Jon Steel – truth, lies and advertising revised

Jon is the author of the seminal book on account planning Truth, Lies and Advertising. He currently works as Group Planning Director at WPP where he looks after the WPP Fellowship program which places Junior Planners in different offices around the world for a year. On top of that he is the Chief Strategy Officer for GPY&R Sydney as well.

Short and Sweet

  • There has been no need to do a follow up to Truth, Lies and Advertising because the fundamentals of planning have not changed. Technology has changed but human nature has not and that is what great communication is based on. The other reason he has not written a follow up book is because he doesn’t feel like he would be the right person to write the book because he has been out of the loop of planning day to day.
  • Planning has changed from a research based discipline to an opinion based discipline and with that change the discipline has become less reliable. Clients don’t rely on it therefore are asking for less of it. Agencies are not investing in planning and research. It is a bleak outlook for the future of planning.
  • Agencies aren’t committing to training the next generation of planners. Agencies aren’t committing the resources to planning. When he started the ratio between account managers and planners was one to one. Planners are now stretched too thin and can’t train the future generation of planners.
  • One of Steel’s most iconic initiatives is the freedom approach to planning. He allowed his planners unlimited holidays. To make great work you need to take a brand promise, make a connection with it at a deeper human truth and cultural truth. Two or three of the corners are about real life hence you need to be outside. Planners would take four weeks they didn’t take it for granted. 48 weeks rather than 50 weeks they were better. They would do interesting things go to the Amazon or take a painting class. Points of experience that they could bring back into the agency.

Some Statements we liked

“To make great work you need to take a brand promise, make a connection with it at a deeper human truth and cultural truth.”

“Technology has changed but human nature has not and that is what great communication is based on.”

 

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