05 Oct

All show, no substance

I was wasting time on Ebaum’s World, when I came across this video, among the new ones posted today.
It’s a video that needs to be seen, to illustrate my point, so here it is, below (for some odd reason I couldn’t embed the Ebaum’s vid, only the YouTube one):

Look at this guy. It must’ve taken so much time, effort, and money (food, supplements, gym membership etc) to get to that size.
For what reason, though? Does he use those muscles for anything? Does his job involve lifting? Does he haul trucks with just his body? Does he fight or wrestle in a professional capacity?… or are those muscles purely for show; serving no purpose other than simply being big and – in his mind – looking good
He obviously thought that simply getting that big for the sake of it would be enough, on its own, to attract pretty women at a pool party or he wouldn’t be prancing around with his shirt off, flexing his arms and pecs.
The problem is, it doesn’t seem – from the two minute clip – to have worked… and he doesn’t seem to have anything else to offer except: ‘look at me, I have ridiculously large muscles’.

As a metaphor, this is exactly what happens when a business thinks that just chucking loads of money at an ad campaign is the answer. Big budget does not automatically ‘win’.
If you haven’t got a great idea to underpin the money you’ve chucked at something, and your advertising doesn’t get noticed because it’s not memorable, then all you’ve done is just spend lots of money.

Think how many big brands you’ve seen, in the past, throw a celebrity into their ads – who has no connection to that brand – purely because they’re a celebrity and the brand wanted to spend money on a campaign (Jamie and Louise Redknapp definitely, definitely take Thomas Cook holidays… we all believe that, don’t we?).
These campaigns are the same as the guy with the big muscles. They’ve got nothing else to offer and are ignored or forgotten very quickly.

The best advertising/marketing campaigns are underpinned by a good, solid idea, regardless of budget. In fact, some of the best campaigns or one-off ideas cost very little to make (a well thought-out Twitter campaign has the capacity to go viral, having cost nothing to make and put out there).

The point is, you have to have a good idea behind what you do. If plan A is just ‘flex your muscles’ / chuck loads of money at an idea, then what’s your plan B if that doesn’t work?

As that well-worn phrase goes: ‘you can’t polish a turd.’

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