Live from DMA07 in Chicago: Beyond Integration: John Adams Portends a New World Order for Marketers
October 14, 2007 — John Adams, The Martin Agency’s chief executive officer, sees a whole new world order ahead for the marketing arena — one that moves beyond integration, into unification. Adams expounded on this theme in his keynote address this afternoon at DMA07 Conference and Exhibition at Chicago’s McCormick Place West.
“Storytellers,” began Adams, “fasten your seatbelts and hold onto your hats!” The first sweeping wave of change, he explained, is in the tools we use to tell stories. And today’s marketplace is experiencing a “creative destruction — the beginning of the end of integrated marketing. The second will change the nature of storytelling itself.”
Once upon a time, marketing was about one product; one promise — one brand; one story. And any departure from that discipline would cause a brand to become diffuse. “But today,” said Adams, “that may not be the case anymore.”
Today, according to Adams, boundaries are being destroyed, not just in marketing, but in other aspects of our culture as well, as evidenced in mashups, which occur when different forms of an experience are pushed together. There can be mashups of flavors, such as cheesesteak-eggrolls; or tech mashups, as diverse programs interact with one another. But what, Adams asked, are the mashups for marketing?
Marketing mashups, explained Adams, include the blending of marketing with sports or entertainment, such as when 7-Eleven joined forces with the Simpsons, transforming its stores into “Quick-E-Marts.”
Another key marketing mashup is the integration of Internet and TV, in which shopping and watching occur nearly simultaneously. “Thanks to the Web,” said Adams, “almost before we knew it, all great advertising became direct response advertising. Image advertising is, in a very real sense, dead.”
Adams’ idea of a new world order is one that asks the best of all of us. Digital media is providing a host of new lessons, Adams said, so that there is no longer general advertising, interactive, or direct response advertising, but only “advertising that works, and advertising that doesn’t — advertising that changes behavior and advertising that doesn’t.”
Clues are coming not from the market, but from entertainment, Adams explained, pointing to the evolution of TV storylines from one-track plots such as ’70s sitcom “Starsky & Hutch,” to multi-layered narratives such as those in “The Sopranos” and “Lost.”
When fashioning a campaign for Geiko Auto Insurance, Adams sought to express the benefits offered by the company fully. He wanted to highlight the agency from four distinct angles. This included the creation of the now-familiar Geiko Gecko, and the disgruntled cavemen. “Based on the campaign’s breathtaking success,” he said, “you have to believe that most people aren’t confused by this.”
And The Martin Agency knows quite a bit about success. The company’s been named five times as Adweek’s “Agency of the Year,” as well as winning numerous DMA International ECHO Awards, including the coveted Diamond ECHO, and the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation’s (DMEF) 2006 Corporate Leadership Award.
The Agency’s list of clients for which it has created campaigns is none too shabby either. Counted among its ranks are Mercedes-Benz, Quiznos Sub, Saab, Spike TV, Miller, Olympus, Delta faucets, Ping, NASCAR, Hanes, Discover Financial, Olympus, Coca-Cola, ALLTELL, and the US Department of Homeland Security.
It’s not every day that marketers get treated to quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but Adams wasn’t afraid to do so as he concluded his talk. “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”
About DMA07 Conference & Exhibition
DMA07, the largest gathering of direct marketing professionals, is DMA’s annual conference and exhibition. DMA07, which runs through October 18 in at Chicago’s McCormick Place West, will feature more than 150 educational sessions, plus roundtables, case studies, white papers, and research reports. DMA07’s exhibit hall will feature more than 500 exhibiting companies. To register or for additional information on the six-day multichannel marketing event of the year, please visit www.dma07.org.
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