Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Revolutionaries and Looters

A busy week so far. I have been spending time working on the development of a media property IN2IT that will hit the airwaves soon. I have a feeling it will be bigger than Family Health Diary, the concept I created in 1998 that has gone on to be a multi-million dollar phenomenon and the most successful media property in New Zealand.

I've also become a little disturbed by the way that 'infomercial' style ads have almost become a default for marketers as though they were a silver bullet solution in their frustrated efforts to get noticed on TV. They are not. I have even noticed that Amway, the multi-level marketing company were promoting their Artistry and Nutriway lines on television using the talking head format. There is an important distinction between information that is genuinely useful and puff - or information that the advertiser wants you to hear.

Like any revolution there are going to be people who want productive change and others who simply want to burn and loot and have little regard for other people - other than as a means of exploitation. I see a risk that New Zealand's airwaves will become saturated with the looters - offering little and taking as much as their smash and grab raids will allow. Watching a commercial break will seem like watching news coverage of post-liberation Bhagdad.

Behind Family Health Diary was a commitment to creating a brand. In the earliest presentations I emphasised not only the value of the proposition: to bring brands with small budgets under one umbrella, but also the values of the brand: to be a trusted, loyal friend to the audience.

As a by-product of my thinking I have also developed an idea I'll be pitching that will change perceptions of infomercials again. It's slightly insane, but there needs to be some development in the whole category to adapt to the changing media environment - including the proliferation and clutter of Family Health Diary style messages. Watch this space.

Work on The One & Only™ book continues. I'm looking forward to interviewing the Diva Helen Medlyn, a mezzo soprano whose enormous stage presence dazzles audiences with bel canto opera or belters from Cole Porter. I worked with Helen in an advertising agency in 1984, she was studying singing at University while working as a TV producer during the day. The last time I saw her perform was at a genteel 'garden party' for a thousand of her closest friends in the grounds of old Government House - Helen arrived, roaring through the centre aisle of the crowd on a Harley Davidson. Helen has an incredible personality to match her incredible voice and I am looking forward to hearing her views on being The One & Only™

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