Posts By: Zoe Fuller

Feel nothing, say nothing

I sat at my desk recently and, feeling extremely modern and connected, ‘attended’ a webinar called ‘Feel nothing, say nothing’. If nothing else, it took my mind off my very strong feelings about the nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams – although things are looking up now. It also combined two areas I find fascinating: the role of emotion in advertising and how people socially interact about brands.

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How creatives can fight the media corner

‘Excellence is an art won by training’ said Aristotle. He probably wasn’t thinking about the training courses that we run here at Thinkbox, but I like to think he would have approved anyway. Excellence is what we should all be after and training – either on the job or more formal courses – is vital to it.

One of my responsibilities is running Thinkbox’s (free) training courses and, with a moment to spare, I recently had a look at the attendance to see what, if anything, it told me.

We currently run two different training courses; the first is designed for new starters to the advertising and marketing sectors, whatever their role or company, and gives an introduction to the world of television, covering everything from how TV is traded to the different roles it plays and how to get the best out of a TV campaign. The second looks at TV technology and provides information and insight into developments in TV technology and how advertisers can get the best out of them.

Since we started the courses two years ago, we have had hundreds of people pass through our doors. They have come from the following parts of the industry:

Media agencies: 55% (the biggest sector, unsurprisingly)
TV companies: 20%
Advertisers: 8%
Creative agencies: 6%
Others (includes auditors, research companies, academics etc.): 11%

We’re delighted to welcome everyone who signs up, but we were a bit surprised by the stats nonetheless. We understand why advertisers represent a smaller proportion; they are mostly based outside London, advertising is only part of what they worry about and they can always get their media agencies to provide the necessary information.

However, we are a bit surprised by how few creative agency people have attended. It is puzzling and frustrating; why don’t they come? You could argue that they would gain the most out of it, as they don’t have easy access to media insights. The courses consistently get good feedback from delegates and it is free training after all in an era when free anything is pretty rare. Perhaps they don’t know about the workshops (which would be our fault) or realise it’s for them too (also our fault). Perhaps they don’t think they need to understand this stuff. I appreciate that planning and buying TV is not something they do in their daily jobs, but it’s still very important to understand it and be able to take part in strategic decisions about media with their clients and their media agencies from a position of knowledge.

Anyway, rather than admit defeat, we are creating a training module specifically designed for creative agency people – planners, account managers and even creatives themselves. It will be a half day workshop in which we will give delegates some basic TV trends, predict TV’s future and show what it adds to the marketing mix, and how it drives other media behaviour such as search and social media.

We will also share research which proves investing in great TV creativity will deliver better business results. That’s a very helpful piece of ammunition for any creative agency. We’ll also look at some of the new creative opportunities and challenges for brands in TV – content, product placement, on-demand TV – and generally give practical advice on getting the best out of today’s TV.

From our point of view, if it does nothing else, we should get fewer of those “We only had 400 TV ratings* but we got 700,000 views on YouTube” quotes that we tend to hear from creatives these days.

The new workshops will be launched early next year and we hope to run them on a regular basis. If you work for a creative agency and fancy fresh insight into TV advertising, do please email me: If there is strong demand from any individual company we can even run it in-house exclusively for you.

* 400 all individual TV ratings equates to 260 million ‘views’. 400 ratings for any other audience will probably deliver even more than that.

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