Ogilvy’s 21st-century update of founder’s advertising wisdom

By Jenny Chan on| campaignasia.com

SHANGHAI – On day two of the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival this morning, Ogilvy & Mather‘s global effectiveness director Tim Broadbent and China chief creative officer Graham Fink distilled the 1909-word long, 38-point treatise written by David Ogilvy four decades ago into tips that are still relevant today.

Ogilvy's 21st-century update of founder's advertising wisdom

Ogilvy: hard objectives critical

David Ogilvy analysed campaigns in the 1960s to identify their common success factors, but the marketing world has changed beyond recognition since his day. Broadbent and Fink gave a punchy, revised rundown of the agency founder’s advertising wisdom, some of which are highlighted byCampaign Asia-Pacific in brevity below…

1. Be creative

The difference that creativity makes to the effectiveness of advertising is a percentage increase in market share that can be up to 11 times better than an ordinary campaign, Broadbent said.

Citing key learnings from effectiveness analysis of 880 case studies in ‘Marketing in the Era of Accountability’ by Les Binet and Peter Field, the duoillustrated their first key point with a Fevicol case study.

The Indian glue brand was facing a declining market share in the face of cheaper competitors and a reduced budget. It focused the revival of its fortunes around a campaign celebrating its 50th birthday, communicating its bonding power through a short film that brought alive the idea that ‘Fevicol bonds transcend lifetimes’. Post-campaign, the brand grew 43 per cent in month-on-month sales, and overall grew 7 per cent in quarter-on-quarter sales.

“A lot of glue ads win awards by talking about the power of sticking, but this one talks about longevity and at the same time taps into the colourful and beautiful and Indian culture,” Fink said.

2. Set hard objectives

By hard objectives, Broadbent meant sales and profit share. “Give creative people a real-life business problem to solve instead of wishy-washy ones like increasing awareness. Treat creatives like adults.” An example was howUnilever promoted Dove Men+Care during Valentine’s Day in 2010.

3. Aim for fame

Broadbent explained that the definition of fame is more than just brand awareness. “Fame is about a brand being seen as the leader in its category, being quoted the most by journalists and bloggers. It’s a strategy that is most likely to sell, more than strategies of awareness, image, differentiation, commitment, trust or quality”.

An example was Taiwan TC Bank’s television commercial ‘Dream Rangers’ in 2011, which  brought $267 million of incremental revenue and ROI of 134:1 with a fairly small media spend.

4. Get a ‘Big Ideal’, not just a big idea

A ‘Big Ideal’ is one that motivates increases brand voltage based on Millward Brown’s analysis of third-party market share data. Voltage is a relative measure of how efficiently a brand converts people to higher levels of attitudinal loyalty, associated with increased probability of purchase.

Uniting the brand with social issues is one of the ways to get a high brand voltage score, said Broadbent. An example given was the ‘MILO Cans Next Games’, a platform where teens were asked to express themselves by redefining existing games or creating their own kind of sports with their own set of rules. All in all, 5619 games were created because “we sparked idealism in these teenagers,” said Fink.

5. Penetrate first

According to Broadbent, what a marketer needs is more customers in the first place. “The clue to sales growth is to get more customers, period”.

In 2011, what Coca-Cola did in Australia was testament to this point. The ‘Share a Coke with a Mate’ campaign swapped its branding on cans and bottles with the most popular names down under, such as Jess, Sam, Kevin, Edward, Matt and Kate. That is the first time Coke has changed its packaging in 125 years, and this free personalisation has brought market penetration, Fink said.

6. Appeal to the heart

“More than half of TVCs in Asia are product demos, that is no way to stand out or get noticed! Emotive campaigns are more likely to sell than product-based campaigns,” Fink said.

An example of tugging at heart-strings is Thai Life Insurance’s TVC that begins with five-year-old boys and girls singing the famous song ‘Que Sera Sera‘ at a school concert. The song is symbolic of the questions children pose to their parents about how their lives will be when they grow up, and the answer is in the song lyrics: “Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see”. Post-campaign, the insurer saw its premium income growth up 108 per cent versus others in the same service category.

Fink commented, “The use of time and space is so powerful in this ad. There is no fast-cut editing unlike other commercials that are so ‘out there’, so awful and terrible, it’s like a worldwide disease. It’s wonderful to do the opposite of what everyone is doing”.