OPINION DOUG SWEENY
CMO during the chain’s turnaround early last
decade, Mr. Light was a marketing theorist
and way ahead of his time. His notion of
brand journalism rings even more true in a
world of fragmenting media. “We don’t need
one big execution of a big idea. We need one
big idea that can be used in a
multidimensional, multilayered and multifaceted way,” Mr. Light argued.
Like Mr. Stengel’s broken-media model, this
was a message whose punch came from the
fact that it was issued from the marketing
key to healthy
e yes-men, standing in contrast to
izards. This image ignores a
nd innovation to the business.
, and some takeaways that may
ive to watch for the near future.
The late Mr. Deaver shaped Ronald Reagan’s
image and approved some iconic political
advertising, including “Morning in America,”
arguably the greatest political ad ever. When dealing with his Tuesday
Team, Mr. Deaver kept things simple. BBDO’s Mr. Dusenberry said: “The
ultimate client was President Reagan, and it was as simple as that. We had
no layers of approval, no levels of a rule to go through time and time again.
It was as simple as showing Mike Deaver a piece of advertising we liked; if
he liked it, it was as good as done.” The
lesson: Assemble the best talent and stay out
of their way.
NIKE AND STARBUCKS
most-trusted company. For a lot of that time, Andrea Alstrup, a veteran of the
first Tylenol recall—the one that was handled well—was a senior marketer
deftly juggling a massive media budget, large agency roster and a portfolio of
venerable brands. Never a self-promoter, Ms.
Alstrup was the 10th woman and the first
female client elected to the American
Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.
Let’s get this out of the way: Ms. Fudge’s time
at the helm of Y&R was a hot Six Sigma
mess. Focus instead on her tenure at Kraft,
where she zipped up the ladder to exec VP with successes on brands that
included Maxwell House, Shake ‘N Bake and Kool-Aid. During that time, she
was praised as a consensus-builder and problem-solver who got strong
work out of her agencies. Even years after the Y&R flop, she is still probably
the most important black executive the advertising industry has ever
Most marketers don’t get to work on even
one great brand, but in the 1990s Mr.
Bedbury led two. He took Nike to new
heights, overseeing the brand’s “Just Do It”
campaign and global growth. Then, as Starbucks was becoming a
household word with international aspirations, he pushed into co-
branding initiatives and got distribution in supermarkets. An
ambidextrous marketer who got both grand-production storytelling and
word-of-mouth-fueled promotion, he was a hint of what future marketers
would have to be. Since 1998, he’s run his own consultancy, Brandstream.
Dana Anderson, senior VP-marketing strategy and communications,
Kraft: The former DDB Chicago head has reinvigorated Kraft creatively.
Stefan Olander, VP-digital sport, Nike: His Nike+ work with R/GA showed
the potential of branded platforms.
Steve Pacheco, director-advertising, FedEx: Long relationship with BBDO
has yielded consistently strong creative. And he knows how to tweet.
James Moorhead,associate marketing director at P&G’s Gillette: The
client behind Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Enough said.
Joe Tripodi, exec VP-chief marketing and commercial Officer, Coca-Cola:
Allstate. Bank of New York. And now Coke, last year’s Marketer of the Year.
WHY SPEC CREATIVE SHOULD GO AWAY, BUT WON’T
tion, said Andrew Essex, CEO of
Droga5, whose shop was selected
to work on Athenos yogurt in
Cincinnati, has eschewed spec
creative in most new-business
wins as it has grown to 30
employees from two since its
launch two years ago.
CEO Greg Livingston prefers
a review process in which
agency principals meet with a
prospective client to talk about
philosophies, personalities and
how the agency works. “The
true challenges are about chem-
istry and trust,” Mr. Livingston
said. “If you look at an agency’s
portfolio of work for previous
clients, that should give you a
pretty good picture of their cre-
Spec creative can easily cost
Curiosity $100,000 in billable
time and render a new account
unprofitable for the first two or
three years, Mr. Livingston said.
Other agency executives say big-
ger pitches can rack up uncom-
pensated costs ranging into
like a marriage. You
need to talk, listen,
have a sense of
humor. Like most
marriages, they start with the euphoric
honeymoon. It can start to wear during
the months and years ahead as the
difficulties of daily life set in, but how you
manage those things is what matters.
We’ve all heard the story before: Our
agency isn’t proactive enough. The
client doesn’t stand up for the work. The
agency is headstrong and opinionated.
The client is ambivalent about the
workload and time lines. The agency
doesn’t understand our business
challenges. The client doesn’t buy good
work. The agency’s creative isn’t good
How did we get here? Well, maybe we
can learn from the mistakes of the past.
Saturn is one of the most tragic
marketing stories of the past two
decades. It was a brand “built to last for
100 years” that lasted 20. In the mid-
1990s, it It was “the” case study praised in
MBA programs. Then it disappeared.
A key ingredient of Saturn’s mystique
was the unique relationship and
unwavering trust shared by the agency
and the client. I was at Hal Riney &
Partners when Saturn was a major
account and can say that the agency was
truly a partner to the brand. Staff was
involved in everything concerning
Saturn’s business, including selecting and
naming paint colors and writing keynote
speeches for senior executives.
But the connection was eventually
undermined. The agency stayed true to
the original Saturn vision and refused to
adapt to changed circumstances. The
client buckled to its parent company,
General Motors, allowing the brand’s
singular elements to erode. The agency
was steadfast in its point of view, with little
room for negotiation. The client was
under extreme pressure to turn Saturn
into a profitable division vs. a loss leader.
The sides were at a standoff.
As they do in a bad marriage, little
things became big things—when the real
issue was that we could not agree on the
reason Saturn existed, why it was a
“different kind of company.”
When Saturn was firing on all
cylinders, it was hard to tell the client from
the agency side of the table. There was a
respect and trust that allowed great
things to happen. Were there
disagreements? A ton. Were there
laughs? You bet. But we started from a
common place, and trust was paramount.
How agency and client partners deal
with the realities of day-to-day working
life is where the rubber meets the road.
Respect underpins a healthy client-agency relationship. So talk, listen,
compromise and have a sense of humor.
And, oh yeah, don’t forget your
Doug Sweeny is president at Y&R