In Praise of Middle-aged British Men…and Planning Legends
Before I begin, please be assured that this post is not an exercise in egregious self-love.
Instead, it’s my encomium to a series of YouTube videos about planning that aren’t getting nearly enough views.
They take the form of two apparently unremarkable and unassuming British planners talking about what is probably the most important topic in our business – how we evaluate the effect of what we do.
And they should know, because in fact these two apparently unremarkable and unassuming people are the leading experts in the world on the subject.
Indeed, Les Binet and Peter Field have written two of the most thoughtful, well-researched and just plain useful books about advertising and its effects ever written.
The first, Marketing In The Era Of Accountability, came out in 2007; the second, The Long And The Short Of It, came out in 2013. Both are based on detailed analysis of the IPA Effectiveness Awards database, commonly held to be the most rigorous effectiveness case files ever assembled. And both quietly but deliberately demolish a number of fond beliefs about how advertising works that have been widespread in our business since Don Draper was a junior copywriter.
(If you’re interested, both are published by the IPA in the UK and available as downloads from their web site. And well worth reading they are too.)
Back to the videos. There are 22 of them and in total they last for about an hour. Easily watched in a couple of what passes for lunch hours in the modern office – three if you’re really working hard. So you can easily watch them in the course of a week – and I would highly recommend that you do. In my view. you will learn more in that hour than you could in any other way; if you’re genuinely interested in becoming a better planner or marketer, there is literally no better way of spending your time.
Be warned: the videos make no attempts to sell themselves or hook you in – no punchy tracks, no wacky camera angles or fast cutting – in fact the format really couldn’t be less interesting if it tried. But that doesn’t matter in the least, because these films are entirely focused on the content.
And what content it is! Distilled evidence-based genius delivered in the lowest of low-key ways, almost matter-of-fact. A pair of quiet assassins murdering some of our – and our clients – most cherished delusions. Wonderful stuff.
I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Here’s a quick appetizer of the videos. As I said, they’re all fabulous.