September 30, 2014 smz-blog

Marketing with courage

“Clients don’t understand their success is reliant on standing out, not fitting in.”                                                                               Don Draper.2

Before it becomes overly passe’ to pay homage to Mad Men’s Don Draper one last time, I figured it was time to point out something more than his moral character flaws or Emmy award-winning writing the show consistently delivered.   The guy had some memorable and pointed marketing communications lessons, which  in almost any medium requires a degree of bravery.

The only thing this quote misses is the client’s role in creating great work. Think about how courageous it was for companies and clients to move forward with some of the most iconic ad ideas – from VW’s “lemon” declaration and Wendy’s yelling “Where’s the beef” to Dove blowing up notions of beauty.  They all stepped far away from the safe and into a zone that captured attention and kept us talking years – and decades – after those messages first appeared.

VW ad       Where's the beef ad         Dove ad

Ad agencies don’t achieve these plateaus and creative peaks on their own. It truly does require collaborative courage and insight from great clients who are unwilling to allow fear of status quo to dictate or dilute great ideas.  So the next time boundaries for selling get drawn, remember it’s those ideas that are willing and capable of breaking away from the norm and business-as-usual attitudes that get people talking and reacting.

Rich Williams, SVP/Strategic Business Development

Comment (1)

  1. “Who’s your Tiger?” steps away from the safe way to promote a winning-depends-on-everyone team.

    Like the other successes you salute, Rich, it captured attention and still is in play.

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