I’m trying to resist it, but I feel a New Year’s resolution or two
coming on. This is folly, of course, because there is nothing that mocks
like an old, invariably broken, New Year’s resolution. Grown-ups should
know better than to make them. My Filofax has a five- year-old one
lurking in its pages: ’Get to 14 stone and stay there’. Fat chance.
There are others too embarrassing to relate in a family magazine.
You will have noticed this isn’t any old New Year. It’s the Y2Kock-Up,
with all the heavy significance and doom-mongering this mercifully
infrequent event entails.
Of course, it’s all going to be a catastrophic flop, like the Cornish
eclipse. According to a recent survey, more than 80% of the population
is planning to batten down the hatches at home (boosting the viewing
figures, thank goodness), and wait until the whole pitiful thing is
Maybe they fear that deranged computer chips will destroy the world at
the stroke of midnight, but - let’s be honest - won’t it be dull if, as
I suspect, nothing at all goes wrong? And speaking as someone whose life
expectancy - at its rosiest - may just stretch to the first 3% of the
next thousand years, all talk of the new millennium is for me, at any
rate, somewhat over-optimistic.
I don’t suppose William the Conqueror’s dad spent much time worrying
about the 1990s as he watched his digital alarm clock flip into the year
That said, you cannot help thinking that this most portentous calendar
change merits at least some sort of stiffening of the backbone - a
resetting of the compass. The question is, what?
I shall restrict myself to marcoms, and leave world peace and weightier
matters to those better qualified to pronounce on such things. Here
goes, then ...
Stop using the word ’strategic’ when what you really mean is ’good’.
Strategic media planning is not some arcane ’ology’. It’s doing it
Halve the number of words on presentation charts ... then halve them
Stop bullshitting and cut to the chase.
Listen: the end of the 20th century has overdosed on babble, the huge
proportion of which is entirely useless. Stop babbling and listen
Think before answering the media brief. Don’t reach straight for the TGI
or the NRS. They don’t have ideas, they support them.
Demand media input into creative briefing. Gone are the days when the
creative director said ’I see this as 60- second telly’ and the media
people drew up a plan.
Give advertisers what they need, as well as what they want - not always
the same thing.
Make greater use of ’sample of one’ research. In other words, trust your
own experience and judgement. You’re a consumer, too.
Embrace the digital revolution - it ain’t going away.
Remember - we play in an orchestra: advertising is not a solo
Remember to have fun (and to hell with 14 stone).
I may need your help with these as my resolutions track record isn’t too
good. Meanwhile, a very happy Christmas and a bug-free New Year to you.