When Pigs Fly - Creative Ideas I’ll Never Do Again
Does timing matter? I once ran a four-color, full-page test ad in a San Francisco weekend newspaper magazine. The date, booked weeks in advance, happened to coincide with Super Bowl Sunday. The Super Bowl was at nearby Stanford Stadium that year and the 49ers were in it.
Naturally, the city was in a frenzy and nobody paid any attention to the ad. We got maybe 30 orders and we’d expected about 300. Now I always check, and I’ll run a non-football ad on Super Bowl Sunday in the Super Bowl city again when pigs fly.
How do you define “exciting”? A financial client asked for a breakthrough campaign. Something different, radical. We gave it to him, and he blanched. “We can’t do that.”
A big bank will test a spot-on, but radical new direct mail campaign only when pigs fly. To a bank, the words “radical,” “new” and “breakthrough” don’t mean what they mean to the rest of us.
Request For Proposals (RFPs). Some proposals are terrific, while others seem specifically designed to terrorize agency people. Whenever I see one of the latter, I always say “no!”
Occasionally, I’ll relent and we all end up working overtime deciphering and then answering nonsense questions, trying to figure out what the client really wants, second-guessing ourselves on fees, and even being so dumb as to actually give them spec creative. Once, many years ago, a client didn’t give us the account, but actually ran our spec in a national magazine a month later!
Plan ahead? Direct marketing plans are critical to the success of a campaign. The process is hard work but, once you go through it, you’ll have a much better chance of doing very well.
Still, some people find the planning process a bore and want to get straight to the tactical stuff, the fun stuff—especially the creative—without understanding the background and without a hint of real world objectives or a strategy.