In two minutes


short bursts on things I thunk.

Joe Masseria on Account Planning

Having some spare time this week I’ve been able to think a little more on what we do for brands beyond the mainstays of agency output.

Whether or not we can truly say we contribute value or impact on culture in a meaningful way.

As an industry we can be fabulously vain about our role in culture.

We talk “ecosystems of value”, “fan engagement” and we “put people first”.

We ‘Write The Future’, tell consumers to ‘Think Different’ and now ask daily ‘how does product x complete your life?’

But while the brands we work with mostly occupy a very temporary place in the cultural landscape (hey, we had to pay for it mostly right?) the people who care deeply about culture, about music or food or streetwear live it 24/7.

For many people it is their life.

There’s a pretty telling POV on this subject in this short piece on music and ‘banded content’. Watch from 8:49 if you don’t have the full ten minutes.

A friend of mine recently said she had watched 119 TV series last year. 119!

That’s dedication and fandom.

She’s most definitely built her universe and it’s a wonderful place so far as I can tell.

As an example of how far people will go to curate their passion and define their own world take a quick look at this meticulous post on The Cure by Chris Ott (the man behind the video series above).

I was lost in it for about three hours.

It was not just a love letter to the band over several pages but videos, photos, crafted playlists, links to other reference points that mattered, critical points of view etc etc.

It was fascination street.

What this tells me is that any brand looking to have a meaningful exchange with a specific culture or community has a lot of homework to do and can’t afford to be anything but committed. That’s the price of entry.

You may have watched Boardwalk Empire as I have.

I think Joe Masseria might have been a great Account Planner. He understands the importance of respect.

[check the classic Account Man at 0:11]

Joe understood that the locals set the running.

That you can’t drive in from out of town with some muscle and be accepted.

Looking back a couple of years to Cannes 2011 there were two presentations that are (arguably) opposite sides of the same coin.

Both recognised at the time that brands had left the building and were co-owned by the people that buy or speak of them.

Coca-Cola famously put it’s long-term strategy on the line with it’s Content 2020 presentation.

It speaks of “[spreadable] .. dynamic story-telling’ – how they need to move to “Ideas so compelling they take on a life force of their own”.


Heady stuff.

Two years on I’m not sure how close Coke are to realising this vision.

Leo Burnett however, in a much more dour display of thinking, made this point:

People that choose to be part of a culture or community create much more, and with much more care, than those that are paid to be there.

To me that suggests an excellent understanding of the relationship between people, brand and content creation.

It’s something we can all bear in mind when asked for a creative response on a tight budget in line with the grand ambitions of the brand.

Are we all really committed to the people we are trying to reach?

Do we all really know what time it is?


Filed under: Advertising, Branded Content, Culture, Planning

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