Paradox, Cannibalism, and the Future of Ads

Paradox, Cannibalism, and the Future of Ads

Performance Branding

Paradox, Cannibalism, and the Future of Ads

You can’t solve a paradox. That’s what makes it a paradox. The best you can do is manage it.”


A paradox is a situation in which two things appear to be in opposition, but are actually both true. 

If you want to go fast, go slow. 

The hardest workers take breaks. 

The highest performing ads also elevate the brand. 

You might not have heard that last one before. It’s still a secret. But one day it’ll be a cliche.

At Rickhouse we make video ads. Their purpose is to convince people to convert. The Direct Response advertising industry has matured in the past decade, and data-driven agencies like ours know what works and why. But getting a customer to buy the product once is only so helpful to your business’s bottom line if you’re destroying your brand to do it. Millions of your customers’ first impressions of your company come from direct response ads. That’s what they’ll remember. Doesn’t matter how pretty your logo is or how much you spent on your website if your DR ads look like this:

Here’s where cannibalism comes in. We think of your brand as your company’s body. You train it, make it stronger, and with every rep you put in, it carries you forward with greater skill and athleticism. As you start sprinting towards your ambitious customer acquisition goals, you suddenly feel hungry, and you have a choice to make. Are you going to put in the upfront effort and cost to make a nice tasty meal, which will take time now but fuel you for the long haul, or are you just going to bite off your right hand and munch on that instead? Tempting -- your hand is right there, and it’ll provide a quick burst of energy. After which you won’t have a hand any more. Bummer.

All too often we see companies eating their own hands in order to attract customers. And there are a plethora of agencies who will help them do it. Not us. We like your company with all its limbs. So here’s how we help you cook that meal. 

The paradox is of brand vs performance is partly true -- the strongest performing ads don’t always support the brand. 

But if you zoom out to the time scale that you want your company to be around for, the data tell a different story. 

The thing is, it is possible to balance performance goals and brand values -- it just requires skill and care. So the question isn’t about how to get the highest ROAS or lowest CAC, it’s more simple: what time scale do you want your company to succeed on? If you’re looking for cannibalistic short term gains, we wish you the best of luck. If you’d rather figure out a way to manage the paradox of performance and brand to achieve impressive, sustained growth that only increases over time, you’re in the right place. And you should probably drop us a line. 

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