[Paul Williams] It's silly season once again and I suddenly realised that there are few, if any, Christmas carols which those in the advertising and marketing industries can relate to. So, to all of you involved in this stressful yet wonderful industry and truly wanting to celebrate the joy of Christmas, I present an agency Christmas carol.
[Paul Williams] In my kitchen I have proudly hung a street pole sign I 'gleaned' from a building site in Irkutsk, Russia, when I stayed there in 2008. It always reminds me of how basic advertising actually is. It's a metal directional sign in the shape of an arrow head, painted a shade of nondescript tan brown with the word "Bread" written in big black Cyrillic Russian letters right across it (pronounced ghleb).
[Paul Williams] My best childhood attempt at "advertising" involved piling up old magazines on my toy wagon and selling them to my parent's dinner party guests. It was relatively lucrative for a four-year-old, yet my parent's unexpected embarrassment at my entrepreneurial instincts scarred me for life... but what I established amongst the skewered gherkins and cocktail sausage rolls all those years ago is still one of the most successful advertising models I have found.
[Paul Williams] If my dad could see me now, he'd do as he always did in every situation: shake his head in despair. He'd say, with the disdain and disbelief of someone facing incredulous odds, "You've landed with your bum in the butter again... and I don't know how you do it." Truth is, no-one knows... it just happens... like advertising. At last, I get to write my own column, and on advertising nogal!
[Paul Williams] The desire to reach specific target groups and understand their purchase-drivers has meant that companies are now far more focused in their advertising and marketing efforts. As such, the "spray and pray" approach is no longer sufficient and companies can no longer rely on simply broadcasting messages to a mass audience in the hope that they will somehow reach the people they want to target.
[Paul Williams] The glory days of the advertising industry, when ad execs would drive around in fancy cars and spend their days having leisurely drinks and lunches with clients, are long gone and the ad industry, like the PR industry, has largely shaken-off its reputation of being a party industry. But, while "the good old days" are certainly part of a bygone era, the emphasis on relationship-building and having a bit of fun should not be lost in the scuffle to "keep it professional".