Truly worth a read is the article ”Welcome to the age of micro-planning” which you can find on the blog Adliterate. Don’t forget to read the comments which has a couple of nuggets in them. The blog Adliterate is runned by Richard Huntington, Director of Strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi.
That said I think there was a clear difference in this year’s papers and presentations. A lot less brand planning (though there are some splendid examples) and a lot more micro-planning. I have no problem with the downstream approach to planning, it has always represented proof that the planner is more than a brief writing machine and is capable of and welcome to bring their skills to bare on the more executional facets of a campaign. This is particularly the case when real time planning is required as a campaign unfolds and evolves.
That said it seems a shame to me if planners are walking away from, or unable to deliver, ‘upstream’ brand planning. Planning that either repositions a brand in the marketplace (such as Matt Boffey’s Lurpak work or Craig Mawdsley’s Sainsbury’s thinking which both won in 2007) or shapes a communications campaign with a clever reframing of the problem or sharp proposition (think Richard Storey’s Met Police campaign or Stuart Smith’s Positive Hate thinking for Honda).
So why are we seeing a lot less brand planning and a lot more micro planning? Indeed this year’s particular theme was the selection and prioritisation of celebrities according to their social media reach. Worthwhile but not really award winning. Personally I don’t think it’s the quality of our planners, I rather suspect it is the quality or nature of the briefs that we receive and in particular the pitch briefs that we get.