September 12, 2012 in Marketing
Chris commented on yesterday’s post (” Marketing democracy”) that a lot of what is offered as new ideas are actually old ideas rehashed and disguised as new ideas. This, referring to my quote of the FT about Leonard Cohen who titled his latest album and eponymous world tour, “Old Ideas.”
If you guys click back you will see that I replied to Chris that old ideas are often as if not more important in marketing than new ideas.
What did I mean by that?
I look at marketing messages at three levels. First of all, do they have a contemporary feel? Is the vocabulary, the rhythm and the visual style in tune with the times. This the level where “new” is of paramount importance.
On the second level I look at the metaphoric quality. The symbols employed, say the ” dove” (this soap not only cleans, it cleanses the spirit) or ” water” (our soap offers a new, fresh, second life, like baptism) in soap advertising. Metaphors may be fresh in marketing or you may use an old metaphor in a fresh context, but this is not necessary. In fact immediately recognisable metaphors, symbols work much better.
Then there is the third level. This is the level of myth. Your symbols or metaphors must be part of an archetypical story. Seeing a dove in the soap ad generates in the mind archetypical stories of the dove as spirit coming down from heaven, etc. This is the level of age old ideas. The trick in marketing messages is to get the appropriate old idea – the myth – that will do the actual persuasion. It is where the actual persuasion takes place. The rest are hook an bait.
Old ideas drive marketing as surely as does contemporary bait!