Anecdotes from the right brain.
Pitching new business
in a 30' RV
The strategy is in the research.
Can a font lead to
Recharging the creative batteries.
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
IT’S HOW ALL PITCHES SHOULD
In a bold move that impressed the client and
tourism commissioners, we hit the road in an RV
to pitch the Mississippi Gulf Coast account.
Although this took place a few years ago, it's still a great story and it demonstrates a different kind of creative thinking; how you do things is sometimes as important as what you do.
We agreed that to have a chance of winning this account, we had to do something out of the ordinary. Sitting in our air-conditioned offices in Miami wouldn't teach us a thing about the Mississippi Gulf Coast, especially not the big part of their business which came from families in RVs. Most of us grew up camping and loved it, so we decided to hit road, learn some insight and do the pitch on location.
We left Miami in a 30-foot Winnebago RV, with nothing prepared for the June 18th presentation in Biloxi. But armed with layout pads, markers, laptops, cameras, junk food, and our lucky brainstorming T-shirts, we went to immerse ourselves in the area’s sights, sounds, tastes, and culture. Everything for the presentation was created on-board the RV after we arrived in Mississippi.
“What we did was unusual, but when you think about it, it’s the way all pitches should really be made. There’s far too much guesswork. Far too much reliance on hunches. We uncovered compelling facts, truths, and previously unconsidered tactics." Bruce Turkel said to Fast Company magazine afterwards.
"Others came here to see what we have to offer tourists but no one did it to the extent TURKEL Brands did,” Richer from the Mississippi CVB said. “They acted like tourists and wrote a creative plan while they were here.”
Research is terrific, but it usually doesn't give you the emotional insight and the full story of a place. We sat at RV parks with folding chairs, cold beer, guitars, and harmonicas and talked to the other guests staying there. People will talk more if you talk to them like that, in a relaxed setting - as long as you have the aforementioned cold beer. We got an impression of why people go to the area and why they’re going somewhere else.
We learned that people’s lives often were boring and they needed some excitement once in a while. They would go to the Gulf Coast for a change of pace, to spin the casinos’ slot machines and roulette wheels, to hit some golf balls, and to feel the sand between their toes. Based on that, we came up with the tagline Take your life out for a spin, and created ads, storyboards, and other elements to communicate that Mississippi Gulf Coast is the place to go when you want to get away from the daily humdrum.
Not only did we win the business, beating out 100+ agencies, we also learned a lot about our target audience, and that nothing beats eating craw fish on the beach as the sun is setting over the Gulf of Mexico.
The strategy is in the research.
A client came to me with a high quality Greek olive oil that he wanted to launch. We need a strategy, a name, a logo and a label design he said. After some research we found out that the Greeks eat the most olive oil in the world, and average 6.1 gallon a year to be exact. They also have one of the longest life expectancy, 81 years.
"81" There's your name, your strategy and your logo. We can build the brand around that fact.
Great design always starts with good research.
DAVID vs. GOLIATH
Small agency recruiting people from their famous neighbor.
TURKEL Brands is a small agency in Miami's Coconut Grove, located next to Crispin Porter & Bogusky (CP&B). Unlike them, we had a hard time attracting talented creative, and were in desperate need to staff up. They are the hot agency with plenty of talented people, and from what we had heard, many of them were fed up the long hours, the low pay and not being able to enjoy everything Miami has to offer.
I was the CD at that time and had a fine relationship with my fellow creatives across the street, I still figured that I would do everyone a favor, by luring a couple of young creatives to our agency by offering "sensible hours and better moohla." Afterall they have so many and more standing in line to work for them.
Over the next couple of weeks we put up signs and posters in their parking lot and around their office, reminding them, that there’s an alternative across the street. They were obviously removed quickly, but we were persistent and found spaces where they couldn't get to them, like an empty store space next to their offices and bus benches across the street from their entrance.
It was a fun and creative initiative that probably offended a few executives, but made a lot of people smile – and was probably the reason why our HR manager's phone started to ring a bit more.
When we learned that the creative department was working on Independence Day, we couldn't resist leaving them a note by the garage elevator.
While freelancing at a big Omnicom agency, I was working on a new brand identity for a national restaurant chain. The brief was simple, make the brand reflect the personal touch they apply to the food and make it look more up-scaled.
I designed the identity around a script typography to emphasize the craftsmanship and the personal touch. And to make look truly authentic, I hand drew the letters on my Wacom tablet.
The layouts looked great and the ECD was pleased. Being a detailed oriented art director himself, he naturally asked what font I used. I replied: “Job security.” I saw the puzzled look on his face as he mumbled: “job security???”
I explained to him that all text was handwritten by my, and if the client approved this design, he would be forced to keep bringing me back to hand draw new text, hence “job security.”
There are many ways to get repeat business.