In celebration of Internet Advertising turning 18 years old this year, Google has put a challenge out to our industry of advertising. And that is to bring some of the most iconic, memorable and classic advertising campaigns to life using the power of the digital medium we have today. Four major brands have participated along with the original group of advertising legends that created those campaigns.
Coke, Volvo, Alka Seltzer and Avis. Currently Coke and Volvo have already been done. What is fascinating about this exercise is that it teaches us how much the world has changed in the way we communicate and engage with brands. But it also teaches us how sometimes we lose sight of the power the digital medium gives us to engage and inspire people to do something, think something, feel something. Not just click on a button for more information. Or arrive at a site and robotically follow a scientific route of usability principles.
Coca-Cola’s re-imagined advertising
The legendary Bill Bernbach who was one of the pioneers of great advertising said, “Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it.” A classic philosophy that underpins some of the greatest advertising ever made. This philosophy was made for the digital medium we have today. Perhaps today we would say, “sometimes it’s not what you say, but how your audience participates with it.”
He goes on to say, “There are a lot of great technicians in advertising. And unfortunately they talk the best game. They know all the rules. They can tell you that people in an ad will get you greater readership. They can tell you that a sentence should be this sort or that long. They can tell you that body copy should be broken up for easier reading. They can give you fact after fact after fact. They are the scientists of advertising. But there’s one little rub. Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art. It’s that creative spark that I’m so jealous of for our agency and that I am desperately fearful of losing. I don’t want academicians. I don’t want scientists. I don’t want people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring things.”
Recruitment advertising has come a long way as well. From the typical help wanted ads we pumped out in the 80’s that were basically job opportunities crammed into the classifieds to the more emotional employer branding campaigns that speak to the aspirational level of joining the organization. Audience behavior and the job market has a lot to do with how our advertising has changed. Today the audience is in more control. We have heard that thousands and thousands of times. But even though we have more power in how we consume and share content, we are still the social animals we were back during the “Where’s the beef?” days of advertising. Persuasive creativity that inspires us to think, do, feel something still drives the level of digital persuasion in all our ideas.