Pick­ing up cheap PR points, rather than af­fect­ing the bot­tom line, risks be­com­ing the new gold stan­dard in an era of bud­get cuts

Campaign UK - - FRONT PAGE - Act­ing UK ed­i­tor MAISIE MCCABE maisie.mccabe@hay­mar­ket.com @maisiem­c­cabe

Heineken was forced to de­fend its “Worlds apart” cam­paign by Publi­cis Lon­don this week fol­low­ing strong crit­i­cism.

The brand’s head of mar­ket­ing, Cindy Ter­voort, told Cam­paign that Heineken was aim­ing to play a “hum­ble” role in the ad by bring­ing to­gether peo­ple with dif­fer­ent views and life ex­pe­ri­ences. Asked whether it was ap­pro­pri­ate for a beer brand to get in­volved in the highly per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal is­sues at the cen­tre of “Worlds apart”, Ter­voort in­sisted it was – pro­vided there was also a gen­uine in­tent, a clear brand fit and the right choice of tone, which meant be­ing “a lit­tle bit hum­ble”. Ter­voort added: “We are not in­tend­ing to change the world – I don’t think we sug­gest we pro­vide an an­swer.”

“Mor­risons has had a resur­gence de­spite award-de­fy­ing ads. Where are the re­cent busi­ness suc­cess sto­ries driven by mar­ket­ing?”

Cannes is in the air. You can smell the rosé in the smat­ter­ing of ads with pur­pose shoe­horned into a brand. Now I’m not the first per­son to talk about this. Droga5’s Dy­lan Wil­liams and David Kol­busz did it with much aplomb ahead of the Croisette cel­e­bra­tions just last year. But I do won­der whether the trop­i­cal dis­tur­bance of scep­ti­cism is go­ing to grow into a hur­ri­cane of ac­tion any time soon.

Publi­cis Lon­don’s ad for Heineken bring­ing to­gether peo­ple with dif­fer­ing view­points has di­vided opin­ion. Well, out­side the Cam­paign of­fice, that is. In Twick­en­ham-upon-bern­ers, it has gone down like a stale cup­cake. My col­leagues’ main is­sue is that the film gives trans­pho­bia, cli­mate change de­nial and sex­ism an equal foot­ing with the op­po­site, more widely held – and rea­son­able – po­si­tions. And, lo and be­hold, the ad was sec­ond in the Cannes con­tenders email sent re­cently by Publi­cis World­wide.

In Peter Field’s Sell­ing Cre­ativ­ity Short – which was launched in Cannes last year, as it hap­pens – the leg­endary strate­gist found that the bud­gets be­hind cre­atively awarded work had been slashed. In fact, the cre­atively awarded brands did not even spend pro­por­tion­ally to their mar­ket share. Field de­duced that mar­keters were at­tempt­ing to use cre­ativ­ity as a sub­sti­tute for bud­get. It hasn’t worked. In­stead, their in­vest­ment in cre­ativ­ity was wasted and awarded cam­paigns un­der­per­formed their un­awarded ri­vals’.

But I won­der whether the trend of smaller bud­gets sit­ting be­hind cre­atively awarded cam­paigns could be af­fected by the fact that much of the work win­ning isn’t de­signed in an­tic­i­pa­tion of big bud­gets.

But things might change. Last month, Unilever an­nounced it would stop mak­ing so many ads. Could this mark the end of on­line-only Dove films be­ing PR’D in the week be­fore Cannes? Is it a co­in­ci­dence that, in the past month, the world’s last male north­ern white rhino joined Tin­der, Dove launched a range of dif­fer­ent-shaped bot­tles and Col­gate started writ­ing mes­sages about wa­ter on ho­tel mir­rors? An­other way of look­ing at it is that cre­ative awards ju­ries are ac­tu­ally giv­ing work credit for their lack of bud­get. If you con­sider Grey’s Life­paint case study, its fo­cus is on the gi­gan­tic value of the PR it gen­er­ated rather than the craft of the prod­uct. It’s hardly alone.

These ideas came to the fore last week when I was think­ing about Mor­risons and Sains­bury’s fi­nan­cial re­sults. I wrote af­ter Christ­mas about Mor­risons’ grow­ing strength and it seems this resur­gence has con­tin­ued de­spite its award-de­fy­ing ads. Sains­bury’s, which launched Wieden & Kennedy’s stylish ad cam­paign in Jan­uary, is far­ing less well – al­though Ar­gos looks a good pur­chase. But both sets of re­sults were no­table for the lack of de­tailed com­men­tary on the role of their brand and ad­ver­tis­ing.

Where are the re­cent busi­ness suc­cess sto­ries that have been driven by mar­ket­ing? Re­united with Ogilvy, Bri­tish Air­ways plans to re­turn to brand work af­ter find­ing love for its brand has de­clined. The true mea­sure of suc­cess should be whether they can re­turn to the podium as well as please in­vestors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.