A couple of years ago, we were working on a particular brand. It was quite an established player in other markets around the globe but was yet to make any real impact in Australia.
At one stage, the local client had his overseas colleagues visiting. These were people who were in charge of the brand in places like France and Japan. Anyway, the local client took the opportunity to bring his colleagues into the advertising agency to show them around and see how things were going.
After a bit of an office tour, everyone took a seat in the boardroom. Of course, the agency took the opportunity to show their wares by showing their reel and case studies of the great work they had produced for a range of different clients. Then, the client from Japan asked a very good question: ‘Okay, these are great examples of when your advertising has worked. What is the problem when it doesn’t work?’
Warren Brown, co-founder and Executive Creative Director of BMF, gave this great response:
‘Usually, when a campaign doesn’t work, it’s because there’s been a loss of focus. You move away from your single, clear objective. For example, let’s just say that the objective is to get from one side of a desert to the other. So, to meet that objective, we get ourselves a camel that’s perfect for the trip. The camel’s been trained to make that distance and he’ll do that particular job very well. But then, what often happens, is we start giving the camel other jobs to do as well. We give him extra things to carry, we change his route, etc. So while we started with a clear objective (to cross the desert) and had a fitting solution (a camel to do it), we lost focus and altered the objective. So, now that the camel has to carry extra weight and travel a different route, chances are he’s not going to make it.’
In marketing, we see this all the time. Ad agencies are often asked to alter a solution so it includes extra messaging, or appeals to extra target markets, or can be used in different media channels, or do something else entirely.
By doing this, you’re slowing down the camel so he won’t be able to meet the original objective. But worse still, in many cases you’ll even break his back.
Someone else has created this humorous video to highlight the problem…