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From time-to-time this blog will include change ideas on marketing. After all, The Republik is an advertising agency and marketing is the thing we know best. Today’s topic — “Pull Advertising” is an introduction to a novel marketing approach you’ll hear us referring to quite a bit. So without further ado, here it is.

We believe an agency’s job is to deliver big business-building ideas to its clients — not just advertising. In fact, some of the most powerful and effective ideas we’ve developed and implemented don’t resemble anything within the traditional definition of advertising at all. For one of our fashion clients, we created a shoebox that could be used as a closet organizer, gift box or photo storage.

As silly as it may sound, customers started buying nicole shoes, just so they could get a cool shoebox. Today, nicole is selling the boxes on their website — separate from their shoes.

Triumph, makers of the “World’s Toughest Boats” had an awareness problem. Instead of buying expensive traditional media, we produced a relatively inexpensive video. In the video, we challenged the world’s biggest redneck to break the boat. We seeded links to it on fishing and boating sites and blogs. The result? Millions of people from around the world downloaded the spot, it appeared on CMT’s “Country Fried Videos”, was the subject of a New York Times article and boosted Triumph’s sales in a down market. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone interested in a fishing boat that doesn’t know about Triumph.

The executions mentioned above are just two examples of “pull” ideas. The objective is to create ideas so compelling, informative or entertaining, selected consumer groups find them so “attractive” they go out of their ways to find or participate in them. This is diametrically opposed to the old school way of marketing where “target” consumers are identified and media is purchased to “push” interruptive messaging on them.

So far, it’s been our experience that pull ideas, when executed well and delivered through the right communication channels, are much less expensive and much more powerful and effective than “push” ones. Pull ideas not only attract people to buy more of a brand’s products or services, they also create a long-term bonds with them. Not surprising when you consider the fact that traditional advertising is geared around disruption — breaking up a TV or radio show with commercial pods, interrupting articles in magazines with print ads, disturbing the enjoyment of a web page with pop-ups and banners, etc., etc.

Our philosophy is and always has been, advertising at its worst is just another form of pollution that’s tolerated because people understand it’s paying for their entertainment. At it’s best, it can be better than the programming or medium in which it appears.

So why aren’t more agencies producing “pull” ideas? The simplest answer is they can’t. To create “pull” ideas and make a profit, they would have to fundamentally change their compensation models to ones based on idea generation and performance — instead of mark-ups and commissions.

by David Smith The Republik