In 1947, two years before Bill Bernbach opened Doyle Dane Bernbach he wrote this:
“There are a lot of great technicians in advertising. And unfortunately they talk the best game. They know all the rules. They can tell you that people in an ad will get you greater readership. They can tell you that a sentence should be this short or that long. They can tell you that body copy should be broken up for easier more inviting reading. They can give you fact after fact. They are the scientists of advertising. But there’s one little rub. Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.”
Today’s marketers might want to print out these 97 words and tape them to their office walls.
They’re a reminder.
Advanced techniques in computational sciences have yet to produce one thing that’s key for marketers.
A non-native English speaker in the next office wanted to know.
She’s forever curious to learn.
Does it have something to do with drilling teeth?
We looked it up.
Irredentism is reclaiming and reoccupying lands you believe belong to you.
It’s re-establishing your control over a territory.
In 1982 Argentina’s junta demanded the Falkland Islands back from Britain.
Of course, Mrs. Thatcher thought otherwise.
She sent the fleet to the South Atlantic and sunk the battleship General Belgrano.
Bad luck for the Argies, but understandably everyone wants back what they feel belongs to them.
Including creative people in ad agencies.
Many want to re-take control from business types, financial gurus and planners.
Reason for that comes down to holding company supremos and agency business managers. They seem to be chasing what clients say an ad agency should be instead of defining it.
Shouldn’t an ad agency’s identity be driven by brilliant strategies and creative work?
Instead, you get the feeling agency CEOs are often hamstrung fighting rearguard actions against improprieties.
Like supposed over-billing on digital advertising.
Like complaints from marketing companies having to pay for online ads that consumers don’t see. (Is it only robots who see them?)
Like Facebook’s admission last year. They inflated the average time people spent watching video ads.
Plenty of grumbling on those points, but what about great creative work, when will it make a resurgence to become the talking point?
Not soon enough according to some, like the Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman.
Have a look at his presentation ‘Marketers Are From Mars, Consumers Are From New Jersey’. http://bit.ly/2pUl8cA
Others critical of drab work and mistakes marketers make (like ignoring the most lucrative demographic today: the over 50s) say we’re writing for search engines, not people … search engines that can’t detect emotion, subtlety, irony or humor.
You often hear gripes about that in seminars that go something like this : ‘too many strategies have no force of personality’.
‘Too many ads are dim and wearily familiar.’
Ads like that are the daydream of those who haven’t bothered to read about, understand and use tested advertising methods.
Equally, more than a few marketers take direction from only one source: themselves.
That kind of insularity ensures you’re limited to what’s merely passable instead of what’s exceptional.
One wonders, how do you get away with creative work that’s fallen off a cliff when it comes to anything emotional, gripping and breakthrough?
With ad agencies, isn’t brilliance supposed to be compulsory?
If your selling message isn’t read, what hope do you have of making an impression, let alone a sale? Bill Bernbach was of that mind.