The awakened campaigns of advertising agencies failed
The abandonment of humor points to an industry afraid of ruffling feathers.
Rather than risk fueling a backlash on social media with a misjudged joke, brands seem more comfortable trumpeting their position as a force for good.
Moray MacLennan, CEO of M&C Saatchi, said “humor will come back strongly”, but for now, the ad reflects how the world has “become a more serious place”.
“People are wary of having fun and being insignificant,” he adds. “It’s almost like you trivialize all the problems in the world and my personal problems. It can come across as a lack of empathy. “
He believes that targeted advertising has an important role to play because it reflects the values of the younger generations.
“People talk about ‘waking up’, but the ‘waking up’ is in the eye of the beholder. What you realize when you’re sitting in Soho and being an older white male is that different generations have different senses of gravity when it comes to these things.
“What may seem unimportant to a 70-year-old is quite common for a 20-year-old.
“When you talk about efficiency, it is very important to talk about what you are measuring. Much of our job is to drive sales effectively, but sometimes it’s about changing behavior. Sometimes its affinity with the brand, its desirability and its notoriety. These things are important to people because they buy from brands they trust.
“You have to have a point of view”
Amid the rise of ethical investing and the pressure on companies to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a sign of good corporate governance, brands are keen to promote their position on division issues despite potential retaliation from customers or staff.
“I think you have to have a perspective as a CEO and a company,” adds MacLennan. “You have the power and the influence. You no longer have the right to say ‘I’m only selling bread’, you must have a sight.
Targeted advertising strikes the right balance between winning customers who agree and alienating those who have opposing views.
Yet in the age of targeted advertising – where agencies can deliver digital ads to people based on personal data treasures – these ads have the ability to preach to converts.
Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital, said there was “a lot of greenwashing and virtue signals” from the advertising industry. But he thinks critics of targeted advertising just don’t accept the evolution of the industry.
“When you look at all the big issues we face: Covid, climate change, technological change, diversity and inclusion, the negative impacts of globalization, political developments such as US-China relations or their absence, all these problems worry consumers, ”he adds.
“The market environment has changed and it’s very difficult for people in the traditional part of the industry to get a feel for it. In this new world, the way you develop relationships with consumers has become much more personalized, active, and perhaps much more short-term. The industry is looking back with rose-tinted glasses to Don Draper’s days, but times have changed.