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Superficiality in planning

Or laziness, I can’t make up my mind, is what drives me a little cuckoo.

Yesterday, as it sometimes happens to me, I watched a bit of TV.

For the hour I watched it, I was confronted with some of the most debilitating ads I have ever seen. (we are talking prime time here).

This one was the main culprit. I had to look it up on the Internet, it’s just unbelievable.

I mean how irritating is that? What’s the insight? What does it tell me about the product?

I feel like inflicting maximum pain to this poor dude. Maybe headbutting him in the chest?

Ok, it’s one thing to be wanting to surf on the wave of the visual DJ thing, which is getting old now btw, but Christ if you have to do it, do it well.

That was funny:

Re-using this technique for the Sony Walkman’s launch was clever.

But using this technique for this Italian sauce makes no sense whatsoever.

One has to choose the right client to do it. This is an Italian sauce. I’m sure the brief said something like it’s ‘modern’ and we want to target hip 30 something. I’m sure the bloke is meant to be the cliche of the good-looking Italian dude. I’m sure you’ve come up with a pretty good rationale to why it will be good to see an Italian cliche of a chef doing some beats while cooking and managed to sell it to the client.

But despite all that, the result is here for us to see. Plain crap.

So, after watching other horrors like that, I did start wondering what was going on. I mean, most advertising is deemed to be average, but we seem to reach abyssal depths at the moment.

In this case, it looks like the creative team got a brief on their table and went straight to thinking, what is the coolest thing we can do. Which is fine in my book, as long as it works with what you are trying to communicate about your product or brand.

The same ‘thinking’ surely led to the Ford ad everyone has been slaughtering recently.

Is it laziness or superficiality? Trying to do style over substance is sometimes fine, but you have to actually really deliver on style. When you don’t, you are in big troubles.

Laziness. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes you just can’t find that really really groundbreaking idea but a B-plan involving a twat shouting SA– CLLLA in people’s face is not fine. At least give it a go. Anything could have been better than that.

A quick ask around me got me this kind of response:

So bad. Completely irrelevant to the product. And what an idiot when he goes “Sac” and “la”

The sad thing is that, in my vast experience of pesto, Sacla Green pesto is definitely one of the best in the market. It is great. And doesn’t need sleazy Italian guys trying to remix the sound of the kitchen. *sigh*

There was a little nugget of information. Sacla green pesto is the best in the market. Why? What’s so special about it? What’s pesto made of anyway? How do they make it? Any special ingredients? Cooking? Is it made in Italy? What does Sacla think pesto should be like? A point of view on meals as well maybe? What’s their origin? etc.

5 minutes thinking could have led the planners or creative team to vastly more interesting areas. The product was great. Was it the ad so lame? My main problem is that it doesn’t even tell you anything about this product, which seems to already have a loyal audience.

Superficiality though worries me a tiny bit more. Superficiality means you are genuinely happy with your average idea. That you are convinced that the use of a cool technique will make up for the lack or total absence of thinking.

From a planner’s perspective, it is putting an unrealistic expectation on the creative team when you haven’t given them anything to work from. Because they surely will find something. And they sure did.

If you think about it, I’m sure the SACLA ad above answered the brief. It must have ticked all the boxes. But is it what you want to do? Ticking boxes? Is it why you ended up working in advertising?

So who’s to blame? The planner or the creative. I’d say the former.

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  1. March 5, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    planning must change. great post. most atl creatives are beyond repair at this stage.
    I’ve been shown TVCs based on virals and asked to make it viral (again)

  2. March 5, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Nice post, to be honest, I tend to be less and less a TV Junky so it seems that I am loosing opportunities to enrich my… culture.

    Anyway, as you say, this creative execution seems to try to surf on a trend that products can be the sources of artistic inspiration. But is this really new? After all, what is Stomp if not a bunch of guys playing music with a whole lot of ustensiles and decontextualised items? So the Sacla execution is not new, but it is empty of sense. This poor execution does not bring anything to the table (sic!). Is that music? Is this italian? Is that supposed to mean that Scala inspires a symphony of Italian flavours to your tastebuds. A Verdi symphony maybe? Not trying to get into the creative shoes there, would be derelict in a kitchen, but even this slim creative route could have been pushed a little bit further to embbed some values and signs.

    Instead, we have a guy repeating a brand name, twice as per the Loreal book, ridiculing himself and by the same occasion the brand. Or maybe Jerome, it is just us French advertising expatriates in the UK, who should reveal to the London Microcosmos that there is indeed a subliminal message in this ad. A message from the actor to the marketing team about their agency. Maybe it is not SAC-LAAA that we should understand, but “Sacque-la” which in French means “Fire them”… Maybe that the ultimate truth in this commercial.

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