Be purposeful and sell stuff! A multi-channel approach helps you do both.

Sue Fennessy

May 10, 2021

For anyone who has not heard Mark Ritson’s closing keynote at the WFA, it is well worth sitting down with a cup of tea and watching the whole thing.  He is a brilliant storyteller and sets up the problems in our industry so beautifully by boiling brands down to 2 characters - Tom Hollander and Orlando Bloom. Tom, being authentic and relatable and Orlando being an asshat who is out of touch with reality.

This got me thinking….

We are all desperate to think of ourselves as Tom, but it was completely striking for me that sometimes I think I sound like Orlando. Never again. I don’t want to be an asshat.


But, it was Ritson’s clever use of data to highlight what we need to do as marketers to get better results that really excited me. Brands don’t just need to have a commitment to diversity in their corporate values, they need diversity in their media channels to get better results. The Analytic Partners study shows that when you use 3 channels,  you get an average of 23% greater effectiveness. It is not  TV versus digital  - it is TV and digital that is more powerful. ‘More is more’ as he points out. 

Ritson boldly reconnects us with our purpose as marketers - we have to sell stuff. And the good ones realise that they need to have a value set that aligns with their target consumers or else they will die. Brands need to put purpose at the centre, but understand the reality of life for most people. 50% of all americans can not access enough food each day and 40% of all americans can not find $400 in an emergency. These are Federal Reserve statistics pre-covid. ‘Selling stuff’ and ‘purpose’ needs to be balanced to create sustainable business models and that means valuing people for their time. People are savvy and sadly an Ipsos study showed that advertising is the least trusted profession, even behind politicians, so we have a massive problem. Brands have the power to change the world, but the message has to be authentic and delivered in a way that builds trust. And nothing builds trust faster than putting your money where your mouth is. 

Some leading brands are doing this well - Patagonia, Mattel, Dove are all brilliant leaders showing that brands can create culture and change the world. But ad spend is one of the largest items on most companies' balance sheets and a massive slice of this budget is going straight into Zuckerberg’s pocket. It is dangerous to split the content from the delivery and hypocritical, when brands are spending a million dollars on a purposeful campaign and spending 2 million dollars with Facebook to tell the story to people. 

While I agree that brands need to work on authenticity and better content, I disagree with Ritson about the ‘pipe’. Despite multi channels being more effective, we need to give brands a digital solution that respects and rewards people, because the current digital pipe is broken. To call on wise old marketers - ‘the medium is the message”. Humanity is used, followed around the web, interrupted and stripped of our value, while the big tech players make billions from us. And brands fuel this beast. It is no surprise that advertising is the least trusted profession on the planet. 

It is also no surprise that creative is less inspiring and entertaining than it ever has been. Creative leads are forced to push their beautiful ideas into a Facebook  ‘3 second video view’. 

At WeAre8, we have built a better digital pipe, one that respects consumers and gives brands a way to tell longer stories with full attention. So for the first time ever, your consumers feel valued when they are delivered messages. Now you can take your consumers on a date for up to 2 minutes. Not interrupt them for 3 seconds. And just by turning up, you build trust and change the world together. WeAre8 is the perfect compliment to TV and paid social. Now that is a reason to get creative.  Please just try and sound more like Tom and less like Orlando:)

Visit our WeAre8 brand page to learn more.

Back to Blog