Outsmart, Don't Outspend
Twenty-five years ago, Pat Fallon and Fred Senn joined forces with colleagues to found a different kind of advertising agency. In the era of "media leverage," where advertisers sought to dominate the market by buying up as much airtime and magazine space as possible, the firm Fallon McElligott Rice advocated the value of creativity over exorbitant spending. Today, Fallon McElligott Rice has become Fallon Worldwide, a widely-recognized pioneer in the advertising field, and Fallon and Senn still champion the concept of "creative leverage," the idea that effective advertising strives to engage the consumer with intelligent, original and dynamic methods, rather than just buying up the biggest share of the media market.
To commemorate their quarter-century anniversary, Fallon and Senn have written Juicing the Orange, a guide to developing corporate creativity and parlaying that creativity into profitability and increased market share. As advertisers, the authors explain that they strive "to help our clients outsmart rather than outspend their competitors, to leverage brains over budgets, to juice the orange rather than drain our clients' wallets."
How can a corporation "juice the orange?" Fallon and Senn discuss principles essential to building creative leverage, including such forward-thinking and intriguing concepts as always approaching a situation from scratch and not allowing what's been done before to be an undue influence; that in today's market, it is vital to collaborate with talented people outside your expertise; and that the size of the idea matters most, not the size of the budget.
Staying Smart, Making Internet Movies and Herding Cats
The authors draw upon their 25 years in advertising, offering examples from some of their groundbreaking projects. The reader will be struck by the number of outstanding and recognizable campaigns on which Fallon and Senn have employed their unique approach, such as "Live Richly" for Citibank, "Buddy Lee" for Lee Jeans and "Chrismahanukwanzukah" for Virgin Mobile. Their "Stay Smart" campaign for Holiday Inn Express not only helped establish this sub-brand of Holiday Inn as a major competitor in the limited-service hotel category, but has also entered into popular culture, with the ad's tagline ("No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night") being quoted by the likes of David Letterman, ESPN hosts and even former Vice President Al Gore.
Fallon and Senn describe their work with BMW to underscore the importance of choosing the most effective media to deliver a client's message. When working with the German automobile and motorcycle company, they chose to ignore traditional advertising outlets like television, in favor of producing short, Hollywood-quality films featuring BMW vehicles for the Internet. The campaign, which helped continue BMW's sales momentum, not only underlines the importance of choosing the correct media for a client's advertising, but is also an excellent example of the necessity of collaboration in today's business world: For the films, Fallon Worldwide recruited the help of Hollywood A-list directors like Ang Lee, and then got Madonna and Clive Owen to star in the films.
But perhaps Fallon and Senn's most recognizable work is the 2000 Super Bowl spot they created for Electronic Data Systems — a spoof of classic western films, featuring cowboys herding housecats instead of cattle. The spot, which has been ranked the second most popular Superbowl ad of all time (behind only the classic "Mean Joe Green" ad for Coke), shows how creative leverage can be used to reenergize a mature brand, as well as how discovering an essential, relatable truth about a client (in this case that creating information technology systems is as complicated as herding cats) can be used to help communicate a message to a broad audience.
Fostering Creativity Through Corporate Culture
How does a business begin building creative leverage? According to Fallon and Senn, the answer is not in hiring creative individuals from outside your organization, but rather in focusing on constructing the corporate environment necessary for encouraging creativity in your current employees. They discuss principles for fostering creativity in employees, such as using the idea of family as a business model, promoting commitment to the power of creativity and making the workplace fun.
Why We Like This Book
While the authors illustrate their points with anecdotes about their successful, pioneering campaigns, they aren't afraid to pull skeletons out of their closet and hold up some of their spectacular failures as examples of how creative leverage can go wrong if you don't pay attention to each component of the process. They present their advice in a down-to-earth, entertaining manner that will inspire readers to incorporate creative leverage into their business practices.