Sunday 22 July 2018

AdLib: Ad boss reveals chaos theory

Paper Panther's Dulux Weathershield ad created the Murphy family and their Dulux dog Digby
Paper Panther's Dulux Weathershield ad created the Murphy family and their Dulux dog Digby

Michael Cullen

Chaos needs to be embraced by marketers in a bid to combat the ever-increasing power of corporations, the constancy of digital and the predatory nature of consultants buying out ad agencies.

Speaking at the Marketing Institute's DMX Dublin conference in the Aviva Stadium, Wieden + Kennedy head planner Martin Weigel said creativity was being enslaved by the very thing it's meant to serve - corporations.

Wieden + Kennedy head planner Martin Weigel
Wieden + Kennedy head planner Martin Weigel

Corporations are building what Weigel calls "cultural landfill". They are an exercise in holding chaos at bay while pushing for greater control and predictability - everything that's anathema to advertising. Control and order are fine if manufacturing is your game or you're a GP, but it deals a serious blow to creativity and promoting advertising and marketing ideas.

Creativity doesn't come out of a logical process, Weigel insists. Where's the logic in putting a man on a horse to promote Old Spice - 'Smell Like a Man, Man'? Order has value in promoting actions along the way, but it's alien to creating enthusiasm and interest.

Marketers have to bridge the empathy gap by going to fewer meetings and spending more time being closer to consumers. Do away with asking people "dumb questions" in focus groups.

Pure data isn't a substitute for empathy. Marketers don't shape culture if they don't make the right contacts with people.

By just ticking all the boxes you end up as a slave to methodologies developed by others and groupthink takes hold. Marketing needs to create to make dissent happen. Without contrarian views, we end up following the herd.

Weigel pointed to the Pepsi ad from last year, where supermodel Kendall Jenner hands a cop a can during a protest. What was trying desperately to be on trend ended up as a prime example of cultural landfill. Adland needs to be a voice which remains deaf to such "garbage", he added.

- With hopes that winter might soon give way to spring, people's thoughts turn to home improvements. By way of a reminder, Dulux Weathershield paints a picture of Irish life through animation. Ad agency Boys and Girls hired Phibsboro-based Paper Panther Productions to create the Murphy family of hand-crafted puppets in stop-motion animation.

The ad focuses on the lives of Hugh, Fiona and Rose Murphy along with their Dulux dog, Digby, who move into a new country house. As the months and years pass, the outside of their home reflects the surrounding and ever-changing Irish landscape, transforming a blank canvas into a colourful story.

- Magazines Ireland is lobbying the Government on the theme 'Our industry is in crisis'. It will outline how Brexit is affecting Irish magazine publishers in a bid to work with the Department of Finance and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on a way forward.

Grace Aungier, CEO of Magazines Ireland, said they have meetings lined up with the Department of Finance and Minister of State John Halligan. At the meetings, they will present a content analysis to emphasise the cultural role home-produced magazines play in Irish society.

- Newstalk presenter Bobby Kerr and businesswoman Norah Casey are urging marketers to support cancer patients by getting involved in Daffodil Day tomorrow. Both have experienced cancer in their lives. Kerr was diagnosed with mouth, head and neck cancer in 2015. Casey had a tumour removed from her breast and her husband, Richard, sadly died from aggressive kidney cancer. This year about 9,000 people will die of cancer in Ireland. On Daffodil Day, supported by Boots, businesses help by hosting fundraisers and employees volunteer to sell daffodils on the streets.

- Catherine Walsh is to head up the new corporate social responsibility (CSR) unit at The Reputations Agency, the PR firm run by Niamh Boyle. Walsh manages the Business Journalists Association's CSR initiative on a pro-bono basis. The annual BJA Corporate Challenge table quiz raises over €50,000 each year for Dublin Simon.

Bord Bia was named as the company with the best CSR reputation in Ireland in the fourth annual Ireland CSR RepTrak study. Kerry Group, Google, An Post and Lidl made up the top five spots.

-- Media agency director Vivien McKechnie has launched Pt78 with Sarah Probert. The group will audit advertisers' marketing and media spend and assess agency performances. McKechnie headed up trading at Dentsu Aegis Network for five years and was Carat's broadcast director for three years. She was also group sales manager for RTÉ Television for four years, commercial director at the 'Irish Times' and briefly acted as a consultant to Ebiquity Marsh.

- Inimitable Cork adman and avid Man Utd fan Pat Kierans has added some spice to his life. His Dyjaho agency has won the Green Saffron Indian spices, chutneys and sauces account. Conceived by Arun Kapil, Green Saffron sources produce direct from Moradabad in India. Dyjaho uses IPG Mediabrands for its media buying and planning.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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