Time goes quickly. So this is late from the event, but that doesn’t really change the content. I went to see Laurence Green talk a few weeks back… and there were a few things that he said which I noted down…

“There’s a culture of interrogating brands on the internet”

His point being that brands can only influence the conversation nowadays – whereas previously you could control the conversation and ‘broadcast’ messages to people. There’s no control left so brands have to prompt conversation.

It feeds into the general discussion today that “brands should do rather than just say” that I also like – Haagen-Dazs doing “save the honey bees” is a great example of this, I think. And that does far more to make me believe in their natural ingredients than all the ads telling me the same thing. Look at Pedigree, too – a TBWA\ global brand that believes “We’re for dogs” – and the activity they do every year to support Dog Adoption. Again, an example of a brand that lives up to values that we can relate to, rather than simply banging on about why you should buy.

But Laurence’s comments on ‘interrogation’ give a great framework for this discussion – when the world’s watching and discussing and merrily exposing any vacuous claims, brands should be talking about what they do, rather than just talking about reasons for purchase…

This is the time for brands to behave with integrity and compassion – involve people, instead of trying to ‘persuade’ them.

“Fallon has a healthy disrespect for what advertising can do alone”

He talked about how they look for ideas that can live beyond TV – that engender conversation. Gorilla et al being prime examples, although he used others in the talk he gave. Again, a simple way of expressing the thought and a potent motto for us all to live by…

As an aside, if you haven’t read it already, then get the CP+B book “Hoopla” – they’re probably the world masters of this. And they also approach planning from the perspective of cultural change – feeding into the last point I noted down…

“We’re looking for content that can live with culture rather than spread messages”

Interesting to hear him state it as an intent. And a truism – if you’re trying to positively influence culture or add to cultural content, then it requires you to produce something more valuable than the majority of ads that clutter our landscape!

Think how Balls got talked about – how Gorilla was a topic of conversation amongst people who DON’T work in advertising. Think how Haagen-Dazs are building support for bees – how Pedigree are helping save homeless dogs… what does your brand believe in? What are you doing?

Anyway, it was good food for thought, so I figured I’d share it.