Every marketer has run a campaign that started out so promising and exciting, but somehow turned into a dog by the time it ran. And every creative director has a stack of ideas that were either corrupted or never got off the launch pad in the first place.
Why does this happen? Nobody sets out to run a mediocre campaign.
And no, this isn’t a big creative director whinge about how nobody listens to me! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good creative strop, but this isn’t that. I’ve worked client side, as an account handler and as a creative. So I’ve seen it from all angles.
The distance between conception and execution is an obstacle course fraught with dangers that can mess up your campaign if you let it. Some of them are real, some are figments of our imagination. Telling the difference between the two can be tricky when you’re in the belly of the thing.
But if there’s one true thing that can guide you through this, it’s your audience. Not your creatives, not the client, not the boss’s wife who’s ‘really quite creative and good at this type of thing and thinks you should make it green’. It’s the people you’re doing it for in the first place. Might sound blindingly obvious, but often it’s the audience who’s forgotten.
People obsess about what they want. Rationalising changes that, while making the whole thing less compelling, keep a stakeholder happy. Sometimes we make decisions for our audience; we decide that even though we ‘get it’, they obviously won’t so we dumb stuff down. Sometimes we let the 10 per cent who won’t like it over-rule the 90 per cent who will. And it’s not a client thing or an agency thing, it’s a people thing. We’re all susceptible to putting our own personal likes and dislikes ahead of the audience.
Keeping your audience as your guiding light is the best chance you have of navigating a lovely idea through that obstacle course into a wonderful, effective campaign that you can be proud of.
In our forthcoming Breakfast Briefing, we'll be sharing what we think are the biggest pitfalls and opportunities in the campaign development process, and how to eliminate them to make sure your campaign is a peach every time.
If you would like to hear more about “protecting the idea” you’re welcome to join us at our Breakfast Briefing in London on 4 April. Please contact Melanie Clarke (firstname.lastname@example.org) or register to attend here.
Martin Flavin is creative director at Five by Five
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