Don’t ask me if the John Lewis ad is any good

By Kim Martin, Executive Creative Director

So, the John Lewis Christmas ad has landed… the Ad and Marketing industries go into overdrive. Every element is discussed, dissected, judged; how does it make you feel? Have they got the tone right for these tough times? What do you think of the song? Is it a great ad?

My honest answer is I haven’t got a scooby. I mean, I can tell you I like it, and likeability is important. But that’s about it connecting with me personally and emotionally. I’ve always loved skateboarding, I’m a father who can’t stand the idea of a child being without a parent, and I like it when businesses partner with charities.

But these are opinions. They’re subjective, not facts. You may respect my opinion. Equally you might not give a monkey’s what I think. The truth is I cannot categorically tell you that the John Lewis ad is either good or bad. No one can. Yet.

Ultimately there’s only one way to be objective about creative work. Results. Does it achieve what it’s set out to achieve? As a specialist CRM agency, Flourish has been obsessing about the results we achieve for our clients for almost twenty years. It’s what drives us. Don’t get me wrong, we still pride ourselves on our creativity, but we’re pragmatists. We know that creative is just one element that makes up a successful CRM campaign. Data, strategy, channels, timing – these are equally important, if not more so.

Ours is a subtle art. Our job isn’t to give brands attention grabbing ideas that appeal to as wide an audience as possible. It’s to seamlessly engage audiences and take them on a journey with our communications, often over a period of weeks, months or even years.

Our creative has to drip drip drip rather than land a killer blow. We use different content in multiple channels like tiny hooks to connect your audience to your brand. We take prospects and turn them into purchasers, subscribers and donors. We’ve taken people that have never heard of a charity to leaving hundreds of thousands of pounds in their Will to them.

Because you see CRM communications can’t afford to simply look pretty. They have to work hard. They’re there to engage, educate, inspire, provoke an action, elicit a response; to find out more, to request a brochure, to drive footfall, to buy a product… to change behaviour.

That bit of creative that doesn’t impress you? It’s been AB tested in the real world, tweaked, adapted to new audiences and refined in flight to reflect click behaviour. Everything from whether the salutation is ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ to the shape of the CTA button is a result of testing.

CRM isn’t about putting the brand creative on a smaller canvas. It’s about taking a brand look and feel or a brand campaign and originating content or using existing assets to engage an audience. Often we’re required to use assets that have no relevance to the current campaign whatsoever.

That means re-editing 40” TV spots into 20 x 9” vids for social or clipping a section and creating a gif for email that’s not too heavy to affect loading times. It means taking icons from websites and turning them into an interactive element in an email or scouring stock libraries and painstakingly photoshopping products into people’s hands.

The result? Communications that never detract from the brand but seek to make it mean more to your audience. For many of your customers, subscribers or donors CRM is their experience of your brand. Or at least the most regular connection they have with your brand.

Making sure a whole journey is coherent, with every element of every touchpoint designed to enrich your audiences experience of the brand, whilst moving them to take an action – well now, that’s a beautiful thing.

It might not win a D&AD any time soon, but it will shift units, attract donations and increase NPS scores. And for me that’s what ‘great’ creative is. Simply the creative that works best and achieves results.

If you’d like to find out more about Flourish and how CRM can help you build a closer relationship with your audience, we’d love to hear from you. Or, if you’d like to have a chin wag about ‘great’ creative get in touch with Kim Martin.


Related Posts