Just as a carpenter fixes everything with wood an advertiser does so with advertising and I think this is a mistake. Announcers are businessmen or managers who want ideas to help them sell more, to solve the problems of their business, ideas of product, marketing, segmenting… and on most occasions, advertisers only offer adverts in reply, when I think we have potential for much more, unique potential.
Everything changes constantly in any environment, which means that traditional solutions are useless for new problems. Furthermore, the best way to beat the competition is not always to be the best, but rather to be the first or the only one. In any case, what is needed are good, fresh, different ideas, and those of us who work in advertising have to perform continuous mental gymnastics to enable us to have such ideas beyond a simple commercial, leaflet or spot.
In this chapter I want to present a few of these ideas, ideas which are not advertising or promotional or direct marketing or public relations. I have baptised them as NON-PUBLICITY ideas as they are the fruit of our creativity, not in advertising but rather in solution-ideas in no particular category.
- In the 1990s, fruit consumption fell in Spain by 20%, whereas in the same period industrial, and particularly dairy, desserts increased by 20%. The displacement was clear, the replacement of some products for others was worrying for the health of the Spanish people and for the farmers’ business.
In this case, it was not possible to think of an advertising campaign as a solution to the problem, as the lack of union and vision of the producer sector and the lack of support from the Administration prevented a large national campaign to counter the enormous campaigns of yoghurts, crème caramels, etc.
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: to create a foundation provided with a large press office.
Effectively, we thought that if we managed to be constantly in the media with valuable information on the different characteristics, properties and virtues of fruit and vegetables, with time we might make consumers aware that it is not possible to replace and apple with a yoghurt. A permanent press office, fed by the universities, was the IDEA and we got it going by creating the Fundación Sabor y Salud [Health and Flavour Foundation]. Today work is done with the Asociación 5 al Día and fruit consumption is now recovering, although there is still a long way to go.
- Spain is one of the European countries where fewest flowers are purchased. Moreover, this is a business that has very clear times (Valentine’s Day, all Saints, Mother’s Day, etc.) and finally, as it needs a lot of workforce, a great deal of production has left Spain.
In order to increase the consumption of flowers throughout the year, the sector has made some advertising campaigns and intends to make more. However, a large investment and a lot of time will be needed to see results, and therefore I think that these objectives will not come along this path.
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: as it is necessary to create a non-existent purchasing habit, the solution is to create a business that makes it easy so that consumers do not have to go out for flowers but rather the flowers come to them each week.
In our cities there are thousands of establishments and places where the public is attended: restaurants, offices of all kinds, trades, hospitals, clothes shops, jewellers, professional offices, etc. and even private houses which, for a small amount each month and if the flowers are brought to them, would be prepared to contract their distribution and sale, and the flowers would only have to be changed once a week. This idea I gave to the sector’s business people was started up with the help of the Internet.
I now think that this solution could be used to give work to people in danger of social exclusion.
- We all know Almería’s importance in the world as an area that exports vegetables, but not everybody knows that the products from here have had problems of image in some markets, such as the German market, due to the abuse or incorrect use of pesticides. We were contracted to carry out an image campaign in Germany.
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: first stop using the prohibited pesticides; second, be the region of the world that has most grown in biological control and, having achieved all of this (which was achieved), ask the most critical of the German media, the director of Greenpeace Germany, to agree to receive public recognition from the fruit logistics sector, given that his criticism had helped to bring about great change. Greenpeace congratulated the Almería sector on German television.
- The Utiel-Requena wine Denomination of Origin sometime ago asked us to prepare a campaign for the launch of a new product line, Vendimia Inicial, a highly acceptable young wine. The problem was that there was no budget and a launch needs one, or does it?
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: as this was very much a Spanish wine, very local (Valencia) and we needed it to be seen, why not call for the collaboration of all establishments with shop windows in the Valencia shopping centre and ask them to put it in a visible place? The response was very good, many trades agreed to allow us to set up a display with three bottles (red wine, rosé and white) which they were then allowed to hold onto. With the little money we had, the action was motivated by rewarding the premises that had the wine in the most outstanding place and displayed for longest.
This is how one of the agency’s “own products” for customers was born: “ubiquity”.
- The Pharmacia-Animal Health laboratory launched a product for livestock infections which was much better than anything that had gone before. For several reasons it was a great solution, but sales were not going as fast as expected and nobody could say why.
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: in Agr! we realise that the problem lay not in finding the benefit to be transmitted, nor in how to transmit it, but rather that no matter how well-developed the product was, it created incredulity, so we suggested that vets all around Spain (the main target) should carry out tests with it and that the result should be put on display in a large national congress. In this way, our target audience became a convinced prescriber and sales were activated (we have not had to be contracted any more since then).
- And finally, a solution-idea from our Agr! Publicity Division. The residents of the el Carmen district in Valencia have for years protested about the noise at the night at weekends because this is a place where people go out in the city. The “Amics del Carmen” Residents’ Association therefore asked us to make leaflets and posters in order to make the young people coming to have fun in the area more aware.
Solution-Idea of Non-publicity: a CD of noise. We believed that the leaflets and posters were not a very effective means in this place and at this time. The agency’s new creative team had the idea of recording the real, live sound at night in this area of el Carmen, in other words the actual noise made in the street, and of using the noise to bring out a CD under the title of Pure Carmen. The sound of dreams. The CD was distributed a week after it was recorded amongst the young people having fun in the street of the el Carmen district. Either at home or in their cars, they discovered that the first track played the noise, shouting and voices recorded and going on in the street and that in the second track, they were able to hear the phrase, “you have been able to change track, we haven’t”.
Other new non-publicity ideas that can be seen on the Agr! website are: “Solidary supports”, “Opera in the Market” and “Amnesty International”.