Why #Cokes decision to put #Ogilvy on their #commsplanning pitch list makes sense and what is the point of #TrufflePig?

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here, a combination of holidays and work abroad.  Still trying to gain discipline about filing these, if only to feel as though I’m getting my thoughts on paper!

The few weeks I’ve been silent have been really interesting and provide enough material to fill out a number of blogs but today I’m going to concentrate on two key events today

  1. Ogilvy getting on Cokes communications planning pitch list
  2. WPP, Snapchat and the Daily Mails content agency

First things first!  Ogilvy getting on Cokes comms planning sheet (sorry connections planning sheet)!  What to make of this?  For a start comms planning is at a bit of a crisis point.  the agency that launched the discipline Naked is no longer in that field, it professes that its more a creative agency and this is telling, i believe.  Communications planning was bought about by the birth of Paid, Owned, Earned thinking and the conceit that there needed to be another layer of expertise that understood the proliferation of channels and was able to plan out the various roles of each of these channels and specify the type of messages that would work well in these channels.  In addition came the comms platform, the media version of the creative proposition, another witty pithy line to confuse clients and annoy creative agencies (the enemy) providing a governing thought (idea or context) for all the media to be used.

Media agencies leapt at the chance to provide a more strategic service AND they actually were able to deliver upon these ideas and pull themselves up the influence list through coming up with bigger ideas!  Naked on the other hand rapidly declined as clients realised the emperors new clothes i.e. that Naked could come up with the ideas but not execute, and didn’t want to pay for them.

Fast forward a few years and the growth in popularity of Byron Sharp and the growing body of work that governs media planning i.e. THE GOLDEN RULES  means that almost anyone can actually DO communications planning.  The question is, as a discipline, how relevant can it really be anymore? it is common sense after all, it’s not really based on any core strength or propriety research.  Any planner who has grown up in the industry in the last 10 years will have a reasonable grasp of it or can learn the principles in a short period of time.  Any time spent with a comms planner will introduce you to the 3 tiers approach + POE and this pretty much provides you with all you need.

This brings us back to Cokes decision to sack Carat off and bring Ogilvy in, I’d say that Nick Hirst probably killed the Comms planner in a media agency sense in his ADMAP award winning essay “Why experience architecture is the future of media planning” although you could argue that Kate Cox et al also suggested it in Datamine 3.  Both articles suggested that planners of the now and future were essentially orchestrators or architects around ideas whether they are brand, campaign or one-off representations.  Therefore the IDEA is the ownership play and comms planning sits with whoever owns the idea surely.

This brings us to an interesting debate that is being had in many agencies at the moment and explains why traditional creative agencies/digital agencies are better placed to own this now.  The integration of UX planners into the process.  Comms planning is essentially UX planning but without the technical skills.  Creative agencies are more likely to have these people in-house and benefit from cross-expertise learning ergo they should be better at comms planning around IDEAs and building decision architecture to drive people around and through these IDEAS.  All that’s missing is the current ownership of TGI and/or CCS (Dentsu Aegis’ version) and on the TGI front this can simply be bought bringing the purchasing entity up to speed with 70% of the media world (not that much of a step or even investment really)

In this light it explains Cokes and Ivan Pollards decision, why couldn’t Ogilvy do it, why shouldn’t Ogilvy do it, why don’t more creative agencies make a play for this role?.  That or he’s trying to recreate the Naked model again and is willing to pay for it now that he’s on the client side

The more recent news is WPP’s PR blast that is Truffle Pig, a partnership between WPP, the Daily Mail and SnapChat.  It looks as though they are trying to copy the model of Buzzfeed in that through testing content across Snapchat, the Daily Mail and sibling brand Elite Daily platforms, the agency will be able to inform clients of the type of content that travels and stuff that doesn’t and then build it for them.  Call me old-fashioned but how is this a standalone outfit?  Surely this is just a partnership solution for WPP that provides information for their multiple agencies?  how likely are clients likely to move their content out of their current production houses into this new agency?  it’s not like they own the platform like buzzfeed who can ringfence the production themselves, both Snapchat and The Dail Mail will still accept other advertisers so the value is purely in the data.  Anyway, it made a big splash at Cannes and surely that was half the point!

A bit of a brain dump but who said blogs should be overly considered.


An introduction

The EQ Planner

So I’ve decided to take the plunge and begin writing about the things that interest me.  Hopefully i won’t become part of the 90% as prescribed in  Sturgeons Law and some people may even be interested enough to read and forward on because realistically that’s what I’d like.  In my industry (advertising for those that care) nobody really believes those people who set up their blogs as personal journals –  “somewhere to put my innermost thoughts”.  Nope the real reason is the thought that others out there are reading.  It’s ego, its fame, its social kudos, it’s all the things that the IPA (and many others) suggest is what we want to deliver for our clients and through them brands.  Because even for the most selfless out there, there is a tiny part that screams “what about me”.

I note I’ve touched there on the concept of the  personal brand, something that has a negative perception (especially in the media and politics).  It’s a bit of a wanky concept but at its core is the belief that all brands are is a collection of external perceptions, they are what people think about the brand NOT what the brand thinks about itself.  Fairly simple concept and its a guaranteed subject on which I’ll return in the future a multitude of times I’m sure but; it’s also a fact (yep it is!) that many marketeers and brand owners forget about, getting caught up in their own world and suffering from not actually engaging with those who consumer or could consume.

So Why The EQ planner? For those who may not be aware EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence, a concept that Daniel Goleman first wrote about in 1996.  He has since gone on to win many  awards & books since but essentially his thesis is softer skills are required for true success over and above more traditional measures such as IQ.  It’s a concept that i wrote about for my IPA Excellence final essay (i will post it here soon) and the irony (i suppose) is that i have been told in the past that i lack a certain degree of Emotional Intelligence.  It’s not quite a black and white as that (self-awareness is a key part of EQ, it’s the application of that to others i.e. Empathy, where i fall down) but its a nice handle, its something i believe in and its also something that i know i need to improve in.

And there you have the full story (and a bit of a bastardisation of english writing – starting a paragraph with And), a Protagonist (me) an Antagonist (a lack of EQ), a journey or quest (the search for EQ) and hopefully a transformation that will enable me to grow.  This last sentence could seem a bit bizarre until i provide the context of a book i read recently  “Into the woods” by John Yorke, which sets out the objective to discover the core story archetype that sits beneath ALL stories and explains it.  Interesting book although for non-screen writers it can tail off a bit.

Think that’s a fair introduction and once i press publish i’ll just have to continue!