A Brave New Ad World?

I just Googled “Why do people hate ads?” I’m not against advertising per se. It’s just a bit absurd, isn’t it?

Franco Bonadio

Chief Creative Officer at C Space

Franco Bonadio is C Space’s Chief Creative Officer. Franco finds inspiration everywhere — in film, design, interactive and experiential spaces. He can mould ideas and insights into powerful human stories that make you think, feel and act. He brings that creative flair into his home, too – spinning pizza a mano with his data-obsessed wife (proving once and for all that opposites attract, especially when there’s authentic Italian food for dinner). Before C Space, Franco worked as Global Creative Director of The Body Shop and CEO of Identica Design.

Actors pretending to be customers. Way too much smiling, and everything seems too perfect. Or, perfectly designed to look imperfect. Compare TV ads to social media, where everything feels so raw and genuine and full of life — people sharing the things they do, eat, say, and think. Advertising feels fake by comparison. Contrived and manipulative. Ad agencies have failed to keep up with the zeitgeist of communication – and as such, advertising feels outdated. It’s almost as if they’re afraid to be real.

So, back to my Google search.

Studies say we all hate ads.

We ignore, block, and mock them.

What we really want is a conversation.

It’s hard to disagree with any of that. We’re human, after all. Conversation is what we do. The best conversations aren’t one-sided. But most ads are. A cast of characters talking at you. Except, they’re not you. And you know it. That’s the problem.

One of our clients had this feeling, too. They’re a big retailer who asked us to pitch them a new ad campaign. They wanted it to be different and unexpected. Here’s the thing. We’re not an ad agency. We’re a customer agency. Real life is what we do best. So, that’s what we gave them. Real customers in real situations — clips of film that were more documentary-style than your typical, run-of-the mill type of advertising. Everything centered around customers – not actors pretending to be customers, but the real people, who shop in their stores every day. The client loved it. We won the pitch.

It means we’ll be working with real customers, to produce our client’s TV ads, print ads, and more. Forget actors. Our work will show the realities of life. The people in the ads will be smiling (but not too much). They’ll be funny, sad, rushed, tired, happy, vulnerable people who celebrate the small wins in life using our client’s products. Positive and aspirational people who are also laced with anxiety and pressure — just like you and me.

Our brave client is going against the usual ad approach. It’s a risk, but not too big of one. As the client says, “It’s hard to un-do the knowledge that lots of customers dislike traditional advertising.” Will it work? Time will be the judge of things, of course. I’m confident (and hopeful) however this is going to work. After all we are working with our client’s real customers, putting them at the heart of their business and literally into their work. If these actual customers like the ads (which they star in), then it stands to reason that other people will like and relate to them, too.

It’s much less acting and more reality TV, for the customer by the customer and with the help of a Customer Agency.

I’m excited. This feels like a moment … a profound change in the way agencies and clients work together to produce great advertising that people love.

Fingers crossed real life is just a little bit more engaging; a little bit more real, and a little bit more interesting too.

You may be interested in:

The physical brand

The physical brand Our physical experience with a brand is the brand. In our digital world, physical is disruptive. Daniel Sills is the producer of Outside In, a podcast that explores changes in business and consumer behavior and...

What being the number one supermarket really means

What being the number one supermarket really means

by Richie Jones (C Space)
Research Live

After a week of retail results, C Space’s Richie Jones looks at the changing landscape for the supermarkets and how it’ll take more than mergers to keep Sainsbury’s on top.

How millennials are disrupting healthcare — and how to change benefits because of it

How millennials are disrupting healthcare — and how to change benefits because of it

by Hannah Walker
Employee Benefit News

More than half (56%) of millennials visited a doctor’s office in the past year, compared to three-quarters (73%) of non-millennials, according to a survey from C Space Health.

Mike Sepso: ‘Esports are a New Layer of Sports’

Mike Sepso: ‘Esports are a New Layer of Sports’ Subscribe to the Outside In podcast: From Asia to the Americas, there are 320+ million esports fans around the world -- and the audience is expected to double by 2020. But the professional sport of...

Kohl’s is improving store performance by equipping managers with real-time customer data

Kohl’s is improving store performance by equipping managers with real-time customer data

by Hilary Milnes
Digiday

Customer data is going right down to the store level at Kohl’s, where the company is using it to serve managers action items around how to better drive sales in their stores. “These functional developments are becoming table stakes — that’s what everyone in retail is competing on,” said Bill Alberti, chief client officer at customer agency C Space.

Amazon Stock Plunges 10%: The Industry Reacts

Amazon Stock Plunges 10%: The Industry Reacts

by Hugh Williams
RetailTechNews

Amazon saw third-quarter earnings beat Street estimates, but its revenue and fourth-quarter outlook fell short of expectations, causing the stock to plunge 10% in extended trading. Christina Stahlkopf, senior research consultant, C Space, notes that despite the results, Amazon is still a unique business.

For the holidays, Walmart and Target are using physical store networks to compete with Amazon

For the holidays, Walmart and Target are using physical store networks to compete with Amazon

by Hilary Milnes
Digiday

Walmart and Target are getting holiday ready using the biggest asset that Amazon doesn’t have to drive sales during the shopping season: large store networks. Bill Alberti, Chief Client Officer at C Space, comments.

How To Love Qual Data At The Speed And Price Of Quant Data

How To Love Qual Data At The Speed And Price Of Quant Data

by Ken Yanhs
Forbes

Online communities can be a great way to blend quantitative and qualitative feedback together, particularly if you are looking for feedback from the same group over time. Companies like C Space and Fuel Cycle offer great solutions for building these communities and managing them over time, allowing marketers to engage with their customers and hear feedback in a deeper and more meaningful way.

The Majors Winners

The Majors Winners

The Drum

Created to highlight the extraordinary work carried out by both individuals and teams, across the creative, design and tech industries, The Majors awards – in conjunction with The Drum – took place last week. C Space took home the Major Marketing Team title.

Hasbro: A Blueprint for Play

Hasbro: A Blueprint for Play Subscribe to the Outside In podcast: Play is a product of our imagination and creativity. It’s up to play companies to turn great play ideas into fun experiences, then get them to market, fast. And there’s no bigger “play...