This year again, I fail at honoring the great tradition of pre-Xmas "instant success" book launches, as I have no "instant marketing success" books to launch. I'm not even sure there's a tradition about that, but I do remark that these books tend to emerge towards the holidays because they're having a hard time selling otherwise. Oh, the irony.

But all is not lost. At least I've decided to write 10 soulful tips in honor of the great marketing minds of our time who've "summed it all up" in-between 250 pages of grey gooish matter. I give you my "10 Tips For Complete, Guaranteed Advertising Failure in 2009". Complete with caps on every letter.

If you have ideas to add to the list, feel free to comment away!

10) Rely Only On Traditional Media

Mess communications are truly fantastic. There's nothing like overpaying an agency's media department to fill every living space with your uber-cool message, built from the test results you wanted to hear, targeting precise age groups and demographics with relevant consumer insight people can identify with. Once you get those TV spots and billboard ads rolling and the GRPs start flying, you'll really by able to link all that exposure with actual sale results. Who needs micro-sites, social media or that gorilla marketing thing ? It's much funner to send your favorite marketing execs out supervising film shoots in South Africa.

9) Cut back on Budget and Tell Your Agency To Come Up With Great Viral

Face it: Times are tough. The powers that be cut back half your cookies for the year: exit those cool TV ads, exit South Africa. What do you do? Tap the power of the Interwebs™ and mandate your agency to create the next round-the-earth viral. Everyone knows virality is not an effect, it's a method: with budget under $5,000, your agency will work all its contacts and resources available to come up with the next recipe for creating BUZZ™. Boy will they be crazy excited for this shot at your company's new "creativity first" philosophy. After all, they wouldn't just leave all that money for some guy in his basement who's read all about your brand.

8) While You're At It, Generally Cut Back Your Advertising Spending Because The Economy Sucks, And Expect The Same Results

What do you do when the consumer loses his buying power? Cut back on the ads! Never mind rethinking your advertising strategy, people are fighting over milk and eggs and their local superstore. Time to give space to your competitors and safely retract yourself in the comfort of retail strategies, heck, your Sales department will come up with something brilliant. Give the Marketing department a break, these two can't work together anyways. But, no compromises! You want results and you want them yesterday.

7) Use web banners to keep that click-through rate high

Feel free to spend all online advertising money in web banners to bring consumers on your site! God knows if they didn't find anything fun in there the first time, they'll rush back now. Nevermind interactive content, CTR is everything: it confirms that your consumer has no idea where he's going on the web, randomly clicking fun-looking leaderboards. It confirms that, for really really sure, people browsing online for digital camera reviews really do get influenced by your latest "no hidden fees" cellphone rants. It confirms that CTR is Da Shit™ for determining whether that three-month micro-site campaign you're launching really works after two weeks.

6) Keep Fluffing Your Brand, That's What Gets People Buying Your Product

Nothing gets in the way of a good awareness ad. This page, this magazine spread, this awesome 30-seconds TV spot will really get people throwing themselves into stores. Never mind reviewing or changing your product - don't fix what's not broken. Your are the iPod of your category and you know it. When stores backorder on your product, people line up in sleeping bags waiting for the next shipment, just because of the sheer power of "those cool ads". Washing machines have never been so hawt. What's that thing about product experience? What's that about product innovation? That's for monkeys, 'cause when monkeys innovate, you really notice.

5) Keep Your Advertising Money In One Agency: All Your Friends Are There, They Know Your Brand And It's Been Going Great Since The Last 20 Years

Friendship in business is a businessperson's best friend. And this especially applies in advertising, where stability and tradition are symbols of success. You would trade your 20 years of marriage for that hot new account exec, but sure as hell you wouldn't dare cheating on your agency. They will have your head. After all, it is written in the much respected Book Of Advertising Agency Laws that "Thou shalt not change your mind, ever, ever, you client you. Even if we don't deliver as much, and are desperately trying to prove we haven't lost our touch".

4) Force your agency into creating advertising they're not comfortable with.

You've always liked horses. And when time comes to fly one, you won't let anyone show you how.
You have numbers. You have research. You have years of marketing the same old product. You have people paid full time to make things work. And then you have that good old ad agency, ready to abide by your will when you raise the old' pinkay. You control everything. Nothing wrong in being master and commander of your ship. Let agencies know who's da boss, nevermind that they have the cumulated experience of people who themselves gathered years of advertising experience with all brands and products, that they're writing funnies about marketing on blogs, and that their other "crazy" clients are letting them do audacious stuff. You're the one who's paying, you're the one who's deciding. The client is always right.

3) Don't be Generous to your Consumers: if you give a Thumb, they take the Hand

Don't give free stuff. Don't throw parties. Don't do special sales. Don't create fun community events. Don't go crazy and let your consumer play with your brand. Don't touch social media. You're not a person, you're a company. Don't let consumers change your product. Actually, don't produce (or think about producing) new products. Being nice to consumers or otherwise putting a little magic in their lives WILL. GET. YOU. IN. TROUBLE. You don't want legal walking all over you. You don't want your bosses going crazy because you had an idea. If you're going to make a difference this year, you're going to make sure nobody's watching you.

2) Wait Before Resorting to Emergent Media Ideas: Your business leaders are "Not There Yet", And Being Safe Will Save Your Company.

Was the light bulb invented in the context of an economic crisis? Nope. You would remember. Experimentation and innovation in media have brought nothing but mere flashes, and you're not one to flash too often. You have a big ship to steer, and big ships move slowly. When your agency comes up with new media solutions, always wait two years by default to make sure it's not a passing fad. Let me remind you that advertising is a symbol of stability, and that consumers rarely change their minds or their habits. People could think you've gone daft if you come up with a blog about your product. But if you think you could take the risk of considering such solutions, run it through a 12-person committee first. No sudden moves, no sudden moves.

1) Advertise.

An announcer should never talk normally. As we said before, you're not a person. You are a company. You always must use generic slogans, puns, delicately crafted visuals and finicky presentations. You should always test everything you say, generously invest in the same media buys year after year and not go all YouTubey or risk ending up on one of those crazy bloggers' filthy web page. Keep pumping cash in those GRPs, and don't forget the fundamental, universal law of advertising: If you say it, then it must be true.



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