Jon Steel, Truth, Lies and Advertising, Wiley, Journal ofAdvertising,. Volume XXVII, Number 4. Winter Jon Steel has written a book that showcases. Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning ~ Jon Steel. A Review by: Ryan White, PID: July 18, JOMC – Principles of. TRUTH, LIES, AND ADVERTISING The Art of Account Planning by Jon Steel John Wiley & Sons, lesforgesdessalles.info York • Chichester • Weinheim.
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A Guide to Creating Great Ads),. Luke Sullivan. Truth, Lies, arid Advertising: The Art of Account Planning, Jon Steel. Under the Radar: Talking to Today's Cynical. To help you learn psychology on your own, Psychology: A Self-Teaching Guide Following each section there are one or se. Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning [Jon Steel] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Account planning exists for the sole.
Published on Nov 23, Companies haveto fight for distribution, for sales, for margins, and for con-sumer share of mind, which, as the number of media choicesand amount of advertising increases, becomes ever harder tocapture. Each campaign has worked in different ways and to dif-fering degrees, but all have succeeded in meeting, if notexceeding, the objectives set for them. In the hour we spent together, we talked a little bitabout advertising, but much to my surprise our conversationwas mostly about antique maps, in which it turned out weshared a common interest. Number of pages Visibility Others can see my Clipboard. July 30,
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While many in the industry are still dissecting consumer behavior, extrapolating demographic trends, developing complex behavioral models, and measuring Pavlovian salivary responses, Steel advocates an approach to consumer research that is based on simplicity, common sense, and creativity--an approach that gains access to consumers' hearts and minds, develops ongoing relationships with them, and, most important, embraces them as partners in the process of developing and advertising.
A witty, erudite raconteur and teacher, Steel describes how successful account planners work in partnership with clients, consumer, and agency creatives.
He criticizes research practices that, far from creating relationships, drive a wedge between agencies and the people they aim to persuade; he suggests new ways of approaching research to cut through the BS and get people to show their true selves; and he shows how the right research, when translated into a motivating and inspiring brief, can be the catalyst for great creative ideas. He draws upon his own experiences and those of colleagues in the United States and abroad to illustrate those points, and includes examples of some of the most successful campaigns in recent years, including Polaroid, Norwegian Cruise Line, Porsche, Isuzu, "got milk?
The message of this book is that well-thought-out account planning results in better, more effective marketing and advertising for both agencies and clients.
And also makes an evening in front of the television easier to bear for the population at large. Jon began his career in advertising as a year-old account planner with the English agency Boase Massimi Pollitt.
By the age of 26, he was appointed to BMP's board of directors. Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site. Table of contents No Room for the Mouse: Silent Partners: Account Planning and the New Consumer Alliance. The Blind Leading the Bland: Advertising Follows Research While Chapters A, 5, and 6 feature several different cam-paigns at several different stages of development, Chapter 7,"Serendipity," focuses on a single campaign, the CaliforniaFluid Milk Processors Advisory Boards "got milk?
I hope that it succeeds in pulling together many of thedifferent themes that run throughout the book. To pay the maximum possible attention to ways in whichintimate relationships can be forged between advertisers andindividuals in their target audience, I have chosen to focusthis book on the parts of an agencys work that lead up to theproduction of advertising.
This means that with the excep-tion of the "got milk? For the record, I have not included any campaign inthese pages that has not worked for the client who paid forit. Each campaign has worked in different ways and to dif-fering degrees, but all have succeeded in meeting, if notexceeding, the objectives set for them. And so far between XVll The reason I do what I do is that Ienjoy developing advertising, and planning is simply a meansto that end.
As a result, this is at the same time a book about adver-tising, a book about planning, and also a book about thehuman relationships that are fundamental not only to suc-cessful advertising communication, but also to a happy andproductive working relationship between agencies and theirclients, and between different individuals and departmentswithin the agency itself.
At its best, advertising is simple andengaging, and almost always leaves something to the audi-ences imagination. The process of developing it should befun. And in writing this book, I have attempted to reflectthose characteristics. I hope that it will be of interest to people in the industry on both the agency and client sides who want to know more about the role that planning plays in the process or how our particular agency operates, and to people outside the industry who are simply curious about the genesis of advertising ideas that they have seen only as consumers.
Most of all, though, I hope that both groups will agree, if they succeed in reading beyond this introduction, that it is time for many advertisers to look at their advertising in a xvm Introductionnew way, embrace change, and create and build relation-ships of honesty, affection, and trust with consumers as thebasis of their future campaigns.
If so, perhaps we can take asmall step toward realizing Howard Gossages dream: I suppose all of us would like to seethis one come to pass. Shes your wife. One of the few useful things I learned as a student ofgeography was a navigational technique called truing illation. The basic idea is that if you are lost in my case a most fre-quent occurrence , it is possible to fix your position quiteprecisely on a map with the help of a compass, a pencil, andthree landmarks that are visible to you in the surroundingcountryside and that are also marked on your map.
The com-pass is used to orient the map so that the landmarks on themap line up with the real landmarks, and pencil lines aredrawn on the map as if to join the real landmarks and theirrepresentations on the map. The three lines should intersect,ideally at a single point, but most often they will form a smalltriangle.
If its a single point, thats exactly where you are onthe map. If its a triangle, youre somewhere inside it, and 1 But it doesnt worktoo well in a desert, and the reason it does not is the point ofthis story.
Triangulation needs three landmarks to work, andmost deserts just dont have the landmarks. Maybe theres afar-off mountain, but if thats all you can see, its useless. Itallows you to know which direction to walk, but you have noidea how far. It could be 10 miles, or it could be Twolandmarks are better than one, but there is still a huge mar-gin for error. Three are needed to work properly. I mention that because in most fields of human endeavor,the chances of finding a solution or uncovering the truth areincreased as more perspectives are taken into account.
Acommercial that was produced in Britain in the midsillustrates this point quite graphically see Figure 1. Produced by Boase Massimi Pollitt, a London advertis-ing agency, for The Guardian newspaper, this commercial wasshot in grainy black and white, more like a documentarythan a commercial. With the exception of a simple voice-over, it is silent. It opens on a slow-motion scene of a rough-looking skinhead sprinting down the sidewalk of a dullterrace in an old industrial town. A car slows menacingly atthe end of the street, perhaps in pursuit.
A woman, standingon her doorstep, flinches as the skinhead runs past her, anda calm, matter-of-fact voice-over says, "An event, seen fromone point of view, gives one impression. Theskinhead darts past the woman, and this time we see that hesheaded toward an old man, who is wearing a long overcoatand hat and carrying a briefcase. The old man raises hisbriefcase to defend himself as the thug makes a grab for him. Figure 1.
We see that right above the old man,who is completely oblivious to the fact, a large tray of bricksis being hoisted up the side of a building.
It is swaying dan-gerously, and the skinhead has spotted it.
He races down thestreet. The voice-over continues, "but its only when you getthe whole picture that you truly understand whats goingon. The commercial fades to black, and the name of thenewspaper appears, still in silence.
The wholepicture. Sadly, John never heardif it helped secure an acquittal, but if so, it would have madefor a very unusual advertising effectiveness paper. That story is an interesting example of the broader appli-cations of the idea that without perspective, nothing is certain.
Its true in journalism, and if you read any good detectivenovel, watch a courtroom drama on the big screen, or take anyinterest in military history, you will see a similar process of tri-angulation being used by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, bydetectives to solve their cases, by attorneys to get convictions,and by generals to win battles. It is the premise of this chapter,and indeed of the rest of the book, that the same methods ofanalysis are fundamental to success in advertising.
In simple terms, there are three important perspectivesthat advertising should embrace: The very best advertising represents a A Joining the Dotssuccessful collaboration between all three of these parties andpoints of view, but, when any one of those perspectives isallowed to dominate at the expense of the others, the qualityand effectiveness of the campaign will surely suffer.
Not as a reel of commercials, or as beauti-fully framed magazine ads on a wall in the agency, but ratheras a tiny reaction in someones head after seeing, hearing, orreading that advertising.
For him, advertising is merely ameans to a desired end—a person thinking or behaving differ-ently. Jeff believes that everything an agency does should begeared toward getting into peoples heads to figure out whatthey currently think and understand how best to influencethem. I like this definition because it encapsulates all three of theperspectives I previously mentioned, giving each a clear role.
The pivotal perspective is that of the consumers, in whoseheads the real work of the advertising will be done. Theiropinions have to be understood before they can be manipu-lated, and consumer research is meant to unlock the hiddentruths that may define the nature and content of the message.
As for the message itself, the role of creativity is to gain entryto consumers minds and act as a catalyst for the desiredthought process and change of opinion or behavior.
And theclients business, or commercial, perspective defines the pre-cise action that consumers are to be asked to take. That process is seldom, however, as straightforward as itshould be.
The most effective advertising involves consumers in twodifferent, but equally critical, ways. First, it needs to involvethem in the process of developing the communication. Theirfeelings, habits, motivations, insecurities, prejudices, anddesires all have to be explored to understand both how the 5 This exploration of the con-sumer mind for information and inspiration will form thefocus of the rest of the book, starting later in this chapterwith some philosophical and methodological barriers tomany agencies and clients making the necessary connectionswith consumers.
Some agencies and individuals are arrogantenough to assume that they dont need to have a relationshipwith consumers or know anything about them before theytalk to them.
I can only assume that these are the kind ofpeople who, on a vacation in France, would converse withFrench people by speaking English, very slowly, and veryloudly.
And some clients, while they agree that it isabsolutely essential to "have a dialog" with consumers, arehung up on methodologies that make such a relationshipimpossible. More on that subject later. The second way that consumers need to be involved inadvertising is in the communication itself. In other words,advertising works better when it does not tell people what tothink, but rather allows them to make up their own mindsabout its meaning.
They participate by figuring it out forthemselves. Rich Silverstein likes to use the analogy of thosejoining-the-dots games that we all played as children, whereyou draw a line from numbered dot to numbered dot, andwhen youve finished you have a picture of, say, a warthog.
In Silversteins view, its not advertisings job to tell peopleits a warthog. It should simply join up a few of the dots forits audience and leave the rest for them to join for them-selves, thus allowing them to participate. Leaving something to the audiences imagination is not awidely embraced concept in the advertising industry. Inspired by, among others, Claude Hopkins Advertising Sci-ence and Rosser Reeves Reality in Advertising, advertisershave for years been telling their audience what to think, thentelling them again and again, each time louder than the last,all under the assumption that the target audience is so dumb 6 Joining the Dotsthat they need to be slapped in the face with the message iftheyre going to get it.
Howard Gossage was one of the first advertising mento make a stand against the one-way diatribes that formedthe bulk of the industrys output. Four decades ago, he wasespousing the principle of advertising as two-way commu-nication and creating campaigns that were designed toengender relationships and interaction with his target con-sumers. I have always regarded advertisingas being like a person that you meet at a party.
You meet, youdecide very quickly whether you like him or her, and if youdo, you stay and listen to what the individual has to say. Ifyou dont, you spot a long-lost friend on the other side of theroom and move on. Your new acquaintance could have givenyou the most important piece of information you ever heard,but if he or she had already bored you or insulted you, thenyou would not be around to hear it.
So it is with advertising. Thirty seconds on television. A few seconds when a person isflicking through the magazine. Thats all the time there is tocreate a connection and engage a person sufficiently forthem to pay attention to the message. How do you do that? By adopting the same human char-acteristics that make a stranger at a party seem attractive andinteresting: By asking questionsinstead of making statements. Gossage wrote that "Our first duty is not to the old salescurve, it is to the audience," and recognized that many in theindustry would regard these words as heretical.
But as herightly pointed out, "Any salesman will get it right off thebat. They are used to regarding their audience first and fore-most, because if they dont please them, they wont get the 7 Gossages advertising was ahead of its time, engaging,and effective. Three decades before the word interactivebecame hot, he was putting coupons in his ads, partly so thathe could measure their effect, but primarily because hewanted to initiate a dialog between his customers and hisclients.
Perhaps the first to express the ideal of "consumerparticipation" in advertising, Gossage was fond of quotingfrom a short story of Sakis to make his point that too manyadvertisers told people what to think and left them no oppor-tunity to form their own opinions: In baiting a trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse. When I talk about advertising to groups of students, oreven agency professionals, I often ask them to think about thetimes when, as kids, they wanted to ask their parents formoney, or as adults, they wanted to ask someone out on a date or something like that.
Anyway, how did they approach theproblem? What worked? What didnt? Most people agree that a simple statement of ones inten-tions has the odds stacked against it, and a demand that yourparents hand over the cash or that the lady or gentleman inquestion gives you his or her heart or body before evenknowing your name is unlikely to yield either financial orromantic satisfaction. In the end, the majority agree that theonly way to increase your chance of success is to mentally 8 Love, Money, Pigs, and Beerstep out of your shoes and into theirs.
Im not talking aboutsome kind of cross-dressing shoe fetish here, but ratherabout the ability to figure out the other persons hot buttons.
What do they think of you? What is currently stopping themfrom writing you a check or falling into your arms? Whatcould you do or say to remove those barriers? And most sig-nificant of all everyone I have ever discussed this withagrees that this is a surefire winner , what could you do orsay to make your parents decide for themselves that they wantto give you a spot bonus, or cause the object of your wildestdreams to develop an uncontrollable crush on you?
Anyone who can figure out that kind of strategy willdoubtless enjoy a phenomenally successful career in adver-tising. By the same logic, of course, as a complete loser in thedating department, I should probably resign my own posi-tion immediately. Another story that illustrates the same point was relatedto me a few years ago by a man I met in Hawaii, whose ideaof relaxation was to go out into the rain forest and hunt wildpigs, armed only with a knife.
Youvegot to think like they think, move like they move, and havethe same instincts for safety and danger. That,he said, was altogether a much more difficult feat to pull off. I believed him. Leo Burnett once said that "if you cant turn yourselvesinto a consumer, then you shouldnt be in the advertisingbusiness at all," and it is true that the best advertising peoplehave the same instincts in relation to consumers that my pig-hunting acquaintance described, albeit without the violentfight at the end.
In a later chapter I will make the point that 9 A young creative team in London once told me, as I wasbriefing them for a beer advertising campaign, that theydidnt need any help from me because they knew "every-thing there is to know about beer. Three, four maybe. Just as I thought. Porsches parked outside. People dressed in black. Lots ofkissing on the cheeks once on the left, once on the right, andonce more on the left to be properly European.
High-octane, designer French premium lager, drunk slowly anddecorously straight from the bottle, with label positioned forall to see and little finger outstretched. Oh, they were right. It all sounded absolutely likeSimonds bitter. Simonds was a cheap and relatively weakale, drunk only in pints and sold almost exclusively in Welshworkingmens clubs to guys who had just come off their shiftin the coal mines or steel mills. It was hot, heavy work, andthey needed a light, refreshing pint that they could drink inlarge volume.
I frequently came across people in focusgroups and on pub-and-club visits who would quite happilyconsume 15 pints of the stuff after work. The size of theirbellies corroborated their stories. If the creative team hadwalked up to the bar in one of these places and asked for 10 Art for Arts Sake" Okay, so they needed to be briefed, and thankfully, theyobliged. And in the end, with the exception of a small hiccupover a radio script that seemed to many, including the networkcensors, to have connotations of bestiality sheep jokes do notgo over big in Wales , they hit the spot with the drinkers.
Preferring not to make alengthy speech, he said only a few words before showing areel of his work and inviting questions from the audience. After a few innocuous comments and questions relatingto techniques, directors, and the like, one young man spokeup. Theres always a lot of product. The logos big. Most ofthe creative people I know fight to cut down the amount oftime given to the product and do everything to keep the logosmall. Why is it different in your commercials?
Do you dothat of your own accord, or do your clients make you do it? Well, were not artists, as much as wemight like to be. We are in the business of selling products. And thats my responsibility to my clients. I incorporate theproduct as artfully as I can, but if I dont center the ad onthat product, however creative or entertaining it is, Im wast-ing my time and their money. An agencys art has to be a means to an end, and that end,like it or not, is commercial in nature.
Art is a vehicle thatcan make an ad more distinctive, more memorable, and at itsbest, carry a message in such a way that it will be more effec-tive in influencing its audience. But thats only at its best, andit only happens when its creator, like Webster, knows thatthe artistic and commercial elements have to live together inan almost symbiotic relationship.
If one starts to dominateat the expense of the other, the relationship becomes moreparasitic than symbiotic, and its effectiveness, both in theshort and long term, will be compromised.
In May , Ronald Reagan delivered a speech to therecipients of the National Medal of Arts, in which he saidthat "in an atmosphere of liberty, artists and patrons are freeto think the unthinkable and create the audacious; they arefree to make both horrendous mistakes and glorious celebra-tions, " and to those who see advertising as an art form, thosewords must seem like sweet music. Some writers and art directors, and indeed some entireagencies, believe that the real power of advertising lies intheir art, and that if they were truly free to create, they couldbreak the rules, be audacious, and although they may strikeout once in a while, they would hit some towering and mem-orable home runs.
And sometimes they are successful. There is, however, one substantial problem. The freedomof which Reagan spoke was not just celebrated by artists,but by patrons, too. Unfortunately, advertisings "patrons,"better known as the clients who control multimillion-dollaradvertising budgets, tend not to be too wild about swingingfor the fences and are unlikely to risk their companies mar-keting budgets, market share, profitability, stock price, and 12 Art for Arts Sakeultimately their own jobs, on the word of a twentysomethingwith tattoos and a nose ring, saying "trust me.
At times like this, names like Michelangelo, StephenSpielberg, and John Lennon often get bandied around asevidence that art is a powerful force and that it is at its mostpowerful when the creator has total freedom. Would the roofon the Sistine Chapel be so glorious if Michelangelo hadexperienced the kind of interference that has characterizedthe development of this particular advertising campaign?
Would Schindlers List have been three hours long if the mar-keting people had had their way? Would Sergeant Pepper haveever made it through copy testing? I dont think were really comparing apples to appleshere. For a start, people choose to experience art, movies, andmusic, whereas advertising is forced on them. The audiencefor pure art is self-selecting, but advertising has to find themand draw them in. And when it does, it does not have time onits side to make its point. Spielberg has hours to draw hisaudience in.
The Sistine Chapel can take as long as it likes. And is there really any such thing as "pure" art? Can youreally imagine the Pope of the time giving Michelangelo anunlimited budget, no time constraints, and no idea of atheme? Sur-prise me. Or when he casually added that he wanted toshoot entirely in black and white. The grass on the otherside, where the true artists live, might not be as green assome of us would like to believe.
Its perhaps not surprising that some agency creativesprefer to think of themselves as artists rather than businesspeople. Many of them have artistic backgrounds and inter-ests, and if the truth is really known, they would probablyprefer to spend the rest of their days painting, sculpting, or 13 Some have the nagging feeling that they haveprostituted themselves by abandoning these worthier pur-suits in favor of the security and salary that comes with a jobin advertising.
While the more realistic among them simplybite their lips and promise themselves that their advertisingcareers are just layovers on the way to these better things,others try and make the advertising the outlet for their artis-tic and literary ambitions. In Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy denounced the"noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business,[whose] stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric artdirection, and their self-proclaimed genius," and on manyother occasions attacked those whose pursuit of advertisingas a pure art form got in the way, as he saw it, of selling prod-ucts.
Having said that, he once admitted that he had to exor-cise his own "pseudoliterary pretensions" in the early part ofhis career before finally realizing that he needed to focus on"the obligation of advertising to sell. Every year, there are numerous award shows that recognizethe industrys most creative advertising; individuals andteams who create the most distinctive new campaigns arewidely celebrated.
Success in the award shows is translatedinto offers of better jobs and better money with better agen-cies, so it is hardly surprising that certain creative peoplestruggle to maintain the "artistic integrity" of their ideas andregard the input of others, particularly consumers, as a sure-fire way of undermining that integrity. If they give in, theyreason, their campaign will be compromised and with it, lessdirectly, their own careers. Unfortunately, many clients regard creative awards sim-ply as an agency indulgence.
Awards do benefit clientsthough, albeit indirectly, by ensuring that the top creativetalent is able to work on their advertising. If the best creative 14 Fighting Art with Sciencepeople in the agency are winning awards for their work, thenthey will be less likely to want to work somewhere elsewhere they might not win awards.
If they do get poachedaway, then talented creatives on the outside will see theawards that the agency is winning and want to come and getsome of the action. In short, awards keep an agencys cre-ative gene pool healthy and productive. Another important consideration is that there is no rea-son why the art or creativity that seems so distinctive to theCannes or One Show judges should not be equally com-pelling to members of the target audience. Every year at theCannes advertising festival, Donald Gunn of Leo Burnettmakes a presentation of the top creative award-winningcampaigns from around the world that have combined thesecreative awards with clearly demonstrable results in themarketplace, and many of the campaigns that are featuredlater in this book have achieved the same double.
I am not suggesting for one moment that art is not a vitalcomponent of advertising, for it is in the art that advertisingstrue magic lies. I am merely suggesting that art alone is notenough, and when it is allowed to overpower strategic andbusiness considerations, it can be an obstacle rather than anaid to persuasion. Rich Silverstein has said to me on many occasions that itis this juxtaposition of art and commerce that really interestshim about advertising and keeps on challenging him. In hisview, it is much easier to produce art than it is to produce artthat sells, and the philosophy and process that are necessaryto achieve the latter will be explored thoroughly in laterchapters.
No ROOM FOR THE MOUSEdirection, and human relationships, a doctrine has emergedthat defines advertising not as a subjective, intuitive craft,but rather as a logical, rational discipline whose process andproduct can be defined, measured, predicted, and evaluatedaccording to the same criteria and methodologies as thoseemployed in the field of science.
In the first chapter of his famous book, Advertising Science,published in , Claude Hopkins wrote, "The time hascome when advertising has in some hands reached the statusof a science. It is based on fixed principles and is reasonablyexact.
The causes and effects have been analyzed until theyare well understood. The correct methods of procedure havebeen proved and established. We know what is most effec-tive, and we act on its basic laws. Certainlyno other enterprise with comparable possibilities needinvolve so little risk. These disciples of advertising-as-science consider thattheir raison detre is to bring discipline, predictability, andaccountability to advertising agencies in general, and to cre-ative departments in particular.
They bring with them power-ful credentials undergraduate and postgraduate degrees inmarketing, advertising, statistics, and psychology, not to men-tion the potent Master of Business Administration, or MBA.
Armed with impressively thick overhead decks, 95 percentconfidence levels, advertising response models, brand recalland persuasion numbers, and normative data and correla-tions, they wield extraordinary influence at every stage of theprocess. Against this arsenal of facts, figures, and projections, 16 The Scientific Methodcreative "instinct" and phrases like "trust me" just dont have achance.
In the course of the ensuing chapters, I will argue thatthere is a vital role to be played by research in advertising when it is done right , but that to regard advertising as ascience that can be built entirely on facts and measured, evenpredicted, is perilous indeed. It is perilous not only becauseadvertising and the human mind by their very nature defysuch scientific analysis, but also because those who adhere tothese principles, like many of the "artists" I spoke of before,are basing their philosophy and process on an entirely erro-neous view of how scientists practice science.
Berry, spent the best part of an hour talking about the "sci-entific method. Ackroyd, in hisinaugural address in the acrid environment of the chemistrylab, told us more, and Mr. Surl, the biology teacher, over thecourse of the next week, actually demonstrated it in actionwith the help of some fruit flies. They all seemed pretty consistent in their definitions.
In this scientific method, as far as I understood the con-cept, the scientist was a person who was concerned onlywith facts and who collected and analyzed data with com-plete objectivity.
Emotion played no part in the scientistswork; he or she merely observed, measured, drew conclu-sions, and formulated laws in a totally dispassionate way. This was, we learned, quite different from the minds andmethods of those who taught and studied the arts, whom myscience teachers condemned for their lack of discipline, pre-cision, and rules.
In physics, chemistry, and biology, it seemed 17 With no opportunity for interpretation, we simply learned the rules by rote and applied them to problems to which we were expected to supply the one, inarguable, correct solution.
At this point, I should probably admit that of all the peo-ple who studied science in school, I am perhaps the least wellqualified to criticize a philosophy and methodology thatseems to have served mankind fairly well over the last years. I left physics, chemistry, and biology behind at the ear-liest possible opportunity, so be warned that what follows isdefinitely a laymans, as opposed to a scientists, perspective.
This scientific method was based on a model of how theworld works that was developed in the seventeenth centuryby Sir Isaac Newton, Descartes, and others.
Their approachwas based on the belief that any object of study, physicalthing or system alike, can be stripped down to its componentparts and reassembled, the underlying assumption beingthat the workings of the whole can be understood throughcomprehending the function and contribution of each indi-vidual piece.
This is termed the machine model, which Mar-garet Wheatley, in her excellent book, Leadership and the NewScience, describes as "characterized by materialism andreductionism—a focus on things rather than relationshipsand a search.
Every-thing is separate from everything else. Everything obeys alaw. And with knowledge of those laws, everything can bepredicted. Its objective, its simple, its orderly, and con-stituent piece by constituent piece, its easy to control. In theend, it is this illusion of control that makes the Newtonianuniverse such an attractive place and has led to the adoptionof its principles way beyond the scientific community.
Orga-nizational charts divide and subdivide companies into theircomponent parts and depict and separate people, knowl-edge, responsibilities, and problems as endless lines andboxes, all in the belief that if we succeed in dividing, we can 18 The Scientific Methodtruly conquer. Boundaries separate the "things" that com-prise the machine, and in all parts of our lives there areboundaries that define the limits of roles, responsibility,authority, ownership, ability, safety, and acceptable risk.
Advertising is no exception. The scientific method ofadvertising development divides agencies into separate "dis-ciplines" and puts consumers into neat little compartmentswhere they can be targeted: Advertisingcampaigns are analyzed execution by execution, each execu-tion judged in terms of its impact, its recall, its brand linkage,and its communication and persuasion. What about themusic?
What about the pictures? What about the main char-acter? What about the other characters? What about thewords they spoke? What about the narrators voice? Whatabout the tagline? Opinions are given and reported as num-bers, and these numbers wield absolute power.
Pretesting methodologies allow a rough commercial to begraded by captive consumers on a second-by-second basis. While watching the commercial, they turn a handheld dial upwhen they are interested and down when they are not, allow-ing the researchers to conclude that the first ten secondswork, the next five seconds need some attention, the next tenare very strong, and the final five come in "significantly belownorm.
As for the other In the scientific method, there is no place for art,inspiration, instinct, intuition, magic, or luck, because theycannot be measured, predicted, or easily repeated. The kind of research just described, which is explored ingreater depth in Chapter 3, seems to allow the industry tocount the trees while remaining entirely oblivious to the pres-ence of a forest.
In their enthusiasm to put both people andideas into those neat little boxes, researchers often forget 19 Were merely trying to avoid doingthem wrong. Heres an example of the damage that an efficiency mind-set can wreak; it comes from the Soviet Union in the s.
Under Stalins drive to increase industrial output, all facto-ries were given production targets that they had to meet. Thefailure to meet these targets was punished very severely, byimprisonment and occasionally even death. One factory thatproduced nails was given an especially difficult target toreach, more than double the largest amount they had everproduced in the past; but, strangely, the required figure wasexpressed in terms of the weight of nails that it would have toproduce, not the number of nails.
The problem was solvedby producing fewer, larger nails. In fact, nails more thanthree feet long. They were completely useless, but they wereheavy, and they met the governments requirements. Its good forseeing where youve been.
The Scientific Methodin science will show that they made their discoveries pre-cisely by ignoring the traditional method, even if their scien-tific papers later gave these discoveries a postrationalizedsense of Newtonian order and decorum.
For example, James Watson, who with Francis Crickdiscovered the structure of DNA, for which they wereawarded the Nobel Prize in , wrote in The Double Helixthat "Science seldom proceeds in the strait forward, logicalmanner imagined by outsiders. Instead, its steps forward and sometimes backward are often very human events inwhich personalities and cultural traditions play major roles. And J. Robert Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist, ina lecture delivered in , also embraced the idea of a con-fluence between science and art at the outer limits of discov-ery: Both, as the mea-sure of their creations, have always had to deal with the har-monization of what is new with what is familiar, with thebalance between novelty and synthesis, with the struggle tomake partial order in total chaos.
Watsons "human events," Einsteins"fantasy" and "intuition," and Oppenheimers "harmoniza-tion," are all words that would send many advertisingresearch directors into an advanced state of agitation. Because these words imply the unpredictable, and most ofadvertisings pseudoscientists, despite much evidence thatthe truly great advances do, more often than not, emergefrom a state of disorder, prefer to retain a state of total orderat all times.
To them, discovery and originality are fine, aslong as they conform to historical precedent, meet normative 21 Wehave all seen the advertising that results, so thank God thatmost of the proper scientists dont really work that way. If they did, wed all still be living in caves, and Id bewriting this on the wall with charcoal. In the early twentieth century, as scientists began toexplore the world at the subatomic level, they found thatNewtonian laws were not capable of explaining their strangediscoveries, and that they needed a "new science" to explainthem.
From that grew the theory of quantum mechanics,which might sound very complicated and very scary whichit is even to those who are expert in it: Niels Bohr, one of thefounders of quantum theory, once said that "Anyone who isnot shocked by quantum theory has not understood it" , aswell as wholly irrelevant to a book about advertising.
Many of the same circumstances that led to the birth ofquantum theory, though, apply to the situation many adver-tisers and their agencies find themselves in today.
The mod-els and methods that have dictated the development ofadvertising campaigns for decades are clearly not working. Advertising in general is not liked or trusted.
Research failsto make the connections that are necessary to explain the atti-tudes and behavior of target consumers, and advertising inturn fails to make the connections in its communication thatare necessary to change them. Consumers are passive recipi-ents of both research and advertising; both are done to them,as opposed to with them. Ideas are dissected until every com-ponent part is understood, but like a dissected rat, they are 22 New Science, New Model, New Advertisingthen very hard to put back together so that they work as aliving, breathing whole.
A new model for advertising is necessary that is based onthe understanding that consumers are people and recognizesthat people are inherently complex, emotional, unpre-dictable creatures, whose relationships with each other andwith the "things" including brands, products, and advertis-ing around them are more important than the "things"themselves.
This requires a change in both philosophy andmethodology. Donella Meadows, a systems thinker, quotes an ancient Sufi teaching that captures this shift in focus: But you must also understand and.
I would prefer to leave the specific scientific discussion ofthe application of quantum theory to the scientists some ref-erences are given at the end of this book and instead focuson some direct parallels in the advertising philosophies andpractices on which this book is based. If quantum theory were to be applied directly to adver-tising, it would suggest that the way a member of the targetaudience will react to an advertising message is affected by 23 Where are they?
Who are they with? What sort of mood does that put them in? All of those "relationships" will affect the persons receptivity to, and interpretation of, the message.