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Does Leo B’s new Always epic owe something to the Kevin Roberts theory of madvertising?

Sunday is International Women’s Day and Procter & Gamble’s Always and agency Leo Burnett are bringing back the #likeagirl campaign, as you would.

This time the theme is ‘stronger together’ with girls doing un-girly things in a, well, male-ish way.

But you can’t really explain this kind of ad (if such it be). They’re equally hard to judge because you don’t really know what the purpose is. To make the world a better place for half the population? Well we’re all for that. To sell more Always by the back door? Hmm.

Just after I saw this I read an interview in the Guardian with Kevin Roberts, now executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi after handing the CEO reins to Robert Senior. Very revealing it is too, not least about the differences between Roberts and Senior.

Kev came up with the notion of ‘Lovemarks,’ of course, a scoff-worthy notion about brands that doesn’t seem to have done him or Saatchi any harm. In logic it’s ridiculous but most of the marketing industry seems utterly convinced these days that brands have a life of their own, over and above their actual role as commercial products. They’re like your daughter or brother – or the family dog: absurd.

But the Always campaign – like Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ – is surely an extension of this thinking.

Inter alia, talking about Saatchi, Kev observes that his agency ‘zigs’ when others ‘zag.’ Actually it’s zag then zig, which BBH patented about 30 years ago.

But it’s a diverting piece. Roberts demonstrates, as numerous other ad big timers have the years, that you can get away with no end of bullshit provided enough people believe you believe it.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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