April 26, 2019

The Time For Next Year’s Concept Is Now

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At Quirk, we’ve heard a dozen variations of this feedback: “The concept is great, but it feels like where we’re going, not where we are today.” In other words, the idea in question is “next year’s concept.” One of our challenges as an advertising agency is to help brands understand that the time for “next year’s concept” is right now.

 

The idea of “next year’s concept” is interesting because it raises the question, “what is this year’s concept?” If next year’s concept is the interesting and bold one, then what is this one other than “standard?” There’s no such thing as standard, and if there was it wouldn’t be very effective. The point of an ad is to make an impression, and that doesn’t work if there’s nothing that stands out.

The point of an ad is to make an impression, and that doesn’t work if there’s nothing that stands out.

Sometimes it seems as if brands have an advertising progression in mind: early spots will serve to inform and articulate features, and later spots will build brand equity and exist to make an impression. This leads to a thought process that’s more about checking specific boxes at the expense of overall impact. The problem with that approach is that there’s no guarantee that people will see every spot, nor that they will see them in the intended order. If you’re spending money on advertising, you’re already putting your brand out there. Why not make a splash?

 

In reality, every ad has to do all these things. People receive ads passively, so it’s hard to imagine someone seeing a second spot, consulting their notes, and asking themselves what features have already been communicated. People reserve the continuity part of their memory for Avengers movies and Game of Thrones, their relationship with 99% of brands, however famous, is more likely to be a bland self acknowledgement, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that.”

 

That’s why “next year’s idea” is better suited for now. Brands don’t slowly, incrementally gain mindshare and name recognition through a series of sensible, standard DR ads, they do it by making a splash. The next year’s idea is usually the one that’s most poised to make a splash now, gain eyeballs, attention, and results. Given that, there’s no better time for that idea then now.

 

As the old saying goes, you should dress for the job you want. As the new saying goes, advertise as if you’re where you want to be, not where you are.