In The News Translation 8/11/17

FCB Hamburg Chief Creative Officer Christoph Nann discusses the future of automotive advertising, according to Horizont. (Translation can be read on FCB Exchange.)

How Auto Advertising Has to Change Now

Friday August 11, 2017

The German automotive industry is going through difficult times. The various diesel scandals have now also captured other major brands according to Volkswagen. From Christoph Nann’s point of view, however, the child has not long since fallen into the well. The Chief Creative Officer of FCB Deutschland believes that the crisis is at the same time a great opportunity – namely for the advertising of the cars. How this should change, he writes in his guest contribution for HORIZONT Online.

You have to make the effort and the series credits of the major German car manufacturers on their websites. Here is a small selection, arbitrarily picked out of the Big Five:

“There is only one direction: ahead.”

“Excitingly innovative.”

“Boundless innovative.”

“Make progress.”

“As sovereign as ever.”

“Ready for a new generation.”

“Advantage, form completed.”

“Tradition. Future.”

“The conquest of the digital world.”

“Masterpiece of Intelligence.”

“The challenge of tomorrow.”

Let’s be honest. In the age of Dieselgate, fine dust discussion, driving bans, recall campaigns and Tesla, these sentences do not read like convincing positions – but rather like the whistling in the forest.

The Duden defines crisis as a difficult situation, time that is the height and turning point of a dangerous development.” A good time to consider a real change. According to the motto: “In danger and extreme need, the middle way will lead to death.”

For a long time, auto advertising was the measure of all things in the country. There were created looks from photographers who set standards, turned films that robbed one’s breath and developed campaigns that were self-confident, casual, compelling and pioneering. And still fantastic work is still going on. But: Times have changed.

“In the past months, the reality has completely overtaken the self-confidence of the car brands.” – Christoph Nann

Perhaps it has long been announced, but over the past few months the reality has completely overtaken the self-confidence of the car brands: over decades the new S-Class, the new Golf or the new 5er per se relevant. Impressive new features were enough. Meanwhile, concepts such as innovation, efficiency, or intelligence, which had become meaningless, were not enough. With “freedom,” one never meant more than the convertible ride over a serpentine road; “Safety” was always only the sleeping child in the back seat; “Progress” no more than the extra-silent electric drive. This will not be enough in the future.

It will certainly not be easy to break out. Because the routine is great, the pressure is rising, and the tempo is constantly increasing: the world that has been turning faster has met with more and more communications in recent years. And while you’re launching from launch campaign to launch campaign, there’s no time to ask about the relevance that goes beyond the product. Then it is quickly again the latest series with the new engine generation (“sovereign as always. Efficient as never” – or so).

But one should never underestimate the ability of German automobile manufacturers to reinvent themselves. And as far as their advertising is concerned, everyone can be sure to be advised by good agencies. We can therefore be curious about what the advertising is doing from the crisis and how this will affect the campaigns. Perhaps in the future they will be turning more and more about what we humans really do. What interests and interests us, what we want to see and experience. Instead of communications, the question is a question of a substantial and, above all, sustainable communication. Brands need attitude. A higher goal. An idea of a world in which we want to live. And not just of cars in which we want to sit.