Of late there has been a lot of major account changes noted in the advertising press. Every move by Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami is documented in the same style as paparazzi chasing movie stars. What was once a relatively small agency, with small clients, who got bought by a small “network” is now becoming a BIG AGENCY with BIG CLIENTS still owned by a small network. How well agencies scale should not be measured by CP+B because it is an anomaly: it’s reputation is so huge, they are able to get the pick of talent, steam roll over clients (since they have been crowned by the media as having the Midas touch) and have adopted a “media agnostic” throw as many ideas on the wall and see what sticks approach.
In case you aren’t aware of their storied life in the fast lane, they made their first appearance on the hot shop radar with their “Truth” campaign for Florida’s anti-smoking campaign. They won a Cannes Gold Lion for their spot for IKEA where a desk lamp gets kicked to the curb- but IKEA seems to be unable to stick with an agency having parted ways with the successor agency as well (IKEA should call us), then came the dream account (only because the car is so damn cute and already branded) the new BMW Mini account. Here CP+P showed off how to get the maximum muscle out of the minimal moola to an exponential effect. Putting Mini’s on top of Ford Expeditions, putting the whole car on a billboard in a Slingshot, even the tagline “Let’s Motor” was so fitting, you couldn’t help but be enchanted with the idea of “driving satisfaction” without having it screamed at you. It was the ultimate in talking with the customer- not at the customer- and it worked. BMW sold cars, CP+B made their client manager look so good, she got hired away from BMW to fix VW- that’s making your client more money than they pay you if I ever saw it. Her reward to her friends who got her there- the VW account, a prize beyond their wildest dreams when they were working on bike helmet campaigns and local business.
So impressive was the mini campaign that success breeds success and on comes Burger King- a traditionally “difficult” client who had been through agencies and “campaigns” faster than they sell whoppers. Along came CP+B throwing new stuff at the masses faster than they could say “Yes” to the “would you like fries with that” question. The first execution was a takeoff on the British TV show “The Office” and the return of the “have it your way tag line.”
For such creative geniuses to settle on someone else’s tagline is typically unheard of- typically agencies want to make their own mark- but that takes time. CP+B was smart enough to realize that a brand in trouble needs help now, not when their creativity kicks in. The campaign was outside the norm for the industry- with double-entendre’s and un-pretty people. But, it was easier to fly the old tagline back through the barriers of corporate CYA and it bought them time- time for an agency to find a brand voice. Great campaigns don’t happen overnight. “Think Small” wasn’t the first thing Bernbach did for VW, nor was “Just do it” the first shot by Wieden + Kennedy for Nike.
Next came Dr. Angus and his big burger diet, and my personal favorite- Ugoff- the fashion designer creating a “pouch” for hot chicken and shrimp” for BK’s new salads. All of these had Internet components- something many “big” agencies still do as an afterthought. Then came the viral “Subservient Chicken” which every fast feeder now wants to copy and then the King mask- of which I won’t comment. But, this huge out burst of creative work has all been in a span of less than 2 years- totally unheard of in the ad world- and…
This is NOT how most clients get the most out of their marketing budget.
Most clients don’t have 300 million to spend. They depend on consistency of message on target. This is why an Apple ad today for the most part looks like an Apple ad of yesterday (please don’t remind me that they only have 2% of the PC market- and that if it wasn’t for the iPod the stock would still be hurting) or that Wal-Mart ads look like Wal-Mart ads. The idea is that if you can’t get enough frequency at least get repetition working for you. With small budgets like BMW motorcycles, the idea of staying on brand message is considered key. If you only have so much money, keep it consistent. This is why brands are so careful about staying in voice, on target with the right trade dress (look and feel). It is also why when you have a great tagline like “have it your way” or “the ultimate driving machine” or “just do it” it never goes out of style.
So- the question we posed at the beginning is do you have the right agency? No matter what you spend, your agency will tell you it’s not enough (except our agency) because their compensation is probably tied back to media billings – the stupidest way to pay an agency ever devised. The second question is, does your brand voice do what it’s supposed to (differentiate you from your competition and connect you like no other to your market)? Lastly, is your agency looking at every avenue they can to make you highly visible to your target market through every channel possible- including the Internet, guerrilla advertising, PR and your trade dress down to the way your stores look, your salespeople communicate and your company ethics? If not, you aren’t using the right agency- or getting the right return on your dollar. There is more to this- but it could be a whole book. You can call us to discuss how you can build your business using these ideas. One of the first things we’ll do is ask to look at your website statistics- and analyze where your customers are coming from. When was the last time your agency did that?

What do you think?