How big should the logo be ?



There probably aren’t many bloggers who were at the D&AD 50th party one day and the Worshipful Guild of Marketors soon after.

Bridging the world of agency and client like a Middle Eastern peace envoy on a Segway.

To me, the split between agencies and clients has never seemed wider.

At D&AD, creatives moaned about clients. And in various client conversations I’ve had recently, there’s been a bit of righteous moaning about agencies.

(Although the Marketors’ dinner itself was a model of propriety.)

Is it possible to align the two groups ?

It should be, because they both want fame.

So let’s start off by looking at the age-old battle of how big to make the logo.

And let’s look at a quote from Campaign recently.

John Webster was probably the most talented creative guy ever to work in advertising. And, when asked why his ads featured prominent logos, replied:

“I don’t know how many of you think you’re in the entertainment business. But if you do, you should probably f*ck off and write for The Two Ronnies”.

The sentiment is understandable, but for today’s marketing, I couldn’t agree less, I’m afraid.

Advertising must never forget its commercial focus, but to do that these days, it has to be entertaining – and not sell-y.

Making your logo bigger is sell-y and boring.

Of course, Webbo was working in a different time – a time when people were more engaged with the ads. The early 80s was famously a period when about 35% of people said the ads were better than the programmes.

(And not necessarily because the ads were any better then than they are now. I don’t think they were – it was a lot to do with novelty value, and a healthier economy.)

So people were willing to engage with advertising in a way which they’re not, now.

Under those conditions, maybe the answer was to make your logo bigger.

But these days are different.

Now the novelty’s worn off, we’ve all been through enough recessions to learn that tightening our belts isn’t going to kill us, and people can see the hidden agenda.

Which is that ads are trying to get you to spend your money or change your mind – things which people are reluctant to do.

So, actually, our only hope is to be entertaining.

(And actually I believe most ads are. The general standard of advertising is much higher now than in any so-called Golden Age.)

It’s like with your friends. You’ve got friends who you really trust – and some who you don’t trust so much, but you like them … because they’re entertaining.

Our whole industry falls into that second category, and the only brands that get into the first one, largely do so by avoiding advertising altogether.

To have an advertising budget is to say – we’d better be entertaining.

I remember hearing that at one stage Mother were thinking of re-branding as an entertainment agency not an ad agency.

I haven’t checked that out with my old mucker Robert Saville because this is just a random ramble not an attempt to win the bleedin’ Pulitzer prize for journalism.

But I hope it’s true, because that’s the charge which Mother has been leading brilliantly (and almost single-handedly) for the last 12 years.

Of course it might be too late to save the industry.

Because it can sometimes feel a bit like a bloke clutching his head at the kitchen table and saying “I promise I’ll cut down on the booze/cocaine/high class prostitutes/cannibalism/massive logo habit/whatever.”

And every sh*tty toothpaste ad that’s apparently aimed at people with the IQ of an electric toothbrush destroys the notion that we respect our audience.

I actually think the main reason people don’t like advertising is because it’s still so “top down”.

I.e., it’s arrogant.

(Am I the only person to find the phrases “top down” and “bottom up” really rather sexy ?)

Advertising needs to embrace digital, which means being bottom up – i.e. learning how to listen to your customers and then communicate with them in a way which doesn’t insult their intelligence or their soul.

People by and large don’t like advertising – and the way to get them to like it, isn’t to have a big logo.

That can only ever be bullying or insulting or arrogant or clumsy.

The answer is to entertain.

But then again, it pretty much always has been.

As John Webster demonstrated.

Funnily enough.

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