I will be giving a series of talks this week in Costa Rica on culture mapping and innovation related to FMCG. Part of the series is a review of key trend themes impacting the industry. Here is a summary of that talk. Special thanks to Marie Tupot for her brilliant research and crucial collaboration.
I've got a question. Why are all of us enlightened social media/Web 2.0 gurus picking on David Ogilvy lately? More than once during yesterday's Business Development Institute conference on The Social Consumer, David's name was brought up in "then vs. now" scenarios. Yet, in 1962, Time called him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry." (Maybe David Ogilvy did preach to a gullible public, but at least it was interesting and compelling.)
For sure, now we need to connect; we need to listen; we need to -- ENGAGE (there's that word again). But we also need: the wizards, the curators, the maverick renegades to lead the way. Inspiration never comes by consensus.
Perhaps, Ogilvy's now seemingly heavy-handed method worked then because he knew how to hear without the spiffy tools we have helping us today. I think we're losing sight of the dynamic combination necessary which is ever-more critical now that the gullible war-trodden consumer is gone.
Years ago, I worked for a brilliant editor by the name of Phyllis Sweed (although I don't think at the time I appreciated exactly how brilliant she was). When Ms. Sweed was asked by our publisher to survey our readers to ask what they wanted. Her response was "They don't know what they want." And, as publishers do, he persisted and money was spent to discover that the readers didn't really know what they wanted. In fact, it was more powerful that Ms. Sweed and her crew had developed long-standing relationships meeting and hearing their readers. And always posing the question "What if we did this?" That's what gets a b2b print publication closer to its 100th year.
So let's promise each other that there's always something more inspiring, more provocative to be accepted if it just gets pushed a bit. And stop using David Ogilvy as a scape goat. The man worked for the British Intelligence Service for heaven sake's. I'd assume he knew how to listen first before he slammed it home.
We're launching our position statement on the Transformer Generation. The gist is this:
For the kids who played with Transformers twenty-odd years ago, the story has fluidly evolved into a tale of open-source collaboration, new globalism, a currency of culture, eBay economics and mash-up. In this new narrative, the impact of technology blurs the lines from urban/suburban and east/west making cultural context more critical now than ever before. The Transformer Generation is a game changer. They won’t become us. They’ll change us.
Poking fun at recession fears — getting laid off, watching the 401(k) slide into the abyss — can sometimes make the unthinkable, at least for a time, bearable, some marketing experts said.
Laughter is communal and brings people together, so humor can be marketing gold for a company when it is done right. But it can also backfire if it crosses the line. With black humor, that line can be razor-thin, experts agree.
“There are times black humor works, but it has to be done well,” said Marie Lena Tupot, co-founder of scenarioDNA, a New York consumer behavior research firm that helps companies build their brands. “In these volatile times, when people are being laid off without notice, an advertisement or gimmick that plays on the recession can turn negative and be in poor taste.” Read more