The written copy platform specifies the basic elements of the creative strategy. Different agencies may call this document a creative platform or work plan, creative brief, creative blueprint, or creative contract. The account representative or manager assigned to the account usually prepares the copy platform. In larger agencies, an individual from research or the strategic account planning department may write it. People from the agency team or group assigned to the account, including creative personnel as well as representatives from media and research, have input. The advertising manager and/or the marketing and brand managers from the client side ultimately approve the copy platform. Figure 8-4 shows a sample copy-platform outline that can be used to guide the creative process. Just as there are different names for the copy platform, there are variations in the outline and format used and in the level of detail included.
Several components of the copy platform were discussed in previous chapters. For example, Chapter 7 examined the DAGMAR model and showed how the setting of advertising objectives requires specifying a well-defined target audience and developing a communication task statement that spells out what message must be communicated to this audience. Determining what problem the product or service will solve or what issue must be addressed in the ad helps in establishing communication objectives for the campaign to accomplish. For example, in developing a campaign for Polaroid a few years ago, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was faced with the challenge of redefining the relevancy of instant photography and bringing Polaroid cameras out of the closet and back into everyday use. Working with Polaroid's marketing personnel, the agency came up with the idea of focusing on an instant picture as a solution to a problem, an instant tool or "catalyst" to make something happen. The advertising message is designed to give people ideas about how to use their forgotten Polaroid cameras.
Two critical components of the copy platform are the development of the major selling idea and creative strategy development. These two steps are often the responsibility of the creative team or specialist and form the basis of the advertising campaign theme. For Polaroid, the major selling idea was "the picture is only the beginning," and the resulting campaign theme built around this idea was "See what develops." The creative strategy was to have each ad in the campaign tell a story in which a Polaroid camera sets off a chain reaction. For example, one of the TV commercials featured a harried architect in a meeting telling his wife on the phone that he can't possibly come
Figure 8-4 Copy platform outline
1. Basic problem or issue the advertising must address.
2. Advertising and communications objectives.
3. Target audience.
4. Major selling idea or key benefits to communicate.
5. Creative strategy statement (campaign theme, appeal, and execution technique to be used).
6. Supporting information and requirements.
home for lunch. But in a sultry voice she tells him to look in his briefcase, saying "I left you something this morning." He pulls out a Polaroid photo, his eyes widen, and he says, "I'll be there in 10 minutes." Another humorous spot from the campaign shows a dog, wrongfully being scolded for upsetting the trash while an evil-looking cat sneers from the other side of the kitchen. The owner leaves, and the cat goes for the trash once again. However, this time the dog takes a Polaroid snapshot of the cat, astride the trash with a chicken bone in its mouth, and then patiently waits, incriminating photo in mouth, as the door opens and the owner returns. "Oh dear," we hear as the picture fades (Exhibit 8-9).
Many copy platforms also include supporting information and requirements (brand identifications, disclaimers, and the like) that should appear in any advertising message. This information may be important in ensuring uniformity across various executions of the ads used in a campaign or in meeting any legal requirements. One of the major challenges for the creative team is determining the major selling idea that will be used as the basis of the campaign. We examine below some approaches often used for determining the major selling idea and campaign theme.
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