Musings on a lifetime in advertising…

Clients, account executives and advertising creatives (hate that term) could be categorized – just for fun – into three groups.  The dog group.  The cat group.  And, the unicorn group.  See?  Just messing around because I didn’t capitalize the group names.

Cats always pay attention – Even when they’re seemingly asleep; they’re totally aware of what’s going on.  Don’t believe me?  Checkout a sleeping cats ears.  They’re like radar dishes sweeping the room and rotating towards any noise source.

Cats are in control of their environment.  The environment forms their personality.  As in real estate, for a cat, location is everything.  There are a lot of clients, account executives and advertising creatives who are very much the same,

Environment isn’t just a place, it’s a social. statement and a behavioral index   One cat environments are different from multiple cat environments.  Human and feline alike, those at the bottom of their social hierarchy tend to be more aggressive.

So, the smaller the ad budget (clients), the account/project size (account executives) and the creative challenge (advertising creatives) or, the creative challenge of a (advertising creatives) smaller time/money investment is perceived as a greater responsibility.

There’s more to lose and, more aversion to risk.  In other words, the smallest thing is compounded tenfold.  As comedian Paula Poundstone said, the cat could be zooming in on a moth or a burglar.

Dogs always want attention – Dogs always want some sort of validation.  Dogs can’t lie.  Dogs are their environment.  They adapt.  A canine balances their domestic side which has evolved genetically, socially and environmentally with their wild ancestor characteristics.

Where cats are solitary, dogs are gregarious pack animals.  The leader of their pack is called the Alpha male.  This leader is oddly, more calm and assertive than his followers.

So, unlike the cat, the dog group reacts differently. A smaller ad budget (clients) or, account/project size (account executives) or, the creative challenge of a (advertising creatives) smaller time/money investment offers an opportunity to loudly bay at the circumstances.

Working together with the pack,the perception is that there’s less to lose. There’s also less aversion when risk is shared. The dog group sees challenges as a game which is extremely necessary to the overall well-being of all involved.

The differences between these two groups is evidenced for example by eye contact. Cats, when they do make eye contact remain studiously aloof. While dogs make eye contact to engender an emotional or beneficial action – feed me, let me out…

A Dog cannot hide their emotions or thoughts because of their body language. A cat on the other hand uses their body language quite the opposite. When they seem the most detached is when they’re hiding their emotions or thoughts.

What does this have to do with advertising? Let’s look at the unicorn group first.

Unicorns always get attention – Unicorns are magical, mythical creatures. They look like a horses but are not horses. They are difficult to catch and, even more difficult to understand.

So, unlike the cat group or the dog group, they behave differently. Smaller ad budgets (clients), account/project sizes (account executives) or, the creative challenge of a (advertising creatives) smaller time/money investment offers unicorns an opportunity to lean on the magic of technology and gimmickry.

And, where there is no hope of success, a unicorn personality will create some kind of success seemingly out of nothing – as if by magic! What do cats, dogs and unicorns have to do with advertising? It’s all about the number one goal of good advertising: paying, wanting and getting attention.

In other words, tell a good and engaging story that defines an obvious solution to the identified problem and offers an instant payoff!