ID Comms

New BBH campaign for KFC shows there’s still life on TV

Sir John Hegarty observed the other day that TV advertising was going down the tubes.

“Advertising seems to be pursuing a strategy of making a product worse to be more effective, which I find very confusing,” he said. “I’m not sure what business book people in advertising have read that says we should make the worst product and therefore we’ll be successful.

“I think the industry has lost faith in TV. I think it has lost faith in the big, bold idea. I think it has lost its courage and I’m deeply upset by that. Too many people leading our industry are accountants, and I think for a creative industry that’s a tragedy.

“We’ve lost the power and courage of creativity to drive our business forward.”

So it’s good to see a proper film – from BBH as it happens – for KFC’s Great American Bites.

BBH is always keen to unpack its boots and stetson, even for the mass-produced KFC. In this case the boots and stetsons belong to a real-life rodeo-riding father and son.

Do you think the ghost of past Levi’s ads still stalks BBH HQ at 60 Kingly Street?

The creative team were Shelley Smoler and Raphael Basckin and ‘Rodeo’ was directed by Jeff Labbe for Academy.

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bbh featured kfc great american bites rodeo ad Sir John Hegarty

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.

2 comments

  1. “Too many people leading our industry are accountants, and I think for a creative industry that’s a tragedy.” Sir John is absolutely right.

    Why? Because accountants, ike lawyers look backwards at past results. They have no big vision other than that of the cancer cell, to grow bigger and bigger. PE ratios come a long way in front of people or quality

    People say what a wonderful job Sorrel has done for the industry. Really? Ask George Parker (and me, because I worked there) about Sorrell’s foray into starting up his very own full-service agency from scratch – as opposed to buying someone else’s vision. Enfatico was a fiasco.

    But I digress. Returning to accountants running, or should I say, ruining our industry, the same thing is happening on the client side.

    Marketing people are supposed to redress the balance of backward-focussed accountants, by looking forward; for having vision. That’s great in theory, but very few sit on main boards, or are not on the same level as their bean counterparts.

    I encountered this problem, when for a mad year or two I was a marketing director and every time I proposed a new products, the FD would jump to his feet and ask what evidence I had that this would sell other than, as he termed it, “reeesearch.” When something worked, he wouldn’t say, “OK, maybe we should look at other ideas.” Instead, he would say, “can we do something just like the one that worked – but different. But not too different.” I walked out and went back into copywriting.

    How far would Apple have got with that attitude? We all know the answer. As Fran Liebowitz said, “Every intention, every achievement, comes out of dissatisfaction, not serenity. No-one ever said, ’Things are perfect, let’s invent fire.”

    Accountants are happy with 10% annual increments. They haven’t the fire in their bellies, the talent or vision to double, or treble turnover or profts overnight, other than by cutting costs or acquisition (buying other people’s visions).

    Ultimately, all empires collapse and eventually new ones emerge. Having watched the growth of global empires on both client and agency sides, I look forward to the inevitable decline and fall in both areas.

  2. “Too many people leading our industry are accountants, and I think for a creative industry that’s a tragedy.” Sir John is absolutely right.

    Why? Because accountants, ike lawyers look backwards at past results. They have no big vision other than that of the cancer cell, to grow bigger and bigger. PE ratios come a long way in front of people or quality

    People say what a wonderful job Sorrel has done for the industry. Really? Ask George Parker (and me, because I worked there) about Sorrell’s foray into starting up his very own full-service agency from scratch – as opposed to buying someone else’s vision. Enfatico was a fiasco.

    But I digress. Returning to accountants running, or should I say, ruining our industry, the same thing is happening on the client side.

    Marketing people are supposed to redress the balance of backward-focussed accountants, by looking forward; for having vision. That’s great in theory, but very few sit on main boards, or are not on the same level as their bean counterparts.

    I encountered this problem, when for a mad year or two I was a marketing director and every time I proposed a new product, the FD would jump to his feet and ask what evidence I had that this would sell other than, as he termed it, “reeesearch.” When something worked, he wouldn’t say, “OK, maybe we should look at other ideas.” Instead, he would say, “can we do something just like the one that worked – but different. But not too different.”

    I walked out and went back to copywriting.

    How far would Apple have got with that attitude? We all know the answer. As Fran Liebowitz said, “Every intention, every achievement, comes out of dissatisfaction, not serenity. No-one ever said, ’Things are perfect, let’s invent fire.”

    Accountants are happy with 10% annual increments. They haven’t the fire in their bellies, the talent or vision to double, or treble turnover or profts overnight, other than by cutting costs or acquisition (buying other people’s visions).

    Ultimately, all empires collapse and eventually new ones emerge. Having watched the growth of global empires on both client and agency sides, I look forward to the inevitable decline and fall in both areas.

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