In this case, it's because a couple of entries slipped through the cracks.
So below is the feedback to Tiffany, who is now joint winner with Samara......
Apart from the Samara, it was only yourself who didn't play around with conventional variations of health. You did something different, that might cut through, that might work.
I love the simple analysis of the problem and the very commercial reality of the limits of distribution alone. In FMCG, one the darkest secrets about 'role for comms' is being seen to promote the brand to secure shelf space.
Few focused on the simple fact that SoBe actually tastes better than the alternatives.
So obviously, the objective is encouraging trial.
I really loved the tension in your insight work of healthy but not the extremes.
And the analysis of how taste works was probably the best single piece of work anyone did in this project. I'll thieve that myself.
If only after that you hadn't diluted all that momentum with much less interesting proposition. I thought you were carving clear water between this brand and everyone else, but 'living well never tasted so good' just seemed a but same old same old. And the imagery next to it seemed very, well Danone .
It's a double shame, because I thought your delivery in this deck was ace. Great pace, great writing, great design.
I didn't really want a proposition, more a great communications task that would bring your clear opportunity to life .That tension between pain and pleasure was interesting and I did wonder if the role for comms was credibly demonstrating the experience in a way that shows you understand and admire your audience. Perhaps showing at moments when 'I know I should but I have a life to live' Or literally turning moments of everyday pain into pleasure.
So I felt just a little let down by the plan too, which felt a little like a sexier version of sampling campaign trying to deliver a little more scale. You were the only person who actually bothered to look at the target's media habits, so well played, but I wanted to seem something that added scale and get the audience talking, as you show they are heavily into social.
And Jay did incredibly well too...
Great you used data to get to a simple challenge
The maths is really persuasive. Now from a personal perspective, I don't usually favor loyalty strategies and I kind of think it would be easier to get lots of light buyers to buy one a year, but as I say, great job at scoping out an opportunity.
I get you can do VERY efficient comms, I also love you're not messing around with brand planning and sticking to the task!
Your insight IS fundamental but is perhaps a little obvious. Light touch health is quite common in a variety of categories. A drill into WHY this is important I think could have unearthed an interesting tension. But I can't deny it's a clear role for comms you have uncovered.
There really is something in 'whatever suits' which fits usage occasion, perhaps there was an opportunity for comms to persuade your audience to do ONE more bit of exercise per week to build frequency.
Also thought there was something in your got milk case study. What is funny about that case study is that it was aimed at consumption - reminding people of all the situations milk was an essential ingredient, which worked to a great degree, but Goodbye Silverstein will probably tell you it really worked by building penetration by making milk cool!!
That said, an simple comms task - whenever you do your kind of exercise, make sure you have SOBE water would have been interesting.
I guess that's the ultimate feedback. There's some great thinking in here and a great piece of maths in framing the growth opportunity. You just need to work harder at saying a little less -a tight story with rich hooks your thinking hangs on. A few killer headlines or sentences .
What I like about Jay’s response is he used the available data to identify one clear solution to the challenge.
I don’t know if the ‘Got Milk’ case is the best example given milk and flavoured water occupy very different emotional spaces in our audiences minds, but I get what was being said.
Where it all went a bit wobbly for me was that the solution to this maths assignment was ‘create a brand that is in line with our audiences values’.
Based on what was described, our audience our women who are health conscious who do a bit of physical activity each week.
A bit of investigation into the insight that really defines this audience could have worked wonders for this submission … but sadly, I feel Jay went for the ‘abracadabra moment’, rather than backing it up with a solution that would make it all come together and fulfil the goal that was set out so clearly in the upfront observations.
That said, a couple of nice executional/distribution ideas … but I feel they could have been articulated much more uniquely if they’d understood more about the specific target audience.
So that's it. I'm going to upload all submissions at some point so everybody can have a look and be intimidated by all hard work and pieces of great thinking. I'll let you know when it's up.
I'm married. I've learned the hard way that winning arguments is pointless. It's a very hollow victory you can only enjoy yourself why someone else sulks.
All you get is a brief sense of victory followed by a very empty feeling. I don't want to feel like that. I want my wife to feel like that. Which is why one of the core skills of not being a terrible husband is learning how to be wrong.
It's also a core skill for the planner, especially the grown up one who has realised the purist quest for the truth is very lonely journey, for the kind of planner who doesn't care who 'has the thought' as long as the thought is good .
Put another way, no one likes a smart arse, and let's face it, if there's one thing that prejudices folks against planners, it's that. And if you can makes someone feel bad about winning on something you don't care about enough, you've more chance of winning something that matters.
Here are some ways to not only be wrong and use it to your advantage...
Write a bad proposition and know there's a much better one. Dig your heels in a little with the creatives and help them think of the better one for themselves. Worship them for their genuis.
You know that bit of the data you left out to make your argument better? When you realise this is a battle you would better losing, casually bring it into the conversation and let yourself be taken apart and be pleased the argument was solved with evidence because next time you'll use evidence to win.
When you know you are losing the argument, admit you forgot what your actual point was. Let your antagonist put your argument back to together in way that is far kinder than you probably deserve. When they put it back together for you, they might even buy into it.
Never give a ultimatum, just in case someone calls your bluff. For a example, if a planner leaves a meeting, everyone will probably decide stuff quite happily without you complicating stuff.
Pretend you missed what the antagonists have actually said, and you only now fully understand their point. It's likely you were not listening anyway and you can now reframe their point to actually be your point.
You know that think about oversimplifying someone else's argument than destroying it? Like when someone is in favour of national service, "So you're in favour of young men having guns". Over simplify your own and let someone else destroy it. Then overcomplicate theirs, so they don't know what they were talking about, then help them see they were actually all for your original point.
Don't get into debates at all, that what suits or for, let them do it for you. If the problem is the suit, agitate the creatives folks, they hate suits. If it's the creative agency you're working with, never argue over the Polish Cinema reference, just gush how stupid you were to not have thought of that them damn it with faint praise. "Blimey, that's ace, just like Shindler's list but not as depressing, marvellous". Or, "Really great idea, I loved it when you presented it last year too!" Or the media agency, "So great to see that partership with Empire Magazine in the plan again, so consistent".
So, yes, revel in your wrongness. And remember, if you have to win, no one likes a self-righteous prick. Make sure there's a concession in their somewhere. Put another way, smile in someone's face while you stab them in the back.
Okay, so on with the individual feedback. Once again, I won't apologise for typos, I need to get this out.
This was interesting. Great that you had insights that were simple and supported. Great you challenged the convention of this all being about just health, perhaps too many entries were like kids playing soccer, just all chasing the same ball. I liked that you had a clear strategy.
Great that you built your planning from a product truth, without it being dull, that you gave it context. And while trial is not exactly a new task for a drinks communications campaign, I'm glad it was clear.
I engaged with the pen portrait and really got the insight. It's dead simple but also true that the story of an object directly dictates our experience of it.
Perhaps the idea went a little far, perhaps it's a little conventional to have 'from deepest Peru or whatever' but it was still a plan I think that would get people to appraise/re-appraise the brand and product.
I thought you did a great job of creating a plan that addressed specific tasks. I just wish you hadn't made changing the packaging part of it. It costs the earth, probably the entire budget. I thought you missed a trick with the daily routines thing, that might have been a bigger thought. And maybe it's a little bitty, for a penetration job, I wondered if you needed something simpler and more scaleable.
Rob said, "I like that they went beyond ‘health’ and into taste. That’s interesting.
I also like that they had a POV in there that took that ‘taste’ proposition and gave it meaning.
Maybe they went a bit overboard with the ‘geography/origination’ element of their idea … because I think there’s something in simply attacking the brands that say their from ‘a mountain in the deepest part of the Congo, when really they’re bottled in Slough … but I’ll let them go with it"
Once again, thanks for framing the goal using data. Great it was boiled down to a clear consumption task. Perhaps you could have surprised a bit, but it's solid!
I got really interested in the performative/not being the best stuff - that felt like some sort of attitudinal tension to play with. While before as well as after seemed like a rock hard opportunity to grow consumption.
And I really liked the light buyers strategy which seemed realistic. Then the implementation feels solid, but I wanted you to give me it in a simpler manner. As it happens, 'be a counseller, not personal trainer' felt like a springboard for the whole strategy. This all felt good, but after establishing the principles, I wanted to see some thinking on implentation. As a client or creative agency, I kind of need to know if you're saying this is TV, all digital or whatever.
Rob said, "I was hoping they would have taken that on more directly – just to see someone come up with a new business plan – but instead they decided to go into the areas that were expected.
That sounds like a criticism, it’s not … it’s just that if this was a pitch and everyone is saying the same thing, then the ‘winner’ is going to be determined by factors that might put you at a disadvantage.
For me, I believe winning is about articulating a strategy that demonstrates your ability to identify unexpected relevance for the client and their problem which you can express in a way that sounds the most sensible decision they could possibly make.
Easier said than done, but building up all the data and then coming out with a solution that sounds category convention, just leads to a feeling of underwhelment. But then I am a cynical fuck.
That said, I loved their insight that ‘people are interested in better, not best’.
That’s great and to be honest, could have been the platform they could have used to really drive the business forward … especially once they detailed how the brands current customers could drive growth on their own"
Ending with your summary is great. This should have been done more. It's critical in a world where we seem to write documents for folks to read, rather than get to talk to them, so having the one pager is really important.
Great naming of a clear audience and articulation of the issue.
I really love the tension you uncover in their lives- being seen to be something they're actually not. So much to play with, do you target the image or the reality? How do play with the tension or even help resolve it?
So I'm excited for commnications role to hit it out of the park and for me, instead it seems you recommend something that doesn't live up to your great insight work and is something any brand could do.
Your framework is solid and well thought out, but I was left disappointed at what might have been!
Rb said he was, "All excited that I was going to see something that really resolved the tension in this audiences mind/lives.....I’d of thought the insight was that this group are continually trying to appear in control when really they are plagued with self-doubt.
Rather than highlighting that, I’d of thought letting them feel they are the women they want to be would be the best way forward.
Less apologetic, more control.
But that’s just me.
I suppose my issue with this is that while I like they articulated an audience, their idea to move forward felt very different in tone to who they were.
Of course, whether that suggested voice was more appropriate for the brand is another debate altogether [as is the fact, like some of the other submissions, they seem to be chasing a new audience rather than leveraging existing customers] … but I guess my issue is they got me thinking this could be different and then ended up feeling quite similar to the others"
Now some more overall observations.
It's quite right to chase penetration in my book, but we were surprised in most cases there was little thinking about how to leverage people already buying. Authenticity, credibilty, it felt involving current buyers was a missed trick. Few thought about what was already working v what they could change.
We also thought perhaps that while every presentation had some great points, some really moments of greatness, in nearly every case, the resulting strategy rarely felt like it was addressing a genuine issue, or an issue was found but the plan didn't do it justice and tended to be just a shade different to what other brands were doing.
On balance, Samara wins, because, the taste and stories idea seemed the freshest challenge to the market conventions on health. Others perhaps had deeper insights, but didn't put them in the back of the net. So well done Samara.
This was a tough task, really hardcore. Well done to everyone for rising to it. But if I could boild my feedback down, it would be simplicity always wins. No need to look clever, say it with passion and intelligence, but make it look cleverer than it needs to be. Trust me, busy clients will thankyou for simple, clear thinking they can repeat to their boss in a few words.
Rob said.."but what really stood out to me was that people need to define the real problem more clearly … understand the audience beyond just what they do and articulate a point of view that actually brushes up against the category/competition rather than tries to find a territory that for all intents and purposes, is 2 degrees what everyone else is already doing"
Anyway, that's it. Thanks for all that got involved, If you want more detailed feedback, do email me.
(I'm not going to apologise for typos and stuff, I'm want to get this feedback out and for it to be comprehensive)
First, thanks to everyone who entered. This was a hardcore task. Because comms planning IS hardcore. You can't hide behind soft brand buffoonery, you have to roll up your sleeves and deal with some fundamental stuff.
As Rob mentioned, "there are too many people out there who forget our is to drive our clients' business, not just make nice ads"
Some general feedback:
There's nothing wrong with resisting a framework or strategy template, in fact, there's too much process in this business, allowing too many to hide from proper thinking. However, I was surprised at how little folks overtly followed the "issue, insight, idea, implementation' structure. I was looking for strong arguments and support of course, but even where people followed the stucture, there wasn't enough boiling down into a few rich hooks to hang your thinking.
A piece of advice. Right the last slide first, then the first one and finally, THE key slide in the middle that captures the moment of revelation in your presentation. Then populate the links as succinctly as possible.
Also, there was some great thinking and some good points of view, but there seemed to be lots of subjectivity and less simple factual support. It's hard of course doing this for a UK brand if you're not from here, but nevertheless.
Rob said,"a client isn’t going to necessarily respond favourably to (a point of view)if you haven’t got a broader understanding of both the market, the competition and the audience … otherwise they just think you’re either kissing their ass or kicking it.
For me, being subjective only works if you have some data/experience/insight that allows you to frame your opinion from a much more objective point of view … something that either helps frame the real problem they’re facing or can liberate some commercially valuable solution. Easier said than done, but it’s part of the reason we get paid"
I also felt on a number of occasions that folks were looking for brand problems to solve, rather than core issues that were getting in the way of growth. Sometimes that is brand of course, but you need to really spell out WHY.
A couple of people clearly identified a clear issue comms was going to solve, but not eveybody. I often think this is heart of comms planning, if you can get a clear problem for everyone to have a go at, you're most of the way there.
Rob said, "Sure things like ‘branding inconsistency’ and ‘distribution’ are major factors that need to be brought out, discussed and dealt with … but they rarely capture the core issue a brand needs to deal with in the market.
Is the audience right?
Is the audience actually defined clearly.
What role is your brand/product actually playing?
Are their shifts in cultural attitudes & behaviour that you are missing?
Are you being true to who you are or positioning yourself because of a competitors POV?
There’s a bunch of stuff … but when you really drill down, there will be one or two critical factors that ultimately influence or determine everything".
Oh, and we both thought everyone could have worked harder at presenting their argument in a more inspirational way. Designing your charts a little and thinking about telling your story a little more rather than a series of charts.
Have a look at this for reference as to how you might write a deck for people to read, while still maintaining a sense of theatre and careful pace. And we both thought there was too much repeating of the brief. Consider feedback on how you found the brief to work on, and what tensions or challenges were.
So, to the individual entries.
It's great you did your own research. Great you shared some learnings, but it felt more like your opinion rather than observations of stuff actually happening. Also, I wanted to have ONE killer thought and your idea seemed a bit, 'maybe this'.
I did like how you tried to keep this simple - it's about looking better, embrace vanity, let's not kid ourselves. In fact, once upon a time, I had a similar thought for a female targeted energy drink, but I wanted this developed a little more. Also, perhaps the plan was a bit tactical. we were looking a little more for core jobs comminacation would do. For example, a strong point of view on 'it's about looking good, let's admit it' felt like something with enough energy and talk value for a Youtube content partnership, perhaps provacative TV pointing towards it...take a look at this Selfridges stuff, as much for the shape of the campaign as the idea...
In addition Rob said,"I did like her ‘diabetes’ comment. I was disappointed she reduced it to an ‘ad placement’ because there is something interesting and different in it. Whether it’s interesting or different enough to grow the brand in the way they want it is open for debate … but saying ‘a drink so good for you, even diabetics drink it for energy’ could be very interesting indeed"
Jane and Mike
Great you boil it all down to a clear set of goals. I wanted to show me where the leap from business to marketing objectives had come from though. Clean living is interesting, but I wanted more justification ,especially for a new brand position. Really great you look at what is already working/available, this isn't done enough by very experienced people even, and the four insight buckets work really well. And purity is interesting, as is the insight about not suffereing for health. Something rub against there, a tension to play with.
But then you're proposition loses to opportunity to play with this. Guilt free pleasure feels like a rich toy for comms to play with, I can see all sorts of shapes for creative to become, and media can really go wild with context and need states.
Rob said, "It just doesn’t push against anything. It ends up making the brand seem bland and given their product insight is basically saying ‘this is the brand that stops scaring people into feeling bad about themselves"
There was something far more interesting and pragmatic in there, just waiting to come out.n fact, a task, or statement of intent would have worked a lot better than a proposition, as single minded messaging propositions only really work for the advertising creatives (if then!), this is about a comms task for an interactive team. I thought the customer journey slide and principle of meeting them in their world was helpful, but I wasn't sure you followed the thought through. Adsmart TV for example would be efficient, but it still felt a little like 'talking at people' unless you have a bigger idea for the role of TV -perhaps adding scale to the activation or co-creation pieces?
Pierce and Jeanie
At times I felt there was a lot of opinion, great to have a point of view, but it needed more support.
Great you turned the business task into a human task, but then the task was a bit, "this and this' rather than a fundamental challenge to mobilise on. Now I loved the 'it's water duh!" thought but questiond if folks really are skeptical about miracle products. In the UK, Boots No 7 position is based on miracle products, "Ta Dah".
Great you have a SIMPLE idea, but it felt a little like a TV ad proposition and 'nature is best' doesn't feel that new.
The plan was nice and simple with clear tasks, it made a lot of sense ,but I thought your idea of 'the brand with nothing to hide was interesting' and could have sprinkled more magic dust and innovation. Also, I wasn't sure if their was any media to add sufficient scale or at least more emotive heavy lifting, perhaps a partnership with the Guardian? Brands need a wider enthusiasm and perhaps a genuine conversation around the work/.life balance thing in the 21st century hosted by the Guardian could have been interesting - I'm not saying work life balance is original, but I for one am finding that collaborating with media owners on something simple, but that matters to their readers/viewers can generate great stuff .
Rob said, "They had something in their presentation that I felt could have provided the tension to build brand distinction ["There’s heavy skepticism around miracle products …”], but instead of exploring that further, they decided to say “ … and water remains the purest beverage available” which may be true but:
1 Is open to debate given the current market trend for flavoured waters
2 Seems appropriate to any water brand, not our specific client"
At this point it's worth noting that if you can define your goal, then a find a tension or issue in the lives of your tightly defined audience that relates this, you're most of the way there.
If this was Nike before Just Do It, you'd be saying, "Celebrate the empowering nature of sport in a world where it's unable to live up to the American myth of self-reliance"
Anyway. So far, great work everyone. You've worked really hard and their some wonderful pieces of thinking.I'm not sure you've really made the most of the nuggets when you've got them, in fact many are buried in your decks a little.
Anyway, hope the feedback thus far is useful. We'll talk through the rest tomorrow.