Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Russell Davies

Today the planner Russell Davies came to our school for a guest speech to Miami Ad School. I had no idea who he was before, but according to some people from the planning bootcamp, he's really famous and I should have known him. I can hardly even remember names of famous creatives, let alone famous planners.

Until today. Because Davies is a name that I should have known. Right now he's a freelance planner and before that he worked for Wieden & Kennedy, both in Portland and in London. His weblog is a dosis of daily inspiration for planners all over the world.

Davies told us some interesting things about changes in advertising. I must say that they were things I've heard before: how advertising is changing towards making consumers participants instead of target audiences, that the single minded proposition doesn't work anymore and how internet is gaining importance. But it's not so much what he said during the guest speech, it's the way he said it that was really convincing.

I've always been sceptical about change. Ten years ago agencies started to anticipate on the so called internet revolution. After that dot-com companies went bankrupt as fast as they arose. It says to me that you should be careful with wanting to change. Agencies are conservative and so are their clients. Nonetheless, it seems like the internet prophecies of ten years ago finally come true. Only it's different than people expected. Print still exists and the 30-second commercial is still there. Only we now have more choice of media to show this commercial on. But it's a slow change. I think change in advertising is an evolution rather than a revolution.

What I liked about Davies speech was that he kind of gave us a summary of what is happening now, instead of making too much predictions. And he told us something that I told in one of my earlier posts: consumers can nowadays choose what they want to see, so the most important aspect of advertising is that it has to amuse instead of transmitting a message that nobody wants to hear. "If it's entertaining", Davies told us, "people will pick it up anyway".

This week I found out why that is true. In Stockholm I made a campaign for a toy manufacturer that I finally finished this quarter and which I put on one website. I never expected it, but within no time the campaign was all over internet and there's even a French art magazine that wants to write about it. There's also a disadvantage to this sudden popularity: the campaign got so much attention that even the agency where I made it got angry phonecalls from the client. That's one of the reason why I don't show the ads on my blog.

The funny thing is that the campaign doesn't even make a lot of sense. It's just amusing to some people. Maybe the new rules for making good advertising is: just make something entertaining. It's that simple, and yes...it's that hard.


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