Taking the ‘non’ out of nonsense!
Anil Constantine — Brand Builder / Blogger
This is a bit of a light hearted read with a serious lesson.
In the last century, when I had just started my career as a probationary Copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather, I was given the unenviable task of creating an advertising campaign for a derby that nobody (including the public) was remotely interested in.
Nobody in the agency wanted to touch it because it was below their pay grade and could not spend time on frivolous nonsensical Brands. I had no problems in accepting the task for three reasons:
- I was new to advertising;
- I had to prove I could create an advertisement; and
- I couldn’t afford to lose my job because I wanted to buy my wife a pressure cooker.
Since I was a graduate in Mechanical Engineering and was trying out advertising as a hobby till I got a ‘proper’ job, there were many questions raised about my capabilities. But my Creative Director believed in me and had kept me around for six months despite my superior’s best efforts to get me dismissed.
Since I did not know anything about advertising, he put me through the amazing Magic Lantern series by David Ogilvy.
DAD (Danger Ahead Digression)! If you are a newbie in advertising / brand building, I highly recommend you get your hands on this series of videos as it will help you understand the underlying principles of Brand communication. These principles are set in stone. Almost anything you learn today is probably built on the definitions of my personal Magnificent 7 of advertising — Ogilvy, Bernbach, Burnett, Rubicam, Resor, Reeves and Wunderman. On Corporate Identity, I highly recommend Wally Ollins’ iconic book on the same topic. The lessons I’ve learnt from these giants helped me establish, guide and develop mega brands regardless of market challenges.
Anyway, I applied all the relevant principles on the brief I had and wrote three advertising campaigns consisting of three advertisements each. My Art Director did his thing and it was presented to the client.
The client loved all three, signed off on one, the agency released it, the derby was a hit and I even received fan mail from the public addressed ‘To the Copywriter’ This last bit was a first in the agency’s history so that did not win any new friends for me. However…
Suddenly the ‘nonsense’ Brand that nobody wanted to touch increased its advertising budget and became a priority client. My Creative Director was proud of me. But most importantly, I could buy my wife a pressure cooker and many more things since then.
In Brand building, I had just learnt a very valuable lesson — Nothing is trivial. Nothing is nonsense.
My name is Anil Constantine and I enjoy building Brands. I really do. The very fact that I can take inanimate ideas, products and services, and bring them to life in the minds of people I might never even meet, or even visit the countries they live in, gives me great joy. A surreal sense of achievement.
I have discovered the scientific-art of Branding is uniform universally. And the challenges faced by Brand Managers / Owners are consequently uniform, universally. So I’ve decided to share from my 30+ years hands-on experience in building Brands to help in any little way I can.
On another note, if you think I’ll be a worthy Brand Advisor / Consultant / Manager / Creative Director / Copywriter on your Brand, or just want to vent ;-) I’d actually love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org