The value of creativity

The value of creativity

Karl Lieberman and his creative partner, Brandon Henderson, had been working on the brief for Dos Equis beer for months and had work in production, when they were told to come up with more ideas, a mere two hours before a meeting with the client.

With 30 minutes to go, they landed on “The Most Interesting Man in the World” and his famous line, “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” The spots close with the signature sign-off: “Stay thirsty, my friends.” They were actually taking the brief, which they didn’t like, to an extreme- they didn’t believe that drinking beer made you interesting, but, that’s what the brief was searching for.

You can hear a bit of Karl’s story on this episode of the “A” list podcast, and read about it more on Ad Age.

The client didn’t love it at first. They fought over casting an older man to sell beer to millennials. Somehow, the idea made it through the “idiot forest” (an expression Lee Clow uses to describe the battle an idea has to run through to get to see the light of day) and became a meme.

It also sold a lot of beer, and made the actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, famous.

Luckily, Lieberman and Henderson weren’t just working on a project for time and materials pricing. The value of that idea and the amount of beer it sold, priceless (to steal another tagline from another great campaign.)

The creative brief was pretty similar to all beer briefs- brands make a statement about the drinker, young folks still lean on these brand identifiers to help project their own personal brand. The same type of brief led Crispin Porter + Bogusky to devise “Twin Label Technology” for Molson- an ad campaign that was more than just a campaign, for Molson and one of our favorite examples of true Marketing • Innovation. This is the beauty of creativity in solving business problems. Do research, develop insight, and then find new ways to connect, often using what we call a “fundamental truth,” to create an emotional response that evokes trust and creates lust.

It was years before Nike had “Just do it.” Yet to many, it defines the brand. Three words took years to come up with. Those three words changed the brand forever.

For BMW, many would say “The Ultimate Driving Machine” was the perfect tagline- yet, for a few years,  brand management moved away from it- before bringing it back.

When advertising is done right, it looks easy, it feels comfortable, and it immediately makes a connection with a consumer. That’s the value of creativity, and it should never be valued by time and materials.




Marketing ideas your ad agency probably won’t give you

There has been a long running debate about how an agency should be compensated- with the old model based on media commissions failing both clients and agencies for the last 50 years. And in the age of Chief Marketing Officers rotating out every 27 months at huge salaries- and little demonstrable impact- one should wonder where the real values are in marketing. But the sad thing is- we’ve known all along where the value is:

Marketing value is in the ideas

It’s that simple. Big ideas, the lasting ones, bring value far beyond what the agency could charge. What was the value to “Just do it” to Nike? Or “The ultimate driving machine” to BMW? Did an agency get compensated for the value of the idea- doubtful. If you hired The Next Wave on an hourly basis- and we came up with the greatest tagline ever written for your business- like “The first place to look for every last thing” as we did for Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet- and it took 10 hours at $100 an hour- were we compensated fairly? Unfortunately- yes and no.

Ping Logo largeBig ideas that won’t come from most ad agencies

Recently, we got a viral email in our inbox. You know the kind- forwarded to everyone and their mother. But this one was actually verified by and made the company look good to an awful lot of people.
It seems the golf club maker Ping, has been donating custom fitted golf clubs to severely disabled veterans.

Here is a video about how this program affects the vets:

While the first reaction is so they donated some golf clubs, you can see the dramatic impact this program has from the video.

It also strikes a deep emotional trigger in potential customers- be they veterans or those who consider themselves patriotic- this is the kind of emotional messaging that advertising has a hard time buying- but, through a donation program Ping is probably getting more free goodwill and brand allegiance than the cost of the clubs they donate.

Ping doesn’t mention its free program on it’s site-  it does have a veterans and troop discount program in effect now- it’s on their site: but, it’s doubtful that they will run ads on National TV bragging about it- like the Pepsi Refresh program- they just do the right thing and probably reap a lot more benefit from it- see these google search results: Ping Golf clubs to Veterans

Walmart logo largeHow Walmart embraces RV owners

Everyone loves the idea that Mom and Dad bought an RV and are seeing the country. But Walmart sees this as an opportunity to reach out to one particular community and win them over. From the WalMart site:

Can I park my RV at a Walmart store? [Back to top]

While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.

via Most Frequently Asked Questions.

It was on page 2 of the search results from Google- since so many RV sites point this out. Of course, Walmart is counting on the RV’rs to stop in and restock, but the reality is that this idea gets them a lot of free publicity. Most ad agencies won’t make these suggestions because there is nothing in it for them- and many clients don’t think there is value in an agency talking about business process or policy as part of the marketing efforts. If you relegate your “Idea people” to only working on “advertising” you may be missing a whole lot of good ideas.

Do you have examples of ideas that add value to your brand that an agency can’t put on an invoice as a line item?

Share them below in comments- thanks.