Wednesday, March 31, 2010

JacksonSpencer named agency of record for Three Stooges!

Well, maybe not all three of the Stooges, only Moe's estate, for the moment. My firm, JacksonSpencer, will handle all marketing efforts associated with the launch of a new boxed DVD compendium of more than 30 Three Stooges episodes. This classic gold case edition will be launched worldwide in conjunction with the fully restored and digitally re-mastered feature film, "The Three Stooges in 3D."

Now that's a big laugh!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to learn of our win. At first I didn't believe it, but when Paul Howard, Moe's son and executor of Moe's estate, contacted us, we knew it was very good news. We had worked together previously when I was the Creative Director at Ralph Marlin a full decade ago. Apparently he liked what we had done with ties, boxers and cargo pants.

To quote him from the call I received just this morning, "You were one of the few marketers who seemed to truly honor my father with your work." 

What boy didn't grow up on the Stooges? That I came from a family of three brothers only made Stooges humor that much more compelling for me. Frankly, Moe's dynamic wit and thoughtful leadership were always an inspiration to me.

We are not at liberty to disclose the details of the contract with the Howard Estate, but I can tell you that they will now be our largest client and we're in talks with Larry and Curly's executors in an attempt to finally bring the threesome back together again - at least in a united marketing effort to re-brand the Stooges for a new generation of fans.

Shemp's son, Buzz, already asked us to add our marketing firepower to their father's inclusion into this effort... but we politely refused, stating, "No one much cared for Shemp."

What can brown REALLY do for you?

By now, you've certainly heard that tagline and seen Martin Ad Agency Creative Director Andy Azula's whiteboard TV spots. All with the closing tagline, "What can brown do for you?"

For which company?

Of course, it's UPS. The color brown, as a memory trigger, for an entire company. You could say that the color brown is perceptionally owned by UPS.

Anytime you see a brown van, truck or package - you'll be tempted to put UPS at the front of your thoughts. Anytime you see a man in brown shorts or a brown baseball cap, you'll be teased into thinking UPS. Quite possibly, the next time your daughter brings out the box of crayons, you may start to think "shipping".

But it wasn't always this way.

For years and years and years, UPS' overnight boxes and packages were red and white. It wasn't until UPS decided to change it's logo to remove the old drawstring package that it finally decided to use what it already had established with it's trucks and drivers.

Why? You know why.

Gee, let me think... "our company's strongest colors are brown and yellow. What do I think of with those two colors?" No one in the company, and no agency (up until creative powerhouse The Martin Agency), could say that the Emperor had no clothes. And, for years, squandered the opportunity that they finally found the answer for. In stating the obvious, we know call it "genius".

We have to ask ourselves, "Is my brand missing out on the obvious? What do people already associate with us - even if initially negative - and TURN it into a positive?" White Castle did it with "sliders" and Volvo did it with "safety". Sometimes the "sexiest" thing you can do, is to praise the most mundane thing and claim your title in your very own backyard.

Monday, March 15, 2010

$20,000,000+ Reasons to Play the Lottery

And the winning numbers are...
No, I don't condone playing the lottery for the reasons lotteries around the country site:
• Quit your crummy job!
• Instantly retire!
• Travel the world!
• It's fun to play!
• You could win!
• Think of what you could do with all that money?

If you want marketing's simplest and cheapest promotional campaign, this is it: play the lottery

What I mean is this: purchase a few lottery tickets and give them out to your clients and prospects a day or two before the big lottery is announced. I guarantee you, that you will be in the minds of those "lucky" folks for much of the time between when you gave them the ticket and when the numbers are announced. For $1, you are now top of mind.

The power of this promotion is that they will have thought of you fondly for giving them the opportunity. You can say to them, "If this ticket is a $1,000 winner or more, I want half." Good luck in having them honor up. You'd probably be better off stating, "Whatever you win, keep it — just remember the little people when you're on your new yacht."  Most likely, they'll cut you in for a few grand.

Seriously, forget whether they've got a winning ticket or not, (trust me, you should be so lucky that they win — can you imagine their joy, and the publicity you could generate — in winning $20,000,000+?) the point is to be the guy who offers them the chance at more money than they can dream of. That's like being the sponsor of the hole-in-one hole at the golf outing hoping that someone actually sinks it. Now that's a lot of fun!

Just tell them to share the wealth.  :-)

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Fastest Way to the A-List Secret Revealed

I'm going to give it away. Really.
Read on and be impressed. WARNING: You're not going to believe it, at first, but then, you will become a convert.

Here it is: CONVINCE (someone) THAT (something) BECAUSE (of something special).

OK, you ask, "What is that?" That, my friend, is a POWERLINETM. It's better than the old USP (Unique Selling Proposition) because it forces you to craft a laserbeam-like mission statement within a single sentence. But don't be fooled of it's simplicity. This is really hard to do.

Fill in those blanks about your business, your brand or yourself. Do this now.

(do you hear the Jeopardy song?)

Everyone tries this and fills out something that's completely bland and meaningless. That's the first draft and important, because it get's the crap (forgive me) out of the way. You've got to be tighter about your answers. More insightful about what drives your prospects (and exactly who they might be) to you and why (this is critical) they get to a transactional point with you. Answer this: "For what possible reason do your customers buy from you, and not someone down the street?" Need more to assist you? Try this Powerline winner to get you thinking more intelligently...

Here's the California Dairy Board's Powerline: CONVINCE grocery shoppers THAT they need milk in their cart BECAUSE without milk, you can't eat certain foods.

Break that down and you'll see the beauty in it all. This campaign came out in 1992 and has been a hit ever since. Think back on that era and you'll recognize that milk consumption was down due in a large part to diets that said milk wasn't good for you — yet the campaign for milk was "Milk, does a body good." You can see how this might be a problem for milk producers.

CONVINCE people who are at the very spot to make a decision on buying milk (grocery shoppers - not moms, dads or kids - just someone with a cart or a basket) THAT they need milk, (any size milk — gallons, quarts or even little pints) in their cart BECAUSE if they put Oreos, chocolate chips or peanut butter in their cart, they will have to buy milk.

Every tried to eat a snickerdoodle with orange juice?

Read that tagline (Got Milk?) The world's most effective tagline? Quite possibly, and it embodies the entire Powerline in just two words! Don't expect yours to be this perfect... and that's OK, because slicing your Powerline down to it's bare minimum (even if a run-on sentence) will force you to learn about your business and jettison those "benefits" of your product that have become meaningless to your customers. The ad industry has done a fantastic job of making powerful words completely meaningless (quality, integrity, value, etc.) — so you'll have to be judicious to get to the crux of your call to action. Having your own effective Powerline is the no.1 trick in getting to A-list trust...
   consistently delivering your reason to buy to the right prospects
   saving your firm time with creative-types charged with constructing your message
   saving your firm money by generating a quicker understanding of each message.

Now take a new attempt at that Powerline... take as many drafts as it takes to get to a statement that you can deliver with confidence. Do so, and your brand will get gobbled up like milk and cookies!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Kicker's Dynamic Path to Success

Hero or goat?

We all wish to be a success. We all seek wealth, and let's face it, a bit of fame wouldn't hurt our egos either. So many look at achieving their dreams as a straight line between A and B. I'm here to tell you that you've seriously doing jeopardy to your future if you do. Were we to "laser beam" all our time and energy toward that one solitary goal, I suspect most of us would peter out long before we could ever obtain it.


Because life just doesn't work that way. I'm here to help you understand that it's OK to wander a bit, and maybe important that you do so. Mind you, it's important to have goals. It's important to work diligently toward something that's important, fulfilling and rewarding. "Life is in the journey, not the destination," they tell us - but we'd like to see the destination every once in awhile. Right?

You've undoubtedly zig-zagged on your own path and are seeking answers to an amorphous "something better" - but to bolster your efforts, and to spark a new idea on where your destination lies, consider this true story:

The Curious Case of Jan Stenerud...

I met Jan many years ago (you remember Jan, the NFL Hall of Fame kicker for the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings) and had the pleasure of discussing his curious road to fame and fortune. As a boy, Jan's dream was to be an Olympic ski jumper. In Norway, doesn't everyone? :-) His older brother happened to be a goalie on the junior national soccer team. Who do you think kicked all of the balls at the goalie? You can almost hear his brother chastizing the young Jan for kicking them to easily at him, "C'mon, place it in the corner, make me work!"

Jan did indeed become proficient at the crazy sport of ski jumping and came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Montana State. One day in the summer, for fun, he started kicking footballs through the uprights from mid-field. First to the left, then to the right. The coach saw him and was flabbergasted by his unusual technique (no one kicked soccer style then) and how far the ball was travelling. He subsequently invited him out for football. The rest, as they say, is history.  But what Jan didn't know at the time, was that the training he had done to become an Olympic ski jumper and a helper to his older brother in soccer was absolutely "perfect" training to become a professional kicker.

Think about it: kick after kick after kick, trying to place the ball exactly where you wanted it gave him tremendous control with kicking a ball. Any ball. And ski jumping? Can you think of a sport that requires more concentration (one has to hit a very precise spot on the take off otherwise you basically crash and die)? Kickers get nervous about a big kick - for Jan - after jumping off a 90 meter jump, how hard could it be?

Reassess your own path.

I suspect you might find a curious divergence in your own career path should you look deep enough. What are the skills you possess? Where does your interest lie... but what other professions, skills or traits are admired within your realm of expertise? Believe me, each one of us has expertise in something - often - like Jan, in a number of things. Take a little time out to wander down that path, you might just find that, like Jan, a "star is born."

This Dynamic Path is truly important for us to understand. It allows you a little freedom to smell the flowers along your route, and even argues that if you don't, you may indeed, be missing out on something quite important for your own success and happiness.

Follow JacksonSpencer on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Big Ideas Group, and for you who wish to follow a true kicking guru - I can be found via the National Kicking League, too.