I was listening to the radio the other night whilst stuck in rush hour traffic and it was a sports phone in talking about Sam Allardyce. For those that don’t follow football or read the papers, Sam Allardyce was the National Team Manager who was sacked for alleged corruption.
Don’t worry I’m not about to start ranting about corruption in football, what I want to talk about is a call I heard on a radio phone in from a Sunderland fan. For those that don’t follow football, Sunderland is the team Big Sam managed before his ill-fated spell in charge of the National team.
The radio show had asked if Sunderland fans would like Sam back at their club. Despite his tenure at the club being successful, by Sunderland’s standards, the general consensus was they didn’t want him back.
“He kept you in the premier league” implored the radio show host
“Nah, he played rubbish football”
“I don’t pay my money to be bored senseless week in week out”
“We want to be entertained”
And some other stuff about ‘a lack of width’ and an over-reliance on the ‘big man in the box’ which wasn’t really relevant to my point.
The point was that, despite saving Sunderland from relegation and the financial rewards that entailed it just wasn’t good enough. This got me thinking about what we do in advertising. Do we worry too much about the results?
Now, before you all start banging on about “ROI!” I absolutely understand the point of advertising is to generate revenue for our clients. However, on the same hand, you are only going to bother advertising if you are confident you have something that will generate those results otherwise what is the point?
I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe sometimes we get so caught up in the result of the campaign we, like the beleaguered football manager, forget people want to be entertained.
I had this conversation recently with an Account Manager who, when his client had played it dull (I don’t like ‘played it safe’ as this implies thinking creatively is somehow dangerous) with their creative. The uninterested Account Manager said: “As long as it works that’s all that matters”. I disagreed, ‘working’ certainly matters, but I would argue that isn’t all that matters. Why not have creative that not only works but also inspires, provokes, makes someone smile, gives someone an emotional connection, makes them remember you…Whatever?
Next time you feel you have something worth advertising remember, if you are willing to invest your money, then you must believe in it. And if you believe in it then why are we playing it dull?
Otherwise like poor old Sam Allardyce, all that good work you did may not be remembered with the fondness you hoped for.
It may not be remembered at all.