Something Lost Along The Way

I come from a generation that grew up professionally in full-service ad agencies – where everything, including creative, planning, media, even in some cases packaging and market research was all done under the one ad agency roof orchestrated by account people.

I mention this as the concept of integration of media with creative is hardly new. It’s where we started.

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Measuring The Wrong Things

A version of this post appeared in The Media Leader on 12th September.

The media and advertising world is measuring the wrong things.

And – we may be measuring some of the right things whilst fooling ourselves that what we’re measuring means something it doesn’t.

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Be More Carole

It’s been almost two months since I announced I would be posting fewer Cog Blogs. It was very gratifying to receive so many notes of support for the Cog Blog; thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement.

Fewer, better, is the idea and so here we go again.

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Keeping On Keeping On: An Announcement

Last Sunday, 2nd July was a propitious day. First, and of paramount importance it was our grandson Francis’ 2nd Birthday. Cue cake, toys, family, a few of his friends and much happiness.

Less significant is that the day also marked the tenth anniversary of the Cog Blog.

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Magic, Logic and Technology

Disclaimer: BJ&A is a Founder Partner in the Crater Lake Collective, mentioned here

One of the best, and most under-rated publications in the ad industry is a booklet produced under the auspices of three trade bodies – the CIPS (procurement professionals), the IPA (agencies) and the ISBA (advertisers). Written by an outstanding agency planner, Marilyn Baxter it’s called ‘Magic and Logic’.

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All Intelligent Life

The time has come for the Cog Blog to address the biggest problem / opportunity / elephant in the room our industry is facing; at least until the next cab on the rank comes along. The issue of artificial intelligence.

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Curiosity Is A Wonderful Thing

A Cog Blog post a couple of weeks ago raised the whole issue of understanding, and a framework for ensuring we all, and especially those on the frontline, learn more from each other. Omar Oakes, Editor of The Media Leader picked the piece up and amplified it. Both the original blog and Omar’s piece generated a fair few comments and responses.

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Pitching

Last week’s Cog Blog on media qualifications has been picked up by The Media Leader. I aim to return to this next week once I’ve assessed the many responses on the topic.

A recent report from the media consultants, MediaSense concludes that over half of agency staff believe that pitching affects their mental health. This is a story with legs – it includes the magic words ‘pitching’ and ‘mental health’ thus virtually guaranteeing it will be picked up by all sorts of people, including AdAge.

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Experts

Sometimes a Cog Blog post fits neatly with pieces I come across over the following couple of weeks, more by luck then judgement. I like to put it down to great minds thinking alike. A Media Leader article by Nick Manning, and a thought-leadership piece from McKinsey happen to coincide with this recent Cog Blog. Or vice-versa.

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Qualified Understanding

I was always told that the most accomplished acrobats, the best ice skaters, were the clowns. You had to be really good at the basics to hurl yourself around without hurting yourself. You had to be smart to appear to be an idiot, in other words.

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A Certain Age

I am, shall we say, of a certain age. Depending on your perspective that either means I have some experience when it comes to what works and what doesn’t, or that I am by definition out-of-touch and know nothing of the modern media world.

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The F Word

The World Federation of Advertisers is 70. Founded in 1953, the WFA represents advertisers responsible for 90% of global adspend. If local advertiser associations, like ISBA in the UK and the ANA in the US provide a helicopter view of what’s important to their individual market’s members, the WFA hovers above the helicopters.

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‘A Hard Business’

It is rare for our mainstream media to pay any attention to the advertising industry. Ads – yes; why advertisers should boycott various news channels – sometimes; the business – no. This week ‘The Guardian’ did exactly that, featuring a story on how the industry is suffering from, and I quote, “burnout and inequality”.

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Combinations

No serious advertiser ever runs a campaign on a single communications channel. This is as true today as it ever was – every campaign uses a combination, for very good reason.

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Dot Joining and Puzzle Solving

‘We need to join the dots’ rings out the cry around the industry. Whether the dots in question are creative and media, research and modelling, planning and buying, procurement and marketing or any and every combination of the above, they have to be joined.

This is a little like Miss World contestants calling for World Peace. Or politicians calling for An End to Poverty.

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Meanwhile..

Sometimes I think this blog is turning into a veritable grump-fest. Nothing’s as good as it used to be; ads suck; social media is destroying democracy; ad fraud is funding drug cartels; pitches are badly run and anyway are all about saving money. And on.

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Saying and Doing

A week or two ago, Marc Pritchard, Procter and Gamble’s Chief Brand officer took to the ANA stage to give a keynote speech. He chose to call this ‘Resetting the Bar’; you can find the article he published to go alongside his remarks here.

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How Versus How Many

One of my pet peeves when it comes to social media (and believe me I have a lot of them) is the deliberate confusion between opinions and facts. This usually takes the form of: ‘I know that many agree’ or ‘I speak for many when I say..’ when the reality is that the writer spoke to some bloke in the pub who shrugged and said something like: ‘Yeah, seems like a good idea.’

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TV or Not TV

Television is the most effective advertising medium ever invented. No ifs, buts or maybes; ask anyone to recall their favourite ad and odds are it will be a TV ad. Ask the world’s biggest and best marketers to nominate the last medium they would ever remove from their plans, and it will be TV.

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From Outputs to Outcomes

There are enough trite slogans around the advertising and media world to fuel a month’s worth of ChatGBT generated content. Indeed, many feature both ‘ChatGBT’ and ‘content’, so we’re off to a flyer.

Right up there near the top of the league table of vacuous statements is the mantra that we ‘need to move from outputs to outcomes’. I think I first heard it used (by the client) at a global Coca-Cola meeting in the mid 1990’s; I thought then it was profound.

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