We were sat in Dishoom before all this coronavirus madness really kicked off.
We started breakfast with light-hearted banter about handshaking and sanitiser, before moving the discussion to an industry article we’d all recently seen titled, No-one cares about your campaign. It was relevant and, in hindsight, unbelievably poignant given what was about to unfold.
Every brand is trying to grab the attention of people who don’t want to be grabbed, which is why things need to be approached in a different way.
We live in a world where we’re bombarded by thousands of messages and distractions every day. Every brand is trying to grab the attention of people who don’t want to be grabbed, which is why things need to be approached in a different way, and one of those ways is how we scout and nurture talent. The current situation has made this more crucial than ever.
Above: David Gamble and Simon Labbett from Truant.
New talent has always been an advertising obsession for many reasons. Advertising needs to be culturally relevant, especially now, with brands targeting Millennial and hard to reach Gen-Z audiences more than ever. Young people are generally on the pulse of what’s happening in culture. They have energy to burn, believe they can take on the world and win, and aren’t cynical or browbeaten. Yet.
Advertising has always been so inward-facing when it comes to talent.
And sure, young talent is a helluva lot cheaper than seasoned advertising veterans. So, overall, you can see the appeal. But advertising has always been so inward-facing when it comes to talent. Plundering the same universities, advertising colleges and creative courses, working with the same recruiters and lining-up placements for friend’s kids. We’re not finger-wagging here. We were guilty too.
For an industry that relies on engaging with audiences, why are we so obsessed with simply finding yet more advertising talent from the same mould?
The recent push for more workplace diversity has helped change this inner clique cronyism for the better. But, for an industry that relies on engaging with audiences, why are we so obsessed with simply finding yet more advertising talent from the same mould?
Above: Singer-songwriter Äyanna, who has been signed by Truant.
The average person spends 18-hours a week listening to music. These same people, the Spotify faithful, also subscribe to ad blockers and ad-free services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Reaching young audiences is no easy task and it’s getting harder every year. But the obvious thing to note here is that audiences generally gravitate towards music and away from advertising. The current situation has strengthened this belief, with music playing a key role in people’s lives in isolation. Online festivals and performances have flooded the internet, while Italian balconies will now be forever associated with music and unity. Music brings people together.
Reaching young audiences is no easy task and it’s getting harder every year.
So, when reimagining Hometown as Truant 18-months ago, we decided to make music one of our key pillars. Granted, we’re not the only agency in town that thinks it knows how to partner brands with bands, but we decided to go a step further. We don’t just identify brand partnership potential with existing artists, we also scout the music scene to discover, sign and nurture our own new talent.
Äyanna... takes us – and any associated brands - into the realms of entertainment; a world where people switch on, not off.
We signed our first artist at the start of 2020. Äyanna is an incredible, 19-year-old singer-songwriter. By developing her as an artist, creating her brand and helping her find her sound we’re hoping to open-up conversations with brands that we wouldn’t have had as a singularly focused advertising agency. She takes us – and any associated brands - into the realms of entertainment; a world where people switch on, not off.
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If you apply an advertising mindset to how brands can partner with up-and-coming artists, lots of interesting avenues open up. From music videos to events, social content and retail experiences; each artist represents a media channel in their own right.
The music and advertising industries have always been great bedfellows, way before Nick Kamen took his Levi pants off.
Of course, the music and advertising industries have always been great bedfellows, way before Nick Kamen took his Levi pants off in a laundrette back in 1985 [above]. Embedding a track into the psyche of the British public was seen as a powerful way to increase the longevity of a brand. And it’s a strategy that can still work with dramatic effect today, as proven by the annual spectacular that is the John Lewis Christmas ad. But the opportunity can go far deeper.
The industry needs new, inventive ways to get its messages out there. And searching for different and fresh types of talent is a solid start. Not only does unexpected talent open-up doors, it also takes us out of our comfort zones, forces us to learn something new and ultimately keeps things interesting.
What’s not to love?