The economic recession may be over, but there's a second recession in America and its still at full strength. It's the Marketing Recession. You can see it in a deluge of ad campaigns that are all science and no art, all head and no heart. You can sense it when most of our memes come from YouTube, rather than the "boob tube".
There are all kinds of debates about the cause. It's the advertisers' fault for slashing budgets. It's the consumers' fault for penny-pinching. It's the agencies' fault for not standing up for what they believe in. It's the marketers' fault for putting too much faith in numbers-driven consultants. In the end, the cause doesn't matter. The cure matters.
At the recent ANA Conference, Geico CMO Ted Ward challenged attendees to develop better, stronger campaigns. He talks about "thinking big", "acting bigger" and leading the organizations forward, but he doesn't offer much in the way of guidance for how to do that (at least, not in the video clip). That's okay though, because we can gain valuable insight just by looking at how Geico has already delivered this type of "magnetic marketing".
Geico has had an incredible run of great campaigns that entertain, inform, inspire and cross over into our cultural consciousness. Think about how strong these campaigns are:
- The Geico Gecko
- So Easy a Caveman Could Do It
- A Real Geico Customer
- The Money You Could Be Saving with Geico
They're all great! We remember them. We talk about them. We eagerly await new installments. Some of us even spoof them. They're magical because they are both creative AND effective. Even better, they share a common structure that offers valuable tips for the rest of us. Each one of these campaigns is built around a single, simple but powerful key point:
- 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
- Geico.com is incredibly easy to use.
- Gieco customers are real people just like you.
- You could save money and it's right there within reach.
With this one key point as an anchor for the campaign, the creative process is left with plenty of room to conjure up something incredible. Put another way, if Geico tried to put 20 data points into an ad, they'd end up with the same kind of boring junk that Ted is railing against.
Find the key point you want to deliver about your brand, lock it down, then let the creatives run free and think big for the rest. That's the magic, and it's no trick!