October 14, 2009
I recently got my copy of the new book Baked In by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor of CP+B fame.
Ad folks writing ad books is nothing new, David Ogilvy's legacy is probably better recognized by the books he has authored than any of the campaigns he had mastered.
What kept me intrigued about this particular tome is that it not only focuses on the tectonic shifts taking place in the ad industry right now, but it is also an honest assessment of where advertising is failing because of these drastic shifts in consumer engagement.
Baked In's focus is trying to teach brands how to make better products and to educate consumers to have higher expectations from these products so that the claims they make match up with what they actually get and in turn these products will simply advertise themselves by living up to their claims.
Who better to tell this tale than two ad execs who are at the top of the advertising game. It is either meant to make their jobs easier or render them completely obsolete.
Social media's meteoric rise has obviously spurned the need for a book like this and I was impressed at how relevant it read based on what we are seeing today.
However the shelf life (no pun intended) of this book may not last more than another few months as things are changing so rapidly.
Baked In initially started to read like a religious manifesto, talking about brands as if they were deities.
My rebellious mind immediately started to think about how these ideas would apply if the advice laid out in the book was being given in relation to starting a cult and it sort of matched up well.
My aversion to brands dictating social culture and dominating the social conversion may have skewed the way I am reading this, however I am trying my best to put that bias aside and accepting what the reality actually is, they do dictate most of our conversations.
With that said, the brilliance behind this book is that it's so passionately written and the experience behind the advice is apparent.
Both authors obviously believe in branding as more of an integral part of a social philosophy rather than just a means of selling stuff to people.
I get a sense that the authors believe that products are more than just things we want or need, that they are more of a promise that will make our lives better in some way.
An avowal that you will be better off if you own this product or use this service. Especially the ones that they help to peddle.
The book is full of repetition, reminding us a lot of what we already know.
I enjoyed the repetition of the "mixing marketing and product design deep within their culture" message because it is as simple as that and when adhered to it really can clarify the way we communicate those messages to the public.
By saying it over and over again, through real world examples, is a powerful yet subtle way to fasten this message into the minds of those who should be reading this book, marketers and consumers.
It is the expectations of the consumers that will ultimately be dictating the output of advertising from this point on.
Social networks and the internet today is far too powerful a voice to let any brand use marketing to get away with trying to correct the issues the product creates.
It's this extreme passion that when strained through the rational mind that turns every word on the pages of this book into well founded and quite practical advice.
But what else could we expect from two of advertising's great spin doctors?