17 March 2022

Let's create a new golden age of advertising

As Farrer Kane founding director Alex Kane sees it, each and every campaign is an opportunity to deploy original thinking that really resonates with the target market - and we must seize it.

We can all name advertising campaigns that stand the test of time. That are recognised as a little bit special - iconic even. The likes of those famous 1960s DDB Volkswagen Beetle ads, or the masterful Economist ads by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

These are gems that have stood the test of time. Such creative genius does still exist today but arguably you have to search a little harder to find it.

One of the reasons it's more difficult to uncover the gems is that they are buried in the ever-increasing volume of advertising content we all consume today. There's much more of it, across many more channels - but arguably much is 'ordinary' rather than 'extraordinary' - especially in the world of B2B comms.

The truth is that now, everyone can have a go at being an ad agency creative for the day. Once upon a time commissioning an ad campaign came with long lead times, major creative teams and a media spend to match. Very few B2B brands - even, say, large law firms or accountancy practices - would feel them a sensible use of marketing budget. Today - a paid social campaign can be set up in hours with ease and speed. Apps like Canva have made designers of us all. Organisations - including B2Bs that would never have considered booking a major print or TV campaign can commit to dipping their toe into paid promotion without big budgets.

But because they can - does that mean they should? Perhaps no, or at least not unless the core message and creative execution is there.

What we've seen as the quantity of paid content out there increases, is that the originality inevitability decreases. I think we can do better. The world has turned and given us cheaper and easier ways to reach our audiences - but that should not dilute the excellence of what we create.

I'm advocating that we think a little harder and dig a little deeper before we press go on that next campaign. Spend some time looking at your competitors - especially those who are at the top of their game when it comes to marketing. Be honest. Does your idea really stand out? Have you thought about your audience and their needs - and tailored your message to suit? Are you saying something that no-one else in your marketplace could? Will your language excite and entice - tell a story that resonates? Have you found a relatable way to evidence your claims? Does your call to action motivate? Have you moved beyond stock visuals and flexed your corporate identity perfectly for the channels you've chosen? Is a talking head straight to camera going to cut it?

None of this is straightforward - it takes time to get it right - and so it should. Let's aim high - for concepts that are creative and original, copy that is crisp and arresting, visuals that command attention. Let's be at the vanguard of a new golden age of advertising.

PS if you're looking for some inspiration, here are a couple of places to start at Hubspot and Canva.