Focus focus focus

Sir Alan Sugar of BBC’s The Apprentice fame said the following during the ongoing Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival that I found rather interesting:

“That is my gripe – adverts,” he said. “Adverts that you haven’t got a clue what they’re about.

“I know what goes on behind the scenes, having spent millions and millions of pounds advertising on television. You get advertising agencies who forget the plot.

“It’s as if they are looking for an award at Cannes Film Festival [sic], where they have an advertising agency big dinner and bash where they all pat each other on back: ‘That was a fantastic ad.’ No one knew what the bloody hell it was about, but it was wonderful; it captured the imagination. Didn’t sell any kit for the person, but it doesn’t matter.”

A couple of advertising professionals I’ve been speaking to recently said similar things – that sometimes, in the whirlwind of work, some agencies tend to forget what they’re working for, what the ultimate goal is.

It’s a case of overlooking the wood for the trees. I’ve worked on the other side of the fence with a client and know what’s important for a brand. Yes, creativity and originality and innovation and all the rest of it count, but if it doesn’t add value to the brand, if you get so caught up in the creativity that the overall strategy is compromised, it’s all sort of going into the ether, isn’t it?

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