Home > advertising theory, future of advertising > Say or do? Claim or prove?

Say or do? Claim or prove?

It’s a subject I’ve been interested in for a long time and I’ve come accross some great posts about it.

Gareth, quite rightly, pointed to this very interesting post from Adrian at Zeus Jones. Even more intersting is the presentation of his new agency:

Some great examples here of how ‘doing’, and advertising the ‘doing’, are much more powerful than advertising your product or brand alone.

It’s something people working online have realised a long time ago. Just saying it, no matter how well or beautifully, is not enough.

It’s something I’ve been pushing at glue and BBH for a long time. How can you change people’s life with your communication budget, rather than just making an ad, which ultimately is just one claim? No matter how good it is.

It’s also something the clever boys at Naked had realised a long time ago, calling it branded application (or so I think).

My guess for 2008, is that branded applications will overtake viral (in the wide sense) as the Internet’s most wanted. And one big brand will dramatically switch its advertising budget to creating a strong utility.

It will be a lot more viral to find something to improve an audience’s life than to actually try to plan a ‘viral campaign’.

Examples have been around for a long time, yet very few marketers have seized its potential. I was reading the ‘tour de France’ origins yesterday, only to find it was one of the best example of ‘doing’ rather than saying. And what a powerful one (from the BBC):

” At the start of the twentieth century, two of France’s leading sports newspapers, Le Vélo and L’Auto-Vélo, were in competition. After a copyright ruling, L’Auto-Vélo had to drop the ‘Vélo’ from its name, and its editor, former world hour cycling record holder Henri Desgrange, knew he had to do something big to keep its cycling fans interested. He proposed a race visiting major cities in France: from Paris to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and finally Nantes, before returning to Paris.

1903 saw the first race, masterminded by Desgrange and single-handedly reported, organized and engineered by the newspaper’s chief reporter, Georges Lefèvre.

20,000 people saw the winner Maurice Garin arrive in Paris. The resulting publicity saw Le Vélo go out of business and the Tour become established as an annual event.”

Faced with this situation, many modern marketeers would turn to advertising to do something about it, like spending some money to promote their new names. Or trying to outspend their competitor and establish themselves as the authority by focusing on the quality of their magazines, the fact that they have many pages… and would have failed miserably.

Imagine a bank spending half of its budget to create a free banking service that gives you financial advice, video, explanations, personalised tips on your finances…

Companies can find what they are an authority on and create a valuable service, experience around it. And then advertising that service.

Much has been said about Nike+ but before that, Nike Run London was doing that in a brilliant way by allowing runners accross London to meet and share running maps. They are now definitely owning ‘running’, in a a much more powerful way than any advertising could have achieved alone.

It’s something I’m definitely sure we will start to see a lot more of.

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