14 How to make a name for yourself

cap copy
Reader, I begin this week with some searching questions. Did you realise that the only way forward is Vorsprung durch Tecknik? Have you at any time in your life subscribed to the belief that Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes? Were you aware that Martini can be drunk any time, any place, anywhere? Are you a believer that in order to work, rest and play then somehow or other a Mars bar will have to be involved? And, finally, have you ever found yourself ineluctably agreeing to the notion that love means never having to say you’re sorry?

Welcome to the world of ad nostalgia. A world when life was simple. When life was constructed for other people racily by smart young men with woollen ties and cigarettes in E-type Jags and too-tight suits in Wardour Street and life was all a-gogo. Sixties? Seventies? Money for old rope, mate? Thank you, two coils, please.

My own first day as a junior copywriter in Edinburgh began thus: good morning, here is half a desk, time for lunch in pub where Creative Director decides good idea to honour the day it being glorious twelfth, start of grouse shooting season, why not have twelve Famous Grouse all round, back to agency 4pm blootered out of box. Client focus? Couldn’t feel my own nose.

Yes, yes, what’s your point?
Advertising then was all about coming up with a simple, seductive three-word phrase. Re-read the opening paragraph above and count the three-word phrases from those celebrated advertising lines: vorsprung etc, exceedingly etc, any time etc. Except of course the one from Love Story, which only goes to prove how much more complicated a proposition that is.

Why is three the golden number? Don’t ask me, ask the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Or if none of the above is available, enquire just below of Alastair Campbell re New Labour winning an election on education, education, education.

These days the tyranny of the trinity is too glib, because we’re too sophisticated. We don’t respond to the contrivance of rhythmic repetition. Rather, we seem to embrace chaos. You Tube and Twitter are just two of the media ciphers of our day that pump out communication that’s raw and unrefined. You may have heard of viral marketing. It’s nothing to do with Tamilfu. It’s a way of selling by not selling, a means of getting a product name into the public intelligence without anything as crude as billboards or TV. Because the public prides itself on being street-smart, savvy, can’t dupe me, not gullible, don’t sell to me directly.

And how this relates to business is…?
Brand projection isn’t just about having a strapline any more. It’s more about understanding how your individual customers would prefer to see you and constructing personal ways of responding to each as unique. You can’t have one corporate identity any more. One size doesn’t fit all. You can’t have one universal marketing plan. Your customers love themselves too much.

So cue M&S music, sexy Samba Pa Ti by Santana, cue sexy voiceover girl to breathily say This is not just a blog, this is a dinwoodie blog. Doesn’t work, does it? Course not. And not just because the music’s naff and the v/o girl used to play the love interest in Ballykissangel, for which she hasn’t yet said sorry. It doesn’t work because you’re too smart, I’m too smart, we’re all too smart these days.

Nielsen Dinwoodie
business messages people remember


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