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Life Tutorials and Marketing Tricks from a Cool Advertiser

One of the coolest advertisers in the world, Rory Sutherland, executive creative director of British Ogilvy, about intangibles, potatoes and breakfast cereals.

It suddenly dawned on me (after so many years in business): what we create in advertising – these intangibles, values ​​of perception, brand, in a word, intangible values ​​- have a bad reputation. And in vain. Think about it, if in the future there will be few material values, then we will have only two options.

Living in a world that has become poorer that people for the most part do not like. Or live in a world where it is intangibles that for the most part comprise shared values. They often perfectly replace exhausted labor or limited resources when creating things.

For example, a train that goes from London to Paris. About 15 years ago, the team of engineers was given the task: “How can we make a trip to Paris better?” And they found an excellent engineering solution. Take 6 billion pounds, build a completely new road from London to the coast, and gain 40 minutes of time from a 3.5-hour trip. Maybe I’m nit-picking, I’m just an advertiser, but it seems to me that there is absolutely no creativity in this approach – just make the trip shorter. Instead of spending $ 6 billion on rails, you can take the opportunity to capitalize on hedonism.
Here is my naive offer of an advertiser. You need to hire the best top models from around the world, men and women, and let them stroll along the train and deliver the free Chateau Petrus throughout the trip.

You still have about 3 billion pounds left, and people want the train to go slower.
And here is another naive question of the advertiser. Engineers, doctors, scientists are simply obsessed with solving the problems of reality, while most of the problems (if you reach the basic level of well-being) are perception problems. And the question is: What is wrong with placebo? It seems to me fantastically cool. A placebo is cheap to manufacture, it works incredibly well, it has no side effects. Well, or there is, but far-fetched, which means they can be ignored.

In the process of these considerations, I turned to the economist Tyler Cowan, he is blogging the Marginal Revolution. He went further and suggested creating a placebo education. The fact is that education does not really teach you. It gives you the feeling that you have received a very good education, which in turn provokes a crazy sense of unjustified self-confidence in you that makes you extremely successful in life. Welcome to Oxford, ladies and gentlemen.

How many problems can be solved just by amusing oneself with perception instead of tiring, zealous and confused efforts to change reality!

A wonderful example from history. I heard that this is attributed to some other kings, but after a little historical research, I came to the conclusion that this is most likely Frederick the Great. Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, really wanted the Germans to eat potatoes. He understood that if there are two sources of carbohydrates – grain and potatoes – then the price of bread will be more stable. And the risk of starvation is much reduced because you have two food items, not one.

But the problem was this: the potato looks disgusting enough. Moreover, in the 18th century, the Prussians consumed very few vegetables, just like modern Scots. In general, he tried to force the introduction of potatoes. To which the Prussian peasants replied: “We cannot force dogs to eat this muck. She is disgusting and worthless. ” Archives have kept mention of executions for refusing to grow potatoes.

And he tried to apply plan B. He used a marketing solution, declaring the potatoes a royal vegetable. And no one, except members of the royal family, had the right to eat it. He planted potatoes on the royal potato plot and set up guards who were instructed to guard it day and night. But there was also a secret instruction: not to guard her too well. The peasants of the 18th century knew that there was a rule checked by life: if something was worth protecting, then it was worth stealing. And soon began a massive underground cultivation of potatoes in Germany. Frederick the Great conducted an effective rebranding of potatoes. This is an absolute masterpiece.

I told this story, and one gentleman from Turkey came up to me and said: “He is a very good marketer, this Frederick the Great. But he is not suitable for soles of Ataturk. ” Ataturk, just like Nicolas Sarkozy, really wanted women to not wear scarves in Turkey, he wanted to modernize the country. Boring people would simply prohibit covering their heads. But this would cause a terrible indignation and resistance. Ataturk showed imagination – he ordered all prostitutes to wear a scarf.

I can’t say that it was like that, but that’s not important. Here you guys have a way to solve the environmental problem: all child molesters are required to ride the Porsche Cayenne.

Ataturk recognized two fundamental principles. First: all values ​​are actually relative.

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