Throwing poo at the visitors.

Despite the most recent unseemly poo-flinging at the Republican TV debate it does seem that Donald Trump is still looking set to be the run away candidate favourite.

This much you know.

So how is it that an ageing, racist, sexist, billionaire with a big mouth, a comb over and a never ending supply of beautiful wives has managed to snare the imagination of so many Americans?

I have some American friends and some of them are even quite smart 🙂

He lies, he contradicts himself, and has no real plans other than to get ‘the very best people’ in his team and yet they cheer his every non-promise.

So how come?

The first reason for this is the attraction of leadership.

Trump understands that to be a leader you don’t have to be bright, good or even have normal hair.

You just have to act like a leader – and leaders do not give a shit about what you think.

So he behaves like he doesn’t give a shit.

You see, whether or not your brand is that much of a big deal is somewhat beside the point. Act like a leader and sooner or later people will see you that way.

The second reason is the old saying of there’s no such thing as bad publicity. There is of course, but it depends what game you are in.

Until The Donald actually gets the nomination he has nothing to lose.

He’s just a monkey throwing faeces at the zoo visitors.

Trump oozes a sort of Bond villain charisma, but make no mistake about those vile comments, he knows exactly their effect.

He is drowning out any other voice.

And when those monkeys throw their poo, people love it and nobody’s visiting the penguins.

Those racist comments, only add to his quotability. You’ll never guess what he has said this time! The more he says, the more he gets column inches, the less you hear or care what anyone else is saying.

I’m sure he isn’t faking his prejudice but at this point he doesn’t have to care that much either way.

Why is Katy Hopkins even a personality you’ve heard of? (If you live in the UK) It’s because she says the unsayable and wow, papers love that. The more we hate her, the bigger her infamy.

In the sixties when David Ogilvy was setting up his agency, he decided to employ the same approach, albeit with less sexist vitriole.(I assume)

He wasn’t any different to any other agency guy setting out on his own, except he would always say something outrageous to the trade press where the others would appear learned and wise. But…who wants wise? That’s boring, right? Give them outrage. Give them weird. Give them funny.

After a year, if anyone needed a quote about anything, they called Ogilvy.

Was Mohammed Ali the greatest? Probably, but before he arrived on the scene boxers just shut up and turned up to the weigh in. He had to win of course, but his public persona was fashioned as something distinct, for one specific reason.

His ‘mouth from the south’ sold tickets.

And when you are the biggest crowd puller in pugilistic history and you tell everyone you’re the greatest, people kinda go…well okay…because frankly they never really heard of anyone else anyway.

(I happen to think he was actually but he didn’t have to be for the title to stick).

So, is your brand enough of a Trump? enough of an Ogilvy? Is it the greatest?

Maybe these examples are too brash for you or too controversial for your conservative company, but the fact is if you’re not getting heard, it doesn’t matter what you have to say or how ‘correct’ you are.

If some competitor is throwing poo at the visitors, you’re just some lizard in the reptile house.

Just ask Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie or Rick Santorum.

Who are they, you ask?

Who indeed.

The show jumping car.

I admit it, I have a big problem with Pharma creative research.

Or rather…

I have a big problem with the creative research that I have been involved in thus far, within Pharmaland.

Maybe there are some forward thinking outfits out there that are breaking all the rules, I dunno.

But assuming I can wallow in my ignorance a little longer:

My problem is that while we have been thinking up devilishly clever 360 ideas that don’t revolve around a press ad anymore, (because our business is so much more than that these days). While the digital world entices us with mobile technology, wearable ideas, interactive relationship-building gizmos, while apps become more and more central to the way brands interact with both patients and HCPs, improving compliance and all that, after all this, what do we actually research?

A press ad.


Another press ad.

Would you present your 360 creative idea to a client the way you allow your idea to be researched?

To bastardise Henry Ford’s metaphor: we’re trying to judge how well a car performs by how well it leaps over show-jumping fences.

If an HCP is really going to be able to appreciate the fullness of your concept, and therefore give you real feedback, shouldn’t they be taken through the full glory of it? From leave-piece to detail-aid to conference stand to app? How it ladders up to social media? How the user generated content connects back to the app and allows for real-time compliance efficacy?

(I have no idea what I just wrote – digital strategy is easy!)

No, never mind all that, what’s the press-ad look like?

You can call it all sorts of things, ‘adcept’, ‘adlike object’ ‘concept board’ – but who are we fooling?

Now you could say that an idea, a good idea, if it is a good idea, should always be judged by what it looks like in simple terms. It should be judged minus the pomp and ceremony that photography, or production or digital application imbues it with.

And a few years ago I would have agreed with you.

But that just isn’t true anymore.

At least it isn’t the only benchmark of a good idea. It is one of them, but not the only one. You can’t judge a three dimensional object by how it looks in 2D.

Some ideas are bigger, more thrilling and all encompassing than a press ad can realistically capture.

The Novartis campaign to get tattoo artists to spot signs of melanoma, the IDIS campaign, the cancer texts campaign. The iron fish.

Frankly, it seems that concept research is lagging behind our creative pretensions.

If we want our brand work to match up to the more progressive pro-bono humanistic campaigns that populate Lions Health etc don’t we need to form more progressive ways to research our campaigns?

A ‘core visual’ is never going to do a campaign like The iron fish justice.

If we expect punters to get excited by the 360-ness of an idea, like we do, why not expose them to it?

The huge amount of case history films that now form the majority of awards entries, so that jury members can more readily understand the whole picture, shows that an idea can be fleshed out easily, with a little time and money.

Make it easy to grasp and you are half way there.

But how many times have you researched anything like a case history video to help your idea get target-market approval in the first place?

Unfortunately money and time don’t really find their way in to the nurturing of an idea as easily as they do to the other parts of the research process.

The only alternative is to change the way we research global concepts, allowing those big ideas to breathe and flourish.

But will research companies change?

Hmm, I might need to research this.