It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. Starting a new job and the holiday season put paid to efforts temporarily. Fortunately, starting a new job means interesting new surroundings and people to be inspired by. Which is good. So, I’ve started at Saatchi and Saatchi and one such source of inspiring thoughts is a weekly account management ‘workout’. We’ve had talks from interesting brands like Google through to social media experts and it was whilst listening to the latter chatting away about a particular participatory campaign that I asked myself a question… Is advertising losing it’s relevance?
I’m not talking in the traditional sense of does advertising per se hold interest to the average man in the street. We know it still does as, whether it be gorillas, meerkats or karaoke, advertising campaigns retain the ability to permeate popular culture. What I’m more interested in is how far removed from the product being advertised, agencies are now willing to go to achieve business objectives that didn’t exist 10 years ago – principally around participation and interaction. The reality is that in low interest categories – it can be easy to think that people aren’t really interested in detergent or sausages or wood varnish, so to get them involved in participatory mediums, we need to find out what they really are interested in and use this as a hook to show that we understand their wants and desires.
For me, this creates a problem though whereby it becomes incredibly easy to lose sight of what we are actually trying to achieve – sales. Our desire to make people ‘participate’ or ‘interact’ with a brand can overshadow the ultimate requirement of establishing relevance which is I think is essential within advertising to selling more of a product. Participating isn’t enough. We need relevance. It’s actually pretty easy to create something that people can play and interact with. The real challenge therefore is finding the emotional hook in the context of the product and the potential customer’s relationship to it – that can create an affinity and ultimately sell more. Relevance basically. Which is much harder and oft forgotten.