Friday, March 6, 2009


About twenty years ago I got fired from FCB in part for telling the president of FCB's direct agency that I believed that Fed Ex's "Fast-Talking Man" commercial was the best direct spot ever done. After watching it you knew exactly what to do and why you had to do it and you had the motivation to do it now.

Of course, it didn't have "calls-to-action" and "and if you act now, you'll get..." What it had, interwoven in every frame was lust as in "yeah, my business needs that now."

This sort of advertising is what I call Brandtail.

It builds the brand, makes the brand great, and drives you, the viewer, to action.

This sort of advertising, used to be, back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the standard of good. Check a One Show Annual from say 1981. All the Gold Winners reflect my Brandtail definition.

Here's what happened to our industry as it became "professionalized," i.e. over-wrought and over-thought.

Direct became a separate entity and profit center and became heavily measurable from a response POV. Traditional advertising couldn't compete, so they developed their own set of metrics. Changing minds became one thing. Changing behavior became another.

That's hogwash.

Maybe in Depression 2.0 we'll get back to real advertising. Advertising that propels a brand forward while driving results.

Those are the sole reasons we do what we do.

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