We've been banging on a lot about creativity and emotion in B2B marketing - more so than usual as it was the theme of our recent S&M Forum.
You can see Robert's facts and figures from various research sources here (proving that creativity sells). And David's video about insight that sparks great creative ideas is here.
Which is why it was almost depressing to walk through Heathrow last weekend and see the missed opportunities for more creativity when it comes to the Cloud computing bandwagon.
First up, SAP...
Perhaps the "[Insert company name] runs SAP" campaign was in need of an update. But seems a shame to lose the benefits of that association of SAP with some big brands in this ad:
Is this really the best possible use of prime ad real estate? "SAP Cloud makes innovation quick and IT simple. For any company - including yours." It just doesn't feel as though there's any kind of audience insight driving this message or creative. Perhaps it does a job to make the fabled "business decision-maker" more comfortable with the SAP brand. But you would hope there were more creative ways to do that.
I may be possibly the only person to visit www.sap.com/cloud on the back of this ad. But the landing page is pretty good. Especially the myth-busting approach to comparing Millenials with older generations, which helps to step away from the usual cliches when talking about digital natives. That might have been more fertile ground to think about for the advertising message.
The first Accenture ad I saw looks to be continuing its previous tradition of leading with customer stories (not a million miles from the "[Company name] runs SAP" approach). But I seem to remember previous ones feeling more interesting and the kind of thing you might pause to read at the airport (I think there was one about the Royal Shakespeare Company a couple of years ago).
But then we're suddenly back in the territory of vague Cloud messages. Cloud is being used to drive disruptive business approaches, so this ad shows people upside-down. I'd guess it is marginally more effective than the SAP ad at capturing attention (when we see faces upside-down we're going to look and try to make sense of it).
I'd still rather go back to the approach of finding some of those compelling customer business stories: don't tell me that you have a different perspective, show me what that actually meant for a business.
When I posted this thought on LinkedIn, Greg Wilson pointed out at there is more than just the creative in need of attention:
"As I critiqued one of these very ads at T5 yesterday evening I wondered what happened to the marketer's desire to ensure maximum quality in the printed medium. What happened to pouring over chromalins, reviewing the first pass in a print run in search of blemishes and hickies - forget the creative execution - the physical print production of the advert was terrible. The images are not of suitable resolution, the ink jet nozzles have dragged lines through the ink as it printed. I'll bet no one in marketing proofed the actual print run, rather they did an on screen check of a low res PDF. Maybe it's the industry I am in, but should marketers take pride in the execution of their work, and not just the creation?"
So more attention required to make the most of these big brand investments. You could still get all the brand awareness benefits (and more), but you could give people some value or entertainment at the same time. Which is what the HSBC ads have been so good at for years in the air bridge/tunnel when you board the plane - creating a smile in the mind. But I didn't get photos of them because by then I'd almost missed my flight...