The road to no regret..

As well as being the title of a Scritti Politti song, it also describes how agencies should feel at the moment.

Sod all this ‘advertising is dead, the consumer is king’ talk… Yes, the consumer has more power to play with your brand like never before. But that’s not to say that this can’t be harnessed effectively, or offered up as part of a greater debate. Smart brands are debating with the consumer already, be they HSBC or AOL.

You can certainly make a colossal mess of things this way though, and not every brand needs to enter into a debate. However, much can be said for being the first brand to do so in your category, in much the same way as being the first brand to have a significant voice in your category, much like Innocent.

But again, not every brand can have this sort of voice. So what do you do? Well, by adopting the Bernbach maxim, as shown by Avis:

You make more of an effort. Position yourself as being happy where you are, offering either impeccable customer service, a niche, yet well thought of product. It’s not rocket science.

However, keeping a large customer base satisfied is tantamount to . I think maybe only 3 or 4 large brands are able to manage it – the likes of Innoc.. yes, you’ve guessed it, John Lewis, Audi and probably VW. I’m sure there are others which I’m forgetting in the large brand stakes. Feel free to chip in with other examples..

And this applies to agencies as well. Yes, know about digital, open a virtual agency.. be innovative. But don’t forget what you are damned good at, and if that happens to be a ballsy 90 second execution in primetime TV land, then so be it.

The way Campaign and several industry people are talking, you’d have thought advertising is more than content to let PR have all the interesting ideas. Maybe not 80’s excess, but 80’s ballsiness needs to return to adland.