I’d been looking for a phrase for years to describe the worst people in any agency.
The ones who simply show creative work to a client rather than sell it to a client.
Those passionless, clueless, dead sparks who kill great work shortly after it has taken its first breath because they don’t know how to sell.
Selling is persuasion.
There is the pre-amble build up.
A growing excitement.
A sense of urgency to arrive at the point where the work is revealed in all its glory.
A real, genuine love and belief that the idea/s is/are brilliant and couldn’t possibly fail to blow the lucky lucky client away.
Knowledge that the work is bang on brief, incredibly well thought through and an outstanding answer to the client’s marketing problem.
Most of all, a real sense of pride in the achievement of everyone back at base who are desperately eager to hear the news from the presentation.
If the presenter does not feel this, he or she should either a) not present something they don’t believe in 110% or b) quit their job – they’re just not cut out for it.
I have had the immense pleasure and satisfaction of working with some fabulous Client Services folk (the people who have often presented mine and my colleagues work).
The ones whose faces light up when they see a great idea.
One guy I worked with actually used to do a little dance when he really loved a headline, an image, a script, a single brilliant thought… Amazing.
Sometimes, they even see thinking in the concepts that you didn’t even see yourself.
They can’t wait to present to the client, desperate to get out of the door, share the work, share the glory.
I love these people.
We all love these people.
Then there have been The Others.
They could be showing the world’s greatest ad but they’d never know.
In fact, they know very little.
To them, it’s a just job.
If the client says yes, nice one.
If the client says no, they’ll just get the creatives to do another one.
After all, they didn’t have to sweat blood dreaming up the idea.
No sleepless night for them.
We all know who they are.
The ones we trust with our precious babies but find out to our detriment that they are mindless killers.
The ones that ‘Couldn’t sell beer to an alcoholic’.
P.S. This quote actually came from a Client Services guy who I posed the question to.
And he’s one who sparkles and is energized by great ideas.
So you know which category I put him in.
Earlier this year, I became a client.
Don’t worry, I didn’t move to the dark side.
No, a couple a guys asked me how to market their new website, www.LeavingPressie.com
Now, you can give away ideas all you like but this time I thought I’d actually like to be involved.
I’d be toying with the idea of creating a brand and bringing it to market for months.
This seemed like a good opportunity – one that already had traction.
To cut a long story short, I had a big idea for how to get large scale PR coverage for launch.
As you might imagine, LeavingPressie.com is a site developed to offer a one-stop-shop for leaving gifts for colleagues.
So my theory was that you only needed to know it existed to consider purchasing from it in future.
Facebook was a natural way to speak to a very large number of people cost-effectively and quickly.
From the inception of the idea to launch was only 4 weeks – due the the relevance of the big idea.
Setting up the Facebook Group was simple.
Producing Facebook ads and targeting them was simple too.
I put my money where my mouth is and started running the ads.
The subject matter for the Group was contentious – love or hate it, everyone had an opinion.
The end goal was an event in London.
People started to sign up to the Group.
This was exciting.
You could see all the stats on Facebook and see what worked and when, continually refining the ads.
People were participating on the Group’s Wall.
I posted entertaining pictures and comments.
So did others.
Friends Tweeted about it.
We quickly reached 100, 200, 400 then 500 members.
At 600 members, another related Group noticed us and mentioned us to their 120,000 followers.
We zoomed to 1,000 shortly after that, then up to 1,250.
When I then created and advertised the event, the floodgates opened.
Within the space of 10 days, over 6,000 people joined the party Group with over 1,200 registered attending the event.
I rushed up to London to confirm with the landlord that his pub would be deluged with people.
He was delighted!
I printed cards, banners, stickers, wrapping paper, etc, etc.
Then the big day came.
But the people didn’t………………………….
Even during the evening, a further 100 people said they were attending.
But only a handful showed up.
And all the paparazzi waiting outside for the 9pm march, disappeared when we didn’t show.
Oh, yes, I’d done a big PR job – inviting the world and his wife.
Quite a few things hadn’t gone according to plan that day but the numbers were a real shock.
What I and my business partners began to realise was the gap between Facebook and reality.
Since that fateful evening, I’ve had many discussions with many clever people as to why this happened.
It appears that social networking sites encourage people to live more exciting lives.
The virtual you actually has a brilliant, adventurous, action-packed, adrenalin-fueled life.
But in reality, few do.
You can live vicariously through your online persona or avatar but it rarely crosses over into real life.
Read all about your countless ‘friends’ and they’re all doing amazing things.
Dig a little deeper and you wonder how they fit it all in.
The chances are, they don’t.
Now simply ticking ‘Attending’ means the ‘other’ you will be there, partying like an animal for you.
I have come to the conclusion that if you want someone to simply click click click, then Facebook is wonderful.
With almost 3million impressions for just over £300, that’s a lot of exposure for little outlay.
But remember, you’re talking to the virtual person not the real person.
So if everything you want them to do is online, bingo – Facebook is an amazing way to get the ball rolling.
Getting to the real person to really do something in real life is much more difficult.
I’ll definitely use Facebook again.
But be very wary of assuming virtual does lead to reality.
P.S. If you do get a chance to check out www.LeavingPressie.com and email me feedback, we’ll give you a thank mention on the final site when it goes properly live. Thank you to all those who have already submitted your thoughts – really helpful, really appreciate it.
A couple of weeks ago, for the third year in succession, I hosted a table at my daughter’s school Careers Evening. Along with around 80 or so other parents representing the same number of different professions, I met and talked to a steady flow of teenagers about what I do for a living.
It’s always a pleasure talking about something you love. Enthusiasm for one’s metier. I don’t get to see any of the other tables as I’m usually surrounded by loads of kids and their eager mums and dads or both. My favourite from the evening was a girl who lit up wen she told me about how much she enjoys the TV ads in the breaks. I told her this was a good sign. (I remember my excitement and fascination watching John Webster’s ‘Points of view’ for The Guardian years ago.)
Now that I’ve spent nearly 20 years doing this whole marketing/advertising thing to earn a living, it’s easy to forget that I was once one of those faces looking in and wondering what goes on in there. Yes, you can do lovely work in lovely places with lovely people and earn lovely large sums of money but I often forget to tell these kids how incredibly hard you have to work to achieve this. But then, do they really want to know? Would they really understand? How to explain the reason why you’ve worked days/evenings/weekends for as long as you can remember to someone who thinks that an hour of homework every night is hell?
What I did tell my followers was that I’d help give them a few pointers to show them what agencies are like and what goes on there. So here are some books to start with. All very good, the first one magnificent – around £40 altogether: (Just click on all the purple words – they’re links)
The Fundamentals of Creative Advertising
Then there’s the truly outstanding bi-monthly magazine that showcases some the world’s best work: Lürzer’s Archive A bit pricey maybe but always an absolute pleasure to receive.
In terms of brilliant blogs to follow, read every entry of the genius Dave Trott‘s masterpiece. When you want a job in advertising, you want to work with the best. He is the best.
As far as Tweets go, follow the guy who wrote Hey Whipple – Luke Sullivan – another superstar.
And check out this little treat from some students. Quite special and only a few years away for some of you kids.
If you get a chance, have a read of some of the stuff this guy has to say. He’s been a sponge to advertising, marketing and design for such a long time and have learned from some exceptional people (Steve Harrison, author of How to do better work, probably the best). He has a fair few awards to his name. Has run his own agency. Lectures regularly. Blah. Blah. Blah. So he likes to think he knows his trade pretty well.
Or perhaps this.
What do you think?
And, blimey, if you’ve taken all that in and are still interested, drop me a line at [email protected] for ideas on courses to get you started.
It’s hard but it’s fun.
Always nice to get a bit of recognition. Years of working with the über-talented Jonathan Knowles has meant I have a back catalogue of outstanding shots for corporate and charity clients, the latter being showcased in the December/January AOP magazine.
I took these photos a while ago. Coming across them again today made me remember how much I loved them. Olivia, Poppy and Harry – shot with my outstanding Nikon D80. I’ve taken thousands of pics with it, the quality is stunning. Many of the shots I’ve included in the hardback books I’ve made via Blurb were taken with it. Big fan.
I’ve won awards for my work every year since 2001 (a few previous to this but every consecutive year since 01). I thought I’d missed out last year when I was recently told of an albeit slightly obscure one I’d won after all. Best exhibition stand at a Swedish show by The Swedish Association of Advertising Agencies.
It was designed to dramatise the benefit of a favourable exchange rate for Scandinavians to persuade them to visit Britain. Always nice to receive a accolades for one’s work.
So, you’re busting for the loo and you’ve no idea where there is one. Whip out your iPhone, tap on the new ToiletFinder UK app and it finds you your nearest public toilets. Not only that, you can upload ones that aren’t on there, thus growing the app and its usefulness. Nice eh? With the help of my friends at BeTomorrow, I produced this app for WaterAid to coincide with World Toilet Day (yes, there really is one!) – 19 November, 2 days time. Just launched, it not only finds you a loo, it highlights the need of proper sanitation for 2.6bn worldwide. If Apple can be persuaded, in the near future, you’ll also be able to donate simply to the charity via the app – just to say thank you for helping you out when you get caught out.
Must go now – I need a wee.
Whenever I speak to my creative teams these days about a brief, shortly after reading through the proposition, I always ask the same thing – how will you get people talking about it? You see, when people talk, the message is passed on – obvious really. And the more talked about something is, the more powerful it becomes, and the less money needed to promote it. I often wonder if we shouldn’t these days be spending less money on advertising and a whole lot more on PR.
When you look at the example of The Best Job in the World for the Queensland Tourist Board, there was a tiny ad spend, comparatively huge PR spend. Then an estimated £100m free publicity (£500m if you believe the hype) followed. Is meerkat a phenomenon because of the TV ads and website? This was PR’d to death. And if you read one of Dave Trott’s recent posts, you’ll see that one campaign’s success was less down to the great advertising, more the great PR story. So, find an angle to sell a product then find an angle to sell the sell.
Getting cut through in an obscenely crowded marketplace is insanely difficult but talk to the right people and they’ll shout from the rooftops – well, they’ll tap away in the blogs and Tweets. The point is, they’ll tell everyone they know if the story is a good one. It’s like hearing a great joke – you can’t wait to pass it on. But you always choose you audience wisely.
For one of our clients, we sent out a request for people’s favourite memories. A bit like the current Cadbury’s Wispa Gold campaign where anyone can send it messages, we received hundreds of amazing memories, some by post, some on the microsite. The notes we sent out to the 33,000 direct mail audience came in packs of 10. The recipients were encouraged to ask friends and family for their favourite memories too. Many did and some returned 6 or 7 notes with separate hand-written memories on. Speak to one person, see if they’ll talk to 9 others. 33k becomes a potential 330k simply by asking people to ask. Wispa Gold have 100 times the budget but the principle is the same – get people talking, get people involved.
So, which campaign have you talked about recently?
It’s always a pleasure to think up a brand new website. But it’s always a real pain when it’s for the company you’re working at… Like the annual horror of the agency Christmas card, there are few things more onerous, time consuming and difficult to get right than your own site. And when you take a look at most agency’s sites, they’re full of corporate waffle and unintelligible nonsense. So I thought, why not let the site write itself? And everyone in the company can be part of growing it – after all, they’re part of growing the company. So, just like the lovely Twitter, each and every one of the staff at Domain can ‘Tweet’ to their heart’s content and it’ll appear on the site. Short bursts, dip-in-dip-out-style sound bites. Contemporary, fun, ever-changing, inclusive and interesting – show me another agency website that can tick all these boxes.
The background image changes as often as we like. The same with the featured work. Case Studies are about to flood the site. As is an all-singing, all-dancing explanation of the Experts in ROI positioning I developed for the place. Well, so long as it fits in 160 characters that is! And here are a couple of ads I done recently, as featured on there, plus the lovely Alzheimer’s Research Trust’s Memories Matter website we built for them.
See what you think. Click here.