Offshore versioning Part. 2


In my last post I mentioned how digital agencies are offshoring video production work to make it affordable to version TV and Internet ads for multiple target audiences — a strategy that mirrors direct marketers one-to-one mantra.  Versioning may be lucky enough to have some successes but on balance it is a flawed strategy.


Good brand planning attempts to find a single voice and idea for its selling stories.  Coke is refreshment.  MySpace is friends. Corona is about kicking back.  In order to develop this type of overarching idea, planners need to evaluate what appeals to the most people in the brand target.  To find what the target shares in common. As Peter Kim of McCann-Erickson and JWT used to say, the target needs to be broken down into its pieces, understood, then “remassified” into a single entity.  When we find a shared care-about that our brands can fulfill, then we can develop smart communications.


The fact that a TV commercial costs over $350,000 to make today, makes it an imperative that marketers and ad agencies agree on a single selling idea.  L’Oreal hair care used to take close to a full year to prepare a TV ad with Heather Locklear. The dress had to be perfect, the staircase just right, etc.  Ads, in many cases, were works of art. But with 20+ versions of an ad running, the quality of the idea must suffer.


Developing versioned ads, the production of which is handled offshore, with multiple scripts written by God knows whom and casting handled by committee, spells disaster.