‘People are highly unreasonable’: DDB unveils new business plan

DDB has announced its plans to create “unreasonable growth” for brands, arguing the advertising industry is being held back by clinging to old ideas about how people make decisions.

The agency said it had invested more than $1m into its new “thinking and tools”, which has already found success with the likes of Expedia, McDonald’s and Volkswagen.

The new positioning for the agency was pioneered by DDB Australia and New Zealand and is based on the idea that “we are living in a low to no-growth world” and the “unreasonable snowball” – where consumers act on emotions rather than logic – was gathering momentum, DDB Australia’s managing director of strategy and innovation, Leif Stromnes said.

“The problem for business today is that we are clinging on to old theories. The old theory that marketing and advertising succeeds because people are reasonable is just not true. In fact, we now know that people are highly unreasonable,” he said.

Speaking at a dinner to launch the new positioning, managing director of DDB Sydney said the new framework allows agency to “make the work count.”

“We hate work that doesn’t count. We hate lazy things, things that don’t have an impact,” she said.

“This is a framework that allows us to make the work count, that we now clients are going to appreciate and that will have an effect.”

Stromnes added: “This is not an advertising presentation, this is a business presentation.

“We are so sick of being marginalised because we make stuff. This is about selling thinking that is valuable.”

“There is something really magically powerful about this idea of being unreasonable and we need to be more unreasonable when it comes to our expectations and growth.

“Business would be so much easier if consumers did the things we asked them to do, and they rationally consumed as we’d like them to consume.

“Unfortunately it is not that way, humans are thoroughly unreasonable,” he said.

In line with the new thinking, DDB announced it was shunning the traditional three golden rules of business growth – Win Your Category, Win The Mind of Your Consumer and Win Today – and would instead follow three new rules:

  1. Culture Dwarfs Category
  2. Feelings Conquer Thinking
  3. Long Term Beats Short Team

In a statement, DDB Australia CEO Andrew Little said the agency had shifted its thinking out of necessity.

“All the evidence suggests that behaving in a reasonable, rational fashion is possibly the most dangerous thing a business can do,” he said.

“Unreasonable growth – real, tangible, exponential growth – rarely comes from acting reasonably.

“We believe that breakthrough growth is possible using our simple, measurable and actionable approach. We’ve invested more than $1m into our thinking and tools.”


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