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“Actions, Not Ads” – and why we say it

Sometimes we say, “actions, not ads,” but what if you find yourself working on an ad? What do you do?

Do you feel inspired to see your assignment as an action, not just an ad? Or do you feel like your company doesn’t value what you’re doing?

Does the challenge to make the ad not just creative, on brand, on strategy and effective, but also an action, feel inspiring? Or does it feel like we are freighting a banner or print ad brief with a standard that can only ever apply to a minority of what we do?

I think that sometimes inspiring action means inspiring actions. But sometimes it means ads that inspire action rather than just manipulate or motivate it.

For any given brand, we are likely to do both.

Instead of brand ads and direct ads, we’re doing inspiring actions and we’re inspiring action. Too often, brand ads just tell people what the brand claims to be about. And direct ads just try to bribe or manipulate people into responding.

The same brand could say one thing in its brand ads and act like a completely different company in its direct ads.

We say everything represents the brand. Even a selling email is an action that the company is taking. So, we don’t say, “No emails.” But we do say no brand-killing, manipulative soul-sucking emails.

We are not against ads. We’re against just ads. We’re against the idea that an ad is ever just a means of transmitting the information on the page or screen. Because the very fact of the ad as an action the company is taking speaks volumes about the company.

Are we saying that people think this deeply about ads.?Of course not. But it’s exactly because they react rather than consider, instinctively rather than rationally, that they judge this way.

When we say, “Actions, Not Ads,” we’re acting in a provocative way, hoping to provoke you to higher standards whenever you inspire, write, inform or work off of a brief.

Now, back to work.