Do It The Way I Picture You Doing It.

You might say Volvo ads these days are at the exhilarating end of cheerless. At best they’re just okay. But in the past the ad above and other Volvo work set creative standards for automotive as well as all product areas.
You might say Volvo ads these days are at the exhilarating end of cheerless. At best they’re just okay. But in the past the ad above and other Volvo work set creative standards for automotive as well as all product areas.

There’s a loaded expression for you, Do It The Way I Picture You Doing It.

 It’s how some marketers direct the creative work of their agencies.

Anything counter to their thinking hits a snag.

With inflexible beliefs or inexperience, any chance of progress is squashed.

It’s not exactly a great recipe for creativity, is it, when you start with preconceptions and boundaries.

We were wondering about this when it comes to Volvo.

The company is going from strength to strength with their cars.

The new S90 sedan is a wonder of automotive thinking according to car reviewers.

The V90 wagon, soon to be introduced, should put the German manufacturers on notice when it comes to excellence.

Volvo has come a long way.

But it looks like the opposite is true for Volvo advertising.

Many say it’s become ordinary.

So what’s happened to Volvo’s ability to do great ads?

Not too long ago they excelled not just in the automotive category but they stood as examples of how good advertising can be.

What’s holding Volvo back, is it the Do It The Way I Picture You Doing It thing? Or is it the agency?

Maybe Volvo engineers should have a say in the ads.

That way the work could become as good as the cars they build.

 

 

The Shaming of the Civilized World.

Here four gas chambers put 6000 people to death a day. As a Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and won the Nobel Prize. Here four gas chambers put 6000 people to death a day. As a Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and won the Nobel Prize. Here four gas chambers put 6000 people to death a day. As a Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and won the Nobel Prize.
Here, four gas chambers put 6000 people to death each day. As a Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and won the Nobel Prize. The most important moral voice of our time. That’s how world leaders saw him.

That shaming …

It’s evident in the tattooed number the Nazis put on Elie Wiesel’s forearm in Buchenwald.

A-7713.

Nelson Mandela had a number as well. A penitentiary number. A government dehumanized him as 46664, locking him away for 27 years.

You know how the 46664 story turned out, of course.

Prisoner to President. It’s a tribute to rights and justice.

Lesser known may be Wiesel who passed away yesterday (2 July) at 87.

He survived the Holocaust to write Night. A 127-page book about death in the concentration camps.

Smoke from the chimneys carried away the innocent faces of children. That’s his image, his memory.

At 127 pages Night is short but terrifying. It’s hardly bearable.

Many agree that it’s good that it’s alarming.

Still, Wiesel left us a message about that.

He said, ‘Because I remember I despair … because I remember I have the duty to reject despair’.

There’s an abiding faith in humanism and the future in that.

Optimism … even after wreathes of smoke spilled from the chimney tops.

Maybe that’s why Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama looked to him for inspiration.

Many will now read and re-read Night. Many of the unborn will come to read it as well.

 

 

 

 

Improvement. And Improvement.

One area where the Panthers are still up there. But next year on the field we're looking for one thing. Improvement.
One area where the Panthers are still up there. But next year on the field we’re looking for one thing. Improvement.

A third grade teacher sweeps into the classroom throwing out a question to her kids.

Good morning, children, tell us, what’s the smallest room?

Like a well-trained chorus the class responds as one: a mushroom.

Well, of course it is.

Pleased with the answer, the teacher continues.

Now, children, tell us, what’s the largest room?

The answer comes with enthusiasm as thirty kids shout: room for improvement.

There you have it in a story that comes from the English writer Laurie Lee. The point, of course, is that we can always do better.

The possibility of improvement never leaves us.

More to that, if your marketing and advertising is already excellent, you can always aim for one thing better.

The high side of excellence.

Just about every coach of a sport is probably drilling that into the heads their team. Making it second nature.

On the topic of sport, it’s been a few  weeks since the Super Bowl.

So let’s hope those marketers who bought spots — whether great, just okay or rubbish — are well into doing more.

Going for the high side of excellence, so to speak.

Not just with TV, but across all channels.

Let’s hope they’re planning to do wonders with everything from trade shows to emails, podcasts, Web, white papers, out-of-home ideas and more.

Even with the smallest job there’s always room for a big idea. Bill Bernbach said that.

Business sense tells us the Super Bowl shouldn’t be the one time of the year people get interested in brands.

Happily, that brief interlude can be extended with a bit of creative thinking.

After all, why limit improvement to just one cold Sunday in February.

Why not go for communications that rivet people no matter what date is showing on the calendar.

So, how about starting right now?

Aren’t you planning to impact your target audience before heading home from the office tonight?

You could manage it with an Instagram or a Tweet.

All you need is a brilliant idea; something to stop people.

Maybe you could use a happening that comes from today’s news.

The best agencies are always on the lookout for timely ad opportunities.

The Oreo ‘Blackout’ Tweet is an example of that.

The result of a timely ad benefits you in two ways.

You can outshine the competition and create a better brand experience for your customers.

Think about it for a moment. Isn’t there room for improvement on both counts?

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin. LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/20Imgh3

 

Bright Or Brilliant? Smart Pills May Make All The Difference.

More aspects to the mind. Greater perspective. Can smart pill do that?
More aspects to the mind. Greater perspective. Can smart pills do that?

Many say techies and business people are getting brainer in Silicon Valley.

Or should we say Silicon Valley of the Dolls?

‘Dolls’ is code for pills as in Jacqueline Susann’s book, Valley of the Dolls.

But this time we have smart pills sling-shotting intelligence higher in the Bay Area and beyond.

One smart pill is Modafinil. Prescription only, it was developed for narcolepsy.

You could run across it as Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil, as well.

Here the benefit is increased cognitive ability that comes with an impressive checklist:

Mental consistency.

Sharper memory and the ability to concentrate.

An easy way to solve complex problems.

Online reviews come with revealing quotes:

‘Brilliantly awake’.

‘You’ve got new purpose, direction and will.’

‘Brain 2.0’.

‘What’s interesting suddenly becomes fascinating. You’re in gear; any inability is airbrushed away.’

Those remarks make you wonder, don’t they?

The thing is with Modafinil, neurotransmitters in the brain gain an unfair advantage. Science becomes your genie.

Now for a definition …

Wikipedia says Modafinil is a Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor, whatever that may be.

We’re thinking it’s an upper of sorts.

Maybe your kids can tell you.

By more than a few accounts high school and college students use Modafinil to ace tests.

Getting a 91 is good, but a 97 gets you closer to Summa Cum Laude.

It’s said the Army was smart-pill-empowered in Iraq.

We’ll, an Abrams Tank is mighty, however it’s even better when manned by a brilliant driver, right?

But hold on a minute, the lights are turning amber on smart pills.

The reason for writing today is to pass on a caution.

A marketer we know purchased Modafinil on the Internet.

The result was nil, no effect.

He bought fakes.

But that’s not as bad as ingesting something that could play havoc with your health and wellbeing.

There’s counterfeiting with Modafinil and other pharmaceuticals. Forgeries extend to medical devices and hospital equipment.

Maybe the fake Rolex watchmakers are looking for new revenue streams.

Of course, there’s risk involved with fakes and maybe the real stuff. No long-term studies have been done on Modafinil.

Still, if Silicon Valley starts wowing us even more than usual we can hazard a guess at one thing.

Someone’s neurotransmitters are getting extra help.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin. LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/20Imgh3

 

First, A Little Music …

Ground Control to Major Tom Ground Control to Major Tom Take your protein pill and put your helmet on. -- David Bowie
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pill
and put your helmet on.
— David Bowie

Nobody spits at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

They’re pretty great no matter what your religion may be.

An American icon … that describes them.

But the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing ‘God So Loved the World’ is fully expected.

Nothing new about that.

It confirms what we already know and believe about them.

So to widen interest and engagement how about something a bit more surprising.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir doing Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust or Life On Mars?

It’s the MTC meets David Bowie, so to speak.

With a bit of enlightened orchestration the Bowie pieces could be musically remarkable.

Well, don’t laugh just yet; the Daily Mail reported last week that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a Bowie fan.

The point here for business people is maybe we should begin to think beyond accepted beliefs and avoid what’s predictable.

Too many absorb the thinking in their work environment and run with it – no questions asked.

More’s the pity because those individuals aren’t exploring their own potential.

The likelihood of discovering something better remains pretty small.

What was it Steve Jobs said?

We don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do.

We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Of course, that can change everything for a brand.

So can ideas.

Remember ideas?

One negative of advertising today is that the technology is modern but the ideas aren’t always so.

Which is why those who go for the unexpected get attention.

Old Spice, Snickers and the Honda work in the UK succeed with strong ideas.

Space Oddity, which you probably heard several times last week, still gets your attention despite the fact it was written ages ago.

The reason is that it was a good idea in the first place.

It endures.

If you happen to be the choral master of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir you might want to make a mental note of that.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1Bey3Jl

 

Strategy By Habit. A Great Way To Become the Best of the Ordinary.

Søren Kierkegaard. The Danish philosopher who said ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself’.
Søren Kierkegaard. The Danish philosopher who said ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself’.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

So said the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

True enough.

But what’s wrong with making an effort to create the future?

Why do many content themselves with hindsight instead of trying to break new ground?

Could it be it’s easier and less risky than trying to figure out what’s next?

You don’t need me to tell you it’s not simple to become an innovator.

It’s tough to extend your boundaries in the marketplace.

Is that why a lot of thinking becomes commoditized?

Maybe it’s the reason some marketers rely on old certainties and strategy by habit.

People become rubber stamps for thinking.

Well, it is difficult to teach the future.

If you’re like most companies, training is based on an established strategy.

What the boss says.

And if C-Suite ideas are producing revenue it’s hard to argue for change when the money is rolling in.

However, one area could be easier for improvement.

HR.

As many HR people hire only in their company’s image they may be limiting the ability of their organization.

Selling it short.

Creating a downstream effect that makes it harder to compete.

Some HR execs don’t take into account the advantages of diverse thinking. Viewpoints that prompt thought, discussion and reexamined opinions.

To many it feels safer to duplicate the kind of people on your team. Common ground is reassuring.

Yet more of the same doesn’t always equal more in terms of an organization’s ability to see ahead and move ahead.

Especially when you see the same ideas tabled.

The ones that merely restate what you and everyone else already believes.

Those with different backgrounds and experiences could bring a new perspective to products and progress in the marketplace.

They could accelerate your future.

So, what if HR could think differently to find the kind of enquiring minds that created Uber, Airbnb, Tesla or the Dyson line of products?

Of course fresh thinking can be contrary thinking.

But isn’t that what Kodak needed when they invented digital imaging and fluffed the chance to capitalize on it?

It’s useful to remember contrarians were lionized in an ad campaign we’re betting you noticed.

The Crazy Ones from Apple.

The ads aren’t new, 2002, but they’re still talked about. Put that down to the fact we all want to find new ways to move ahead.

The thing is, did The Crazy Ones cut any ice with your HR people?

Did the campaign extend their thinking? Did it encourage them to question everything?

Because as you know, crazy ones like Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi can change everything.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin. LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/20Imgh3

Are You Looking in the Wrong Place For Digital Knowledge?

See the Internet for what it really is. As Malcolm Auld tells us, it's a pure Direct Marketing platform.
For knowledge about Direct Marketing and how to create more effective messaging, see the books below.

Some marketers seem to be better analysts than problem solvers.

They can sense difficulties in the marketplace but they’re not as cluey in dealing with them.

A case in point is optimizing brands in the Digital Age.

More than a few marketing people and traditional agencies have said they’re ‘steering into the unknown’.

Or they’re ‘feeling their way’ through it.

If that frames the situation, one wonders … how do you correct it? How do you advance?

For that, it’s always an idea turn to the experts.

One in particular is Malcolm Auld. His blog is www.themalcolmauldblog.com and it’s well worth bookmarking.

Malcolm Auld defines the Internet as ‘a pure Direct Marketing platform’.

How right he is.

But this surprises many marketers and traditional agencies we know.

Their take is that Digital is futuristic, not something from the past.

Well, it’s true technology has changed, but people haven’t.

They continue to be human and they’re motivated by their emotions.

Equally, ‘response’ is what we value today as it leads to attitude changes and the moment someone acts or buys.

If that need for ‘response’ doesn’t define Direct Marketing, then what does?

So it stands to reason that a bit of knowledge about DM techniques can help.

Especially if it can take the guesswork out of creating content on the Web.

If you and your team value learning for gaining and renewing skills, there are plenty of books to give you a grounding in Direct Marketing.

It’s a grounding that benefits you with knowledge you can adapt for Digital communications.

Start with these five titles:

Common Sense Direct and Digital Marketing – Drayton Bird

 Tested Advertising Methods – John Caples 


 Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins


 How to Write a Good Advertisement – Victor Schwab

 The Robert Collier Letter Book – Robert Collier


Time spent with these books should give you a clearer idea of how to get results you can test and measure.

By helping you create more effective messaging it can lower your risk of investing dollars in marketing.

It can make it easier for you to compete.

And at a time when you want to be a more effective it can help you become one thing better than a marketer.

A Direct Marketer who can get people to respond.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1Bey3Jl

Slow Dynamite. Don’t Look Now But You’re Sitting on a Stick of It.

Tennessee Williams wrote 34 plays, Sweet Bird of Youth being one of them.
Tennessee Williams wrote 34 plays, Sweet Bird of Youth being one of them.

Slow dynamite is the way Tennessee Williams characterized the ravages of time.

It’s a gradual explosion that changes everything.

The expression comes from his play, Sweet Bird of Youth.

As slow dynamite applies to marketing, how are you coping? How are you dealing with changes over time?

It’s a fair question as many agree, change is the biggest challenge we face today.

That’s change in consumer attitudes and the way brands are seen.

It’s the way people view social media and the intrusions that have come with online messaging.

As to the last, we’re thinking of pre-rolls, page take-overs, pop-ups and ads that pursue you around the Web.

Pesky stuff.

Little wonder ad blocking is seen as a new form of self-defense.

There’s also change in technology, the marketplace and development of new products.

There’s change in the way your competitors operate.

More to that, change can extend to old companies that suddenly get re-energized or merge to become a threat to your sales efforts.

American Airlines, General Motors and now maybe Kodak fall into that category.

It includes overseas companies that come to America to take brand share as well as start-ups like Uber and Airbnb that emerge to change the economic landscape.

It’s all part of dynamite that doesn’t seem so slow these days. Moore’s Law is one reason why.

But for too many people — those in management, marketing and sales  — change is little more than an academic issue.

They talk about it; they put the idea of it on a pedestal.

But they live in the comfort of routine.

Could that be an inescapable human trait? That was a question a TED Talk speaker asked his audience recently.

One thing’s pretty clear, as security feels better than risk many people do things by habit.

It’s easy to slot in to convention and uniformity as you operate under the illusion you’re forging ahead.

Adding to that, the American writer Paul Auster has suggested:

Failure is measured by the

number of routines you have.

He could have a point there. Maybe he should expand on it in a TED Talk.

After all, when you give yourself over to habit you may miss the way consumer thinking and competitor efforts are changing.

The world can pass you by.

In that situation slow dynamite isn’t the worry.

It’s fast dynamite that’s the challenge.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Steve Ulin, LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1Bey3Jl

 

 

 

Just the Thing for Marketers. Poetry.

When he first came to America the name Dylan was mostly unknown. So Dylan Thomas coached the press on the pronunciation with the line, It's Dylan as in Penicillin.
When he first came to America the name Dylan was mostly unknown. So Dylan Thomas coached the press on the pronunciation with the line, It’s Dylan as in Penicillin.

When the celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas came to the United States in 1953 he was met at the airport by the press.

They mobbed him and wanted to know if he’d written new poems.

He said yes he had some recent ones.

As he was swept out of the airport on a tide of photographers, blinding flash bulbs and badgering reporters he said he also had written some decent ones.

Then he turned to all assembled, stopped them in their tracks and gave them an effortless account of his writing:

‘I’ve written some recent ones,

some decent ones

and some recent decent ones’.

The press broke up laughing.

They were delighted with the answer. The impromptu performance surprised them.

Surprise value also serves marketers well when communicating with a target audience.

You could say it’s the most important thing about commercial messaging.

That and the fact that brands should always be presented anew.

Saying or showing something surprising, new and unexpected is what stops people and extends attention spans.

It makes it easier for a brand to compete.

Put another way, it helps you become a real problem for your competition.

Southwest Airlines has a handle on that.

Remember the line, ‘Ding. You are now free to move about the country’.

There’s bags of character in that. It’s both surprising and unexpected.

It’s the opposite of the ‘try-hard thing’ which gives it surprise value.

Of course, Southwest is still at it with funny flight attendant announcements and safety briefings that are near enough sidesplitting.

You’ve seen them. And no doubt you laughed.

Why bother to create work like this, why go the surprising route at all?

As Dylan Thomas would have told you, you have to give people something if you want them to remember you.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1Bey3Jl

 

 

Order Online, Get Your Delivery By Drone in 30 Minutes.

A problem for UFO hunters, an advantage for the rest of us. When Amazon starts delivering orders with drones.
Confusion for UFO hunters, but an advantage for the rest of us. When Amazon starts delivering orders with drones.

Here’s a story the author Joseph Heller told about writers and an unusual way to buy a book.

Years ago in Manhattan bookstores like Doubleday on Fifth Avenue novelists stole the show.

They set up their manual typewriters in the shop window and worked on their latest book.

Anyone happening by on the sidewalk could see an author typing away or gazing into space to figure out a twist in the plot.

As pages were written they were taped to the inside of the window for all to see.

Often crowds gathered in front of this goldfish bowl as it came with no small measure of curiosity.

If you went inside you could pre-order the book and it would be signed for you when published.

With Amazon there might be a way to revive the ‘unpublished pages promotion’, albeit in a slightly different way.

It could be a way for Amazon to introduce the drone delivery service they’re developing.

As you probably know it’s called Amazon Prime.

Order something online and you’ll be able to have it delivered within 30 minutes. Depending on where you live, of course.

If you happen to be a Maine lighthouse keeper you’ll have seagulls for company, not the Amazon Drone.

So how do you get a delivery?

They’re working on it. But we’ve heard you might be supplied with a large Amazon logo stamped on a plastic sheet.

Your role in the delivery process is to lay the logo out in your backyard or on your apartment rooftop.

Presumably that’s how the drone zeros in on you.

As you read this, a drones-only airspace is being proposed and Federal flight regulations are being hammered out.

Meanwhile, to promote the service, sample pages from an unpublished book could be drone-dropped to you 30 minutes after the author writes them.

Too bad we didn’t have this when JK Rowling was going full blast with Harry Potter.

A drone service might prompt you to order all that goes with a good book.

Reading glasses, a standard lamp, a bookshelf and a set of wine glasses.

Maybe even an easy chair, as a drone’s hauling capacity can be surprising.

In years to come you might be able to order a piano online and have it flown in.

After all, some military drones can manage a takeoff weight of three tons.

As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon might tell you, that amounts to more than a few books.

Share with us. Leave your comment below. Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1Bey3Jl