Thursday, December 1, 2011

Does Kraft have the right idea?

         When I learned in Adweek that Kraft had added a half-dozen small ad agencies in addition to their roster giants, I was thrilled. It's about time that more huge companies realized what contemporary creative work can do.

          Procter and Gamble demonstrated the value of this when they hired Wieden and Kennedy in Portland to work on Old Spice. The result was dramatic, lifting a tired old brand right to the top.

          I worked on both Procter and Gamble and Kraft early in my career, and I know changes like this aren't easy. Clients have to want bright, pokey work, and have to be prepared to think in an entirely different way.

         Why did Kraft actually search out additional ad agencies? According to Adweek, Kraft marketing leader Dana Anderson said, "We need to lift the quality of the marketing. It was functional. It was good. But with much more interaction with consumers, you need to be more transparent and make it more participative. We really wanted to lift the ideas."

         There's that word again. Ideas. Time after time, when clients change ad agencies, the reason is that they want ideas. If you want a place in advertising today, that's what you have to deliver. Not ads, not cute phrases, not kids and puppies in TV commercials. Ideas. Big ones. They don't come that easily.

         It's relatively easy to think of executions. Scenes, events, people doing things. But it takes more to change minds. "Just do it"  as a way to sell shoes. "1984 won't be like 1984" to sell computers. "The ultimate driving machine" to sell cars. Those are ideas that can work any time in any media.

         Do you know any big ideas like those from Kraft? That's why they're trying something new. Hold on and say cheese.

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