From the pulpit

The Editor’s introduction

Issue 37 | December 2015

Today, let's talk about goldfish.

But first, a bit of background.

As well as editing Directory I am also a creative director of Google's creative think tank, The Zoo. It is a privilege to be able to try to help clients and agencies make more of the web.

It's an amazing job in an amazing company.

At the heart of what we do is 10X. Sergey Brin calls it moonshot thinking. When you shoot for the moon, even if you fail you still hit high. It's trying to have ten times the effect, ten times the results. In some ways, it's easier to set about a challenge with a 10X mindset than it is if you just want to nudge things along a bit. Nudge sales, nudge the numbers. In other ways it's harder.

Think about Direct Mail for a moment. Imagine your goal is to achieve 100% response rate.

Every single person you reach out to does what you want them to. Wow!

To get a 100% response you simply cannot do anything you've ever done before. You have to do something completely different. New. For instance, when DHL were new to Spain, they delivered 100 cardboard bird cages to the despatch managers of 100 large companies.

There was a carrier pigeon in each cage. And a letter, which read:

"At DHL we believe in getting things from A to B in the fastest possible way. Sometimes that might even be by pigeon.

We would very much like to meet with you to talk about your delivery needs. To agree to a meeting, just release the bird. It will fly straight back to us and we'll know we can call you.

If you don't want a meeting, we hear pigeon pie is nice."

Alright, so that was more delivery than actual DM, but you get the point. So here's another example.

Corelle make unbreakable dinnerware. Sales were dipping. So Corelle wrote a letter. On one of their plates. And put it in the post to the editor's of lifestyle magazines. They wrote: A plate that can survive the mail can survive anything. Every editor ran the story. The PR was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now for the goldfish.

A recent Microsoft survey reported that the average goldfish has a concentration span of nine seconds. That's a whole second longer than the average consumer will give a brand message. You have eight seconds in which to hook someone's interest. Five in TrueView. Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that some 85% of all advertising is unnoticed. Unless. Unless. Unless it is "a potent mix of physical experience, data and connectivity."

Those are the three pillars of Canada Post's new Smartmail Marketing initiative. Personally, I would add a fourth pillar.

Ambition. Call it moonshot thinking; creativity; aiming for 100% response rates. And, physicality aside, which is not a characteristic of most other media, the pillars support what we might call the gold sh test. Can the idea sustain interest and hold attention for nine seconds? At least.

Without ever having rationalised it this way, that's what we are looking for in the work submitted to Directory. Ideas that have a hook. And in this particular issue, we have had the help of a very particular gold sh. Matt Batten.

Matt is a serial award-winner as both a creative and a creative director and is the only person outside Directory to have helped edit the magazine twice. Boy, he was tough on what did and what didn't get in.

A goldfish with teeth. 100 submissions failed to make it.

As always, our thanks to the agencies who sent us their work. It's not easy, this advertising business. You just have to keep having ideas. And the more ideas you have and the more ambitious you are with them, the greater the chance that one-day you'll have a 10X campaign on your hands that gets millions of gold sh goggling.

Work we have for you here which did engage for longer than nine seconds includes:

  • Pages 24-25, Saatchi Singapore's cheeky campaign for Scoot thanking Spirit Airlines for copying their brand identity – though not very well.
  • Pages 50-51, Robert Boisen Copenhagen's follow up to their 'Do it for Denmark' campaign. Now they are asking Danish couples to go on holiday and have sex to give their own mums a grandchild.
  • Pages 80-81, BBDO Belgium's work in support of Lidl's sponsorship of the Tomorrowland festival, in which they re-mix classic EDM tracks as played by fruit.
  • And a genius PR campaign on pages 88-89 from Y&R New Zealand trying to get Burger King and McDonald's to put aside their differences for World Peace Day. And failing.

With the articles from Andrew Bent and Tyrone Tellis, not to mention the other 34 case studies, there should be enough inspiration in the next 100 pages to last you nine weeks. At least.

Do send us any new and innovative ideas you or your agency have had recently. Our deadline for our March issue is 15th January. Upload images and videos FREE at www. Finally, if you've concentrated long enough to read all the way to here, thank you and congratulations.

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