Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Real Planning School of the Web: Part 1 creative critique

Never heard of this film before......looks worth a box of popcorn though....anyway it’s grad recruitment time. The applications are out there and you’re mulling over them all thinking what the fuck. Maybe you’re not actually, maybe you’re doing quite well and therefore my opinions don’t actually count. However, for some of the rookies looking to get in I thought I’d start my own planning school here on adgrads. Really to help you think about advertising in a different way.

So my first attempt at this is going to be on creative critique. The reason being is that most of the time you’ll be asked to give a creative judgment on a campaign or execution and share your thoughts or act as an account handler and sell in the work. Not always an easy thing, the sell in of the Cadbury’s Gorilla work must have been a gem to watch but where do you start? So here is a brief framework to get an opinion together which you can follow, morph, scrap or just ignore.

Advertising Idea & Execution
I always find it best to make the stark distinction between these two when looking at creative work and as the title may indicate, it’s quite obvious. The advertising idea being the core thought that makes the advertising relevant to both the product and the target audience. It can be communicated in many different medias and usually can be summarised in a simple sentence. The execution is, clearly, a creative manifestation of the idea. It renders sound, colour, symbols, shapes and provokes emotion and thought (or in ad speak ‘consideration’). So far so good….well no, not really as that doesn’t help in the slightest unless I can apply it to a real example. One that always springs to mind which is quite easy to use is the Dr Pepper work…although not around today. You know the one:

The advertising idea being born from the problem that people just weren’t buying Dr Pepper. It wasn’t because of the taste it was simply because people had the default carbonated choice of Pepsi or Coca Cola or the other major players such as Lilt or Fanta. When researching this problem it was found that people actually really liked Dr Pepper, just they’d never tried it. So the advertising idea was simply – don’t be afraid to try Dr Pepper

The execution is what you can watch on the YouTube link above i.e. Dr Pepper, what’s the worst that can happen, manifesting the play on the consumer insight that people weren’t trying it for the silly reason that….they hadn’t tried it before… the execution dramatised this consumer insight and produced the Dr Pepper advertising we know and love.

If you think of a ‘now’ product you could apply the above framework to then Lipton Ice springs to mind. It’s a really good soft drink but people will 9/10 opt for Oasis or Lilt as the thought of cold tea isn’t that great. Try it though and I guarantee you’ll like it and drink more of it.

Anyway, I digress. So the next step after being able to make the two clear distinctions in breaking down creative is the Creative Rationale. What this means in human speak is a reason for the existence of the execution. This will 9/10 times be consumer knowledge. For example, research shows that men buy the majority of Citroen C4s, so use a robot to talk to men. That quite simply is a creative rationale and will follow the idea and execution.

The great thing about this framework is that there isn’t any mystical skill to it, just practice as you would any technique. Take an ad from TV or a magazine and try it. Some wont be as easy as others, some will be shit with little to no thought and therefore are either really obvious or just don’t exist or some really good ads will be quite obscure such as Sony Balls (how do you communicate HD colour on non HD colour TVs – use lots of colours in a beautiful way on any TV) and Cadbury Gorilla (communicate enjoyment by giving people 90 seconds of random entertainment). Remember, it is creative stuff you’re talking about so it won’t always fall neatly into boxes.

Then there is a Buying Rationale, wont bore you with this but essentially this is a summary of your points so you would recap your verbatim in a linear process to make the interviewer know you have a structure to your analysis, so your recap would be:

…so to summarise I believe the idea for Cadbury's Gorilla (and this is subjective and not the law, if you can support your idea then it’s valid – that’s the beauty of advertising analysis) is that Cadbury's are more generous with their milk content than any other chocloate bar, therefore they use that generosity in their advertising by giving the public 90 seconds of entertainment. In order to execute this, the advertising is be as enjoyable as eating chocolate so to have a gorilla drumming to Phil Collins is not only random but funny and therefore enjoyable. The rationale for this being that Cadbury's Dairy Milk has reached a peak in terms of awareness, everyone knows it exists, therefore there isn't a need for a hard sell but to create an emotional affinity with the product, to have positive values attributed to the product. Therefore this ad is there to entertain and engage audiences with Cadbury Dairy Milk via a completley different TV advertising model - almost branded content if you will (that's a different post).

Think I better get back to work now. Hope that helps.

Anton xx


Anonymous said...

You've just made me look forward to starting Uni in two weeks time! And in particular, the Creative Analysis unit...


Anonymous said...

....I would be looking forward to getting fcked for 3 years and lots of premiscuous behaviour and claiming it as life experience in order to give good creative analysis.

Shall we all go back and do MBAs?

Enjoy Tom and have a great time.


Anonymous said...

when I said starting, I meant starting my 3rd year...


Anonymous said...

...and when I said I would be looking forward to getting fcked for 3 years and lots of premiscuous behaviour...

I meant

...I would be looking forward to getting fcked for the whole of my 3rd year and lots of premiscuous behaviour

...the last year is always the best

Have you done some placements Tom?