June 3, 2011

Go digital, or die

A veteran Creative Director in a major New York ad agency discusses the upcoming photo shoot with his team for a major national consumer brand, and the way he insists on traditional film vs. digital almost makes you believe that it is still up to the individual to withstand technological change. A million valid arguments were made as to why film was superior, and why digital was not an option. Two months later, the entire ad shoot was done. Digitally. The client demanded it. The CD simply had to go along.

A senior Creative Director in a mid-level New York ad agency, with years and years of high-profile, wonderfully crafted, artistic branding campaigns in TV and print under her belt, is slowly being phased out of her high-profile job, as the demands for her particular craft slowly but steadily dwindled down. She simply did not think digital was something she had to embrace. In her world, there were these web-guys who would simply adapt her ideas in one way or another if necessary.

A 15+ years graphic design veteran found himself out of a job one day. Without a warning. Just like that. He simply had decided to focus on traditional graphic design only, and left everything pertaining to web and animations to others. For him, learning one craft or tool was enough to get by. Apparently it wasn't. The next guy hired didn't exactly take over his position, but his approach to graphic design was much broader and holistic. He adapted. He changed. He constantly pushed himself into new territories.

What may appear to be three separate, unconnected events, are actually just a fraction of all the scenarios that followed a similar story line: He/she who resisted technological change, or did not recognize the significance of having to adapt to it, will be left behind, phased out, replaced.

What holds true for creatives, applies the same way to account planners, account managers, production folks, project managers, and pretty much everyone else involved in anything closely campaign-related. Adapt, or you will slowly disappear.

Digital demands are only going one way: up. Technology will get better. Bandwidth will get broader and faster. Smart phones, tablet PCs will become more and more ubiquitous. It's pretty much a no-brainer. Yet some people still have not gotten the memo yet.

June 2, 2011

Bad celebrity endorsement - Danny McBride for K-Swiss

New York Subway Platform Poster. Greenpoint Ave Station, Brooklyn.

The typical formula for success: 'Sports Shoe Brand + Successful Pro-Athlete = Skyrocketing Sales'. It's worked with 'Nike + Michael Jordan = Air Jordan'. It's worked for 'Adidas + Kobe Bryant = The Kobe'. And the list goes on. Even the half-delusional Ex-Knick Stephon Marbury got a shoe deal and launched the 'Starbury' sneaker line.

But what on earth is K-Swiss doing?

ONE. They throw out a product that is quite similar to Reebok's 'Reezig' shoe line. Nothing wrong with that. That's what the apparel & shoe business is all about - taking inspiration from successful new product launches, and then throwing your copy of it on the market.

TWO. They hire actor Danny McBride to endorse their 'Tubes' version of this kind of shoe. But then again, not really. The sign-off on the ad reads 'Kenny Powers'. Who on earth is Kenny Powers?

This is where the confusion begins, and this is where this whole thing goes awfully wrong.

Kenny Powers, according to Wikipedia, is the fictional main character from the HBO show Eastbound and Down. It's about an ex-baseball pitcher trying to make a comeback. Ahhh. OK. So here is the sports-connection.

And here is the rationale as to why this money spent can be put right into the 'sunken cost' column:

While we certainly recognize the face of the actor, the signature on the ad doesn't really ring a bell. That's until you google it.

B1) Not all of my friends have Cable.
B2) Not all of my friends who have Cable, have HBO.
B3) Not all of my friends who have Cable, and have HBO, watch the show.
And I challenge you to ask ten of your friends if they do. I'll buy you a beer if more than three do. 

Wow. That's a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of an audience you need to reach in order to make the connection between the shoe and the face right next to it. Who thought of this? But furthermore: How dumb is this? How stupid actually? How bad? Oh my...

Everyone else of the non-cable, non-HBO, non-show-watching population, knows actor Danny McBride mostly for his goofy characters from movies such as 'Your Highness', 'Tropic Thunder' or 'Pineapple Express'. Not exactly the stuff that lends credibility to a K-Swiss sports shoe.

Unless you want to be the known as the 'silly, don't take me serious sneaker for clowns'. Dear K-Swiss marketing team: is that really what you want? I doubt it.

If I'm missing the point here, please feel free to enlighten me. I'm sure someone in the marketing department or the ad agency you paid wrote up some marvelous strategy deck that make you all nod in unison.


Message: -1 (confusing) / Creative: 0 / Context: +1 (good media placement) / Business Impact: 0 (it will do neither good nor bad) / Intangibles: 0 (I see absolutely nothing here)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...