Opinion: A different breed of ideas

Opinion: A different breed of ideas

Opinion: A different breed of ideas


Marketing and branding exist along perpendicular vectors and ideas. Marketing seeks width – more people buying more products.

Branding seeks depth – strength of relationship, an emotional bond. Love. Lust. Participation in culture. Fandom. Identity.

Good branding will almost unfailingly fulfil marketing’s needs. The other way round is doubtful at best.

Mostly, advertising originates out of marketing needs – increase penetration, drive frequency of purchase and the likes. Occasionally, when there is a visionary at the helm, from a branding need.

Sometimes advertising originates out of marketing needs, over achieves, and ends up doing a branding job.

But when a piece of work does a branding job, we just know. Think Small. We are No.2. I’d like to teach the world to sing. 1984. Just do it. Think Different. Drivers Wanted. Wassup. Play. Aerolineas shadow. Hate something, change something. Dirt is good. Priceless.

All these ideas are recognized for their genius – of course. They win at Cannes. And at the Effies and the IPA. But we all perhaps miss the point.

That these are a different breed of ideas. That they go beyond, much beyond what Cannes and Effies celebrate.

Cannes celebrates advertising. It elevates, in Lee Clow’s words, the “hilarious and dramatic and spectacular.”

The IPAs and the Effies celebrate how well the work pushed transactions. Market share gain. Value growth. Volume expansion.

And both ignore the true worth of this kind of work. That it makes people think. It doesn’t just persuade, but transports. Into a place where people can imagine a better, improved version of themselves, and the world. It leaves behind not just a product message, but a thought.

None of these are in the purview of Cannes. Or Effies. No incentive to make these the objectives. No currency in agency corridors or client boardrooms for these. Despite the fact that these have created economic value for both advertisers and agencies by the spades, and not just for a quarter or a year. And have left the world a richer place. Like a good book, or good piece of poetry, or music. And so they continue to be accidents of communications except when brands are fortunate enough to be in the genius hands of people like Bill Bernbach, Lee Clow, Dan Wieden, Phil Knight and Steve Jobs – people who get what the game is all about intuitively.

We are all interested in these kinds of ideas. The amount of discussion they generate and awards they win is testimony to that. But to be able to appreciate what they truly achieve, we may do well to pull marketing, and advertising, and branding apart from each other. For they may well have big overlaps, but they are not the same things.

And it may help to award branding ideas separately. For they belong to a different breed.

Here and Now 365 is proud to contribute new ideas to the advertising fraternity.


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