Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The bigger they are...

Image courtesy

I'm very fortunate to work on some big global brands who have done (and continue to do) excellent campaigns in the media and advertising world. The one drawback however on working with big brands is that more often than not, they associate themselves with old school traditional creative agencies.

Whilst in many cases this doesn’t cause any issues as quite often the work they produce for TV/Print/Outdoor is of an excellent standard, where they fall down, is when clients ask for the production of digital assets.

I’m being general but over the last two years, time and again ‘big dog’ agencies have let themselves down when it comes to digital. Either they draft in digital agencies who know very little about the client and their business and produce un-integrated work that rarely sticks to objectives (“we recommend a microsite!” Grrrrr…..) or if it does work, we end up having to pay over the odds as the traditional agency take their cut.

Times are changing of course and I attempted to challenge this whole idea at ‘Brief’ a couple of years back, and just recently I’ve been exposed to some excellent work from purely digital shops. So much so, we’ve had increasingly awkward meetings where the Goliaths are having digital pebbles smashed at their heads and being made to look a bit stupid, and in all honesty I’m all for it!

Why shouldn’t they be challenged? In a climate where everything is about value and tracking, engagement and sales, spuffing a load of cash on non trackable ATL media with no discernable results is something that can’t be accepted. Even creating digital assets that have very little obvious value other than getting £60k signed off from the client, are also being scrapped. (microsites I will get my revenge!)

This video helps to summarise all of the above nicely…

Currently, and in my specific field, clients are now looking for one of two things:

1)A DR campaign...

that drives as many potential customers through to their site in the hope that they convert into sales. This only works for some clients though and has unfortunately been employed by brands that should stick to brand campaigns as DR in digital can often get cheap and nasty and does high end brands no favours! This strategy also makes our jobs very difficult as it is often coupled with a cost per arrival of something unattainable dreamt up by the procurement department!

2)Sustainable social media campaign

In my opinion everything that’s created digitally should have social in mind. There has been a shed load of literature on the benefits of such an approach so I won’t spend time going into any more detail here, however the early signs suggest by incorporating such a strategy into creative and media executions, it's all looking positive (ignore Nestle when I say this!).

I firmly believe it’s all headed in the right direction and I feel very positive about the future, especially if the quality of work remains at this level. The sooner big brands understand that a slightly more long term, less cut and dry approach to digital branding and advertising can reap great rewards, we can start to really make some progress in this field. Technology is developing faster than we can pre-order our ipads and whilst we shouldn’t be pushing clients to take on and test everything that’s emerging, small pebbles can cause deadly damage.

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