Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Dave Trott does UTI



Tues night we had the immense pleasure of entertaining the legend that is Dave Trott - CD over at CST at our monthly Under The Influence session.

So many people wanted to see Dave that we had to stage it in iris' new hang out space which worked rather well.

Dave's a great talker; he slices through the nonsense like a hot knife through bullshit; a good, honest down to earth bloke who keeps things simple and engaging - so much so that this blog post won't really reflect how good the talk was. So if you missed it, you really did miss out. I've actually seen most of it before at the IPA, and it was even better this time...

It started with a bit of chat about the way the brain works (Gestalt, etc) and then saturation of media, etc. All good stuff that I won't go into here... because it's really all about the chart that Dave drew - a pyramid chart which he used to explain why 89% of ads are shit and also how ads can be made so that they’re not shit.



According to all the surveys, the vast majority of advertising is either immediately forgotten or, worse, totally ignored by the public (this translates into £17 billion wasted by clients). It’s ignored because it’s shit. And if you're not ignored, only 7% is remembered positively, with 4% being remembered negatively - but at least remembered.

Consumers interact with an ad from the top of the pyramid down. Impact gets their attention, communication conveys information, persuasion prompts them to act upon that information.

Most ads are shit because agencies build them in the same way that consumers interact with them; from the top down. So although an ad may – if the creatives are good at their craft – have impact, it can’t communicate or persuade once it’s got the consumer’s attention.

This approach leads to a lot of what Dave calls ‘oddvertising’ - well-made, quirky bits of film or posters that catch the eyes and ears, but totally fail to engage the heart or mind.

Agencies should start with persuasion – what’s going to convince a consumer to buy this product? That’s the suits job. Then the planner and the creatives work out how to communicate this persuasive nugget. Then the creatives work out how to give this communication impact.

And that’s it.

Now if you're sat there reading this thinking something along the lines of "that's obvious" then well spotted. It is. But if it's so obvious and easy, then how come 90% of the time ad people ignore that model? They do. That's fact.

Then Dave showed 20 American TV ads from the 80's. He explored 10 different categories and compared work within each, hi-lighting why one ad was shit and why the other one was good.

For example. In relation to Dave's chart, this Nike 'Pump' ad is shit:



PS: it wasn't this particualr execution - it was the one that says 'Kick Some Butt' at the end which I can't find. But this is similar. It's all impact and execution, doesn't tell me whats good about the shoe, etc.

Whereas this Reebok 'Pump' ad is brilliant:



It tells you that it's not Nike (important as they own the market); it persuades you with the product benefit (they fit better); it's funnier and has high impact - you can't recount this ad to anyone without telling them what the product benefit is.

Or another category - use of celebrity. This Diet Coke add featuring Sugar Ray (get it!!??) Leonard is shit.



It's all about impact and not about persuasion and because of the bad use of celebrity, it's more an ad for the whole low-sugar category rather than Diet Coke specifically.

But this Diet Pepsi ad featuring Ray Charles is brilliant...



It's impactful, it's funny, it's clearly for Diet Pepsi, it's persuasive at it's core - Diet Pepsi tastes so much better even a blind man can taste it. Genius.

I could go on. It's amazing how good the two good ones still are today - whereas the other two don't stand up. There is nothing real in either, no truth, insight or reason to them.

Here is Dave in action - or posing by his flip chart...



Other bits and sound bites I remember (really should have taken notes)...

"You wanna be six months ahead of Campaign in terms of what they're talking about." on doing ads that gets the industry talking / winning awards.

"We should be doing work they don't have awards for yet." - that's Dave quoting his mate Vinny who did the Wassssssup! campaign

"Planning's influence has generally been negative on the ad biz. Too academic and knee-jerk into trying to find the 'right' answers - which are logical but don't work i nthe real world" Dave sticks the knife into bad planners

On shit briefs "Brand share or market growth? Ask yourself that question first, every time before you start - if you don't have extreme clarity on that, then reject the brief"

"There's nothing wrong with the hard sell, as long as it is done right. It can be funny, and it doesn't have to be boring" + "Webster was a master at doing the corny stylishly - which is why he won awards and the mind of the public" - Dave on 'fashionable' styles of advertising.

I'm sure Dave wouldn't mind me calling his approach slightly old school. In fact he admitted it himself - but what he says is relevant today and will be in 20 years time and beyond - regardless of media, brand or what have you.

He positions creativity as so much more fundamental than words and pretty pictures - that's just cosmetic wrapping. I whole heartedly agree.

So thanks Dave. I'd had a nice note back from him the morning after saying he had a lot of fun doing it and that we're all nice people. Smart.

You can read Dave's blog or follow him on Twitter or read a recent Twitter interview by iBoy - and I reckon you should do all of those.

1 Comment:

kcullen80 said...

Dave cut out all the usual bullshit and took it right back to the basics. Everything he said made brilliant sense. Possibly the most informative UTI talk yet. Should have been compulsory viewing...

 

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