Not Brad and Ange

It’s never trendy to say anything nice about Telstra, but they certainly do tell a good story. The Brad and Emma ads have divided commentators. Some people hate them. I must admit I love them, but that’s not the point of this post.

Telstra (or, more accurately, Telstra’s marketing agency BWM) has once again created characters who have been working their way into the Australian consciousness (and onto Facebook) since 2008.

They have a strong track record of doing this, notably with the BigPond broadband ads which started in 2005.

And, even though it hasn’t been strictly part of the Telstra brand for many years, ‘Not happy Jan’ from Yellow Pages in 2002 is now firmly entrenched in the Australian lexicon.

The point is, it can be very effective to find strong characters or themes to tell your story in different ways, over several campaigns and executions, and keep developing the idea over a long period of time. But very few organisations manage to do it well.

Many marketing managers on the client side are impatient and constantly wanting to create something new. Which is all well and good, but sometimes loses sight of the real point of marketing, which is to achieve results for the organisation, not to promote the ambitions of the marketing team. This is particularly noticeable when a new marketer moves into an organisation and slashes and burns all previous work to put his or her own stamp on the creative.

It’s a truism that organisations become bored with their own ads much faster than their customers do. This causes advertisers to miss some of the key advantages of TV.

Our living room is an intimate space where the television offers a window into the lives and dramas of characters we identify with and come to care about. But intimacy takes time to fully develop. And, at risk of stating the mind-numbingly obvious, repetition is one of the most powerful tools in any form of communication.

About Jonathan Smith

Turning strategy into reality
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