Posted October 3, 2013 3:40 pm by with 2 comments

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The Pitch 1800flowersLast week, on the AMC series The Pitch, two agencies were asked to create a social media campaign to encourage social gifting through 1-800-Flowers.

The two agencies, ONE/x and COR, both attended the meeting then took off to pursue their ideas in very different ways. COR went the traditional route. They called all their people together for a brainstorming session, generated 30 ideas then began narrowing the field.

ONE/x took a different route. Instead of heading back to the office, they took a field trip to a flower shop. They immersed themselves in the experience of buying flowers, interviewing people, taking photos. And, in a slightly creepy way, asked buyers to hold the image of a loved one in their mind as they smelled and touched the flowers.

Earlier today, Frank posted the results of a survey where the majority of B2B marketers said they could do better if they had more time. I’d bet this sentiment applies to business to consumer marketers, too. It’s funny. . . we have all these time saving devices. . iPhones and computers and tablets that are supposed to speed up communication but they seem to do just the opposite.

So here we have two agencies with the same amount of time to develop a complex social media marketing campaign. One agency chooses to “get to work” while the other takes a more leisurely approach. Sure, they were still working but they weren’t actively wracking their brains for a concept – that’s exhausting and frustrating. ONE/x simply opened their minds, put themselves in the buyer’s place and waited for the idea to come to them.

It did. It was called “Just Because.” Real shoppers kept saying it. The best gifts were the just because gifts. Just because you’re make me laugh. Just because you’re my daughter. Just because I saw this and it reminded me of you. Birthday gifts and Christmas gifts are “have to” gifts. Just because gifts are surprising and emotional.

Ironically, COR had that same concept on their brainstorm wall and rejected it.

Now. Here’s where we step back and play elementary school teacher: which agency will win the account? The hardworking agency that sat down right away to brainstorm or the more relaxed agency that sat back and waited for the idea to come to them? When you’re in fourth grade you’d choose the nose to the grindstone guys. That seems like the right answer. But you’d be wrong. The relaxed guys won this round. And that’s not to say they didn’t work hard, they just worked differently.

I think that difference is what’s tripping up a lot of marketers. We all feel the need to turn out something amazing today. And again tomorrow and by the way. . . this was due yesterday. We don’t allow ourselves to sit back and ruminate on the challenges. We leap and then second guess ourselves.

I would like everyone reading this to try something different next week. Take an hour (at least) to stop thinking. Go to a museum or a park or walk the mall. Talk to people about what they’re buying and doing and what’s important in their lives. Marketing is about connecting with people – our potential customers. Don’t try to sell them. Just let them do the talking. I guarantee you you’ll come back to your desk with fresh ideas and you might just feel a little more relaxed, too.

The Pitch finale airs tonight on AMC but you can watch the 1-800-Flowers episode online if you’d like to see the process in action.

  • Rs

    This author clearly took a leisurely approach to this article…do you understand the concept of editing? 11 days were presented in an hour show. You have no idea what actually happened and the true approach of either agency. Maybe you should talk to the agencies to find out the reality before presenting an uninformed opinion.

    For the record, I work at COR and I can tell you the show didn’t even show our social media campaign. They only showed a mood piece video and edited the comments to eliminate conversation about the actual campaign. I’m sure they did the same for One/X as well.

    • FrankReed

      Quite honestly, that’s the risk that these agency run by being on a show like this for exposure. Editing will make them look a certain way and literally no one who watches the show will bother to call the agencies to see what ‘really’ happened. Don’t go into these situations if you think you might be misrepresented (which you most likely will be since the show is selling ads not pumping up your reputation).