Saturday, March 20, 2010

“I Want The Truth.” “You Can’t Handle The Truth.”

The above was, of course, the famous exchange from the movie “A Few Good Men.”

Tom Cruise played Kaffee and Jack Nicholson played Jessep. The actual dialogue went something like this.

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth?
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.

Now, you take the gun part out and you pretty much have the type of exchange that could be going on between advertising agencies and advertisers.

The advertisers being Kaffee. And, the agencies being Jessep.

Advertisers want complete transparency. Agencies are trying to hide it. The available of data is going to change all that.

Advertises want answers. Are they ready to handle those answers?

Because along with answers comes accountability. And the big question that no one's answering is who’s accountable for failure? The agency? Or, the marketing director?

As it currently sits, failure is lucrative. At least for the agency. I remember one media director a few years back being asked a question from someone in the audience. The question was, “Is there any waste in advertising?” The media director laughed to himself and then responded. “Waste? Hell, yes. How do you think we make our money.”

Right now, we run campaigns without any real measure as to whether people pay attention to the advertising or not. We know most of advertising dollars are wasted. There's a lot of money in waste.

That’s changing rapidly. Now we not only know if people pay attention, we also know how long they pay attention for.

Who’s accountable for getting people to initially pay attention? And are these the same people responsible for maintaining someone’s interest?

Let's say that the Chief Marketing Officer runs a spot. Data comes back saying that no one engaged in, or with, the spot. Is the Chief Marketing Officer responsible? The media agency? The creative agency?

That needs to be answerered. Because the one truth in all this is someone's responsible.

The old saying is be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

“I want the truth,” advertisers say.


But, really, can you handle it?

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