We're All in the Moving Business

Posted on 16th Dec 2011 by Tom Ritchie in Blog

We’ve heard it many times: “We are no longer in the persuasion business…” But have we really changed that much? It certainly hasn’t changed overnight, and who forgot to tell the Big Fish? You know those agencies. The ones that still run with those traditional ad campaigns, seeking out their next “Lion” or “Pencil.” One has to wonder, at what point should we be telling the MarComm students that the Madison Avenue ways are dying? And what if they’ve already kicked the bucket?

The thoughts of “Movement Marketing” bring me back to a quote by our father, David Oglivy (may he rest in peace): “Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them.” This quote makes me wonder what Mr. Ogilvy’s advertising would have been like today, and what advice would he have for the future blood of the industry? If today’s advertising reflects the “mores” of our society, we could easily be viewed as a shallow bunch led by desire and not by purpose.

Those that “get it” work hard, determined to solve a brand’s problem by creating more than just advertising. They birth progression by creating something believable by the consumer, something they can be a part of, something that is inspiring. We’re not just talking a Facebook page here – we’re talking total brand immersion. And the brands that find those agencies that “get it” will always win. Making a consumer feel as if they belong and are a part of something is how you get ahead.

Consumers are not stupid. They can see right through the fake brands. They know a genuine “movement” when they see one because it has warmth, a heartbeat and sincerity. Sure, they may love a campaign for its amazing one-take filming and catchy copy, but that does not make for a movement. And at the end of the day, what was actually accomplished by those campaigns?

So if we are no longer in the business of persuasion, what business are we in? Let’s face it, not every brand has a great story to tell. It’s hard to get behind a pain reliever that says it will donate a portion of its revenue to saving the whales off the coast of some foreign country no one has heard of. So should we believe that only the brands that possess a true “cause” are the only ones able to create movements? Doubtful. Let’s replace “cause” with culture. A brand’s culture can be just as effective at creating movements as those with a cause. It’s the culture of a brand that gives the consumer a sense of belonging. We all want to belong, but that doesn’t mean we all want to be defined.

As our industry and society move forward, we begin to see more and more agencies shifting to “movement marketing.” And of course, some will be successful at it and some will fail worse than GAP’s logo redesign. But it is the agency that genuinely strives toward creating more than just advertising that will rise above, because just as a consumer wants to belong to a brand with cause or culture, so to do the future stars or the industry want to belong to the agency that creates these great movements.

Remember, in a loud and crowded room, whispering is all you need to capture the attention of your audience, and once you have their attention, persuasion will only get you so far. But a movement? A movement creates unity.

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