Rory Sutherland – Mad Men

Without thinking you can hum the McDonald’s jingle. Instantly you recognise the Apple logo. I say Starbucks, you see that little New York mermaid. I say London Real and you say, “it’s about the journey” right? Branding is everywhere. It’s identity, it’s product and it’s experience. For perfectly crafted, think of last Christmas and the Sainsbury’s World War advert – human experience, emotion and connection. The fact that it went viral is proof that it hit bullseye. You’ll not be surprised when I tell you that it’s not accidental…

Filled with the sharpest minds and creatives, agencies devise the writing, images and video that drive the consumer machine forward. They tap into our psychology and passion, raise our adrenaline, navigate what makes us human and sell us the product.

Our guest this week, Rory Sutherland, is one of the minds behind the work. With a career spanning almost almost 30 years at one the world’s most respected and innovative agencies, Rory has watched advertising evolve from print to online. In fact, he was one of the first in the industry to endorse the internet and all it’s possibility and promise. Understanding the internet didn’t just change his career but the entire way we experience it today.

Rory is a TED fellow, an author, writes a column for The Spectator and brings his vision, wisdom and charisma to the London Real hot seat. You’ll never look at an advert the same way again!

[0:06:40] Introduction.

[0:07:20] Life lessons as an ad man.

[0:09:40] Frame of mind.

[0:10:10] Where value is created.

[0:10:50] Value depends on the context.

[0:11:50] Great business that fail because of the way they are advertised.

[0:12:14] Royal Mail.

[0:13:10] The value of a First Class Mail depends on the belief that the mail will arrive the next day.

[0:14:10] If perception is much worse than reality, what the hell are you doing trying to improve reality.

[0:15:20] Digital revolution is psychological not technological.

[0:18:15] System 1 brain is more telling online. The Philips Air Fryer.

[0:20:30] System 2 is post rationalising. The Rightous Mind.

[0:20:50] The conscious part of the brain think its the Oval Office when in reality its the Press Office.

[0:22:00] Why we avoid poo, when we didn’t know about germs.

[0:23:20] Things that people hat but didn’t know why. Explaining why people don’t like poo.

[0:25:10] Designing pydhical objects, experience for what Richard Thaler calls Econs.

[0:26:55] Selling to the frontal lobe. The amygdala keeps us alive.

[0:27:15] The imaginary species that makes economic decisions.

[0:28:00] Business decisions taken by finance people who believe that neo-classical economic theory is a guide to likely human behaviour.

[0:28:00] Economic world only prices efficiency.

[0:29:10] We disproportionately appreciate the things that a business gives us, which we don’t have to.

[0:31:11] We judge people by how much we are prepared to give them a little extra.

[0:32:00] Designing trains.

[0:35:00] Savings is just consumerism postponed.

[0:38:35] Akio Morita of Sony on getting rid of the REC button on the Walkman.

[0:40:00] Deleting features.

[0:43:00] Ubse removes the System 1 uncertainty. Where is my cab?

[0:46:00] Overpaying the call centre employees.

[0:47:30] Ogilvy. What drew you to be an ad man.

[0:48:44] Corporate environment where you can make stupid suggestions and still get promoted.

[0:49:28] Value of stupidity in business. Nase Taleb said that the brilliant thing about capitalism is that it doesn’t just reward hard work, it rewards luck and opportunity stupidity.

[0:50:40] Can you design tax in a way that people want to pay it.

[0:51:19] Tiny recognition for being rich enough to pay the super tax.

[0:53:32] Having a space where you can go silly without being ridiculed.

[0:54:00] Mad Man

[0:56:00] A very successful ad agency is a very strange mix of people.

[0:57:00] Having diversity is an advantage.

[0:59:30] What is most commonly missed piece in the digital startup world.

[1:00:00] Big Blues The Unmaking of IBM

[1:02:00] Is too much focused in the area of media consumption.

[1:04:30] Chrome cast. Watching Russian Dash Cam.

[1:07:45] Success secret.

[1:08:20] Value is subjective.

[1:09:30] Peter Thiel. Mimetic desire – wanting things simply because people want them.

[1:10:15] The nice thing about working in advertising vs banking.

[1:11:15] Location, location, location to architecture, architecture, architecture.

[1:13:40] Who comes to mind when you think of the word successful?

[1:14:00] Over optimising in one field vs discovering the overlap between two.

[1:17:10] Maximising wanker. Satisficers vs Maximisers. Learning to reframe.

[1:18:30] Seneca, richest man in Rome travelling with couple of possessions every year for 2 weeks.

[1:20:00] American’s are missing the monarchy. Moving from epicureanism to stoicism.

[1:21:30] Phone call to the 20 year old Rory Sutherland.

[1:24:00] Best advice ever received.

[1:29:40] Collect mental maps.

Rory Sutherland on Wikipedia

Rory Sutherland on Twitter @RorySutherland

Rory Sutherland on Twitter @OgilvyChange

Rory Sutherland’s TEDTalk:

Life Lessons From An Ad Man

Perspective Is Everything

Sweat The Small Stuff

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