COCK-UP V CONSPIRACY

 

Clever people like to over think things.
So they come up with a conspiracy theory.
We’ve all been exposed to various conspiracy theories.
The Kennedy Assassination, UFOs, 9/11.
If you’re American you grow up believing in conspiracy.
Ruthlessly clever people, like the CIA, plotting dastardly schemes behind closed doors
If you’re English, you grow up knowing everything is a cock-up.
Civil servants too lazy or dopey to be arsed.
Let me give you a for-instance of Cock-up versus Conspiracy.
In 1940 the German Luftwaffe was bombing England.
But every time they got here the RAF was waiting for them.
The Germans knew it was radar that gave the RAF early warning.
They knew, if they could destroy the radar they could win easily.
They knew where the radar was.
They could see it on top of the cliffs overlooking the English Channel.
But all that was visible above ground was the radar masts, and some little corrugated-iron huts.
The actual radar control rooms were obviously hidden deep inside the cliffs.
So the Germans tried dive-bombing the cliffs with Stukas.
They tried bombarding the side of cliffs, from warships.
Nothing worked.
Whatever they did the radar kept operating.
It wasn’t until after the war that they found out the control rooms weren’t hidden inside the cliffs.
They control rooms were in the little corrugated-iron huts.
Where they could have been destroyed really, really easily.
Because the British had been too lazy to put them anywhere else.
But the Germans were too clever.
They over-thought it and missed the obvious.
In the same way advertising people like to over think things, and miss the obvious.
I showed a group of planners a commercial at a speech the other day.
I played the whole thing except the pack shot.
This commercial had a media budget of £7 million.
I asked if anyone had seen it.
Everyone put their hands up.
I asked if anyone knew who it was for.
Nobody put their hands up.
I said, “Okay, you’ve all seen the ad, but nobody can remember who it was for.
Let’s see if we can work it out. What are the brand values?”
Someone said, “Friendliness”.
Someone else said, “All-inclusive”.
Someone else said, “Compassion”.
Someone said, “Making the world a nicer place”.
So I said, “Okay, with those brand values, who do you think it’s for?”
Some people guessed medical insurance, “BUPA”.
Some people guessed regular insurance, “Norwich Union”.
Most people couldn’t guess a brand.
But ALL the planners agreed it was most probably for a financial institution.
Then I showed them the packshot.
It was for Ford.
27 seconds of the commercial had been about brand-values.
The remaining 3 seconds had been about what was actually being sold.
27 seconds about nice feelings.
3 seconds about why you should part with several grand.
But that’s advertising people.
Over thinking things and missing the obvious.
These are the people who believe the entire world revolves around whatever is going on in their heads.
David Ogilvy once described the world advertising people inhabit as follows:
“Advertising people honestly believe that one housewife will say to another, “I see you bought Persil Automatic.”
The other woman will reply “Yes, I prefer it to Ariel.”
The first woman will say, “But Ariel gets clothes cleaner.”
The second woman will say, “Yes, but Ariel are using that Clarendon typeface in their advertising, and I don’t like it as much as the Gill Sans that Persil use.”

The real world is much closer to cock-up than conspiracy.