I recently discovered The Archers as I was working on a project that necessitated us to harness the power of stories to educate people.
It’s apparently the most enduring show in the world having started in 1951 and still going strong.
4 million people still tune in every day to listen to it on Radio 4 and 1 million people download the podcast.
That’s some very big numbers for a radio show.
Anyway, what’s even more interesting than the show in itself is the context surrounding its creation that I’ve put in a presentation you can read below.
It was basically created in as a way for the Ministry of Agriculture to educate farmers on new techniques that would help to feed Britain in the after war.
No one was interested in big lectures and government messages at that time. They had to create a story to educate people.
What’s surprising about the story is how the idea of the show came to life as well. It’s a perfect example of ‘creative collaboration‘ so dear to Keith Sawyer.
It’s also a perfect example of planning, communication planning and creativity done by one single man that had experience in the matter.
Godfrey Baseley (BBC Midland programme assistant!) did a lot of research, found some great insights, came up with a proposition, shared it with people to make it better, picked the best media for the job, and used the right ‘creative team’ for the job.
It’s also a wonderful example of resilience and creating your own luck. Farmers didn’t want to hear what he had to say. The BBC didn’t want to run the show. He had to finance the first episodes out of his own regional budget.
Anyway, it’s all in the presentation. I’ve also applied the reason of this success using the Made to Stick ‘SUCCES’ criteria, which you can find at the bottom of this page.
I’ve nicked and edited the story of the Archers from Urma. Hope they don’t mind.
I’ve also nicked too many pictures on the Internet to remember where they come from (google images!).
It’s quite possible I got some things wrong so feel free to let me know!
For Converse 100th anniversary. From Anomaly NYC.
Watch it in high quality here.
Doing a music video is not original, but the execution is just brilliant.
I still think the Seat ad is more of a stinker.
I’m growing tired of ads that try to talk to guys about how to behave like real men. Real men box, real men don’t do pylates… bla bla bla.
Using Mr T to advertise Snickers was a great idea the first time around. (One question though, do 16 years old know who he is? I’m sure the planners have found relevant piece of research saying he is their main hero, yet I’m somehow dubious).
The new speed walking ad that apparently got banned for being anti-gay (is that true?) managed to still be funny.
Watching Mister T create his war machine is still ok.
But having Mr T rap about how I should behave or not behave is not funny.
Guess they could do it so why not?
Anyway, seriously, stop it with this ‘(insert client name) is for real men’. It’s getting seriously boring. It’s not a strategy, it’s not an insight, it’s not planning.
Apart from that, well done though I do like that Mr T ad. Thanks to the creative for that one.
Update, on my way home, I thought about it again and I’m now thinking it is actually the opposite.
The last spot is a poor execution on what might have been a good strategy.
See, in the spot where Mr T hurls abuse at a cheating footballer, I got the sport reference. Whether in the last spot, I didn’t. I thought it was just some funny piss-taking at some unmanly hobby. I thought it was about behaving like a man, but thought it had nothing to do with sport. I found it funny for the wrong reason, which is that the speed walker just looked silly in his tight shorts. And I can actually now understand why it has been banned. It’s certainly could certainly encourage stupid behaviour.
Anyway, I think they miss the point of what was so great about the first one, the amateurial sport reference, the cheater and should have carried on with it.
What do you think? (I like ending a post with a question, specially when no one responds!)
Fancy a laugh? It’s Friday after all.
Watch the green team on Funnyordie. It’s a bit old, it’s a bit wrong, but I still find it hilarious.
(Can’t embed it because WordPress is sh*t). I think I really need to upgrade to the paying version (which is a pretty clever trick from wordpress to get some money out of you actually).
I think Will Ferrell is my Internet hero.