For Thirty Years I was Wrong

16 May

By Tim McKane

I was wrong. Yes – Wrong – Totally and completely wrong…


They say it takes a big man to admit he was wrong, so being near enough 6’ 4” helps. I was wrong, for years in my advertising career.

I got it wrong by trying to persuade people at pitches that they wanted to be different from their competitors.

They didn’t. They wanted to be pretty much the same.

I got it wrong by challenging clients and prospects that they should be disruptive. Was I mad? Why would they go into the board room and tell their MD that they needed to shake up their marketing and do something different, radical and game changing?

I was wrong by thinking that most clients wanted to create really different, never seen before campaigns.

Most people want a variation on what they have already experienced, almost wanting an endorsement of it having been selected by others as a good idea.

I was wrong in expecting companies to not see creativity as risk.

They do.

I was wrong in thinking that people wanted their agencies to produce work that they would never have thought of themselves.

They don’t. People like to see stuff that they could have created. I remember a client phoned my boss at the time once and said he didn’t want any more whacky ideas; he wanted the ad that he then described, which would have had the impact of a small press ad in the Ballygobackwards Times.

I was wrong thinking that advertising in Northern Ireland could be as creative as that in London.

It can’t be, the budgets are too small, and the client’s are too close to the money in most cases – they see it as their own in SMEs.

I was right.

Digital marketing is the way for companies to create awareness, engage their customers, get them to consider buying from them, and convert to a sale.


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