HP Sauce

No, I’m not in Cannes, thanks for asking. One of the advantages of being your own boss is that you can choose to avoid such colossal bullshit-fests. Of course, there are diamonds in amongst the rubbish but I’m at that stage where I prefer to read about them. I would rather watch the World Cup on telly too.

One of the absolutely-not-diamonds popped up from HP Inc’s CMO, Antonio Lucio in an interview with Business Insider. To be fair some of what he had to say made a lot of sense, such as the five criteria his partner agencies need to provide:

“They need to bring data expertise to the table, and they need strong analytical capabilities. They need to be able to produce meaningful content. (They need) legitimate programmatic ad buying capabilities. And they need to be able to track how advertising impacts business.”

And that four of these five are right up the street of the large management consultancies.

Where we part company is Lucio’s assertion that it’s pretty easy to get ads made: “When it comes to getting ads made, brands can increasingly shop around without making a big agency commitment. “It is so friggin’ easy to get it from anywhere.”

This is exactly where things have gone wrong. Collect and organise the data and do all the fancy analytics, tick. Sort out a transparent and efficient media buying operation, tick. Measure results, tick.

All good, all unarguable, but there’s an ingredient missing and it’s wrong to believe that you can buy that from some corner shop. The magic bit, the idea, comes as we all know from hard graft, from data and analytics certainly but far more than that it comes from a genius human.

There are no successful campaigns that get everything right except the idea. There are masses of successful campaigns that are based on brilliant creative, whatever the media buy and whatever the analytics.

And of course there are a few that combine everything successfully; they’re the ones we remember, and the ones that rightly win the awards.

You might ask yourself how many campaigns you remember from HP Inc.

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