Cheating, finding rare universal truths and getting as close to a brand’s product are some of the lessons learnt after working for major brands, according to Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) chairman Chuck Porter.
Speaking atAd Week Asia, he unveiled a set of lessons learnt from the agency’s time working for brands such as Burger King, Mini Cooper and Microsoft.
With the event being based in Tokyo in Japan, he made a point to discuss the difficulties in finding cultural truths that resonate across markets. He said one of the few examples from the agency’s own work was for Microsoft when launching the Windows phone. The agency found that universally there was a recognition that mobile phones were distracting people from life, which formed the basis of the spot called “really?”.
“It is very hard to find something that works universally,” he said. An example was a US client called Let Go, which the agency is helping to launch globally.
“It is very hard to find and there are usually nuances in culture, I think usually things are local. A client called Let Go, which is becoming global, launched ads in the US and when we introduced it to Norway, we knew it wouldn’t work. Norwegians have a dry and self-deprecating sense of humour, so we changed it,” he added.
Another lesson the agency had learnt he called ‘swimming upstream’ and was about getting as close to the product as possible and for agencies to invent products themselves.
The agency invented the now famous Domino's Pizza Tracker. He said: “More important is what you do than what you say. For Dominos, we created the Pizza Tracker. They came to us and said ‘our data will tell you who makes it and who is delivering and what stage it’s at; is that helpful?’ So we created this tracker than you can use on a smart TV or computer, you can put it at the bottom and watch it. It’s interesting because we found that people love this, they were putting kids in front of the TV to watch it.”
“What is important is doing things for Dominos; not TV commercials but things that make it easier to order pizza,” he explained.
However, the example of Dominos comes after other inventions in which the agency were perhaps less smart about how they monetise it. The agency created a new type of chicken product called ‘chicken fries’ based off the insight that over half of drive through customers eat in their car, requiring more convenient food. “I wish we weren’t paid a fee but we got a penny for each fry,” he said.
The most recent part to this campaign was in partnering with General Motors to launch a special pizza delivery car, the Domino's DXP, complete with a heater for the food. “ I don’t know if we were the first agency that invented a car but it’s what we believe in,” he commented.
A final lesson was about cheating in order to find smart advertising. The agency was assigned to launch the Mini Cooper into the US but had a small budget, particularly against rivals such as the VW Beetle.
“If you buy direct response TV it’s cheaper than normal TV but you need a website and phone and can’t buy a car over phone,” he said. The agency then created a fake concept that Mini Coopers were being faked, much like designer fashion, and created a documentary dvd that people could call in and order from the direct response TV ad called ‘Counterfeit Coopers’.
“It was a completely fake product that we created to get Mini on TV for cheap and more than 10,000 people called in to order it,” said Porter.