Good advertising makes all the difference: Ad Club Hatch Awards

by Susan Getgood on October 9, 2009 · 1 comment

in Advertising,Blogging,Marketing,Social media,Web Marketing


It is often said that consumers don’t like or pay attention to advertising.

Not true.

What consumers don’t like is BAD advertising. Lazy copy. Poor targeting. Offensive stereotypes.

We also don’t like crummy products. No matter how good the ad, it cannot make a crummy product excellent or a dangerous product safe. Regardless of what they say on Mad Men.

We do like — even love — good advertising. Ads that tell a story. Make us feel. Make us laugh. If we’re in marketing, make us wish we’d thought of that.

Tuesday night, I was privileged to  attend the 49th Annual Hatch Awards as a guest of the AdClub and got to see a lot of great advertising without having to watch TV or read a magazine.

There’s no way I can do justice to all the award winners in a single post, but here’s a random sampling of the ones I liked most.

My favorite TV spots were Mullen‘s Bruins Hockey Rules commercials. The campaign won a gold as did this commercial “Date.”

If you want more, I posted all the spots over at Snapshot Chronicles.

I also liked Arnold‘s TV spots for the American Legacy Foundation and Hill Holliday‘s series for Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project.

It’s harder to appreciate print advertising in the award show format. You miss the look and feel of the ad in the chosen vehicle. How well it fits (or doesn’t) in the publication. Even so, it was easy to like Mullen’s work for the New England Aquarium and Kelliher Samets Volk/Boston’s newspaper ads for WMBR radio.

Finally, as much as I do not believe in personal branding, I have to commend the silver winner in the personal branding category for the sheer balls of his campaign,

You may have noticed I did not mention any of the award winners in the social media or website/microsite categories. Not because the work wasn’t excellent. It was. But my strongest impression was that advertising agencies see, and execute, social media very differently than PR agencies and marketing shops (internal and external) focused on interactive media. Yes, I am about to make a generalization, and welcome respectful disagreement, but the ad agency work seemed to be about production values, not relationships.

In other words, engagement means very different things to the different groups.

Now, I didn’t actually find this surprising. I’ve written before that I have noticed that PR and advertising folks definitely approach engagement through different lenses.

Public relations folks — good PR folks — understand the importance of building relationships with customers. That blogger engagement is a commitment, not a one-night stand. Where sometimes they have difficulty is engaging with emotion and enthusiasm. Their training teaches them to be objective, factual. Storytellers, not promoters. It can be difficult (although not impossible) to shed that skin and engage around emotion and shared values, versus news, facts and benefits.

Advertising professionals, on the other hand, have no problem understanding the importance of emotion in eliciting engagement. Good advertising taps into our emotions to evoke an action. It’s rarely about what a product does. It’s all about how it makes us feel. Where advertising pros can miss in social media is that they don’t dial it down to more personal terms. The message is hype, not human. It’s about producing a slick “viral video,” not about finding a shared value with the customer that encourages her to pass the message on.

That’s where marketing generalists (like me) can help the process. We embrace both approaches – relationship and emotion – and can help organizations best leverage their advertising and PR specialists to develop well-rounded programs and campaigns that truly engage the customer.

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