Monday, December 03, 2012

more on momentum #strategyfail

As someone with a foot in both the creative and planner camps I'm able to see both sides of many of the typical arguments between the two.

Often the strategists will be irked when a creative idea takes something in a direction away from the original strategy.

This is not necessarily a wrong thing, and strategies need to be adaptable.

Add to that the point that many creatives secretly (and sometimes not-so secretly) don't actually see the need for, or value, the contribution of planners in the first place. That's another debate for another time.

However if creatives feel that the planner's role is superfluous, then they need to be able to cover that themselves and in this example, no-one did.

This spot from mental health not-for-profit organisation Beyond Blue is perhaps an interesting example of a great creative idea that is let down by poor strategy.

A couple of people pinged me this over the last few weeks (thanks Kev, who was the first) as, on the surface, it has all the elements of stuff we like at Boat HQ.

The 'left-handed' analogy used to illustrate the ridiculousness of discriminatory behaviour that is faced by young people of sexual orientations outside of what might be described as the 'mainstream', (for want of a better phrase, whether mainstream is an appropriate description of anything in 2012 is debatable) is a splendid creative idea.

However the pay-off at the end, when it is revealed that 'left-handed' is a metaphor, is ultimately a let down.

The spot ends on...Stop - Think - Respect.

It's a nice attempt at chunking, I'll give it that, but the problem lies in imagining that asking homophobic or otherwise prejudiced individuals to 'stop and think' is going to affect any sort of behaviour change.

Attitudes can only be changed by there first being a change (even an enforced change, if necessary) in the behaviour.

There's at least two strategies that could have employed here that might have done justice to the creative idea.

1. This could have been part of a campaign to galvanise support for legislation that makes the illustrated discriminatory behaviour punishable by law.

The out and out ban on smoking in public places for instance has become a social norm very quickly aided by legislation.
This would have been something that supporters could do together.

2. This could have been part of a campaign to demonstrate how the type of prejudice illustrated was something of a bygone age, the domain of un-cool people and how most young people now find it laughable that we used to discriminate in this manner.

Again, something that people with shared values could gather around.

In a nutshell - Beyond Blue would be more effective in influencing behaviour if instead of trying to change the minds of individuals who are opposed to the cause, they focus on creating a sense of momentum among those who are in favour.

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