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Advertising needs to be more interesting than sex: JWT's Craig Davis

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | May 26, 2005
Davis was down in Mumbai yesterday to deliver a talk on advertising


"The world is looking at us differently. We need to look at ourselves differently." & #BANNER1 & #

"People are not looking at us to excite them, but are looking at other things to avoid us."

"Things that we have relied upon can no longer be relied upon."

"The industry needs to do better work. And the time to do it is NOW."

When an internationally renowned creative ace makes statements like these, you know he isn't kidding. Advertising today is competing for attention in a world that is increasingly getting smaller, faster, and also tougher.

Attention spans are short, and there's no better person to tell you that than Craig Davis, chief creative officer, JWT and Campaign Brief Asia's 'Advertising Person of the Year' for 2003.

Davis was down in Mumbai on May 25 to deliver a talk on advertising. Organised by the Advertising Club of Bombay, the workshop, titled 'The 31st Second', hit the nail straight on the head with its content.

Davis maintained that since technology was rapidly changing people's lives, especially the way people consume entertainment, advertising needed to stop interrupting them in what they were interested in doing.

"People don't have time for advertising," he said. "Time is a scarce resource, and the need of the hour is to find ambitious and adventurous ways to do advertising. In short, to move beyond the '30 seconds'."

He cited examples of TV-centric clients such as Unilever, P&G, American Express and HSBC, who were looking beyond television today - to illustrate his point. "They are putting in money and making allowances for things they don't even know," he said. "If these marketers, who have always believed in the power of television, are looking at other options, there must be more interesting things elsewhere," he added, hinting at the power of allied media such as the Internet.

Lever's special documentaries for the web and American Express' 'webisodes' featuring actor-director and stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld are interesting examples of how the Internet can be used to engage, interact and communicate with audiences, while not interrupting them, Davis added.

Another example of out-of-box thinking was a 7-minute film on gaming company Sega's new product ESPN NFL Football. A conspiracy story, the film was a piece of fiction that ran down Sega for creating a game that induced violence amongst people who played it. Sega, as Davis said, allowed itself to be painted as the "bad guys", triggering a four-month campaign that had a high-level of consumer interaction. Websites, blogs, direct mailers, viral marketing (through e-mails), phone calls, voice messages, posters, print material and television commercials were all used to engage the consumer. The hype generated amongst active gamers was just what Sega was looking out for to promote its product. 2005 agencyfaqs!

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