ad council, advertising and slashers council chainsaw

I have been meaning to write about this for some time. How good I believe the Ad Council TV boss television commercials are <well … one of them>.

I believe there are two of them.


TV Boss – Boss of Slasher:


TV Boss – Justice for Vinnie:


One is outstanding. Truly outstanding <Slasher>. It is effective in what it wants to say … and saying it … and incredibly charming in how it does it.

One is okay. Good but okay <Vinnie>.


And that is where I will begin.

One outstanding and one okay … and I am no expert and I can see this … so why produce and invest the time and money putting an okay TV execution on TV?

Over my career I have directly worked on one ad council initiative and watched closely as another team within my agency worked on another.

The experience?

ad council national geographic

example what can happen on a shoot

Paradoxically outstandingly fun and rewarding … and painful and harrowing.

You really do get to come up with some excellent thinking and ideas … mostly <my opinion> because they have to be simple to be affordable and simple in its communication. Production can be a little stressful <see picture on left> but overall you feel good when all is said and done.

In the end it was great career experience … albeit I would pass on it now rather than go through it all over again.


The truth is that not many people get to work on an Ad Council campaign. The assignments are very political and the list of possible Ad Council campaigns is relatively short.

Even though these projects are ‘pro bono’ <in an odd pro bono way> agencies fight & scrap & wrestle to get these assignments.


All that said … ultimately it is a fact that most advertising agencies do not get to work on Ad Council campaigns … ever.

<that is the first part about why no one wants to do just one commercial>



We should also note agencies almost always work on every television creative project that has creative potential <not just Ad Council> under the fear of ‘this is the last creative creative assignment we will get.’

<part 2 of why no one wants to do just one commercial … i.e., therefore I need to get as much produced now>



If you combine those two things you will find most advertising agencies recommend more TV executions be produced than really need to be produced.


And there is a laundry list of smart thoughtful ways to convince people to pay for the production of a Vinnie in addition to the obvious ‘to produce’ Slasher execution.

I will admit … I have been at the forefront of a number of these meetings and presentations … overselling the number of commercials we “need” to produce … as eloquently as my pea like brain can generate those sweet words that make the monetary investment medicine go down.


And we know exactly what we are doing in those meetings … because … trust me … when you present something like the Slasher execution <let alone when the idea is drawn up in the first place> everyone recognizes that ‘this is THE idea.’ Therefore agencies go into ‘selling a campaign’ or ‘given the amount of media we will need to purchase to break through with this message we will need more than one execution’ mode.


And agencies are really really good at this.


Just watch TV … whenever you see an absolutely brilliant likeable smart TV commercial and can’t wait to see it again … that same company/product/brand will also be showing you another execution that will automatically make you wish you could see the brilliant likeable one all over again <even more so>.


To be fair.

Campaigns <multiple executions within the same strategy framework> are tough to develop.

Single ideas are much much easier <although I would argue that multiple single ideas developed over time within the same campaign strategy framework is also much much easier than developing multiple executions at the same time>.

I will also admit clients/companies also make it difficult for advertising and marketing agencies in that if you really do have one great creative idea … they want to cram everything including the kitchen sink into it because there will “only be one … so we have only one opportunity to tell them everything that is important.”

And if you <in the agency> have even a twinge that this is going to come up … you will inevitably develop and present multiple executions all with one distinct message in it and recommend airing them in combination.


Even typing that made my head hurt.

All this thinking and working just to ‘be smart about what you end up doing and weave your way through objections and … well …” … suffice it to say it should be much simpler <because it actually is>.



Let’s add in one more dirty little secret agencies don’t really want people to council just one time


The better a television execution the less it needs to be on air <no matter what all those charts outlining how many people are reached when you air the execution on Modern Family and how many times someone needs to see the execution to retain the message>.


Agencies will baffle and befuddle you in our ‘numbers & statistics show proof of what to do’ business world but it is actually much simpler than weaving your way through reach & frequency … and effectiveness scores and … well … I need to stop because my head is beginning to hurt again.

It is simple.

If you have a really good execution <like a Slasher TV boss> you can air it fewer times and still have the viewer retain the message.

If you have a not so good execution <like Vinnie … although I could and should probably pick something that makes you feel like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard because Vinnie is not that bad> you have to air it more times to insure people retain the message.


In ad world this can be referred to as ‘effective one time reach’ but to most of us couch potatoes it is simply “I saw it and I liked it and I remembered it … and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again sometime.”

all insane

There you go.

A shout out for a really good TV commercial <because TV Boss Slasher is a great simple execution> and an inside look behind the scenes in the wacky world of the people who actually develops this good shit.


Look. And stopping there with that execution is very easy for me to suggest let alone write … but difficult to actually implement.

But you know what?

Sometimes the most difficult things are the right things to do.



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Written by Bruce