Right, here's some general comments...
First, here's what Rob thought......
Few entries seduced with a nicely articulated, well designed, intriguing story. All tended to follow the same path with the same insights and the same perspective. Sure, some found an interesting angle - and that's to be congratulated - but many seemed to ignore the fact they only have 400,000, he doesn't think you can do a massive campaign with that.
He thought it was good that someone pushed back to save their money - but there needed to be an alternative approach, It can be good to take a stand in terms of what can be done, in any case, but he thought the only real sacrifice made was not going after larger drinkers but those already interested in craft beer.
My overall view is as follows......
This was HARD. But it's also representative of many briefs I get these days. Do more on less budget, do comms planning, brand thinking and media all in one.
So I think everyone did well operating so far out of there comfort zone.
Very well done.
I agree with Rob that, with an open format, I was hoping for some great storytelling, some submissions that stirred my emotions. I applaud those that took the time to build some theatre, make it visually interesting and draw me in. Not everyone did this. I hate it when clients ask for a document rather than a conversation, but in large client companies, not just global ones like Sam Adams, you'll find that even when you get a good face to face, you need to enable your client to explain and excite another authority to buy.
I don't entirely agree with Rob about giving up on the task or what folks have done with the budget. I agree that one or two have got over-excited about what might be possible, but that's okay for folks starting out that might not work in the UK, or have massive experience of dealing with media budgets. Some of the more experienced folks have done pretty solid realistic plans.
But that's part of some other questions.
First, you can't avoid having to reach as much of the market as possible. I thought a number of folks defined a sensible audience and many planned for some decent reach, but within the plans there didn't seem to be the required planning for 'talk value'. On a budget like this, the mix of media and content needs to punch above it's weight and build talk value. Few stated the need for fame, some did, but much of the fame planning didn't seem to relate back to the brand.
Also, a great media plan, especially one on tight budget needs a big jumping off point, a core content idea that everything will hang off. I thought too many plans had lots of phasing and different ideas, rather than one big theme everything would riff off.
When I worked on IRN-BRU for the Scottish Commonwealth Games, we had about an 8th of the budgets of other sponsors. Yes we could afford TV, but that worked more as two bookends to lots of integrated activity built one idea: we would celebrate that through the highs and lows (mostly lows) the Scottish support their national teams through thick and thin (IRN-BRU is Scotland's 'other' national drink and fortifies it's drinkers).
I wondered if anyone might have just concentrated on London, as well as some good work on a tighter audience.
I wondered if anyone might have done with the fact that the original Boston in in Lincolnshire.
I wondered what you might do with just focusing on one channel, like YouTube, including Vloggers.
I wondered about phasing. Would it be most efficient to do just one thing quieter periods - the run up or after the games?
For 400,000 you could have mixed outdoor and social media and focused on UK cities (craft beer is very metropolitan)
In terms of talk value and brand relevance, many talked about US v UK, which is solid, but I was frustrated that so many had some really golden discoveries and observations about the brand, the founder and other stuff didn't follow through.
I thought quite a few got caught out by relating stuff back to the Olympics, and didn't push this bit hard enough.....The Boston roots, that view about doing what you love and the link between passion and performance.
Seriously, lots and lots of gold, everyone just missed out on following it all through.
Now, everyone, I mean everyone, has at least one piece of greatness in their submission. Most had a lot more.
So, a winner. Hard, as I say, lots of things stood out from lots of people. You should all be pleased with yourself (but take on board the feedback!!).
It's going to be Hugo.
Because I could articulate your media strategy in a sentence and it's doable for the budget I think.
Few talked about the thorny issue of decent content and Vice is a neat solution - and the network planned for the right context could be good.
I do wish you had thought of your audience more, it's why you nearly didn't win. Watch that.
But I could explain your whole presentation to someone the easiest and while I got a bit bored with everyone doing the UKvUSA thing, you managed to do something more fresh and though provoking with it.
I do agree it could piss people off, but the first task of brand communications is to get noticed, this would. Tonally it feels kind of highbrow and self selecting..........you need to get the irony and with a nudge it could knowingly take the piss out of intellectual Boston types more than just out of the UK. It could have depth.
As your planning director, I'd be saying ditch the sampling and instead have trial assampling part of the story.
But this, along with the feedback above and knowing Vice would build on it anyway, it's the one I could work with the most and see some great development coming out.
As I said, it was close, and I've been hard on others for not enough audience work, whereas you've done none at all, but this is the one that would get noticed and an interesting, but sensible plan for the budget.
Mail me your address and a little something will be in the post.
Final piece of feedback, to you Hugo, but everyone. Don't put sampling in a response unless you KNOW the client can afford it. The cost of free samples for drinks usually outweighs the marketing budget by a staggering amount!
Over and out.