Let’s Bring Back Branding

Mario Diez is the CEO of Quadrant One and has been at the forefront of the New York digital media revolution for over a decade with companies like PointRoll, Centro and Datran.

The last few posts on The Makegood have reminded me of conversations I have had with Matt over the years. Jerry’s post about what made Yahoo has inspired some applied thinking here.

I had the pleasure of working firsthand with Wenda’s team back when I was at PointRoll and we were helping them build their digital media prominence. I have often discussed with other industry friends how exceptional each individual there was to work with from sales leadership across through account and operations.  A great team.

But, this post isn’t so much about that team, it’s about what’s different today throughout our industry. The discussion for digital has changed from leading with creative to data and numbers.

When Yahoo was exploding they were doing so by catering to the creative community. They were leading by inspiring the creative leaders to build and drive executions not based on CPMs, targeting, conversions or clicks – but driven by an emotional connection that Yahoo could offer between brands and their users.  While most other media entities spent all of their resources wining and dining media planning shops, Yahoo went the entirely other direction and put a priority of working with the individual who were leading the creative process for the brands.

There is no better evidence of this than going to Yahoo’s home page now and seeing three text links in a 300×250 unit on their home page. The placement was once considered by many the “Super Bowl” of digital.  We were talking about advertising then. With today’s adherence to numbers we’re talking about something more along the lines of direct response now.

At one of Yahoo’s fantastic creative summits I was fortunate to hear ad and creative pioneer George Lois share his candid thoughts about digital, some of which I will never forget. One story begins with him walking around his agency among cubicles with a strange sense that something was wrong. As he was looking around he didn’t see many people talking and his curiosities lead him to ask one of his employees what he was doing. The employee advised that he was working and George politely asked what is he working on.

The employee responded, “Well, I’m working on the next idea for this campaign.”

George, in his highly animated style, exclaimed in shock, “What?!” He brought the employee in front of a mirror and yelled: “There’s no idea in that computer – look in the mirror!! That’s where the next idea is going to come from – not in that computer!”

It might be time that some of us take that advice.

  • http://mattstraz.wordpress.com Matt Straz

    I remember that conference, too, Mario. You are right, George Lois was amazing. Another great Jerry Shereshewsky Production. I really wish someone would bring together all of the remaining Mad Men for a conference. I’d love to also hear from Jerry Della Famina. His book ad memoir “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor” is fantastic.