Friday, December 21, 2012

They say people don't read anymore, it appears the don't write either!

Interesting Media Idea from STCars

Singapore's largest second hand car dealer doing co-op ads with drink and drive public safety announcements.

"If you need to, we can help you sell your car when you have no use for it"....ha ha ha . . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I guess one man's icon of progress is another man's car showroom opening...

If only consumers followed our work like we'd like them to...

What I learned sitting on the client side pitch team

I had the pleasure of sitting on the client side of a big pitch this year. Fascinating. I wish I'd done it years ago as it gave me a birds eye view on the process and let me really see what clients go through. Anyhow, I collected some thoughts over the process and thought I'd share. I don't think any of these refer to anyone in particular, so hopefully no-one will get bent out of shape - it's more of a general set of observations. If you are bent out of shape, tough, this is a blog! Besides, I think we've all done most of these at one point or another. Enjoy.

Here goes, in no particular order.

1. "Bob Smith says hi!" isn't convincing as a post pitch moment of connection.

2. Memorability vs. brevity - you need to think about where you present in the order of agencies and adjust accordingly (go first, be VERY memorable, go last be VERY brief because we're bored already).

3. Even if you think our brief sucks, we don't want to hear your +/- 10% improvement, just suck it up and move on.

4. We have no idea what you mean by your proprietary tools.

5. We like that you're proud of your work, but don't present it like you've just invented electricity or split the atom.

6. Listening to pitches is easier than writing them.

7. We make fun of you a lot more than you make fun of us (and we get to do it while you're presenting).

8. You're not the only ones who decide if people suck in the first 5 minutes.

9. Spit it out man..enough with the set up.

10. Spend a whole lot more time prepping your Q&A - think presidential debate!

11. We know you spoke to consumers, everyone does, just try not to make it so obvious they all happen to work in your office.

12. Now that everyone does a manifesto video, maybe tone down the dramatic setup - we all have iMovie and a camera phone.

13. There's so many new sexy things to talk about, but how about not forgetting 'asking for the business' (which I always find a bit of a cringe) and maybe explaining what you'd do in the first 90 days.

14. Facebook and Twitter isn't a digital strategy.

15. If you're going to wear something culturally connected to the country, don't button it up over your shirt and tie.

16. Don't welcome people back when they come back from the bathroom - there's a chance they just threw up and feel very self conscious (I nearly did on the last day courtesy of a very odd lunch).

17. Be more flexible, if the client is flagging/dying, do what YOU TELL US, bend with the process and listen to your consumer (US). Step it up!

18. Cutesky still works - pitch drama is far too under-used in an increasingly digital world.

19. Leave behinds never get read, BUT, they do make an impression - go big, but go light (size/impact over content).

20. Spend 1% of your thinking trying to incentivize clients to close their FKIN laptops. Gameify the mother! Make it fun and/or a stigma - use your audience to police their colleagues. Same goes for leaving the room for calls and bathroom breaks.

21. Follow up with a 1 page summary of your approach - that way, 10 pitches later when they are struggling to evaluate a presentation they can barely remember they have a 'Cliff Notes' of your work to refer to.

22. Be original - imagine you saw your idea for the first time and think "is this worthy?"

23. Do your homework. If there's a risk that your entire idea is potentially floored, dump it. Don't rely on being able to fend off objections in the 5 min Q+A, it's over, walk away.

24. Stay awake and try to stay off your phones.

25. If you're audience is losing the will to live, think on your feet. Stop. Confront. Change the conversation. What have you got to lose? You were already dead. Change the presentation into an intervention! Who knows, you might make it in as an outlier/a curiosity!

26. Be careful who you’re snippy to in the company cafe checkout queue before the pitch they might be a key decision maker!

27. Tell me much less about what you know about what I already know and tell me lots more about what you know that I don’t.

28.Stop ticking boxes - “we’ve done our homework” - we presume that you’ve got this far by being relatively thorough.

29. Remember many in the room potentially aren't marketing people, so target your pitch to your 11yr old niece - make it understandable and cut the jargon.

30. Start with a non advertising idea and certainly not with a 34 frame storyboard :30 spot.

31. Never, even if you don’t believe it, open with a :60 TV spot. Start with the edgiest “street art” idea and move backwards!

32. Try to de-define your work and position EVERYTHING as multi purposeful content. Everything somehow has to work everywhere.

33. Know the river - ideally know who to give the bound book to before you walk in the room and be careful who you ask for advice - i.e. don’t give it to the oldest man in a tie when it’s the youngest woman in a dress who’s the marketing director.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook: A crazy individual, a congress of weak and scared politicians, an ever powerful gun lobby (NRA), a disappointing president, a population with a generally naively historical view of the constitution and way too many quiet voters. A recipe for absolutely nothing to change except for the atrocities to get gradually worse.

As if this whole thing wasn't bad enough. I hear these slippery politicians calling for "national dialogues" and a "thoughtful debate about the 2nd amendment" and "moving forward together". This is the same BS we heard last time and the time before. If you want a full sense of the shameful, situation listen to Fox News Sunday this week (with the fairly reasonable Chris Wallace - son of the genius Mike). You have senator Dick Durban being a total wuss and some other nameless faceless politician talking about the previous assault weapons ban with 940 weapons exempt. And then you've got Joe Lieberman, getting splinters in his ass as usual.

Here's some of the avoidance of the real issues that I heard.

1. It's all about mental health. Hmm. Well, we have crazy people here in Singapore and in Hong Kong, Shanghai and all over the world. But they don't shoot children by the score.

2. It's all about catching the crazies early - ie. it's your fault mum and dad! This from politicians who are taking a knife to healthcare and especially mental healthcare provisions. Also, how would the right react to the intrusion of the 'state' in determining if a healthy 19yr old was crazy - it's ok to wiretap Americans in the name of counter-terrorism, but don't come after my son who is innocent of a crime etc.

3. It's time to bash video games and movies again. But, remember, they have those in other countries too and they don't slay innocents to this extent. Could there possibly be something else.

Ahhh. Yes. The right to bear arms. Could it be the only common denominator in all this is the ease with which a baddie can get his paws on guns - and pretty serious ones. I think so and most honest people would have to agree.

That said, this debate has been had before and I believe nothing will change. But I do have a solution.

America is all about freedom and the constitution. So, let's go back to the constitution and treat everything else in it with the same amount of literalism, lack of historical perspective and give it the full respect as the second amendment gets.

Off the top of my head.

1. The founding fathers spoke not of the speed restrictions we now suffer from the federal government on our horses (i.e. cars). Therefore, I propose the stripping of all speed limits across the nation. Also, who is the government to tell me which side of the road I should canter upon.

2. Alcohol. Show me in the constitution where there are drink driving laws. Exactly. Drink up boys, strap yourselves in and drive home like maniacs. It's your constitutional right.

3. No mention of airports in the constitution, so, what's the need for security there. We should be free to go where we want without restriction from the federal government.

4. No mention of federal subsidies in the constitution so texan oil guys and mid west farmers, sorry it's over and we want our money back.

5. The right to bear arms is clear, so I'm buying shoulder mounter RPG's just in case. Any problem with that?

I could go on and on.

You get the idea - and I'm sure Bill Maher could do it 10 x better.

How come some of the constitution is iron clad and the rest isn't? How dumb are we not to see and accept that the real common denominator in all this is gun availability? I know crazy people who like train sets and aren't sociable and have sketchy backgrounds but, because they don't have assault rifles, I'm not especially worried.

Anyhow, watch Fox News Sunday and weep - and PLEASE vote Joe Lieberman out of politics, he's an embarrassment to both parties and it's time he tended to his garden more.

Ok. I'm done on this. My thoughts are with the families of the victims and especially those yet to come.

I leave you with Dick Durbin's tepid comments...and he's a democrat!

"We need to sit down and have a calm, quiet reflection on the 2nd amendment. Are there guns that really shouldn't be sold across America? Military assault weapons such as the one used in this horrific incident. Are there high capacity ammunition clips that really have no value whatsoever when it comes to sporting or hunting or even self defense? That a person could buy body armor and use it to protect themselves as they kill innocent people? We need to have a thoughtful calm reflection on these things and do it in the context of our second amendment." 

You know what Dick (I presume that's not a nickname) we don't need a thoughtful calm reflection, we need people like you, weak politicians afraid out of your skins of the NRA, we need you OUT OF THIS DISCUSSION and real compassionate brave people in your place to take action and stand up for the majority.

I fear little will come of all this. Obama seems as weak as ever on this one and his talk of really doing something seems no different from before. What a terrible state of affairs.

The only thing I think I can say in certainty is the founding fathers would be spinning in their graves if they thought the 2nd amendment led to this.

One last point. If I hear another right wing christian say how their prayers are with the families, I would simply ask them "what would Jesus do?". He certainly would't be with the gun lobby and, my guess is, he'd be strongly against the original 2nd amendment and it's dreadful frankenstein-like manifestation today. So, save your prayers until you learn to think about what Jesus would do and maybe take some action in his name.

Ok, I've got that out of my system.