If we at The Escape Pod had a motto that would be it. What else is there? We’re in the advertising business. We sell stuff. Isn’t that ALL there is? Which is why we don’t have a motto. It should be blindingly obvious. But it isn’t, apparently.
The past ten years have been a bit of a shock to the advertising model. Advertisers and their agencies had understandably gotten very cozy with the crack cocaine of TV advertising. And who could blame us? We had a direct pipeline into your front room. It was perfect!
Then the internet came along and spoiled everything. The attention of the masses splintered. And advertising was thrown for a bit of a loop for a while there. We became preoccupied with things that didn’t REALLY matter. We became obsessed with the Internet. A medium that didn’t rely on us for it’s existence. A medium we couldn’t bend to our will. The bloody cheek!
Along the way the original mission of advertising, to sell stuff, kind of got lost. But that doesn’t change the fact that that’s our raison d’etre. Why we’re here. What our clients hire us to do. It’s the ONLY important bit.
I remember when I was starting out in advertising in New York in the early 1990s. I was truly desperate to get a job. Not just any job, a very specific job working for my advertising hero. A guy who had made his name with work that legendarily sold the shit out of whatever he was advertising real hard.
And I remember having an epiphany one day. All I had to do was create ads that solely sold the product in as naked a fashion as possible and I would immediately differentiate myself from all my fellow ad wannabes who were all trying to show how funny/clever THEY were. It was so simple. I would stand out simply by being the guy who sold the product really hard.
So I devised a test for my ads: if a deaf mute door to door salesman were to hold up this piece of paper to a prospect, would he get invited in? And if the ad didn’t pass that test I wasn’t interested in it.
It worked a treat. My ads got exponentially better and I got hired by my hero.
I never forgot that test. It still works.
Are my ideas selling the product in a brutally hard and honest manner? It’s still the only test that matters.
PS: this post was inspired by this great post by dave trott and this great reaction by vic over at Sell! Sell! Clearly, we should all go out for a pint next time I’m in London.