Account planning is the critical lynchpin to an effective campaign. The absence of good planning, strategy development and collaboration between client and creative will cause a campaign to fall flat. Consider Levi’s 2012 Hotness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes campaign. This campaign sought to underscore that its Curve ID jeans were flattering to all women, regardless of size. Though the ad wanted to connect with women with a diversity of body types, the models in the ads were far from diverse.
The weight and average size for an American woman is size 166 pounds, size 14 (“Body Measurements”, n.d.). As you can see from the print ads, these models are well under that. It did not go over well. Blogger Anna North wrote “For Levi’s, ‘hotness’ comes in small, small and small” (as cited in Soderborg, 2012). Another wrote that the only curves on these models comes from their ponytails (Soderborg, 2012).
Will Kirk, graphic designer for Strawberry, said this about the ad,
Mainly, I questioned the eyesight of the designer and thought process of the marketing team behind it. I understand they meant for this advert to describe the various fits of their jeans. But this is not what the advert communicates, as you immediately take note of three women who look practically identical in body shape with a strapline that describes the exact opposite. If you’ve chosen a target audience, make sure you at least follow it through so your design and imagery reflect your chosen strapline (as cited in Taylor, 2015).
Wouldn’t the follow through be the responsibility of the account planner? It seems that a good account planner would have done more research to determine whether this ad would actually resonate with Levi’s target market. Drewniany & Jeweler (2014) write, “Written by account planners, creative briefs give direction and inspiration to the creative team. Done right, the brief will help the copywriter and art director get into the mindset of the target audience” (p. 81). Despite the brilliance of the jeans themselves (Levi’s analyzed 60,000 body scans to determine three different basic body types to create jeans for this product line), the message was lost due to a breakdown between the creative team and account planning.
What do you think? Do you believe the responsibility for this particular fail ultimately lies in the hands of the account planner?
Dr. Stultz asks creatives to address how account planning was changing as a result of a growth in IMC. On one hand, brands may feel less inclined to use agencies/account planners with the rise of digital marketing and web analytics that are easily accessible by the brands themselves. Some feel that all this work can be done in-house with a handful of marketing folks who are digitally savvy. On the other hand, some brands may feel overwhelmed with the thought of crafting and articulating their brand message across platforms, much less managing it.
Al Moffatt, president and CEO of Worldwide Partners, Inc. (n.d.) believes that “agencies/account planners can once again add value by telling clients how and why their consumers are using the kinds of digital and social media they are while simultaneously telling them exactly the right mix of messages, media and platforms to use and in what instances.”
He goes on to say, “Agencies need to restructure themselves so that planning sits atop the entire organization and drives everything that happens in an agency, including media, digital, creative, research, and strategy, rather then just darting in and out to deliver sporadic insights…Planning needs to become less reactionary and more prescriptive, preventive and visionary” (Moffatt, n.d.).
Body Measurements. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/body-measurements.htm
Drewniany, B. & Jewler, A. (2014). Creative strategy in advertising. (11th ed.) Boston, MA: Wadsworth.
Moffatt, A. (n.d.). Is account planning dead? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.imediaconnection.com/content/25322.imc
Soderborg, S. (2012, February 24). Levi’s Curve ID campaign falls flat with critics. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.sfgate.com/chronstyle/2012/02/24/levis-curve-id-campaign-falls-flat-with-critics/
Taylor, N. (2015, August 19). Vox Pop: The worst ad fails. Retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2015/08/19/vox-pop-worst-ad-fails