The drumbeat of the death of traditional advertising sounds loudly as more CMOs chase analytics and logarithms in search of proven returns on investments.
They want marketing to be a science–– a repeatable, dependable, secure ROI machine.
And why not? Science is irrefutable. If we treat marketing like science, we can predict outcomes. It doesn’t take a Wharton MBA to know that a certain ROI is a great thing (until the law of diminishing returns takes effect).
But throughout history, sales sensations are not the products of predictable, ordinary campaigns, they’re the result of surprising and extraordinary campaigns. Magical work that catches a wave of Zeitgeist and rides it, becoming a buzz, a meme, a movement.
The VW Beetle campaign. Got Milk? The Old Spice campaign. Apple’s “1984” spot. ESPN’s SportsCenter work. The Most Interesting Man In The World, The Bartles & Jaymes campaign. These are products of art, demonstrating an empathy and understanding of human nature, and respect for people. Campaigns that are relevant to their products and give something back to the audience.
The scientific approach leads to formulaic advertising–– doing the limbo under the low bar you set.
The artful approach may lead to failure and humiliating embarrassment. Then again, the artful approach sometimes leads to glory.
The choice is yours marketer–– will you try and make your mark, or will you be driven by fear?