Working the non-working

One of the top creative minds in the advertising industry, Nicke Bergström from Farfar, has often used the notion of “creating time” as a cornerstone of any piece of communication that a brand puts out to the consumers. As consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each day, brands need to earn their place in the hearts of consumers. Simple one way propaganda won’t do it anymore, brands need to be relevant to make a difference.

Many companies use working vs non-working measures as a good reference to the overall cost efficiency of marketing creation vs exposure. Before the internet age, this was a relatively good and simple way to measure. On average, companies would invest maybe 10-15% of their budget on the marketing concept creation, another 15-20% on the actual production of the ad and finally, the remaining 65-75% on buying media. In practice, the concept creation and production would be listed down as non-working, since the agency time in the creative “think tank” as well as the production of the print or TVC would not be seen by consumers until these were placed in front of them through TV, outdoor or print.

In today’s world the split between working and non-working media has changed. The concept creation of a marketing campaign still remains a non-working pack of powerpoint slides and some flash files, but as soon as you produce something that is published on the web, it becomes working media. A lonely girl can become an internet celebrity, an 80’s hit song can rise from its grave, all without having to pay 1 cent of media buy.

In essence, this implies big changes in the way that marketing/media budgets should be allocated. By putting more time and energy into the concept creation, you can ensure that you are creating a package that is “born to live, not to die”. (another great quote from Nicke). The way that your marketing campaign is produced, has an even bigger significance. It’s easy to copy, paste, print to web, but that’s a total waste of the ecosystem. Good marketing creates conversations, creates time that consumers want to spend with the brand and in the end, it earns media for the brand as consumers become advocates. A well produced piece of digital marketing gives the concept a chance to fly, spread and even take a life of its own. In practice, the media split starts looking more like a 30% concept, 30% production, 40% media buying. And traditional media agencies are not gonna like that…

3 thoughts on “Working the non-working

  1. Jussi-Pekka says:

    If we think about social media marketing the split is again totally different. At the time when tools are free or at least cheap, most of the money and time goes either to content creation or community management.

    Good marketing not only creates conversations, but also facilitates them.

  2. artojoensuu says:

    Absolutely, and that’s why the concept creation and production streams need re-definition. The end result of earned media is “free” but it doesn’t mean that community management and content creation is free. Social media engagement takes time and effort, which in essence, is working media. Right now, this gets listed as non-working, which isn’t the case.

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