BBH’s Gallop Offers ‘Magic Bullets’ for Success

DALLAS Bartle Bogle Hegarty president Cindy Gallop offered six “magic bullets” for effective advertising in one of the most popular Monday sessions of the American Advertising Federation’s 2004 conference in Dallas.

Her first maxim: Start with a great strategy. “It’s surprising how often objectives get confused with strategy,” she said. Good strategies are true to the brand, are rooted in a fundamental truth and lead to great creative, she said.

Effective advertising also needs to engage the consumer at an emotional level, she said. The right approach is to craft an ad that creates an emotional reaction, rather than one that depicts what an advertiser wants viewers to feel and think. The trick, she said, is not to “sell,” but to “make people want to buy.”

Gallop also encouraged agencies to be original and different. “There are quite a lot of clients who prefer to zig, but it’s when you zag that you get noticed and take a leadership position in the category,” she said. For her fourth principle, she fell back on the old adage of making the product the hero. “I would suggest that means you simply can’t tell the story or tell the scenario without it,” she said. “It is advertising that puts the product at the heart of the action and weaves it into the narrative.”

In addition, effective advertising means no one else could substitute their brand in a spot for yours. And, lastly: be entertaining. How does BBH define what is entertaining? The shop asks itself these questions: Is it better than you can get elsewhere? Will it be copied? Will it be talked about? Are there layers of involvement? Does it have the potential to take on a life of its own? And, is this so good people would pay to see it?

“All the principles come together to create advertising that people just love,” Gallop said. “That’s the most powerful force.”

At a workshop later in the day, panelists discussed the dynamics of the relationship between advertising and public relations. Bud Liebler, principal of public relations shop LieblerMacDonald in Birmingham, Mich., led off the session by explaining why each field is envious of the other.

Ad agencies are sometimes jealous of the fact that PR has more credibility and tends to be taken more seriously, he said. Likewise, they wish they could get the same type of access to CEOs that PR professionals can. In turn, PR agencies typically envy the money ad agencies receive as well as the staff, glamour, media exposure and reach, he said.

Yet, PR agencies aren’t crying for the same budget as the ad shops anymore, according to Patrick Taylor, director of media and marketing communications for media company Meredith Corp. Instead, they’re asking clients to “give us 5 percent more than last year and look what we can do.”

He said new options like media partnerships and the Internet are enabling PR firms to take dollars further than ever before. “That is a big shift,” he said. “Diversity of media has given us the ability to be very targeted with the type of messaging that we can do,” Taylor said.

Increasingly, the panel agreed, clients are pushing for seamless integration between the two disciplines. Mark Bateman, president and general manager of Publicis in Mid America in Dallas, said clients are insisting agencies “break down those silos and think more holistically.”

Taylor acknowledged the trend could result in PR shops being swallowed up by ad agencies. “I think you do risk losing a bit of your identity, but you’re not there to focus on your own identity,” he said. “You’re there to achieve strategic goals.” One solution is to approach the challenge as an overall marcom strategy for clients.

The conference ends today.