Advertising interrupts our entertainment. It interrupts our favourite music and radio DJs and it interrupts our view of Tuscany as we drive on the N1 West through Fourways. The solution, of course, is for brands to entertain the audience. The brand becomes the entertainment and the interruption ceases to exits.
This thinking is based on the 'Madison and Vine' theory, the convergence of advertising and entertainment. The theory states that consumers will respond more favourably to brand and communication messages if they are weaved into entertainment. The theory gets its name from Madison Ave (home of NYC advertising agencies) and Vine (the Hollywood street that houses the major TV studios).
Product placement was the first generation of "Madison and Vine" and has become an industry to itself. The idea of product placement is great and few can argue against the fact that James Bond driving an Aston Martin makes the car even more desirable.
BUT product placement has to make sense. In the current season of Come Dine with Me SA, the ubiquitous cleaning product Ariel is just well ubiquitous.
The brand gets it right with opening and closing billboards that mention that week's contestants. Something along the lines of "Steve's had one too many and made a real mess of it!"
Here the brand is commenting on the content the viewer is enjoying thus creating common ground with the consumer.
Where Ariel gets it horribly wrong is during the actual show. Every contestant has a tub of Ariel in their kitchen next to the sink, on the mantlepiece, in the bathroom and everywhere else. (Sanity prevailed and there are no Tubs of Ariel in the Taxi ride home vox pox segments!)
Consumers have cognitive schemata - a mental picture of the world and how it works. Having a tub of hand wash powder on the kitchen counter (and the bookshelf and in the shower) doesn't fit this shemata. It's just ridiculous. And condescending to the viewer that you want to buy your product the next day.
Compare that with Pick n Pay's involvement with the same show. The contestants buy the ingredients for their menus at Pick n Pay. It's subtle, it's believable and it makes sense. It fits the viewer's cognitive framework of the world they live in and doesn't get their BS radar firing in all directions. So good work, Pick n Pay - that's Madison and Vine done well! Ariel, on the other hand, is way too much Madison and no Vine. About the author and 7 Different Kinds of Smoke
Neil Clarence graduated with a marketing degree from Rhodes University - after graduation, he knocked on the door of ad agency Young and Rubicam who let him sit in the corner without pay.
After six months of making coffee (and having read Ogilvy on advertising 14 times) someone took pity on Neil and gave him a brief - the resulting outdoor campaign won 702 ad of the week!
Numerous local and international awards followed and Neil worked his way up to Creative Director.
Neil spent time working with YNR, Jupiter Drawing Room and Actuate until hitting the road to start his own agency - an agency that would change the world of advertising forever!
Neil Clarence is ECD and Founder of 7 Different Kinds of Smoke, an agency that believes that brands should entertain, not interrupt.
Their goal is to approach advertising from the point of view of the consumer, making engagement the main focus and sales the primary objective.
For further information, contact Neil on 011 026 4812.
For media enquiries, please contact Renee Schonborn on 083 600 3121 or Marisa Ravenscroft on 082 595 9501.