March 31, 2011

Cheap public stunt: Swamp people's fake gator

Hardly a day goes by without the announcement of yet another reality tv-show. From the Real Housewifes from almost anywhere now, to Jersey Shore, to Alaskan State Troopers, to Deadliest Catch, the list goes on and on and on. We have seen men driving 18-ton trucks over frozen ice (Ice Road Truckers), followed a bunch of men on their quest for gold (Gold Rush Alaska), and even Sarah Palin jumped the bandwagon with her very, very boring own reality tv-show (Sarah Palin's Alaska). Reality tv-show overkill if you ask me, but that is another discussion.

In this endless sea of sameness, how do you get people excited about yet another reality tv-show? The people behind History Channel's new show Swamp People must have thought it might be a good idea to put up a fake manhole with a fake gator, all sectioned off on a Manhattan sidewalk with branded, fake barricades.

I get the idea. I get the thinking behind it, but the execution is just very disappointing. It looks very cheap, like someone walked into a props or toy store, and put this together for a child's birthday party. The way they pulled this off may work in a mall in suburban America, but in the epicenter of communication overkill, this one comes across as plain, cheap and lame. I stood there for a few minutes, and watched people's reactions, and trust me: people walked past this thing without even raising an eye brow.

It's pretty sad when you think that the effect is completely lost, especially since it takes some effort and money to even put this small stunt together: you need to get a permission for the city to fence off a section of the sidewalk, you need a guy from the production crew to be there all the time (to make sure no pedestrian gets a heart attack? The guy was sitting in the car parked right next to it), and all that for pretty much nothing.

If you come into Manhattan, and you want to pull off a public stunt like this, my recommendation: go all out, and make this HUGE. Set up a real pool at Union Square for a day, with a real gator, and make it an event. Sure, it will cost more, but that is what gets the New York press excited, and earns you tons of free editorial coverage. You might even make the morning, and the evening news. New Yorkers love this kind of stuff.

March 29, 2011

Too arrogant - Apple's 'If you don't have an iphone' commercial

(Note: 5/13/2013: Above video is an alternate version since the original one was taken down from YouTube)

Are the tides turning? Is Apple finally moving over to the dark side? Or did they fire their ad agency, and hire a cheaper one? Because the above tv commercial that is running these days actually feels like a very bad Microsoft ad, not like one of the many, witty Apple / iphone ads we know. Those all had a lightness, a freshness to it. They were surprising us constantly with new bands and songs that we came to love. Not this one though. This one is bad. Very bad.

I have to admit, I do have an iphone. I do, however, not agree with the quite arrogant undercurrent that is embedded in this commercial. The line that carries this commercial:

"If you don't have an iphone... well... you don't have an iphone" actually makes me quite angry, because you can just as well translate it as "If you don't have an iphone... screw you". This does not feel like Apple at all. It feels arrogant, and condescending, and pretty much shows the finger to all other smart phone users. Apple shouldn't take that route at all.

There is one line in particular in the commercial that makes matters even worse:

"If you don’t have an iPhone you don’t have iBooks, so you don’t have your favorite books in your pocket."

That is just awful copy-writing, and there didn't seem to be a creative brief in place at all. Have you ever tried to read a book on an iphone? It's a pain in the .... I have always resisted electronic books, but just lately have warmed up the Amazon's Kindle, which would actually be much more suitable for a a copy line like that. But not the iphone. Come on! You can't be serious.

I hope Apple will find its Mojo again. Because arrogance certainly does not sell.

Question to you: If you don't have an iphone - did this commercial stimulate your desire for one? Please feel free to drop me a line or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related link:
Apple's iphone ad gallery

March 28, 2011

Managing liquidity - literally

Rosenthal & Rosenthal bank in Manhattan
Managing liquidity - really?

Here is an example of a New York bank that does what banks are supposed to do - handle money matters for its clients. Nothing wrong with that. That's what banks do. When they do it well, it helps the economy prosper. When they don't do it well, things end up being a mess as in 2008.

Rosenthal & Rosenthal in midtown Manhattan has a poster hanging in its window that reads:

"We help companies better manage their liquidity". So far so good.

Then, however, they do something really funny, and weird. They illustrate their message by - literally - visualizing the term 'liquidity'! How bad is that? I can't believe they are seriously showing a water bucket that has a tiny hole poked into it, from where water runs into a drinking glass! Oh my... that is just so awful! Why?

One: I think it is fair to assume that the target group for Rosenthal & Rosenthal is smart enough to know what "managing liquidity" in the financial world means. I mean, we are not talking about a consumer savings bank in a low-income suburb with high rates of illiteracy where you have to take a very simple approach to explain the term 'liquidity'. We are talking Manhattan business district.

Two: Everyone reading this ad, and seeing the visual, has to make two mental transfers. Transfer 1: Private bank - to - liquidity & the literal water bucket. Then transfer 2: liquidity & water bucket - back to - its original meaning in the financial world. It's completely unnecessary, and actually confusing.

Three: By doing the above, the ad is actually very two-dimensional. It doesn't have any depth. It comes across like a concept developed by a fourth-grade student. It is too simple.

Four: The best part - it doesn't even make any sense. The visual going along with the message is completely wrongly chosen. If we analyse it correctly, then it implies that the bank has HUGE amounts of the clients money in its vault (the big water bucket), but only releases a tiny bit at a time to the client, but in a constant flow. There is no 'managing' illustrated here at all! If they wanted to at least get this minimalistic approach right, then there should be a faucet, with someone turning it on and off, no?

What happens, for example, in the picture above, when the glass is full, meaning the client has enough money (liquidity) for the moment? Does the bank just keep pouring it out? Or is someone coming over, putting a finger on the hole in the bucket? I don't get it. This is so stupid!

I have seen a few scenarios in my career, where similar sub-par results like this were brought to life. It usually happens when not too much thought is given to advertising. It is usually two high-school or country club buddies shaking hands (one runs the bank, the other the ad agency), or the son or daughter of someone in the company has studies graphic design, and has been given the job without any real professional marketing consulting or competitive bidding. We see these 'friends & family programs' all the time, and I find it flabbergasting how people can get away with it.

March 27, 2011

The stupidity of TV sponsoring: AT&T

I had always been under the impression March Madness was called so, because millions of Americans were going nuts for a few weeks a year by drinking and screaming their brains out watching a bunch of sweaty kids throwing a ball into a basket. The entire annual ritual is still somewhat of a mystery to me, as all 64 colleges, and their fanatic fan bases must simply understand at some point that there will only be one national champion at the end, not 64. Oh well.

A few days back, I noticed that March Madness was also spilling over from the court, and the sports arenas to our TV screens. Watching one of the first, or second round games - I don't even remember which one it was - with the second quarter coming to an end, it was time for yet another round of brilliant half-time analysis, filled with intelligent comments and pure substance.

The five minute commercial break ends, and a short trailer announces:

"The AT&T Half-Time show is presented to you by AT&T".

Before we continue, let us read the last sentence one more time:

"The AT&T Half-Time show is presented to you by AT&T".

No way! By AT&T? Really? I would have never thought. Thanks for telling me. Because for a split second there, I almost thought it was Verizon who presented to me the AT&T half-time show.

I don't even know where to begin my tirade about the stupidity at work here. Either the makers of this blurb of brilliance had been giving empirical research data showing them how dumb the tv audience (or the sports-watching audience?) is, or they themselves were too dumb to understand the redundancy of their brainchild.

Besides the fact that it is just plain stupid, it doesn't add any extra value other than mentioning AT&T one more time. We all know they exist. After all, they tell us a million times every day. So throwing out the brand name cannot really be the reason, can it?

Fast forward for a moment to the point where the FCC approves of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger that is currently in the works. Then, and only then, this could have played out just fine, with a nice twist. Imagine for a moment:

"The AT&T half-time show. Presented to you by T-Mobile." With some clever line attached to it. But that, I will leave to a copywriter. Not the one who wrote the one above.

March 25, 2011

Career Evolution in Advertising

Amazing what you randomly find on the interweb. The above is very much true, at least based on my experience.

I have been at places where the guys on the very far right of the above image seriously only came in to count their money. Their strategic acumen was often impressive, although it seemed that over the years it got focused more towards "how to make more money" than towards "how to make better advertising". Their golden days in terms of creating great work were long gone. They were cashing in on the client relationships they had developed over the years.

There were some places however, where the guys on the far right had all reason to celebrate. Even though they were way too old to hang with the young, cool kids after work, frequent all those new, hot bars in town, or watch the latest, up-and-coming band in a small venue, they still had 'it' - the fire, the passion, the active brain that adapted with time and technology changing. They were listening, they were processing information, you could literally watch them think. They were leading by example, rather than leading by status or being of higher rank.

Just know that if you are still at the very, far left of this chart, it will take some time to get where you want to be. You will watch, and eventually pass people along your way that had just been lifted into certain positions because of time, and seniority, not necessarily because of their brilliance.

I found this particularly true with account people, who don't really have any work of their own to show for. There were actually some very bad ones that I had encountered that simply managed to hide behind other people's work, or had great juniors saving their asses, or that were just continuing to climb up the ladder by brown-nosing their way forward.

It's a different game for creatives. You either are a great copywriter, and have a brain that can develop concepts, ideas en masse. Or you are a great designer, got the skills, stay on top of what's hot and what's not, or a great Art Director, with a vast knowledge and immense interest in culture, history, architecture, arts, music and the like, and know how to adapt your knowledge in a way that makes it relevant to the product and the challenge you are facing.

March 24, 2011

Very minimalistic: Braun Multistyler from Germany

This one here landed in my email Inbox as a recommendation. It's for a product called Braun Multistyler, sold in Germany. What exactly it is isn't exactly clear - the product only shows for a fraction of a second, but based on all the different graphic emoticon creations, I assume it cuts both kind of facial hair - the beard as well as the one on the head.

It's a neat creative execution. BBDO Dusseldorf/Germany did this. Visually, it links to the other work Braun puts out by being black and white (I ripped one of their U.S. ads in a December 13, 2010 review). Unlike with the Wrangler work reviewed two days ago, there is a consistent message being sent out on both sides of the Atlantic: Braun. Designed to make a difference. Although, it is not exactly clear what the difference is. They simply refuse to tell us.

It's a nice idea for a commercial though. A good concept. Puts a smirk on your face. Not sure it is big enough to carry an entire campaign that can be executed in multiple channels. After all, how many Braun products do you really want to (or can) feature this way? And how many more times can you listen to 'The Type Writer' song?

The minimalistic white on black approach reminded me of a campaign that XM Satellite Radio ran a few years back, done by the always merging Lowe agency network. The difference here: the line art concept allowed for more variations than the typewriter symbols. It was very well done. Here is one commercial - you will find the other ones on YouTube.

March 23, 2011

Feels like Nike: The story of Panyee FC

What a wonderful story. Apparently, this is based on a true story that happened in 1986 in the village of Koh Panyee in Thailand. Although it has Nike written all over it, it is actually not. It's a commercial for TMB, Thai Military Bank, done by ad agency Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide.

What does it have to do with TMB? Nothing. It got them attention, and if that is all they were going for, good for them. It doesn't do anything in the long run though. Without knowing it, or intending to, Leo Burnett has actually created a commercial for either Nike (Just do it) or Adidas (Impossible is nothing).

March 22, 2011

Wrangler - bad branding in a globalized world

Yesterday, I found a very strange print ad for Wrangler in France on Luerzer's Archive, made by a French ad agency, named Fred + Farid. I didn't get the ad. I didn't get the message. I actually thought it was very bad. Then I found the commercial they made, which actually tells me they spent a lot of money on a new campaign. Still, I didn't get it. Things actually got worse and worse the more I watched it. But first things first.

First: here is the Wrangler TV commercial we all know in the U.S.. The one with Brett Favre.

"Real. Comfortable. Jeans." I totally get this one. Real men. Throwing a football. Driving their pick-up trucks. A clearly defined territory. A clearly defined way of life. The perfect celeb endorsement. Very American. Not my type of jeans, but I get it. This works.

Now this. Sitting at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Fred + Farid, the agency in Paris, concocted this very bizarre piece of something:

I just don't get it. The whole thing doesn't make any sense. People jumping out of windows, breaking glass? People burning? "We are animals"? WTF?

Either we are being confronted with an entire new campaign coming our way in the U.S. soon, or the Wrangler brand management team didn't do their homework. Perhaps they don't have a brand management team. Or a bad one? Or did got lulled into this bizarre scenario by the French over some expensive Bordeaux?

What happened to Think globally. Act locally.? Doesn't mean you have to run the same commercial, the same print ad everywhere on the planet, but where is the overarching umbrella theme, the roof that holds the pillars of the Wrangler house? I don't see such a thing. What I see is Think locally. Act locally. (And hope for the best). That, to me, is a HUGE mistake. Especially in a more and more globalized digital world. Each tv commercial, print ad, or even online banner, is just a few mouse-clicks away. You have to have a plan, if you're a brand, and if you want to be successful.

Certainly, the type of men that the U.S. version targets may not exist in France. But you can't be a 'real, genuine, comfortable, accessible, rugged,' brand in one country, and an 'abstract, uber-cool, artsy' brand in another. That's too big of a stretch.

My guess? This is how things went wrong:

1. There simply is no global brand strategy in place at Wrangler. I have no other explanation. No Global Marketing Director, or Director of Brand Management, if he is worth his or her salary, would let this happen. The whole thing was filmed at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, meaning the Ad people from Paris had to fly from Paris to L.A.. Perfect opportunity for the U.S. team to meet them there. That obviously didn't happen.

2. The French ad agency was not properly briefed, and was given too much strategic freedom (or none at all), and just went off on what they thought was "cool". That's the first mistake, because not every brand needs to be "cool" (whatever that means). Check out 'Fred + Farid's' facebook page. They are just too cool in all possible ways, and too busy showing off their new office space on facebook it seems. These might be creative people, but that creative talent and energy has to be sent into the right direction.

3. Only 5% of the entire process of creating a new campaign was spent on strategy. 95% were spent on execution. Just watch this 'making of clip', and you see that they are too busy picking "cool angles" and "cool shots". Everyone on this crew is way too "cool" here. I am not sure these guys would even want to work on a creative direction such as the one in the U.S., filming guys throwing a football.

Oh well. In my opinion this is one expensive disaster. Two day shoot in L.A. at Paramount Studios, travel, accommodation, a whole crew, stuntman, fire, broken glass, actors, all booked and paid for for two days. Post production, director, editor, rights, usage etc. This easily cost upward of a million dollars. For what exactly?

Don't get me wrong. I think it's quite an artsy, well-directed, and super-cool film. Its purpose is just not clear to me, and I don't think it's a good commercial either. From a business strategy / brand strategy point of view, I think this is actually very, very bad.

No one said it was easy to create a great campaign, but in order to get it right, all the components have to be right. It starts with a well defined brand strategy, a clear positioning, and then it takes great people in every channel to execute. This one, however, is clearly broken. And you can see it.

Related links:
The uber-cool people of Fred + Farid on facebook

March 17, 2011

Burger King: 1 - McDonald's: 0

I criticized Burger King in a previous article for their not so 'fast' food service, and the lack of passion in their staff (January 10 2011: The good & the slow...), and one can clearly see that the brand is purely driven by advertising, and image, not by the product quality.

But how great is this ad, taking on their arch-enemy once more in this endless battle of processed meats and deep fried deliciousness? Especially since McDonald's calls its burger creation the 'Big Mac'. Not so big apparently compared to the Whopper. Absolutely love it!

(The ad. Not the food. There is nothing better than a char-grilled, home-made, grass-fed beef burger.)

March 16, 2011

Wow! Where has the Durango been?

Now here is a great TV-commercial for an SUV. And yes, I have been wondering where the Dodge Durango has been for the last two years. Well, all questions have been answered. In only thirty seconds. I see the new car (great shots, great filming, great vehicle). I hear the message loud and clear, and boy, that is one well-written and narrated script.

"It toured around Europe, getting handling and steering lessons on those sporty European roads" - there are three messages in this sentence alone:

ONE: We invested a lot of money in testing oversees, because we really wanted to make the 2011 Durango a great vehicle.

TWO: This baby has gotten handling and steering lessons while it was in school. Not it has graduated. It is ready for you.

THREE: Even though this Durango is a big mama, it passed the test of sporty European roads. How great is that?!

It gets better: "It went back to school, got an advanced degree in technology" - not just a degree in technology - an advanced degree.

"It's been working out. More muscle. Less fat." - Great way of finding a sales benefit for an SUV these days.

All woven together by a well chosen voice over actor, who gives this commercial (and all other Dodge commercials) a unique tonal "feel". Well done Dodge! This is a winner.

March 14, 2011

It hurts so bad: The McDonalds couple

Who the hell wrote this script? I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when I first saw this one. The more it airs, the worse it gets. This story makes me cringe every time I hear him say "He's a jerk." Oh my...

What is wrong with this? The entire premise! Let's imagine a few different scenarios how this whole thing could have come to life:

PREMISE 1: This scene is supposed to be a reflection of reality
Well, I gotta tell you: It is not. It is wishful thinking. Look at the crowd at any given game-day (college hoops, NFL Sunday, MLB etc.), and watch the guys closely. Do you seriously believe they would act in this manner? I bet you they don't. Quite the opposite. I can hear that very crowd screaming at the tv-set "What a pussy!"

PREMISE 2: The guy is lying to avoid a fight
If so, then something is fundamentally wrong with the relationship of this couple. Does McD want men to lie about one of their passions? Doesn't he have the guts or brains to respond in a wittier way? I feel truly sorry for the actor who plays this part for making his character act so sad and gutless. And what about her? She comes across as quite bossy and condescending. Judging by the look on both their faces, this relationship is not a happy one. Can anyone imagine these two having a healthy sex-life? I can't.

PREMISE 3: The commercial's goal is to re-educate us men
Please. Does whoever wrote this script seriously believe that men will change who they are - men that is - and give up Sunday Football games (and there are only 16 in a regular season) for what? A walk in the park? A shopping trip to the mall? Please. Wake up. They don't even tell what the alternative to watching football is? Mc Donalds breakfast? How long does it take to get to the local McD - three hours? Game day starts at 1pm. That's lunch-time, not breakfast anymore.

Any way I try to look at it, it just doesn't add up. It is just very, very bad. Poorly constructed, and badly acted out. Someone should send the copywriter back to a 'concept'-class. Or have him (although I bet it's a SHE who wrote this) hang out in the target's group natural environment for a few hours to get a feel for reality.

This is just an awful commercial. Not even worth a the dollar (menu) they are promoting.

March 10, 2011

Nonsense: The official [...] of the [...]

No picture today. No video either. Just words. While watching the revamped Knicks with Amar'e and Melo win yet another game of hoops, it dawned on me: all this offical xyz of the so and so is a complete game of bs.

Think about it. You are watching tall, muscular, sweaty, and heavily overpaid men throwing a ball into a basket. Many of them make millions of dollars a year, and even the ones at the lower end of the NBA food chain take home about $400K a year.

And you - dear Mr. or Mrs. Marketing or Advertising Director - want us to believe that the Kia Optima is 'the official vehicle of the NBA'? WTF? Are you serious? What does that even mean? That every player in the NBA drives a Kia Optima? That's ridiculous. That everyone officially involved in a NBA game is being driven around in one? That's even more ridiculous. So what does it even mean? Nothing, to be precise.

What it means is that the NBA marketing team sends out presentation decks to media agencies and ad agencies, offering companies to be 'The official [...] of the NBA'. Which basically is a bunch of bs. Because it is meaningless. All you get is to have the above line attached to everything NBA. It only gets you exposure, nothing else. No inherent, meaningful message that reaches the consumer. No benefit. Nothing. It is actually quite ridiculous. Imagine for a moment the following messages on your TV screen:

'Black & Decker - the official tool of the NBA' - To repair leaking roofs or what?

'Charmin - the official toilet paper of the NBA' - How funny is that?

'Tampax - the official tampon of the WNBA' - Can it be more absurd?

So what does 'the official car/vehicle of the NBA' exactly do? I don't know. Because they don't tell us. Why exactly are they 'the official car/vehicle of the NBA'? Because they paid a ridiculous amount of money to the NBA to be allowed to say so. And that's it.

It's kinda like you are going to an interview, telling your potential new employer: 'I am the best for this job." Problem is: before he/she can ask you why, you walk away. And that is just stupid.

The Mad Ad Man - the unofficial ad critic of the NBA.

March 9, 2011

Nice! A straw for a yoga center

What a wonderful way to advertise a yoga center. This is fun. It takes only a second to understand. It makes sense. And I'll bet you don't throw away the straw. Love it!

March 8, 2011

Brilliant! Print Ad for Aspirin

This doesn't require much explanation. It is simply brilliant. Fantastic idea, making context and type work together. Bravo!

Luerzer's Archive

March 4, 2011

The panhandler's pitch

Just a few moments ago - another one of these New York encounters that make you think, make you smile, and make you write a blog post. Subway station, downtown Manhattan. As I am about to exit, I am spotting a panhandler near the stairs. Between 'first contact', and his last words fading, about twenty seconds pass - less than the time for a radio commercial. Yet his message is still stuck in my head. Within those twenty seconds, I hear it exactly three times, and while I am walking away, it rolls of my tongue a few times more, and makes me smile.

"You don't have to be a Rockefella to help a fella!", says he with a smile. Brilliant! Funny. Culturally relevant. All in one sentence. I wonder if he had help from a professional copywriter. This line deserves a golden pencil! It's clear what he wants - we get it the moment we see him. Does he have time to tell us his whole life story? No. Does anyone of us have the time to listen? No. Would many people actually stop and listen, even if they had the time? Probably not.

So the key here is: keep it simple, stupid. A short, concise message. Repetition is the key. And the delivery is important as well. As the message contains a certain portion of humor, it requires a personality that goes along with it. Love the guy!

I had a similar encounter a few years back, on a trip to D.C.. In some cities - I first saw it years ago in Europe - you have homeless people selling daily newspapers, all written, edited, published, and distributed by homeless people. While some of them come after you with the 'pity'-approach, one of them stood out. His message was unlike anything I had ever heard to that day.

It was unique. It was funny, and it is stuck with me to this very day. Standing in front of a bookstore (great strategic positioning!) on a very cold December day, he was quite a presence, in his long trench coat, the long, big beard, and his deep voice. His message? "Deep frozen, shock-frosted, and always fresh. Get it now. Get it here - The brand new 'Street Sense'".

I had a laugh, and I bought one.

March 3, 2011

The 4+1 P's of Marketing

Traditional textbooks on any kind of marketing subject teach you the 4 P's of marketing to be considered essential in your marketing mix:


While this may have been true in the analog world, the world without computers and internet, it is no longer so in this day and age. If we have learned one thing from the digital age, it is that information travels at the speed of light, is available 24/7 around the world online these days, and pretty much every consumer can make her voice heard on a blog, via facebook, illustrated with pictures or videos taken with a smart phone, all in an instant.

All this has led to a whole new level of transparency in the world that simply did not exist twenty years ago. No company, no manufacturer can hide anymore, or simply try to brush off controversial claims. Invisible supply chains all of a sudden become visible. A temp worker for a commissioned manufacturer in China can easily snap a picture of her work environment or of questionable practices in a factory in, let's say Shenzhen, China, and it instantly reflects back on the Nikes and the Calvin Kleins of the world.

If companies only do business as usual, they will suffer the consequences. A change of mind is needed, as is a change of heart. A true commitment is needed, and in order to achieve this commitment, one must have the fifth 'P' in the mix: PASSION. Without it, the Goliaths of the world will loose slice after slice of the pie to the Davids of the world, the smaller companies that are truly, fully committed to their mission.

The new five P's of Marketing:

I'm sure you can easily tell the difference. Just compare the service an the quality of food in an Olive Garden, or an Applebees to that of your favorite local restaurant. Unless, of course, it is an Olvie Garden, or an Applebees.

March 2, 2011

The human billboard

A few days ago, I saw this guy standing at the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, right in the middle of heavy Madison Square Garden / Penn Station foot-traffic flow. This is probably one of the most penetrated areas in terms of people per square foot per second, and after a while, you simply get used to all the communication noise in the area.

This guy however, when I first saw him from the side, looked like a street vendor, having the straps holding the sales tray wrapped around his shoulders. Coming closer, I discovered that he was actually a human billboard. Quite a clever folding construction, this thing could be packed up to suitcase format.

Still quite heavy it must have been. Poor bastard. Got my attention though. Stopped me mid-stride, and got people looking. The great advantage: I don't think this requires a license, since he's not setting up shop, but simply standing, with the ability to quickly move from corner to corner. Well done.

March 1, 2011

When the client is wrong

Know this scenario? You are faced with a client that clearly is wrong, on so many levels? And I mean not just wrong in terms of a decision she has just made, but just wrong for her job. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. She is the client, and she pays your bills. You have to live with it.

So here she is. She sits on her brand, she has been doing some marketing stuff in the past, but clearly her knowledge of how to do it right is limited to what she has come to know. Unfortunately, if you don't know what to look for, you are not looking for it. Then you are looking back inside, focusing on what you already know, and what you have already been doing so far. Therein lies the challenge.

I mean, you - as an ad guy - have been hired to help her to get it right. Yet once you have analyzed the situation, and have come to realize that drastic changes have to be made, you are faced with a client that seems to be holding on to the only thing that she has left, the status quo. She is trying to defend it, in order to save face, will try to justify why x, y and z that she has done in the past, have been good decisions. You, of course, completely disagree. Of course, you cannot tell her that she has no clue of her profession. So what can you do? Here are two viable options. The third one is simply out of a question, if you have any sense of self-respect.

You radically challenge the status quo. You break down the house, clear it out completely, and then rebuild it from the ground back up. This will require a lot of schmoozing, and diplomatic relationship management on your end, but this has a chance of success.

Look at it as slicing a salami, slowly starting at one end, cutting one thin slice after another, until you have worked your way all the way to the end. For you, this means, being extremely patient, and starting with smaller projects, making her part of the process, making her buy into the process, and hence, get her support. Then, you will move on to larger projects, until you have gradually changed the status quo.

This way, you will basically surrender, give up, waive the white flag. You should be ashamed of yourself though, and I am sure you will feel like a prostitute, only doing it for the money, not for the love of your profession. You won't last long this way. So no, it's not an option.


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