Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Game Changer

After several meetings with the ad agency, we finally convinced them that we wanted something more than the same boring ads. They were trying to be a little creative but were holding back. After showing us several ad concepts which were marginally better than previous efforts, they pulled out one last mock-up. It was an image of a 1394 cable lassoing the world. The headline was “Be the Cowboy, Not the Cow”.

The room was silent. A stunned silence.

I liked it. I did not love it, but I at least felt like we were doing something different. Something that would stand out. Something that would get attention. Something with some punch.

Be the leader not the led. Be the one making things happen, not the one to whom things are happening. You have a choice, you can lead and be at the top of the food chain or you can be passive, not make a decisive step to add 1394, become part of the herd and eventually get eaten.

The idea was growing on me. It was quirky and a little risky (the message was a little convoluted) but it was a far cry from “the same ol’ same ol’.” My boss and I said almost in unison, “I like that one.”

The ad agency responded, “We were not serious. You wanted something ‘out there’ so we brought this as a joke.”

But we wanted and we got it. It was not destined to go down as a major marketing success for my employer, but it was a game changer. What we learned with this ad campaign changed the way this group of "engineers turned marketers" would see promotion for the rest of our time together.

James Snider is a Global Marketing professional, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James spent 16 years in marketing with 7 years working at "for profit" companies, 8 years as executive director of a non-profit and the past year as an independent global business development consultant.  www.linkedin.com/in/jamessnider

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