Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

Write with 3 Balls

June 28, 2010

This year the Promax/BDA conference in LA brought in great speakers from around the world and smashed last year’s attendance numbers. We felt honored to be included.

We had a blast presenting “Write with 3 Balls” to the audience of marketing executives, and they returned the feeling. Loved seeing that SRO crowd. As promised, here’s what we showed. Enjoy and please let us know what you think!

[The presentation is packed with good stuff and videos–please give it a few moments to load up.]

Promax Presentation

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cooking lessons

June 22, 2010

Ever have an over-achieving sibling? Then you probably know that being born under the shadow of greatness can stink. Just look at Cain and Able, Jimmy and Billy Carter, or Marcia and Jan Brady.

My point is this, when one sibling is a star the other kids can have a tough time keeping up.

On the other hand when family dynasties work, they’re a thing of beauty; The Medici’s. The Kennedy’s. Venus and Serena Williams.

So when Scripps, parent company of Food Network, decided to birth a second channel dedicated to food and cooking, they faced more than the usual launch challenges. They had to find the sweet spot for viewers, advertisers, and affiliates, of course. But they also needed to create a sibling Channel to Food Network that carried a distinct personality without stealing Food Network’s thunder or encroaching on its loyal niche.

And they wanted to launch the network in five months.

It might have been impossible but Scripps put the seasoned pros from Food Network on the case; Michael Smith, Susie Fogelson, Patalia Tate, Katie Ilch, Joanne Harmon, and team. They knew to build Cooking Channel from the personality up. At the foundation was a distinct point of view, clear attitude, and language that resonated with the new audience.

Given our deep love of Food, and our passion for branding, being invited into the new network delivery room was a pinch-me moment for the Tooth+Nail team.  Early on we explored personality directions, clarified the target audience, honed in on a single voice, and crafted brand guidelines, language, and a tagline that captured the battle cry of all Food People, “Stay Hungry.”

Foundation in place, internal and external teams were off and running. The new network flourished: affiliate and ad sales marketing, graphics, packaging, the launch campaign, topicals, and the million other details. Creative partners included Leroy and Clarkson for the image campaign, Trollback and Co. for on-air graphics.

Enjoy the collected works of the Cooking Channel team. Think of it as a birth announcement. We’re so very proud.

Food Network, meet your younger sister, Cooking Channel. She’s so cute, and just the right kind of feisty.

writing bootcamp

May 26, 2010

This June we’re packing up our gear and heading to bootcamp in the tony jungles of LA.

Promax/BDA, the organization of TV promotion execs, invited us to put TV novices and honchos through some basic writing drills. Because, frankly, promo writing has gotten listless and lazy. Time to lose the love handles around the verbiage.

Ready for a bootcamp preview? Check here over the next few weeks. You’ll find out how to:

-Kick your spots into award-winning territory

-Pack muscle onto your prose

-Settle the showdown between pictures and words

-Tell a competent story, soldier.

And if you’ve got a spot that you think would be prime example of any of these topics, we’re paying attention and we love showing you off.

At ease.

endings+beginnings

March 22, 2010

3 brilliant spots.

Each makes a different point about beginnings and endings.

The first celebrates the end of a soldier’s tour of duty. I love how honest and simple the execution is.

The next is the perfect sequel ending to one of the most popular viral videos ever.

And the last sparked imitators world wide because–in a brilliant twist–the ending is the beginning. (Stay to the end, it’s worth it.)

All three  spots move me in different ways. Two of them cost almost nothing to produce. They inspire by strong writing and unexpected twists.

Flannery O’Connor once said “Beginnings+endings are critical moments . . . the shorter the narrative, the more important their function and their import.” These short ads make the most of both.

I hope they start something in you.

can’t help ourselves

February 28, 2010


Thirteen of us crowded onto the sofa and chairs around the Superbowl, and this spot came on. A man, a boat, and a horse. The guys laughed because it poked fun at what they think women like: six pack abs, diamonds, and “tickets to that thing you love.” The women laughed because this guy is pumped full of himself.

Women and men: now that’s a tightrope of humor. Old Spice pulled it off, towel and all.

That’s the beauty of finding the right point of view in your brand personality. When it works, you can’t help yourself.

How have you used POV to grab someone’s attention?

*If you want to meet the guy behind the Spice, go here.

sounds like genius

February 22, 2010

First, a confession. I’ve always been a sucker for radio.

You supply the story, the audience supplies the pictures. Now that’s interactive. Plus, compared to print and television, radio is inexpensive to produce. $500 for an award-winning spot? That’s how much my first clio winner cost.

Turns out, audio is even more powerful that we thought. Two recent articles reveal how aural persuasion taps our unconscious.


In this week’s Time magazine,  Martin Lindstrom, author of the best seller “Buyology”, hooked up participants to neoro-sensors. He discovered that some sounds zap right past our thinking brains and compel us in primal ways. Irresistable forces.

The New York Times magazine looks at how the top two contenders for Best Picture, “Hurt Locker” and “Avatar”, both use sound to create entirely new worlds. The lush jungles of Pandora and the dry, still world of bomb defusers — would either movie be as effective without their world of sound? Not likely.

How are you using sound to change minds?

live it out

November 25, 2009

Whether you’re talking business or personal style, standing out takes balls. And the ballsiest person I know is 88 year old Iris Apfel. Iris is outrageous, down to earth, and can count herself among the ranks of art geniuses.

Her medium?  Clothes.

Don’t laugh. Art museums around the country are showing her work, including NY’s Met and the Peabody Essex Museum. Last month we promoted her extraordinary exhibit on radio.

Now, meet Iris…

“Live it out!” Iris tells us. It’s true in life as well as business. The first question to ask is: Do you have the guts to be truly distinctive? All it takes is some balls and maybe a boa.

a fitting experience

November 19, 2009

The movie Amelia starring Hillary Swank opened to mixed reviews this month. However, that didn’t stop the NYC discount retail chain Daffy’s from turning it into a hit.

Before the screening of the film at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown Manhattan, a music video became the genesis of an experiential ad for the retailer.

Dancers on the screen were upstaged by dancers on the stage as all the performers acted out how shoppers try on clothes in “Fitting Dance”.

Find your fans and create an experience that delights them. Zappos does it with customer service, Daffy surprised the Ziegfeld crowd and T-mobile rocked a crowded train station.

Ask yourself how your brand can bring joy to your customers, then ask your customers for their business.

We’d love to know what groups you’ve been thrilled with and why. Is there an agency, a freelancer or a consultant that over delivers and is rewarded with your loyalty?  Do tell.

M

the real work of brands

November 14, 2009

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Tomorrow I lead 25 TV executives through an all-day brand workshop in Dubai  at the DMI studios.

We’ve never met, but already I know this: they’re managers, directors, art directors, and producers. They’re young, creative, opinionated, curious, and ambitious.They’ll be shy at first, and open up as the day goes on. We will laugh and disagree, we may have misunderstandings.

By the end of the day, they will amaze me.

We spend a lot of time preparing our workshops:  pulling examples, creating exercises, and laying out the concepts that make brands work.

But the miracle always happens in the team work. When the language of the day isn’t job titles or meetings. It’s ideas. When people jump in and try things out. When they don’t fear failure.

What will amaze me tomorrow? I can’t wait to find out.

What’s your best workshop experience?

our favorite ‘lil spot this week

November 10, 2009

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Life these days is all about first impressions; 5-10 seconds and you’re summed up. That’s what the researchers, psychologists, and HR directors across the country will tell you. Everyone does it – we can’t help ourselves.

Our fave spot this week suggests things aren’t always as they appear.