Thursday, November 19, 2009

On advertising, economics, Ogilvy, and the hula hoop



Congratulations, students in my advertising class: tomorrow is the most boring class of the year!

Actually, the problem is just that it's about economics. To students in a writing program, it's like telling Superman, "Tomorrow's lecture will be about Kryptonite. Don't skip, now!"

So, instead of getting into the fear and greed cycle, value and growth investing, and Greenspan vs. Bernanke, and getting all TSX, Dow Jones, and NASDAQ on you, we're going to keep it simple, starting with the law of supply and demand and working our way up to "should you still advertise in a recession?"

When it comes to the law of supply and demand, there's no better scene than the one above, "the invention of the hula hoop," from the Coen Brothers' otherwise so-so film, the Hudsucker Proxy.

I've posted this clip before, but I can never get enough of seeing the kid start the hula-hoop craze (he was robbed at Oscar time), not to mention the winks to Brazil (the ducts) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (the warehouse).

I show this clip in advertising class every year, and I will again tomorrow, because it has almost everything anyone needs to know about economics, the four Ps of marketing, sales, buzz, the law of supply and demand, and creative brainstorming: "The Daddy-O!" "The Belly-Go-Round!" "The Shazzameter!" "The Wacky Circumference!"

Ogilvy weighs in on the recession

Another great resource for advertisers - apart from the clip, which is pretty great in and of itself - is Ogilvy and Mather's oglivyonrecession.com. Yep, it's named after ad hero David Ogilvy and his book On Advertising.

The site gives free tips to advertisers - and you - on how to support and build brands during uncertain economic times. Topics include:
  • Turning shoppers into buyers;
  • Doing more with less;
  • Improving sales force performance;
  • The new PR.
There's lots of great stuff in these papers - charts, graphs, comparisons, and tips, including why you might be able to cut back on advertising during a recession and not see an impact on sales for three years, but why you might also see an deterioration on the impact of the customers' relationships with the brand in less than six months.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to check out the "F.A.D.S." ("Fight Against Destructive Spin") blog here http://bit.ly/czxZ4 on how decreasing ad spending in lean times doesn't help brands/business in the long run. The article cites Kellogg's, and how it won the cereal wars in the Great Depression by increasing its marketing spending.

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