Get Real

Yesterday, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the tanking market for Swiss watches, and how the manufacturer of one luxury brand is sending their ace consultant around to instruct retailers in the art of selling “pure fantasy,” which is something we know a lot about in advertising.
Yet, many of us are tired of this particular game. Some have even left the field of play for good. Robbin Phillips of Brains On Fire is one such player. Her game is all about truth, not fantasy.

We look for the soul of a company or the community they support.
We are looking for what’s real.
I read somewhere lately that it takes a lot of energy to be someone you are not. And that is really true. One of the things I love about this age of word of mouth marketing and social media, is this: Companies and organizations are understanding that their brand is walking around on two feet. That’s what is real.

Of course, another thing that is totally real is the growing backlash against over-hyped social media. Any fan of George Parker and/or Bob Hoffman knows just how real their resistance is. That they’re using their blogs to resist is an odd twist, but so be it.
The fact is, the pursuit of real isn’t limited to WOM, SM or any format at all. TV advertising, at its best, finds what’s real about a product or service and then magnifies it. Take the iconic Milk campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners. That campaign works precisely because of the universal truth found in the product–that some things really can’t be enjoyed without a glass of milk.
Just as we have people in our business dedicated to craft and lifting up the entire field, we also have crackpots who routinely make TV look bad, and their social efforts are just as foul. So, let’s put the blame squarely on the abusers where it belongs, not on the form of media used to convey the brand’s message.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.