As a teenager I lit out for the territories and moved to London to seek… who knows what, probably girls. During the few years I lived there, the job I enjoyed the most was as a page-boy at the Park Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge. (If you ever find me with a mojito in my hand ask me to tell the “escort” story…) Anyway, when I interviewed for the job, I was sat down in front of the Head Concierge (a big-deal job in Europe) — the very regal Mr. Snook. He asked me what appealed to me about the job. I told him I liked to “meet people.” He told me I would not be there to meet people — I would be there to “serve people.” Over the years I have learned what an important distinction he was making.
Just last week in DC I had a similar conversation about ad campaigns when a young (and very smart) woman studying advertising told me that a campaign was a success because a lot of people got to know the product. My point was that that was not what the agency was hired to do. The job was to SELL a lot of the product. I know of no company that posts “how many people know us” as part of their financials. It was an important step in that campaign but NOT the finish line.
I think that a lot of mediocrity in advertising (and in people’s work in general) comes from people doing the job they “want to do,” versus doing the job they are being “asked to do.” A campaign should be centered on the finish line of the client.
I have been known to say that branding and advertising is the highest form of art. A fortnight or so ago I took in the wonderful Caravaggio exhibit at LACMA and then (much to my son’s relief) hit the modern galleries. With such art the goal is an emotional response of some sort. Yours might be different to mine and different again from the artist. But that is just fine — it is a personal journey. In advertising the goal is a SPECIFIC response. As it turns out, that involves expertise and critical thought. So make sure you or your agency is applying it to your next project.
— Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO