In this episode of The Pitch we have a women’s fashion retailer based in NYC as the client:
C. Wonder is a shopping destination that transports women into a world of luxury and surprises. Created to deliver brightness to every corner of life, C. Wonder offers an entirely new retail experience: clothing, accessories and home decor products of outstanding quality and astonishing value in a setting that excites and inspires.
via Our Story.
And two New York agencies battling for the assignment: an innovative, thoughtful disruptive campaign. The client says “I want you to give me what the girl who walks into my store wants” in the preview, which already hints of a confrontational style client.
Background on the client – this is the brainchild of J. Christopher Burch, the venture capitalist who was married and is now divorced from the fashion designer Tory Burch- who has her own chain of stores selling her upscale “preppy-Bohemium” styles- which apparently appeal to a wide cross-section of women and have the Oprah stamp of approval. Her X- still sits on her companies board of directors, but is now going head to head with her- and other high end fashion houses with C. Wonder stores. Apparently the C. either stands for his first name- or if you watch this Bloomberg video, for made in China.
Fashion is fickle business- that lends itself to bold, stunk driven advertising. Ogilvy famously added intrigue to the Hathaway shirt brand with a guy with an eye-patch, Kenneth Cole and Benneton have both done in your face politically incorrect advertising, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie have both been questioned for taste with campaigns that resembled kiddie porn and George Lois put Tommy Hilfiger on the map by comparing his fashion to the well known greats. Fashion is THE business for agencies that can come up with the so called “big idea” and present it confidently.
In this episode we have WomanKind which we met briefly in Episode 5 for Frangelico when the Ad Store guys went over to visit to test their “sweet spot” concept with women- who quickly told them that it’s a feminine hygiene product. The ECD of the Ad Store is married to the CEO of Womankind. You can follow them on Twitter @womankind A perfectly competent agency, like Muse of the last episode who was just a multi-cultural shop, they wrap their agency as a specialist in advertising to women- a one trick pony. Even their tagline is “profit from the wisdom of women” which should mean they’re great for this assignment- only the client isn’t a woman- it’s a man- Mr. Burch, who doesn’t seem like he’ll be an easy guy to work with.
DIGO Brands is the abbreviation of DiMassimo Goldstein which has been around since 1996. This agency has no problem with ego, their site exudes chutzpa with lines like this:
Growth is driven. Working side-by-side with a who’s who of world-changing entrepreneurs, we’ve learned that driving change is crucial to growth. Those in the driver’s seat at ambitious organizations appreciate our dashboard of growth-driving services. They rely on us to explore and chart new frontiers of technology, media and culture through Brand-Driven Acquisition, Direct and Digital Marketing, Innovation, Product Development, Customer Marketing and Retention, Brand-Driven Conversations.
They quote the magazine “Fast Company” on their home page calling them “One of the foremost world changing agencies” and they, along with Womankind have no problems beating their own drums about being on “The Pitch”- but, these guys give us a bit more than most have with their own opinion of the whole media circus and industry disdain that comes with the show in their post about the show which is worth reading. They’ve climbed a bit on the fame ladder with their “Tappening” campaign- to make consumers think twice about drinking bottled water. Looking though their client list/work- we spot some campaigns we’ve seen and lots of clients we know. In the battle of the agencies- these guys have done great work for clients that Womankind could only dream about. Comparing portfolios- it’s DIGO is Goliath and Womankind is David- without a slingshot. You can follow Mark DiMassimo as the voice of DIGO @MarkDimassimo on Twitter- or read his blog”@speed blog” http://www.digobrands.com/go/ which currently is throwing 404 errors.
After last weeks first correct prediction we think we’re on a roll- mostly based on the one line out of the preview where Mr. Burch is asking if the creatives are in the pitch conference and it looks like Womankind is at the wrong end of that stare down. Add in that these women don’t seem to have the kind of spines or egos to stand up to Mr. Made In China Burch- which should be no problem for the boys team at DIGO - we’re calling it for DIGO, and it should be by knockout.
Personality has been used in marketing for a long time- what would Frosted Flakes be without “Tony the tiger” or Michelin would just be another tire company without Bibendum- or Nike without it’s celebrity athlete endorsers. Apple owns cool design, as do Oxo, Good Grips, Alessi, etc. The brand Craftsman stands for lifetime warranty and strength. We’ve infused brands with personality for years- but, the company- the people, from the way your employees answer the phone- to what they wear- to your packaging- what does it say about your company.
For a long time- we were afraid to show emotion- to have a face- being faceless was synonymous with being big- and everyone wanted to be big. Oh, we’d always be careful to be multi-cultural and politically correct- to the point of boredom, but- finally, companies like Virgin, Google, Zappos, Southwest all broke the mold and let people be people again.
I highly recommend the book “Personality not included” by Rohit Bhargava from Ogilvy. The Cliff’s note version:
Chapter 1 – Faceless used to work because big meant credible. This is no longer true
Chapter 2 – Accidental spokespeople are speaking for your brand – Embrace them
Chapter 3 – Uniqueness plus Authenticity plus Talkability equals personality. Use the UAT Filter
Chapter 4 – Backstories establish a foundation of credibility. You need one.
Chapter 5 – Fear of change leads to barriers. Finding your authority overcomes them
Chapter 6 – Personality moments are everywhere and unexpected, but you must spot them
The more we learn about building brands at The Next Wave- the more we’re convinced of two things, that this book keeps hammering home- the old adage that “People do business with people they like” is foremost- and, brand loyalty has to be earned everyday- and that the costs of acquiring new customers is so much greater than keeping existing ones- that doing things that create the love (talkability) should be a key part of every companies brand strategy.
What kind of tools do you have to keep close to your customers? What do you do to “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” in your company? Are your ads just beating your chest- or are they sharing your secrets sauce? What makes your company interesting?
If you are struggling with these questions, read Rohit’s book- and then give us a call. We’d love to discuss it with you.
There is a reason we’re not “The Next Wave Advertising” or even say we’re an ad agency (unless forced into a corner so that people know what little mental box to check off). It’s because back in 1988 we knew advertising was already dying.
What they taught us in “marketing” and in “advertising” was that it’s all about deliver a product to match up the consumers needs with our products and services. Only one small problem in our eyes- consumers who had unlimited choice and the entire globe to buy from- and an abundance of information aren’t rational- they are emotional.
The nice science of the “4p’s” didn’t work. It wasn’t Product, Place, Price, Promotion” - it was what makes me happy. Selling was out- stories were in. People activated when charismatic leaders put on great performances- just look at what Steve Jobs did with Apple- and has refined over the years.
That Apple computer had a position called “Evangelist” was the writing on the wall- not a VP of sales- but a fracking Evangelist. Which would you rather have on your business card?
We thought the most cogent explanation of business to date was one from Peter Drucker- that business only had two tool- marketing (in the broad sense) and innovation- hence our name.
But our methodology was all Apple- it was style with substance. It was stories and sales. It was more about “In Search of Excellence” - the first mega-business best seller book by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman, than about marketing and advertising- we wanted customers to delight in the process of buying things.
One of our hero’s is still David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy advertising- and even though he died in 1999, with the epitaph “I’d like to be remembered as a copywriter who had some big ideas” his firm lives on- and is still generating big ideas for big clients.
Recently, they posted their new take on the 4ps- which they believe as given way to the 4E’s- and we concur:
from Product to Experience
from Place to Everyplace
from Price to Exchange
from Promotion to Evangelism
EXPERIENCE Discover and map out the full Customer Journey on your own brand – in your own country.
Develop your knowledge of new media and channels the way a chef masters new ingredients. Try new things – do something that doesn’t start with TV or print.
EXCHANGE Appreciate the value of things, not just the cost. Start by calculating the value of your customers – and what their attention, engagement and permission are worth to you.
EVANGELISM Find the passion and emotion in your brand. Inspire your customers and employees with your passion.
via The 4Ps Are Out, The 4Es Are In | Ogilvy & Mather.
The reality is that even the best advertising only brought customers to your door- you still had to do the final sale. The best ad agencies in the world now tell their clients- we’re not only going to do your ads- but we’re even going to tell you how to ask for the sale- how to answer the phone. It’s why Burger King has finally found an ad agency in Crispin Porter + Bogusky that’s delivered the kind of growth that BK hadn’t gotten out of the traditional agencies they’d worked for previously. Pull through the drive thru- and the voice on the speaker will say “nice order” after you finish. Crispin has even helped with product development- typically not a part of what an ad agency does.
The move from a media creation and buying agency to one as partner and consultant has been difficult for many agencies and clients alike. With the overload of media and messages that the typical customer experiences everyday- there is one thing that will always outperform any ad: an amazing experience with your product or service.
So before the next meeting with your ad agency- instead of asking what the next ad is going to look like- maybe it’s time to discuss what the next customer should experience- because that’s where the money changes hands if it’s done right.
Had a lovely meeting with a student to review her portfolio today. She’s a few months away from graduation and the el-crapo job market and I’m afraid the years of honing her skills haven’t given her a sharp knife to cut her way through.
Yes, knowing how to use tools like the Adobe Creative Suite is important, but knowing how to use ones brain is why someone wants to hire you.
So, here it it is, in real simple words: your job is to make me more money than I pay you as your boss. And my job is to make my clients more money from the money they spend on advertising/marketing/design/development etc.
Because, advertising only costs if it doesn’t work.
Yep, there you have it. The essentials of business, all in one nice, easy to digest post.
You’ll see those words all over this site (unlike other ad agencies) who talk about all kinds of other things that sound good to MBAs, but, when we get right down to it- we do things to help sell stuff. If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative, good or worth a dime to anyone.
How does a student need to prepare for that moment of terror when they walk in with their book and ask for someone to hire them, instead of all their other classmates?
Here’s a secret: you are the product. If you can’t sell you- how can you sell other peoples sugar water, netbooks or feminine hygiene products?
Just like any other creative brief, you better have done the research: what’s the industry, who are the leaders, what’s their claim to fame, what did they do better than their competition? If I get one more student through these doors who hasn’t heard of Bernbach, Ogilvy, Chiat, Clow, Fallon, Wieden, Bogusky, Rand, Pentagram, Duffy, etc. I should start cutting off ears and sending them back to their schools. How can you teach this business and not talk about those who’ve changed the industry?
And as much as we like to think it’s all pretty pictures with snappy words, you better understand something about how money is made. What’s a business model, what’s the distribution channel, how does your client make their money? Is it the razors or the blades? How can you make your client money if you don’t know what makes them money? Being able to focus on the right thing, is the first step in making them more money than they pay you. Read a few business books- get cozy with Peter Drucker or Tom Peters. Know what’s made to stick and who is a linchpin. (I should be putting in links galore here- but, I’m already giving you the secret tools to your success, you should have to work a bit).
Last but not least, the job market you are preparing yourself for isn’t the one that’s there today, but the one for when you graduate and beyond. You better be tapped into what’s the next big thing- not what’s the big thing right now. Hint: Web 2.0 is already well established- start thinking about what happens when your phone has the bandwidth and speed of a desktop machine and is always on and connected. If you don’t know how to run a content management system, optimize for search, build community or produce video don’t even think of graduating yet.
And when you do go in to interview for that job, and you’re sitting across from an old guy like me (face it, men still rule in advertising) it shouldn’t be me interviewing you as much as it should be you interviewing me- because the first job you take will have a lot to do with how much you get to grow. Make sure the passion is still burning in your future boss as brightly as it’s burning within you, because it’s going to a take a super hot fire under your butt to add your name to the list of those who’ve come before and changed this business.
That’s what makes me get up every morning and love what I do. Because, as the saying goes, even a bad day in advertising beats a great day in anything else.
And that’s why you went to ad school in the first place? Isn’t it?
It’s becoming an epidemic, your competition does a “great ad” so we should “one up” them with something derivative.
Here is TBWA Chiat/Day’s original MacBook Air commercial introducing the super slim computer”
And, then Ogilvy does a response ad (much later) for Lenovo:
And while this may seem funny, it’s not really building the Lenovo brand, but reminding you of who was there first.
I heard a great quote the other day, “cover bands never change the world.”
The same thought applies to advertising.