Making an emotional appeal


BY ALVIN TAY

A BOOK of ideas, not rules, Creative Leaps: 10 Lessons In Effective Advertising Inspired At Saatchi & Saatchi by Michael Newman (John Wiley & Sons) is a book for anyone involved in marketing, advertising, or brand creation – indeed anyone interested in the power of ideas and the practical magic they can conjure. Or as Newman said tongue in cheek in an interview with StarBiz: “Anyone willing to part with US$29.90.”  

Creative Leaps offers firsthand insights into the advertising campaigns of Saatchi & Saatchi, revealing the theories behind each campaign strategy, the process behind creativity, and the behind-the-scene stories involved in each project. But Newman insists that this is not a book about Saatchi & Saatchi. 

“It is about lessons learnt there from first-hand experience, with scars still visible in places,” he said. 

Michael Newman

His book includes a CD-ROM filled with extra material and interviews with high-profile ad makers. It takes an insider look at the inner creative workings of Saatchi & Saatchi and the stories behind some of their most successful advertising campaigns in Australasia. 

In his book, Newman said that too much advertising today tried to be “logical when it should be trying to be likeable”. 

When asked what he was getting at, he said: “I’m making an emotional appeal. I’m trying to point out that brands must make an emotional connection with their audience if they want to succeed these days. 

“Advertising is seduction. But, as Marvin Fensky said, you can’t logic your way into someone’s heart. 

“Nike didn’t get rich by marketing the stitching used in their shoes, or explaining about the glues or the strength of the rubber. Nike didn’t do it with rational product features at all. 

“Instead, they sold emotion, drama, and attitude. Heart sell, not hard sell. 

“When Apple launched the incredible I-Mac, they didn’t market the logical features of the machine; instead, they sold its pure sensuality and aesthetics, with an ad showing all the different lolly colours that the computer came in, with a one-word headline that simply said: 'Yum.'“ 

Newman said it had been calculated that one-third of the world’s wealth was located in people’s heads, as brands. 

During the interview I asked Newman what he meant and he said: “It is about the emotional connection instead of being about just selling on the benefits of a product,” adding that one had to “create fans of their customers.” 

Newman said that while brands and advertising were all about simplicity, the ad industry was anything but simple. Research companies are not paid to deliver simplicity; they are paid by evidence of industry. Marketers have been swamped with data and are yet starved of understanding, insight, connection, and humanity. 

He said many marketing people and agencies and clients alike were still trying to control their brand communications based on rationalisations from the conscious mind. This means they are not even close to the way people really think. Forget expressions like sustainable product advantage.  

According to Newman, it is what you remove from an ad that frequently makes it more powerful gaining more “human attention. But, I would add, how difficult it is to be simple.”  

Newman is one of Australia’s leading creative figures. As executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi from 1996 to 2001, he led the agency back to the top of the country’s award tallies, and initiated its strongest period of growth and financial success. He was also a director of the Worldwide Toyota Board. 

His parting shot for “suits”? “Try a one-word brief”. And creatives? “Write visual ideas that have ambiguity and surprise which forces interest”. 

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