History

Question.

One of the ongoing dilemmas of our industry – balancing the art and the business…. not to mention the science – which should lead to the business – meaning that which is purely creative, combined with the need for serious business outcomes; added to ROI…all of which should lead to more business. When I was on the traditional side of the biz – I used to call it Reel vs. Real. As in work that won awards and showed up prominently on peoples personal reels vs. work that drove business and built long term value for both client and agency.

It has always amazed me that so often the two are in conflict – because in the best of circumstances they are not.

One of the issues – and the knee jerk reaction – is the notion that excellent creative is somehow at odds with business outcomes. The “tension” is what creates value.

Award shows, sadly, perpetuate this notion by attaching no business value to work – so that over the years many of the most highly awarded creative campaigns have been for business that has disappeared; failed or where the company changed agencies because the work didn’t just plain work.

Again, there should be no conflict. We all know brilliant creative that drove categories; built business and created legacies of value. We also know more of the opposite. And so it goes.

I am amused by the talk of metrics today – as if the industry has uncovered a major find akin to penicillin or the cure for the common cold.

Truth is Lester Wunderman founded his/our business on that basic principle and has never wavered. So if the future is in metrics…..if you get my drift.

Having said that, I grew up in Advertising and metrics was always a part of our charge from clients. In my day, P&G was the “must account” at some early point in your career, and case rates drove all of our spend. You either achieved the number or you didn’t and you planned scenario after scenario (pre-computer…lots of late nights) so you never got caught by surprise.

Now, P&G creative rarely won big awards – or mention. Often the work was heavily insight driven; always workmanlike and yet kept many an agency and creative department ticking and running.

But here is the thought – in the re-discovered age of metrics P&G is a leader in so called new media and is experimenting in many new areas including social networks. Very creative – no? Interesting…no?

So here is the articulation:

Some people make headlines while others make history.
~Philip Elmer-DeWitt

History or headlines…hmmmmmm

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