I found this interview with Benjamin Palmer, Co-founder and president of The Barbarian Group hidden away in episode 3 of Arnold’s behind-the-scenes Cannes video, something they call Cannes’t. Here’s the essence of what Benjamin had to say or you can watch the video here.
Do you like advertising or hate or despise it?
I don’t like bad advertising. I don’t think anyone likes bad advertising. You use to be able to sell a lot of products and be a successful agency and be a successful brand without actually doing anything interesting.
You could buy your way in?
Yeah. The media was fixed and controlled. You could do something terrible with a logo and inundate people and you would succeed.
I love brands. It’s what gives our capitalistic world some personality. I don’t particularly care for advertising when it’s not any good.
Now, the competition is not another ad, it’s everything. You’re five minute experience has to be better than anything else someone could be doing with their life.
I’m interested in taking what you would normally use for a marketing budget and turning it into something that functionally improves the product. The worst part about advertising is when there is a shitty product and you have to sell it. When probably they should just change it so that it’s good. The product or experience should draw people in on its own merits.