Gary Vaynerchuck Tells It Like It Is
Today, I’d like to respond to his ‘rant’ (according to Advertising Age) on the advertising industry that he delivered at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference.
Gary’s comments and my perspective follow. Before you start, I’d like to say again that I admire Gary and his brilliant job of building Vayner Media, one of the fastest growing agencies in the business. His built-for-today agency is an example of how to do it right that many agency CEO’s should study.
The Gary Vaynerchuck Annual Rant
On improving creative: “Everyone likes to talk about the media inefficiencies and transparencies, but what about the creative? We have to understand our brands mean different things to different people and the attention of the consumer is shifting at scale. Creative gets elevated when we accept an ecosystem that gives us more creative at bats.”
My Take… Creative at bats. Hmm. OK, I get it. Spread your creativity around the world of media platforms. But, a big but, creativity is not about volume. It is about ideas that arrest and tell brand stories and tidbits that capture attention and excite. Big compelling ideas that drive interest and, yes folks, sell something. Go here to read about the history of the early days of Volkswagen advertising – The best Advertising Ever. It will prove my point.
On the potency of the Super Bowl: “When I buy my first brand, the first thing I’m going to do is run multiple Super Bowl ads,” he said. “The No. 1 underpriced value of attention is the Super Bowl. Every single person watches it, but the problem with the current execution of the Super Bowl is the creative has so much vested interest in being a showcase for agencies … we’re not making the kind of work that takes advantage.”
Another OK. Please, we all get that agencies try to flex their creative muscle when they get a chance to create advertising for the Super Bowl. Guess what, some not so great Executive Creative Directors think first about their reel. Do we really need to here again? OK again… yes, there are lame agencies (occasionally abetted by immature Internet brands) that do this. But, I know that as clients have gotten more focused on selling, the run of silly TV commercials has diminished.
OK again… yes, there are lame agencies (occasionally abetted by immature Internet brands and super nervous marketing directors who might also be building their reels) that do this. But, I know that as clients have gotten more focused on selling, the run of silly Super Bowl TV commercials has diminished.
On measuring marketing: “You’re scoring the wrong shit,” he said. “There’s a new world and attention is in different places. I could care less if Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat exist tomorrow — I just care about where your attention is.”
HUH? Why is Gary talking down to experienced agency leaders and how they measure effectiveness? Oh, this speech is all about selling his agency’s expertise. Bravo to Gary’s salesmanship.
On targeting your audience: “If you are running [TV] commercials for a brand that targets consumers 22 and under, you’re a fuckface.”
Well, why rule out TV? The under 22-year-old crowd does, in fact, watch TV. Not all of it and not clearly (of course, we all know this right?) as much as their dads. But they watch it. Is Gary suggesting that brands should avoid TV – ever? Never consider it a part of the traditional – social – video – outdoor (still going strong) media mix? Not recognize that a bunch of TV is not viewed on the old-fashioned TV set but on the phone? Really, is he saying this? Or just saying that advertisers should talk to him about how fucked up the big agencies are? Again. Remember, Gary is on a sales call to the ANA and Advertising Age has graciously abetted his cause.
On final takeaways: “You’re going to die,” Mr. Vaynerchuk said. “It’s an amazing time to be in this industry if you’re on the offense, it’s the worst time if you’re on the defense and 95% of you are on the defense.”
Duh! This sounds like career advice you give to your 18-about-to-go to college neighbor.