My name is Mark and I'm addicted to Crimewatch UK.
It's not information I usually volunteer to a people at a party, but I think there are some learnings for agencies if they care to sit down and watch Crimewatch.
Crimewatch lives and dies by its results
On every edition of Crimewatch they have an update on previous results. Beyond that, they even have an update 45 minutes after the programme has aired. Pretty bold that when you think of it. How many agencies share their results that quickly, that regularly?
And it's bound by a simple equation. If it doesn't prove its worth it won't be kept on TV.
Some agencies wouldn't do this for a couple of reasons: 1) They don't add value to their clients business on a regular basis; 2) They don't track results effectively.
Agency learning: If you can't constantly prove your worth, your client will wonder every day if you're still adding value.
Crimewatch has had the same challenges as Planning
Crimewatch was launched in 1984. At first, there was a lot of suspicion of it from police forces. They didn't want to take part in the glorification of crime for the sake of TV ratings. When it became apparent Crimewatch could genuinely add value to the police, it was embraced and has gone from strength to strength.
Planning came about in the late 1960s. At first the ad industry didn't really know what Planning was and how it could add value to its output. Some were skeptical - some still are - about the value that Planning can add to the output of an agency. However, some of the most successful agencies are now the ones that think about problems in unique ways, and the Planning sector seems to be picking up greatly.
Agency learning: Planning adds value, and if you get rid of Planning during a recession, you'll eventually realise your output will suffer. (Seen the stories in the industry rags recently about there being little magic around?)
Crimewatch is embracing new media channels
When it launched in 1984, Crimewatch had one media channel - TV.
Now it's embracing digital as it's the perfect channel for it. It's quick to update, dynamic and perfect for multimedia content. You can see previous cases online, engage with Crimewatch online and see how older cases have been solved online.
Like any brand with a decent media budget, they will still have TV at their heart of their comms (to reach lots of people) but they've done a great job in building from that and amplifying their content digitally.
Agency learning: Use relevant media channels for the job in hand, not the best media channels to maximise profits.
Crimewatch speaks to its audience in the perfect TOV
Crime isn't a nice thing. Whether it's a purse grab on a pensioner, an arson or a murder - it's not very nice. When talking about crime there's a very fine balance needed between being too sensationalist (and thus not being taken seriously by the police - the client) and being too factual (and thus being too boring for the audience - the target consumers).
Crimewatch gets this balance spot on.
They give enough facts to get the buy-in from the police and they have an art direction that gets buy-in from people watching. This leaves them with a happy client and a target audience that are engaged.
Agency learning: Find the balance. Don't produce average work just to please the client, and don't do amazing work the client doesn't want. It'll end in tears.
Crimewatch is truly co-creative
Without the audience participating in numerous ways, Crimewatch would fail. Whether it's witnesses or people calling in, engaging with the target audience is key to its success.
There is a lot of talk in the industry about new business models at the moment. Lots of people talking about engaging with target consumers more often and having target consumers working collaboratively with agencies. A lot of it is just talk. They're saying that to get press and they'll revert to a typical agency model because the people at the top don't want their power to be questioned by mere mortals. Some, however, may be brave enough to do it.
Agency learning: Having the target audience at the heart of your proposition can only be a good thing. If it means getting rid of relics, get rid of them. The world is changing and they're not.
Don't have nightmares. Do sleep well.