Bad Ad Rehab
You know the problem with chief marketing officers?
They always rise to their position through the wrong channels. Always from sales, research, finance—not the creative sides of business.
Usually given a ridiculously short window to improve results, they swing for home runs instead of trying to get people on base. Advertising efforts are cumulative in nature, and while hitting home runs is awesome, consistent incremental campaigns will win more games than one big hit.
How long has it been since Wendy’s had a “where’s the beef” moment? A campaign that transcended an immediate problem. For it to be a big idea, it really needs to be able to be more than a one-trick pony. Apple had it with their “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” campaign because the vehicle had legs.
Came to believe that we could improve results by frequently changing directions in our messaging.
Were entirely ready to have the right ad agency remove all these defects of our past misguided efforts.
Made a list of all stakeholders we had harmed, ignored, or treated poorly and became willing to make amends to them all.
Continued to take a brand inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Here's an example of the right path.
See Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign for how Crispin Porter + Bogusky led a company that had lost its way, back to health.
The quintessential proof that you’ve found salvation is when you find an agency that you are willing to trust and work with for the long haul. Look at the relationship between Apple and TBWA/Chiat Day, or Nike and Wieden and Kennedy. The agencies grew as their clients did, not because they grew more clients, or won accounts by promising the world.
Find the agency that’s strategically right for you; where you will be their biggest and best client—not the one they needed to keep growing and using as a proving ground for their rookies (that’s what happens when you hire a hot-shop that’s out of your league).
Here's what rock bottom looks like. Maybe this is you.
Yes, it got a lot of attention. Yes, it got free media. But is this sustainable brand equity, or disruption for the sake of attention?
Although it was written by a reformed addict, the big book of recovering adverholics isn’t obvious at first sight and the above 12 steps don’t appear anywhere in it. We highly recommend “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” as a first step on your way to better, more strategic advertising.
Good luck on your journey.