The relationship between advertisers and the customer is interesting. The goal is to appeal to the target market and imbed an idea that eventually leads to a measurable action. It seems like the moment the word “viral” was used to describe something catching on fire figuratively on the internet, advertising was changed. The change that I’m describing is the emphasis on creativity and pushing boundaries; finding the edge of what transforms an “okay” ad into a viral worthy award winning one.
In his article, Lenny Stern co-founder of SS&K describes some of the dangers and issues with exceeding the confines of traditional advertising. What Stern successfully provides are a few tips that he believes will take an agency’s creative team to that very sought after edge, but not over it. The tips Stern provided are extremely thought provoking, especially the one describing how subject matter should not be a limiting factor. The example he uses to describe this point is insurance company ads.
At first I didn’t think insurance companies could be interesting. Upon further reflection, I realized that the advertising some use gives them that sticky factor that advertisements always seek. In fact I don’t remember every Nike ad I’ve seen, but I can unfortunately tell you every mascot for the biggest insurance companies around. I might not want to listen to the Geico Gecko’s voice for too long and I definitely don’t want to hear Flo from Progressive, but there is something about those commercials that just sticks. Allstate’s Mayhem commercials are among some of my favorites and those are still in the insurance category.
Ultimately, the stuff that great advertisements are comprised of depends on what Stern describes as a “symbiotic relationship between the client and agency — a client willing to be pushed and an agency that knows how far to push”.