Why Coming Up With A Concept Isn’t The Problem

Posted in Brands and Business,communications,experience,planning by thomas on the Mai 23rd, 2011

When I started with all this stuff (comms, marketing, design, …), I designed and built websites, flyers and other things – amateurish in hindsight, but I learned a lot doing it. Then after school, I went into a more abstract role in an online marketing agency – somewhere in the middle of planning, account management and creative. After that, I thought I should work at a classic agency and did an internship in planning. And now, I’m working in a supposedly even more ‚detached‘ role at a brand and innovation consultancy. (No, I’m not working full-time yet, I’m finishing my degree). In a way, I sort of covered the whole spectrum from execution to strategy, from concrete to more abstract thinking and doing. Common sense would say I worked my way ‚up‘. I’d say this is utterly, utterly wrong.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past years, it is that the magic isn’t in concepts or PowerPoints or Keynotes. It is very easy to come up with some stuff and post-rationalise it, to make it look fancy or even convincing. You can learn pretty fast how easy it is to bullshit your way to the dark side of planning. With slideshare and twitter soundbites, and a lot of marketing people potentially (and often rightfully) not knowing what you’re talking about, I assume you can go far this way. („Some people are so good at learning the tricks of the trade that they never get to learn the trade.“ – Sam Levenson)

But from what I learned so far, the magic often isn’t in an idea or a concept itself. Advertising ideas or concept headlines these days often come cheap. Just look at what all the croudsourcing platforms out there do, or the theory of random creativity or Grant McCracken’s Culturematic. Coming up with a concept isn’t that big of a deal if you come up with many of them in the first place. (Coming up with a unique one is harder, but even that would be more a matter of quantity …)

So if the magic isn’t in the idea, where does it lie? I really believe it is in what happened before a concept and what happens with it afterwards.  What happens before is the strategic thinking that reframes the situation, identify an opportunity or a problem and construct the context in an interesting and inspiring way. Classic and still invaluable strategy stuff. This is answering the question of what it is the new thing we’re supposed to come up should lead to?

Then, and usually built on a concept, happens the execution and this is where all the process and thinking and phrasing before suddenly hits reality. But it’s not the plot-line, or the concept headline that is pushed out there in the real world – it’s deeper and more complex than that. Just look at Hollywood’s black list as an example.

“Centers on Edwin A. Salt, a CIA officer who is fingered as a Russian  sleeper spy. He eludes capture by superiors who are convinced he is out  to assassinate the president. While trying to reunite with his family,  he struggles to prove someone else is the traitor.”

“An illiterate kid looks to become a contestant on the Hindi version of  Who Wants to be A Millionaire in order to re-establish contact with the girl he loves, who is an ardent fan of the show.”

“After a zombie plague ravages America, a pair of ‘odd couple’  survivors team up to find purpose and combat the living dead in the post-apocalyptic Southwest.”

They all don’t sound overly exciting, or do they? Sure, those are summaries of plot lines, nicely written and to a certain extent triggering your imagination – but then again, they’re only words. And they can be transformed into a very dull or a brilliant movie. They aren’t Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, they aren’t Angelina Jolie (guess there’s been some focus group testing there), they aren’t the OST, the art direction, the … well you get the picture: It needs imagination, craftsmanship and taste to make something exciting based on them. It needs the how.

Or to let Mr. Feldwick and Mr. Heath, who have been preaching and proofing that for a long time, speak:

Most advertising practitioners intuitively believe that advertising influences behaviour not simply through the conscious processing of verbal or factual messages, but by influencing emotions and mediating ‘relationships’ between the consumer and the brand. This leads to a benign conspiracy between client and agency in which creativity and communication are able to coexist (Heath 2004). To support this conspiracy, huge resources of corporate ingenuity are squandered in retrofitting successful campaigns to ‘information processing’ strategies. So we are led to believe that Heineken’s famous ‘Refreshes the parts …’ campaign worked mainly because it communicated the ‘benefit’ of refreshment, that the Guinness ‘Surfer’ ad is merely a dramatisation of the ‘benefit’ that Guinness takes a long time to pour, and that the Andrex ‘Puppy’ is no more than a branding device that improves recall that its toilet paper is ‘soft, strong, and very long’. It is a bit like saying that King Lear is a great play because it is about families. (Heath & Feldwick 2008)

However, while it’s the strategy ‚before‘, and the execution ‚after‘ a concept that make for great outcomes, I’d argue there often isn’t really a before and an after in the first place, which renders ’set in stone‘ concept themselves somewhat irrelevant. While surely the goal – the what – should be fixed at a certain point (if it’s agreed upon in the first place), I think in general one can’t separate concept from execution. There’s a nice deck about what this could mean for ‚digital‘ solutions by Stuart Eccles of Made By Many accompanying the talk he held at the Google FireStarters. And you should definitely read Martin Weigel’s post, which was finished before this post made it out of the drafts and is saying what I wanted to say way better anyways.


The Black List 2007: http://blcklst.com/tbl/lists/2007_black_list.pdf

Heath, R. & Feldwick, P., 2008. Fifty years using the wrong model of advertising. International Journal of Market Research, 50(1), p.29.

The theory of random creativity is explained in:
Rossiter, J.R. & Bellman, S., 2005. Marketing communications: theory and applications, Prentice Hall.

Master Thesis Topic (update)

Posted in academia,Brands and Business,communications,media, culture and society by thomas on the November 20th, 2010

After getting a lot of useful comments (thank you!) on my initial brainstorming on possible topics for my master thesis I cut them down to three and handed in a description of three very broad topics, all with some more concrete research questions: (1) ‚Post-Postmodern‘ Uses of Brands and Media?, (2) ‚Continuities from Propaganda Theory to Planning:‘ and (3) Reception and Usage of ‚Transmedia‘ Narratives.

So here’s my translated description of topic (1), that I handed in before leaving and which has got a strong endorsement from the prof while I was in Tanzania.

‚Post-Postmodern‘ Uses of Brands and Media?

According to Holt (2002) there are two relevant branding paradigms in the 20th century. The first is called „Modern Branding“ and was based on a domineering, cultural engineering approach. It was dominant until the 60s, when the ‚creative revolution‘ around people like Bill Bernbach appeared.

Marketers made no pretense about their intentions in these branding efforts. They directed consumers as to how they should live and why their brand should be a central part of this kind of life. Advertisements shared a paternal voice that is particular to this era. By contemporary standards, these ads appear naive and didactic in their approach. This paternalism reveals that, at the time, consumer culture allowed companies to act as cultural authorities. Their advice was not only accepted but sought out. (Holt 2002: 80)

This modell – now being popularized by the TV series Mad Men – was inspired both by Freudian psychoanalysis and the scientific approach to advertising and persuasion at the time, provoked rising resistance in the 60s, with books like The Hidden Persuaders and other critical analysis appearing on bookshelves. With the increasing professionalization of the industry and knowledge about the branding paradigm more and more entering the public sphere, the public opinion was increasingly directed against the supposed manipulation of the individual.

Branding could no longer prescribe tastes in a way that was perceived as domineering. People had to be able to experience consumption as a volitional site of personal development, achievement, and self-creation. Increasingly, they could not tolerate the idea that they were to live in accord with a company-generated template. (Holt 2002: 82)

In reaction to the creative and anti-commercial countercultures of the 60s – and with that at the time when interpretative approaches started to challenge the predominant stimulus response thinking – a new branding paradigm emerged. Holt calls this paradigm „Postmodern Branding“. In a postmodern consumer culture, the role of branding would emerge from the supplier of a cultural blueprint – „How should I live?“ – to supposedly authentic, cultural ressources to be used for the identity projects of consumers who strive for independence from paternalistic and authoritarian corporations.

Postmodern consumer culture has adopted a particular notion of authenticity that has proved particularly challenging to marketers. To be authentic, brands must be disinterested; they must be perceived as invented and disseminated by parties without an instrumental economic agenda, by people who are intrinsically motivated by their inherent value. Postmodern consumers perceive modern branding efforts to be inauthentic because they ooze with the commercial intent of their sponsors. (Holt 2002: 84)

To produce these ressources in a distanced and commercially disinterested way, five branding techniques – also made public by Klein 1999 and Frank 1998) have emerged over time: (Holt 2002: 83ff)

  • Authentic Cultural Resources
  • Ironic, Reflexive Brand Persona
  • Coattailing on Cultural Epicenters
  • Life World Emplacement
  • Stealth Branding

All of these techniques however, are confronted with substantial contradictions. Ironic distance has been imitated without end and is now outdated, stealth marketing is getting more and more aggressive and reaching its limits, marketers are running out of counterculture content to tap for their campaigns as the authenticity market heats up, consumers are increasingly peeling away the brand veneer and „collectively, postmodern branding floods social life with evangelical calls to pursue personal sovereignty through brands“ (ibid.).

For Holt these phenomena (published in 2002 – before ’social media‘ even existed) pointed to an expiration of the postmodern branding paradigm. Whereas brands in the future would still have to offer authentic and relevant resources, authenticity won’t not be conveyed distance the brand from a profit motive, but through a role that Hold calls ‚citizen artist‘.

So brands will become another of expressive culture, no different in principle from films or television programs or rock bands (which, in turn, are increasingly treated and perceived as brands). […] Postmodern brands have little value in this new consumer culture. Because they rely so much on the cultural work of disinterested others and work so hard to deny that the brand itself stands for anything by itself (for fear of being tagged as cultural engineers), postmodern brands lack an original point of view that they can claim as their own. Rather than take a free ride on the backs of pop stars, indie films, and social viruses, brands will be valued to the extent that they deliver creatively, similar to other cultural products.

The citizen part on the other hand is concerned with the socially responsable behavior of corporations and their brands, basically answering the question of what is behind the brand veneer.


This topic and Holt’s only superficially covered hypotheses give rise to a lot of questions that might be covered in a master thesis. (Not all in one of course …)

  • What – to people – is authenticity in advertising and marketing communication? How is it operationalized? What are expectations?
  • How does authenticity translate in regards to aesthetics – from user-generated content to brands using a documentary style?
  • How does the use of digital, social networks (’social media‘) have affect the ‚corporate cool machine‘ as described by Holt in the postmodern branding paradigm. Is his hypothesis regarding brands being used in the role of citizen artists true? Or, more concrete: which range of uses of original, authentic and creative brand content can be shown? And in regards to the ‚citizen‘ part of the hypothesis: do people really look behind the brand veneer and if so, how?
Frank, T., 1998. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, University of Chicago Press.
Holt, D.B., 2002. Why do brands cause trouble? A dialectical theory of consumer culture and branding. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(1), S.70–90.
Klein, N., 1999. No Logo: no space, no choice, no jobs ; taking aim at the brand bullies, New York, NY: Picador.
Mad Men – AMC. Mad Men. Available at: http://www.amctv.com/originals/madmen/

A look at Nokia on the long road back to glory

Posted in Brands and Business,communications,planning by thomas on the September 24th, 2010

(This post contains a bunch of personal stuff, post-rationalization and opinions – typical planning bollocks -, just so you know. If you make it through the text there’ll be some nice videos though.)

First, some background. I always liked Nokia. When I was a teen, as far as I remember Nokia was a synonym for modern times and a cosmopolitan view of the world. They were not exactly on the cutting edge of everything but compared to the likes of Ericsson, Siemens and others, they were symbols of a connected global world. I got my first phone when I was 14, a blue Motorola that somehow looked like an egg, and then a pretty flashy panasonic that my dad wouldn’t use anymore. But my first real mobile was a Nokia 6210. It was the phone I used to text my girlfriend back then – first love and all. I think it was able to store a bunch-load of texts, which was obviously a plus, considering all the important teen texts that were not to be deleted.

There was no doubt that my next phone would also be a Nokia, though I’m not even exactly sure which one it was, with all the number combinations they used. I only remember that it was one of the first ones with a color screen – that unfortunately also didn’t last very long. Then however, I became unfaithful and jumped on board with Motorola when the 3G version of the Motorola Razr came out. It was the smallest 3G phone available, the RAZR was the coolest shit around and I gave in (contrary to what most people think of themselves, advertising works fine with me). Over in Vancouver I picked the cheapest phone available, which coincidently also was a Motorola with the same crappy software.

Then back home in Vienna, after quite a bit of pondering and looking at what Nokia had done in the meantime, I decided against the N95 and for the iPhone. It was a hard decision (not real-life hard, but in the realm of products), not because I had anything against Apps or the product, but because already back then I hated the way that a bunch of idiots who had no idea of what Apple used to stand for, of technology or of the creative industries, were wearing their white headphones like a badge of honor, proudly showcasing their iBooks/Macbooks, bashing Windows and Linux and in general pray at the altar of Jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I always loved their OS and hardware but already then “The Great Product Claim” and the way that Apple’s smug “brand behavior” rubbed off to a lot of their now mainstream customers got on my nerves big time. The “I’m a Mac” campaign, while obviously catchy, made Apple look like a bunch of arrogant idiots.

I still bought it because back then, there was no comparable product experience in terms of touchscreen and applications. It just wasn’t there. But I do have the feeling that Apple, while building their ecosystem-empire and growing bigger and bigger, were constantly withdrawing from their “brand equity”, from the symbolic resources that shaped their public perception. Sure, that’s not going to bother them in the short term, because they can still sell this one device in all kinds of different sizes, but their success came – no matter how often Amir Kassaei repeats it – never only from the design and simplicity of “the perfect product” (that it isn’t and that doesn’t exist), but also from the symbolic resources it provided. Symbolic resources that went into the common knowledge about Apple because a bunch of nerds and hipsters from the creative industries were Apple, loved the OS, had the G4s, made their flyers on it and used it to DJ once they became to lazy to mix with vinyl. Think different and all.

Now, not so much anymore.

And so, while Nokia’s software was and is apparently crap for the last years and couldn’t remotely keep up with Android and Apple, and while they also neglected the symbolic parts for ages – I haven’t experienced anything that would make me feel a Nokia brand in Canada and also nothing in Austria for a while – they at least seem to have woken up. If Apple is moving away from their old heritage and Android is working on becoming the new mobile Windows, Nokia is in the strange position of being the challenger brand, while still being market leader.

This means that they simultaneously have to work on fixing their OS/App-store issues, but also work the edges of culture and their developers, the ones that Apple doesn’t give too much of a damn about anymore. And they have to continuously throw out millions of phones to defend their market share in the meantime. They have a chance to build what Apple built on one device and what Android is trying to do with all the different bloated brand versions of their OS, on a base of hundreds of millions of users of one brand who will trade up for smart-phones at some point. Think about it: if all the others are joining Android, and Palm and Microsoft more or less take themselves out of the game, why would you not be the third big guy in the market. (BB will always be business niche.)

Judging from what has come out of Nokia since the Nokia World, it seems like they at least get the symbolic part right and they’re working with different communities and developers to get their vision out there into reality.

Typical W+K brilliance, this is just lovely and puts different communities of do-ers and makers in the spotlight. DIY is a rich territory right now and you can break out every single project for different length features.

Sounds a heck of a lot like a hungry challenger brand. And that is a good sign.

„The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management“ aka my Bachelor Paper and Planning Barcamp topic

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,planning by thomas on the August 25th, 2010

This weekend, I am going to fly up to Hamburg to meet with a bunch of interesting people at the Planning Barcamp, a mini/un-conference around the overarching theme of „Context“. As Michaela asked us to come up with topics, I thought it might be a good idea to suggest the title of my bachelor paper that otherwise nobody else would probably read anyways. So, as a preview of what I am going to talk about on Friday (in a less academic and hopefully more interesting way), here’s the preliminary introduction to my „thesis“:

(Thanks to Christian Riedel, and Michaela for organizing and to the APGD and the Good School for supporting it.)

Creativity is an often used word in the context of marketing communications and brand management. There are magazines named after it, such as Creativity and Creativity Review, there are numerous awards around the globe judging and celebrating it and there is the APG Creative Planning award, which rewards creative strategy in the context of marketing communications and planning.

Creativity, of course is also the selling point of almost every agency or agency-like company trying to make a living in the widening domain of marketing services.

We put the creative function at the top of our priorities.

Creativity Is The Most Powerful Force In Business. […] DDB’s pursues collaborative relationships with clients and partners to find the hidden potential of people, brands and business through creativity.

[Wieden + Kennedy is] an independent, creatively-led communications agency.

We connect ideas and innovation to deliver award-winning results for the world’s leading brands.

We are creative problem-solvers.

We are a creative company with 186 offices and 7000 colleagues united around a single mission: To Resist the Unusual.

Our industry is undergoing radical transformation. To keep pace with the changes being driven by emerging technology, it is vital to focus on collaboration, creativity and organizational flexibility,

MDC Partners fosters the entrepreneurial spirit of our Partner firms by encouraging creativity and autonomy while providing human and financial resources to accelerate growth.

Both independent agencies as well as large established agency networks claim to be at the forefront of creativity. More precisely, as Zurstiege (cf. 2005: 179ff) puts it, what agencies aim to offer and what marketers ask for is effective creativity or creative effectiveness. Therefore, as the relationship between creativity and effectiveness is a regular topic of discussion between advertising agencies and clients, within agencies, the industry press and advertising conferences, there is a stream of research dealing with creativity in the context of advertising. Google Scholar, which searches for scientific literature such as journal articles, displays around 100.000 entries for “advertising AND creativity”. Among the discussed topics are the definition and perception of creativity (D. C West et al. 2008; El-Murad & Douglas C. West 2004; Scott Koslow et al. 2003; White & B. L. Smith 2001), the effect of creativity on advertising effectiveness (Ehrenberg et al. 2002; Arthur J. Kover et al. 1995; Dahlen et al. 2008; Till & Baack 2005), and contextual issues that influence advertising and agency creativity (S. Koslow et al. 2006).

However, while creativity is the focus of awards, agency positioning and industry debates, and while there is work in advertising research towards “a general theory of creativity in advertising” (R. E. Smith & Yang 2004) creativity is generally not dealt with in detail in a broader brand management context (Kotler & Bliemel 2006; Fuchs & Unger 2007; Schweiger & Schrattenecker 2009).

For this reason this paper sets out to critically evaluate the functions and premises of brand management and more specifically what roles “creativity” could play in the ever-more-complex environment companies and brands are embedded in.

This is done by first analyzing the concept of brands and brand management as found in a literature review. In addition, the changing environment companies and brands operate in will be described, followed by implications for and a critique of brand management and research on the topic. Then, different meanings of and perspectives on creativity, both in today’s marketing industry as well as in the broader business context, will be examined. The last chapter will then merge the two streams and draw conclusions from the synthesis of the current state of brand management and a broader meaning of creativity in a commercial context.

(Will update the sources later.)

So much for the introduction. The good thing is, I’m not finished and will therefore have to present half-baked thoughts as discussion material. Of course, I’ll share the thesis here, once it is finished.

Some thoughts about concepts, executions and things like that

Posted in Brands and Business,communications,digital,experience,planning by thomas on the September 11th, 2009

Haven’t posted in a while. Since coming back from Canada I’ve been reading a lot on- and offline, working on some projects, meeting a lot of interesting people at the remix09 in Hamburg. The following presentation is what I’ve been digesting so far. A work in process, a way for me to frame what I’ve been thinking about lately.

Mein „Schema“ zu Marken, Werbung und Kommunikation.

Nun gibt es ja wissenschaftlich gesehen so etwas wie einen „Information Overload“ bei Menschen nicht. Bewusst verarbeiten können wir nur einen Bruchteil dessen was rund um uns geschieht und der Rest überflutet unser „bewusstes Hirn“ nicht, sondern wird einfach nicht verarbeitet. Soweit so gut.

Trotzdem kommt es mir manchmal so vor, als würde mein Hirn seit ich Blogs lese noch mehr Zeit damit verbringen, die verschiedenen Einflüsse aus verschiedenen Richtungen zu verarbeiten und zu schematisieren. Dazu kommen die Einflüsse aus meinen zwei Studien, die den Theorien-Salat nur noch verschlimmern. Die Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft ist ja in sich ein chaotischer Haufen verschiedener Ansätze (Psychologie, Soziologie, Anthropologie, …) und die Betriebswirtschaftslehre mit ihren Modellen, Akronymen und sonstigen Prozessen liebt es ohnehin eine Perspektive lehrbuchgerecht zu verpacken und als einzige Wahrheit zu verkaufen. Darum auch Betriebswirtschaftslehre und nicht Betriebswirtschaftswissenschaft, aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.

Worauf will ich hinaus? Schon seit längerer Zeit sauge ich die Gedanken von Russell Davies, David Armano, Martin Oetting, Faris Yakob, Simon Law, dem Frogblog, dem Adaptive Path Blog, dem Digital Design Blog, Tim Keil, den Werbebloggern, Grant McCracken, dem Northern Planner und vielen mehr auf. Dazu kam im Studium dann Literatur á la Luhmann, Luckmann, Krugmann, Popper, Lazarsfeld, Holt, Blumler, Katz, Blumer, Schmidt und wie sie alle heißen. Und daneben klassische Lehrbuchgrundlagen aus internationalem Marketing und Marktforschung. Will heißen: Chaos.
Light chaos

Was also tun? Glücklicherweise hatte ich in der Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft die Gelegenheit durch das Schreiben zweier Bakkalaureatsarbeiten das Chaos ein wenig zu ordnen. Die erste – im Nachhinein völlig oberflächliche Arbeit – behandelte die „Online-Kommunikation bei der Markteinführung von High-Involvement Produkten“. Wie man schon am Titel erahnen kann habe ich darin so ziemlich alles zusammengewürfelt was mich zu diesem Zeitpunkt beschäftigte: Online-Kommunikation, Markteinführungen, Involvement-Forschung. Auf 40 Seiten ist das Thema natürlich unmöglich erschöpfend darzulegen. Aber: Ich konnte zumindest meine Gedanken ordnen, mir eine Theorie zurechtlegen.

Ein Jahr später hieß es dann „Virale Werbung„. Inspiriert von Martin Oettings kritischen Betrachtungen „viraler Werbefilmchen“ einerseits und „Cadbury’s Gorilla“ andererseits wollte ich mich mit viraler Werbung beschäftigen. Dabei ging es mir weniger um „Virale Werbung“ als Neuheit, sondern eher eher um „virale Werbung“, im Sinne von „viral genützter Werbung“ (Faris Yakob schreibt das viel schöner als ich). Mir ging es darum zu verstehen, welche Schemata eigentlich in der Kommunikationspraxis verbreitet sind und was man aus meinem geliebten Studium eigentlich an Theorien dafür verwenden kann, um das Phänomen zu verstehen. Wieder war die Arbeit eigentlich zu breit angelegt: die Betrachtung von Rezeption, Nutzung und Wirkung verlangt mindestens nach einer Diplomarbeit. Aber, einmal mehr konnte ich meine Gedanken ordnen, Literatur bewusster durcharbeiten, versuchen mir meine eigene Theorie zu schaffen.

Darüber wie ich über Kommunikation und Medien denke hat sich so im Laufe der Zeit ein relativ explizites Schema herausgebildet. Mit vielen Fragezeichen natürlich – vor allem was den kulturellen und inhaltlichen Teil betrifft, aber immerhin. Was Marken betrifft ist das Nachdenken darüber immer nebenbei mitgelaufen und nie explizit in meine Arbeiten eingeflossen. Man liest halt Dinge zu Sozialkonstruktivismus, Cultural Studies oder Neoropsychologie und legt es dann selbst irgendwie auf das Thema um. Mit weiteren Fragezeichen.
question mark ?

Wie sieht es also aus, mein Schema? Vereinfacht und unter der Berücksichtigung, dass die Phänomene natürlich miteinander verknüpft sind, in etwa so:


Hyperactive Neuron Network 1
In den meisten klassischen Marketing- und Werbelehrbüchern findet man immer noch fast ausschließlich das Gerede von der Veränderung von Dingen in mehr oder weniger unschuldigen Gehirnen:

Mitteilung raus, Mitteilung rein, Verarbeitung und Wirkung.

Watzlawick und andere Vertreter des Konstruktivismus lehren uns allerdings, dass das so einfach nicht ist, weil wir „die Welt“ erst in uns erschaffen, den Dingen also Bedeutung zuweisen. McCracken zeigt zum Beispiel wunderbar, dass Werbung auf Bedeutungen und keine reinen Informationen sind. Watzlawick zeigt in seiner Arbeit, dass Kommunikation viel mehr ist als die übermittelte Information. Es kommt also auch und oft viel darauf an wie man etwas sagt als was man sagt.

Und zum Thema Verarbeitung und Wirkung schreibt Herbert E. Krugman schon 1965, dass die Stärke der TV-Werbung genau darin liegt, dass sie eben nicht angemessen verarbeitet wird.

Robert Heath and Paul Feldwick verarbeiten den gesamten Komplex wunderbar in ihrem Artikel über „50 Years using the wrong model of TV advertising“.


  • Die gesamte Marktforschung (Brand Recognition, Brand Recall, Brand Image)
  • Produktentwicklung und -design
  • Marken als Erlebnis/Erfahrung
  • „Tone of Voice“


  • Konstruktivismus (Paul Watzlawick, Siegfried J. Schmidt)
  • Herber E. Krugman: The Impact of Television Advertising: Learning Without Involvement.
  • Robert Heath and Paul Feldwick: 50 Years using the wrong model of TV advertising.
  • Grant McCracken: Advertising: Meaning or Information?
  • Neuropsychologie
  • Semiotik

Soziale Phänomene

mc-50 map of FlickrLand: flickr's social network
Meinungsführer und persönliche Beeinflussung sind nicht erst seit gestern, sondern seit etwa 50 Jahren in Mode – und damit so ziemlich das einzige Modell, das es neben der „Kommunikation als Transport“-Metapher in Marketing-Bücher schafft.

Heute wird das Phänomen techologisch upgedated und breiter unter dem Thema „Social Media“ abgehandelt, das Ende der Werbung – wieder einmal – prophezeiht. Die Menschen, die bisher militärisch als Zielgruppen und Verbraucher bezeichnet wurden, werden zum Partner, zum Co-Creator und allerhand mehr. Für die ganz Überzeugten heißt es Connected Marketing und bedeutet die Implementierung der interpersonellen Kommunikation in die Unternehmensstrategie, für die Werber heißt es „viral“ oder „contagoius“.

Jedenfalls beschäftigt sich das Marketing plötzlich intensiver mit sozialen Phänomenen.

Heraus aus dem Hirn der Menschen und hinein in ihre Facebook-Accounts.

Egal ob man nun zu den Anhängern der reinen Lehre zählt oder nicht: Marken sind soziale Konstruktionen, wie alles andere auch. Und damit trifft auf sie alles zu, was man so über soziale Kommunikation herausgefunden hat: über sozialen Druck, über öffentliche Agenda, über das Framing von Themen und über die Diffusion von Ideen.


  • die gesamte Markenführung
  • die gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz und Autorität einer Marke
  • Mediaplanung
  • Segmentierung


  • Meinungsführer-Forschung (Lazarsfeld, Katz, Blumler)
  • Agenda-Setting Forschung (McCombs, Shaw)
  • Sozialer Interaktionismus (Mead, Blumer)
  • Soziale Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit (Berger, Luckmann)
  • Guido Zurstiege: Werbeforschung.
  • Guido Zurstiege: Zwischen Kritik und Faszination. Was wir beobachten wie wir die Werbung beobachten, wie sie die Gesellschaft beobachtet.

Kulturelle Phänomene

Go see it!
Nike und Apple sind Ikonen unserer Kultur. Cadbury versucht gar nicht erst Werbung zu machen, die irgendwie mit Schokolade zu tun hat. Burger King dreht Dokumentationen. Jägermeister bewirbt KeinJägermeister.

Wirklich große Marken sind Teil der Kultur. Globale Marken sind Teil einer globalen Kultur. Jetzt sind natürlich auch Waschmittelmarken und ihre Werbung Kultur, so wie überhaupt alles Kultur ist.

Nike und Apple aber folgen nicht dem Zeitgeist, sondern erschaffen ihn (mit).

Große Marken bauen langfristig auf Narrationen die größer sind als sie selbst, die ihre Herkunft oft in der Geschichte der Kultur haben oder über Archetypen mit ihnen verknüpft sind. Und sie planen ein, dass Menschen nicht blöd sind, sondern die Geschichte selbst weiterspinnen und mitdenken.


  • Douglas B. Holt: Jack Daniel’s America.
  • Grant McCracken
  • Naomi Klein: No Logo.
  • Gunther Kress
  • Theo Van Leeuwen

Jon Steel über Planning

Posted in Brands and Business,communications by thomas on the August 13th, 2008

Jon Steel: Planning at 40: Solving the wrong problems from JWT on Vimeo.

Jon Steel, Planning Director bei WPP und Autor eines sehr bekannten Buches fordert von Plannern und vom Planning mehr Facts, mehr Nützlichkeit, mehr Anstrengung und weniger cool bei den Kreativen abhängen und über Gott und die Welt philosophieren. Und er fordert von Kunden mehr Langfristigkeit, mehr Mut, mehr Freiheit und mehr Partnerschaftlichkeit.

Sehr interessante Einblicke eines Menschens der Planning zum Aufstieg verholfen hat.