better than it is today? Certainly.

Would it be better than what consumers can do? Without a doubt?

I know, consumers don't want to hear this. Because consumers watch ads, they think they can write them. And it's true, they can write them. They just can't write them very well.

Because I watch Law and Order would you let me represent you in a court of law? For both our sakes, I certainly hope not. So, explain to me the difference in logic with consumer generated advertising?

What makes the amateur better qualified than the professional? Is it because of the success of YouTube? Well, that's usually the argument, however flawed it actually is. 'The amateur videos draw viewers,' advertisers say. 'My agency can't draw those viewers in those numbers.'

How do you know?

Have you given them the chance? Has the brief you've given them been the same brief that YouTube videos are written against - to draw viewers? Or is the brief that your agency is working against still to move products?

Videos on YouTube are based on Egonomics, not economics. The videos aren't designed to persuade anyone. Or to sell anything. They are created to massage the ego of the creator. To see how many hits they'll get. To see how popular they are.

If marketers are going to hold their agencies accountable to the same standard - for the numbers of viewers who choose to opt-in to their commercial - then be fair about it. Step away. Back off. And don't worry about sales.

'Why keep a dog and bark yourself?' Ogilvy asked many years ago. Today the question is more pertinent than ever. After all, there seems to be a lot of barking going on.

But after all the noise subsides, where exactly do you find the truth?

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