Damon Stapleton: Advertising. I Hope This Doesn’t Go Viral

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A blog by Damon Stapleton, regional chief creative officer, DDB Australia and New Zealand.
Damon Stapleton: Advertising. I Hope This Doesn’t Go Viral

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” – Jonathan Swift

For the last 10 years, I feel like advertising has tried make an argument. The argument is one of precision.

If you have enough knowledge about the customer and you are in the right place magical things can happen. This of course is all based on data and patterns of behaviour. The word predictability comes to mind. Now, I am not here to dispute this narrative. I am sure it is often true. However, I am here to say there is another one we seem to forget. We all know it but we seem to keep forgetting it.

I am not exactly sure why. Maybe it is not fashionable or it feels a little unpredictable for certain stakeholders in the industry. Perhaps certain types of channels and kinds of work are pushed for all sorts of reasons.

My argument is that despite all this precision we really need emotion. Perhaps, we need it now more than ever to cut through the endless channels filled with shit content. To bolster my argument, let me show you a story.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/02/corona-beer-owner-suffers-455-million-revenue-loss.html

This week it was reported that Corona Beer suffered a 455 million dollar loss. The obvious theory is that human beings stopped liking the enjoyable beverage because it has the same name as a deadly virus.

I guess it proves two things. The power of language and word association. And more importantly, how irrational and emotional people are. A Mexican beer is not a virus. Makes no sense. Total madness. But it does to those people. You can hear their weird thoughts. I am not drinking a beer called Corona. You know, just in case. It is a crazy way to think. Insanity. Very unfair to Corona, the beer. Yet, there it is.

I think we often forget this in our industry or perhaps some don’t like this because of the kind of work it dictates. But, the simple fact is when big emotions are at play they over ride pretty much everything. And as the story above demonstrates, this includes facts and logic.

There is almost endless evidence to support this. Yet, in my experience when the pressure is on, there is very often a large reluctance to rely on emotion to get the job done. We seem to fear emotion because of its power. It is not something we entirely trust because it has our number.

However, if this week proves anything, it is that there is strange paradox when it comes to emotion. It may be unpredictable but it is almost the only thing that can make human beings do the same things at scale very quickly. In other words, something quite unpredictable makes human beings more predictable than just about anything else.

It makes no sense, until it does.

damonsbrain.com

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DDB New Zealand, 2 months ago