|OUCH. REMEMBER THE CUTE DORIS DAY GADGET with the glum ad campaign from the New York agency that I wrote about in my last issue (Aspiring Profusely, No. 12)? Well, not only did their campaign get killed after a few months, the product did tooand even the agency where I worked on it was found floating in the river, not long after.
Mind you, I dont blame all that on the New York guys creative. But the very fact that everyone involved is now dead gives us some freedom to take another look at what we did thenand ponder what we might have done differently. Everybody talks about thinking out of the box on projectsI can think of at least three occasions on Doris when we had the opportunity and a clearcut choice to do so. Could one of them have snatched victory from the jaws of bankruptcy? Lets run the film again, and you make the call:
Do you: a) decide that this is the perfect moment for a coup, tell the client they need a new vision and youve got vision like Wal-Mart has plus-sized sweat pants, and try to steal the whole account away from the mainline guys; or b) stick to your supporting-media turf?
Demo Derby: Focus groups tell you people want to try the product before theyll buy it online. Youve created a Web demo, but you dont want to wait for people to visit it. So you create a CD-ROM mailing that depicts the product as a trendy fashion accessory a la J. Crew (thus starting to give it some, ahem, brand personality). The client likes it, the focus groups love it. But... theres no money in the budget for something like that. Maybe next year.
Do you: a) lean hard on the client to take dollars from the print and give them to you, as their one chance to build some awareness and make some sales right now; or b) wait for next year?
Leggo My Logo: For some reason the product doesnt actually have its name on it anywhere. You think to yourself, what would Apple do in this situation? Theyd make stickers so people could personalize the product in their own way, and thus make itoops, herthat much more of a real person to them. In fact, Apple would do a hundred little guerrilla marketing things like that, because theyd understand that what youre really creating here isnt a brand, its a cult, and cults are created in the grass roots, not in mass media.
Do you: a) divert resources into exploring this uncharted area of guerrilla marketing strategies; or b) keep your focus on traditional marketing priorities like supporting the print?
Its hard not to keep coming back to Apple as the standard by which to judge new branding efforts. Steve Jobs famously described Apples mission as being insanely great; we might have had a great product in Doris, but we werent willing to embrace the other side of the equation. We marketed her the conventional way in the usual media, and kept to our place beneath the mainline agency, and tried to start a revolution by coloring inside the lines. We were nothing if not saneit says so right on our tombstone.
Now proudly shoved in a drawer: two Finalists, London International Advertising Awards, for Covalex print.