Plan To Move People

Bob Hoffman, a.k.a. The Ad Contrarian is at it again–the guy has a knack for stirring shit up. This time, he’s saying account planning “needs to crawl away and die.”
Here’s his first reason why:

Strategy is too important to be left to the strategists. Advertising and brand strategy ought to be done by the smartest people at the agency. I don’t care if their titles are art director, billing supervisor, or ceo. The most important thing an agency does is make ads — and the ads are worthless if the strategy isn’t right. In my experience, the ability to synthesize an imaginative strategy is unrelated to job title. It has to do with intelligence. Let the most intelligent people do the strategizing, regardless of their titles.

In a follow up post on his blog, Hoffman says, “I’m tired of all the sidewalk psychology and brand babble that planners are stuck on. I want strategies that focus on understanding behavior and how we can use persuasion to change it. Like it or not, that’s the business we’re in.”
Hoffman also wants evidence that advertising created with the use of planning is more effective than advertising produced without it. Of course, there’s no way to prove that. All one can do is point to successful campaigns where a planner had a hand in the work. You can’t compare those efforts to another set of planner-less efforts. That’s not the way “scientific” experiments are conducted.
The fact is Hoffman isn’t against planning or planners. He’s against bullshit, whenever and wherever he finds it. For that, I salute him. So if you’re a planner, or are preparing to become one at VCU or eslewhere, it’s all good, just don’t go anywhere near Hoffman Lewis’ San Francisco or St. Louis offices with a slide show full of half-baked consumer insights.



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.