Winning awards is nice. Changing the world is better.

We enter the American Advertising Federation Awards each year to support our local AAF chapter. We believe a strong, local professional association, where peers gather to work to advance our field is critical. Unfortunately, the local Dayton AAF Chapter banned us a few years ago, without more than a 2 line unsigned note. Since we’ve always participated with the Cincinnati chapter too, we’re a member there and entered our work in their show.

Typically, Cincinnati is a much tougher competition, with much larger agencies and larger clients (like P&G)- and larger budgets. They also tend to choose higher caliber judges. This year, we were awarded 2 Gold’s and a Silver. Gold’s automatically advance to the Regionals, and Silvers may be advanced for an additional entry fee. We paid to advance our silver, and we got word that our Gold’s won Silver at the regional level. 51 awards were given at the regionals- including 15 to Cincinnati chapter, the most of any of the seven cities in our district. We paid to advance our Silvers to see how they do on the National Level and came up goose-eggs.

The two campaigns were in the political advertising category: Surgeon Generals Warning #BLM, and BLM- Police Rebrand. We’re very proud of the work, and the recognition it’s getting, but would prefer if our country would make this type of messaging unnecessary. We would love to work with National Police Organizations on a national stand down/retraining effort. We say this, on the 4th day of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd.

Here are the winning entries:

Surgeon General’s Warning

BLM Police Rebrand:

We’re not done with these ads, and will continue to help communities come together to address serious issues of civil rights, voting rights, environmental protection, workers rights and health care for all. We’ve founded 2 non-profits to reform politics as we know them, on both a local and national level. Reconstructing Dayton exists to improve our own community, and to test the policys and ideas of The Modern Policy Institute. This is not what most ad agencies do as part of their business mission. It’s why we consider ourselves an Activist Agency.

Transforming the marketing formula

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.

The Next Wave goes to see the next wave in Advertising: The Ohio University ad clubs winning AOL presentation

One of the things that separates great ad agencies from the rest, is that they are made up of “ad people” instead of “people in advertising.” True ad people, take their Friday afternoon off to go see the students who won the American Advertising Federation 2008 winners of the National Student Advertising Competition instead of drinking beer or heading home.

The OU teams planbook cover

The OU teams planbook cover

The Next Wave was the only ad agency in attendance today when the Greater Dayton Advertising Association invited the 2008 Ohio University team who won our District- and then the national competition with their strategy on marketing AOL Instant Messenger or AIM. From the AAF site is this description of the competition:

the students conducted primary research to study AOL’s target market, including media habits and competitors. The team from Ohio University focused their initial research on how adults ages 18–24 use the AOL Instant Messenger service and its competing social networking Web sites. From there, they were able to determine their objectives and strategies to ultimately design a campaign with the goal of increasing usage by 15 percent. The overall creative strategy for Ohio University’s campaign was to add tabs to the currently existing AOL buddy list. Each tab would link directly to a different Web site, representing the new facets they wanted to add to enhance AOL’s social media capabilities, i.e. a social networking site, music, etc.

AAF-June 9, 2008

The team did some of the same things that The Next Wave does for their clients: coming up with new products or services that enhance the customer experience. Their implementation of a flexible tab bar to the familiar AIM buddy list, not only added functionality to the software service, in became a key part of the campaign tagline of “Keep your tab on _______________”

The integration between their product differentiation, their media plan and the execution strategy was well thought out and reasonable to implement, although the budget that AOL set at $25 million actually gave them too much cash to work with (considering Leo Burnett relaunched Altoids with less than half that amount).

The one thing that creeps me out about these team presentations, that I wish the NASC would stop encouraging- is the style of alternating sentences by team members into one complete canned monologue. I’ve written about this before from when I judged the district 3 year ago. If there are real agencies that do this- as opposed to allowing each expert from an agency present their part of the pitch individually, I’ll eat my kneaded eraser. Some schools even put theater majors up to present- thinking this is some kind of performance instead of a serious business presentation.

There is a complete press release by OU online which includes a informal video of the winning team discussing the process of getting this presentation together. OU were the finalists that were doing this from their club- not as a capstone course, which says even more about the strength of their concepts. Also, it means that the core presenters were all Juniors or below, leaving them room for a return visit next year. The team presenters were: Ryan Dease, Victor Rasgaitis, Liz Follet, Lauren Miller, and Katelyn Mooney. And although they forgot to bring their planbook, which counts as more of their score than the presentation in competition, their advisor, Professor Craig Davis promised he would e-mail me a PDF (thanks in advance Craig). Hopefully, he’ll allow me to publish it here too.

We took our entire office to this free event at the School of Advertising Art in Kettering, where the OU team had presented to the SAA students earlier. It’s too bad that no local school has entered the competition in past years, maybe this year will see a team from SAA. And while The Next Wave was the only agency there in strength today (only about 5 other firms were represented at all from Dayton) which is one of the reasons we believe we are an agency of ad people, not just people in advertising.

Another Dayton ad agency re-brands

In an effort to keep our list of agencies that aren’t The Next Wave up to date, we’re letting you know that Tricom is rebranding:

Marketing firm changes name - Dayton Business Journal:
After 24 years as TriCom Marketing and Communications Agency, the company is changing its name.

Renamed as TriComB2B, the new brand is designed to stress the agency’s business-to-business expertise in marketing products and services, especially to industrial manufacturers and technology-based companies.

“The re-branding of our agency is a unique opportunity to emphasize our strengths to the industrial and technical markets we serve,” said Chris Eifert, Vandalia-based TriCom principal, in a news release. “With our new brand, we are building a distinctive identity that will allow us to more easily attract clients.”

Other company changes include a new tagline, “Smart. Strategic. Technical,” a redesigned logo and a newly updated Web site. All changes went into effect Tuesday morning. The Web site will provide clients with access to digital asset management for projects among other features.

TriComB2B has 24 employees and provides services such as branding, developing and implementing plans for marketing and communication, public relations, electronic media and trade-show services. Clients include Dimco-Gray Co., Accutemp and Rittal Corp.

After 18 years in business, The Next Wave doesn’t need to rebrand. And we’re still the agency in Dayton that promises to make you more money than you pay us. If you landed here while looking for TriCom, it’s because we’re the ones who fully understand Web 2.0.