In our industry, marketing firms spend millions of dollars of their clients’ budget to develop and place advertising that does not get noticed. It does not engage or entertain its audiences. It doesn’t communicate a selling point that is uniquely meaningful or helps to differentiate the client from its competition. Want to view the world’s most expensive wallpaper? Forget 5th Avenue. Just pick up any major magazine or watch 3 hours of network TV and ignore 75% of the ads that you are exposed to. When you think about it, it’s obnoxiously irritating how much is spent (or wasted) on ineffective, underperforming advertising efforts.
Seems there’s a lot of us in the ad industry that have gotten comfortable with the lifestyle made possible by simply keeping clients feeling safe. Don’t push too hard. Just produce what has been seen before. Deliver what is acceptable at every level of the client’s approval structure. You can call Donald Trump a lot of things (and most would be deserved) but one thing you can’t label him as is vanilla. He stands out. And he consistently reflects his brand (no waffling or rewinding or asking for forgiveness). He understands the value of brand consistency and the discipline and boldness required to continue to build brand strength. He engages and he entertains by being himself. “Himself” may not be something you like but you have to at least admire and – in the world of politics – appreciate his authenticity. The lesson here for all of us in marketing is that confident, brave brands get noticed. Many of us fear unique because of the potential negative reaction people may have. But what we should fear most of all is creating messaging that is so expected and safe that it initiates no reaction at all.