From Mad Men to Math Men

Long long time ago, the media strategy used to get only the last ten minutes of the Brand Communications meeting. The big TV idea, the provocative headline or the right choice of talent was the key to unlocking brand fame in a world where advertising was first and foremost about interrupting an audience. But for many marketers that playbook is being tossed aside. The conventional order putting distribution strategy at the end of the process is being flipped. Advertising has become a numbers game. The pressing questions from the senior leadership teams today are: How much should we ideally spend? Which brands should be supported? What is the return on investment? And which channels will best pay out? Before developing the right messaging, the right business case needs to be established. One of the biggest factors for marketing failure is not matching the right budget to the goals or getting the right plan.

The Big TV idea has lost ground to small, smartly placed, relevant ideas
.  The agency world live to sell clients the big idea, such as Nike’s “Just Do It” or the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.


The Big Idea just isn’t a scalable proposition in advertising. Relevance is one of the most important currencies in communications. Smart, tactical use of custom messages in different media at relevant times, locations and environments is what creates engagement. There is a key role in emerging media to do so. Axe has done this brilliantly over the years, deploying an array of channels to talk to young men. This includes branded video series of men trying to win over women, night club sponsorships or mating-game toolkits, like the Eliminator:

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2 thoughts on “From Mad Men to Math Men

  1. These are some excellent points and I think you hit the nail on the head. As I begin to teach my first Principles of Marketing class this summer at the local community college, I already know the struggle I will have when on the first day, I ask what marketing is. The answers will all be surrounding advertising. I love your description of what marketing is now and what it revolves around conceptually…let’s fill in the advertising later. First and foremost, its creating a brand strategy then simply using advertising and emerging media as tools to complete the task! Thank you for a great post!

  2. elbraco says:

    Thank you Melissa. Good luck with your summer class!

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