I Suck

Mmmm Lollipop
Admit it! At one time, you sucked too 😉

Yeah, I suck at over-the-top advertising. I suck at making deceiving claims. I also suck at conjuring mindless superlatives just to make my copy ‘catchy’. Heck, I even suck at advertising that decorate rather than communicate.

I suck at many things because I can’t – no matter how hard I try – know it all.

I believe advertising should be about sending right message to the right audience in the right time and hopefully with the right offer to compel a desired action.

It’s nice to be reminded about what we are really supposed to do.
Just disregard the intro music; David Ogilvy was not a king.

Because truth be told, no one gives a shit about award-winning creatives or kick-ass art direction or genius copy except for those in the ad industry.

Everyone else is just concerned about getting the best value at the lowest cost in the most convenient way possible, and I am referring to both clients and consumers here.

Advertising should be more accountable, where money spent can be justified, and less about strategic mumbo jumbo and pointless creative masturbation.

With ROI becoming more and more important to clients, creative work – or anything that happens within an advertising agency – must strive to bring more bang to clients’ ADEX.

Anything less is just not acceptable; at least for me that is. This renewed enthusiasm for advertising that sells is borne from years of watching clients spend money in big idea yet low effectiveness advertising.

In the words of the great David Ogilvy, when asked about advise on running a business:

“Never spend money on advertising which does not sell”

That’s good advise isn’t it?


Originality is Dead?

Alright. This is a quick one. Check this out.

Is there such a thing as an original creative idea anymore? Or are all the world’s creative concepts these days are just re-hashes of what’s been done before? How can one be sure that an idea – whether for a print ad, website or TVC – has not been thought of previously by someone on the other side of the world?

Hmmm… I think I’ve never written a whole paragraph consisting of only questions. That’s unquestionably (pun intended) a first.

Check out these videos and share your thoughts:

Actually, this reminds me of the music industry as well. Search for “I Miss You Song” in Google and you get like a gazillion of tracks with the same title.

The same concept, but different execution. Is originality dead?

P.S.    Both ads however are brilliant to say the least. The kind of ads that make you want to work in advertising, hoping one day you would conceive such ads.

Livin’ Up

Alright. To tell you the honest, brutal truth: I like this ad. It was amazingly shot, focused on a singular message and stirred the emotion. Ads like these are few and far in between in Malaysia, but it does seem that this piece of communication is a global effort coming from Shangri-La International.

Allow me, if I may, to repeat myself: I like this ad. However, nothing is perfect and it does present a few flaws.

  • The idea of a man freezing to death may not resonate with Malaysians. We are the type of people who drive up to Genting just to escape the heat if you know what I mean.
  • Equating Shangri-La’s hospitality with a pack of very friendly (and not surprisingly hungry) wolves is quite risky. It’s like saying “Shangri-La is intimidating at first, but we’re alright up close”.
  • The person in the ad – someone who’s lost in the arctic wilderness on his own – may not represent the kind of clientèle that Shangri-La is aiming for.

And most importantly is this:

  • The ad ends with this line: “To Embrace a Stranger as One’s Own. It’s In Our Nature. Brilliant, tactful and neatly encapsulates the storyline. But can they really, I mean really live up to the claim? This idea, which was conjured by the agency and fine-tuned by the marketing department is a general idea of the kind of hospitality one will receive upon stepping into the lobby of a Shangri-La. But will the bell boys and servers and housekeeping staff across the entire Shangri-La of the world embrace this level of service to its guests?

It’s easy to make a claim. But for a hotel chain as big as Shang, I think it would be a tough one to live up to. Can they guarantee that out of the thousands of guests they welcome, not even one will leave discontented?

Yup. I didn’t think so either.


When I Grow Up

I wonder what would happen if we show this video to every aspiring ad man or woman out there.

You know, the fresh out of Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia greenhorns whom are contemplating a communications design course. The college freshmen who think advertising is all about getting to work at noon, writing a couple of headlines and scooting off to lunch. And the 25-year old executive who’s unsure about his career and thinking of advertising to get his juices (creative or otherwise) flowing.

The video is actually a parody of a Monster recruitment ad, created to promote the ADDY Advertising awards based in the States. I liked the idea of using kids to ‘sell’ the advertising industry, because kids tell the truth. At least kids who have yet to accurately identify right from wrong. The kids in the video however have laid bare all the symptoms of an industry that’s tired, unforgiving and complicated.

Now, would I have jumped into the deep, dark ravine of advertising had I seen this video as an undergraduate? Hell yeah! I wouldn’t trade where I am now for anything else. Granted, things could be better, but it’s stuff like this that makes advertising… well… advertising. It’s a love/hate thing… few understand, many falter and for some of us it’s a way of life.