After WW1, military planners knew what the future of warfare would look like.

Millions of men had recently sat in trenches for four years, facing each other.

Armies were now so powerful neither side could gain the upper hand.

To resist attack all you needed was strong defensive positions.

The stronger the better.

So the French built The Maginot Line.

It stretched from Luxembourg to Switzerland.

45 large forts, 97 medium sized forts, 352 smaller fortifications.

Two hundred miles long, up to twelve miles deep, a hundred miles of underground tunnels.

It had retractable artillery, machine guns, and anti tank pillboxes.

It took ten years to build and cost three billion Francs.

It took fifty thousand soldiers to man it.

It had its own underground railway, ammunition stores, mess halls, hospitals, barracks.

Military planners knew no army could get through it.

So the Germans didn’t go through it.

They went round it.

Because the Maginot Line stopped at Belgium.

Belgium was an ally of France, and it would be a huge insult to build a fortification between yourself and your ally.

It would seem like abandoning them to the enemy.

So the Maginot Line stopped at Belgium.

It didn’t worry the military planners, because where it stopped was the forest of the Ardennes.

So where did the Germans choose to attack?

At the strongest, most heavily defended part of the Maginot Line?

Or the undefended Belgian part?

Tough choice.

You might have thought military planners could have worked it out.

But they didn’t.

And so the Germans came through Belgium and the Ardennes, and bypassed the Maginot Line.

In six weeks they captured Paris, France fell and the Maginot Line was attacked from behind, and surrendered.

See, the military planners made their plans based on thinking that worked in the perfect world of their imagination.

Where everything went according to their plans.

It’s the same in our business.

People with perfect plans based on everyone behaving exactly according to plan.

Expecting consumers to look carefully at the advertising, feel empathy with the insight, identify with the brand, and consequently buy the product.

Just one problem.

The advertising has to compete with over £18 BILLION of other advertising and marketing.

It has to get seen and noticed against a blizzard of advertising that everyone just ignores.

Most of which is wallpaper, so people shut it out.

Unless you do something different to make them notice it, they won’t.

That’s the advertising equivalent of the Belgian border.

That’s the part no one wants to talk about.

No matter how perfect all that planning is, if the ads are invisible they’re irrelevant.


Just like The Maginot Line.