A Morning of Unconventional Ideas
Independent agency network Project: WorldWide joined forces this week with Advertising Age to host some of the brightest minds in marketing at a roundtable discussion, “The Rise of the Unconventionalists.”
The event focused on marketers who have invested in innovation including John Hayes (CMO, American Express), Denise Incandela (CMO, Saks Fifth Avenue), Russell Klein (Chief Provocateur/ Former CMO of Burger King and Arby’s) and Rick Condos (Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, ARGONAUT, a Project: WorldWide agency).
Project’s Brian Martin, SVP Marketing and Communications, made opening remarks and shared Project’s vision for the day, to tell the stories of those who are rewriting the rules of successful experiential marketing. Judann Pollack, Deputy Editor of Ad Age, then led the panel discussion – touching on the new rules of consumer engagement, how to create provocative and successful programs, and what successful, out-of-the-box experiential marketing looks like today.
The following are highlights from the discussion:
- “Marketers and brands need to be in awe of their customers.” In the wake of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, American Express Card Members expressed overwhelming interest in aiding relief efforts. The company heard them loud and clear and began American Express’ Members Give program that enabled members to donate reward points to important causes. John Hayes expressed awe at the sheer number of donations from Card Members – a successful experiential effort that led to an on-going program.
- “Data makes marketers braver people.” Big Data is certainly a hot topic. Rick Condos noted that marketers used to push content out at consumers and wait months for a reaction. Now they encourage consumers to participate and engage with content – which elicits near-instant responses. This shift has enabled marketers to adapt quickly and change direction if need be. This knowledge and pace at which marketers now operate is making people braver and more willing to take risks.
- “All great, successful advertising is rooted in an authentic piece of tension between a brand and its key consumers.” Russ Klein discussed the current Snickers campaign, “You aren’t you when you’re hungry,” and the 2005 “Subservient Chicken” campaign for Burger King. He said both of these campaigns were based on concepts rooted in a unique tension that was relevant to the brand’s consumers, and in turn, created a compelling connection between the brands and its consumers.
- “Think nationally, act locally.” Denise Incandela shared insights about how Saks Fifth Avenue uses local stores to deploy social and digital programs. Social in particular is a big part of the retailer’s “omni” marketing plan to engage both aspirational and current customers. Saks empowers local teams to tailor content and promotions to their particular consumers because local relevance goes a long way to garner customer engagement.
Following the panel, we caught up with Brian Martin and Rick Condos to get their key takeaways from the event – see what they had to say below.