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Are we getting sh!tter?

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“When I were a lad, this were nowt but fields. Lunch breaks lasted til the next mornin’ and we ‘ad more than three minutes to come up with a concept. Them were the days…”

Wistful remembrance of times past can come naturally to us all. And in the world of marketing, it’s tempting to fall back on the misty-eyed memories and the perception that things were better in the old days.

So here’s the question. Think of the average piece of marketing we used to produce. The brands and the messages. Then think of what’s produced now.

Which is better?

Take TV ads for example. They used to be better than the programmes they fell between.

Maureen Lipman on the phone for BT.

Combovers in passport photo booths and a man smoking a Hamlet cigar.

Monkeys doing a removal job and settling down for a cup of PG Tips.

These days? “Pass me the remote and I’ll forward through ‘em all.”

The message doesn’t even have a chance to get across.

Sometimes it seems like nobody needs these ads in their lives. They are remorselessly blocked, ignored, skipped, minimised, closed.

We don’t seem to have the attention spans to sit through them.

Bland brands. Unheard messages. It’s obviously not good enough…

Ok. Let’s take our cynical hats off. Because if I’m saying something meaningful, impactful, attention-grabbing, you’ll stop and you’ll listen alright.

For example, have a think about how many times you’ve skipped a YouTube ad after five seconds? When that little “Skip Ad” box flicks up in the bottom right hand corner, you’ll probably click it.

Just occasionally though, you won’t. Something will grab you and you’ll stick with it.

This is the good. And it relies on some pretty basic and timeless principles that apply to everything from billboards to digital banners.

Originality. Simplicity. Humour. Relevance.

Strip everything back to these principles; look at people and what attracts them. The characteristics of good advertising – and good marketing – don’t change.

It’s just that we must battle harder to get through the morass of conflicting messages, the mountain of information that confronts us and swamps us every single day.

There’s a lot of stuff out there. Much of it is average. Some of it is good. And there are some gems.

The challenge is to cut through the overwhelming mass of information we’re fed and get noticed by doing the right things and doing them very, very well.

The things that make us remember. Notice. Listen. And not click the “Skip Ad” box.

We’re not getting shitter. We’re just having to work harder.

At JJ, we’re up for working hard and creating gems. Eyecatching ads and engaging content are part of an approach that sees us get to the heart of what makes you and your customers tick.

And one of the best things? We work hard but we’re not hard work.