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Before You Leap: Take a lesson from Perdue. And Volvo. Do not
underestimate the value of maintaining a good working relationship
with your client’s second in command!
I don’t remember how long it took, but eventually Perdue came around. The commercial went on to become that year’s best TV commercial under 60 seconds, according to the Copy Club of New York. Advertising Age ranked it “the best trade campaign of the year” (see Note 3). Demand soared. Sales skyrocketed. And Perdue was on his way to transforming his commodity—into a brand.
Fight for What You Believe In
Before You Leap: Know that if you believe in an idea—if you really feel passionate about it—you have to be willing to pursue it relentlessly and to fight for it. Even if it is initially rejected, you cannot give up. Sometimes even truly great CEOs who are genuinely open to creative thinking do not embrace an idea immediately. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve closed the door forever. Some have the courage to admit they have changed their thinking.And once an idea is proven to be successful, they may even be grateful.
Breakthrough Solutions, Industry Firsts
Frank Perdue’s is a classic Creative Business Idea. It revolutionized the poultry industry. And likely many others. Years later when I was to meet Dennis Carter—the man who led Intel to the Intel Inside® idea—he would tell me that his primary influence was learning about a man and a company named Perdue.
Like all great Creative Business Ideas, Perdue’s idea also led to numerous industry innovations and breakthroughs. And those firsts go way beyond being the first to brand chicken successfully and being one of the first to have the CEO serve as the company spokesperson in advertising. According to the Perdue website, Perdue was the first, in 1974, to develop a new product: the Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters, which are bigger birds weighing around five to seven pounds. It was the first poultry company to provide nutritional labeling on packages. The first to offer a money-back customer satisfaction guarantee and a toll-free consumer hotline. The first to use special packaging to ensure freshness. The first to offer fully cooked chicken in microwaveable containers. This first to have pop-up thermometers in the chicken to ensure they would be cooked perfectly. And on and on.
Innovation has been and continues to be a cornerstone of the company's success.
Today, Perdue is among the largest poultry producers in the United States, with revenues of $2.7 billion. Still privately held, Perdue is ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 largest private U.S. businesses.4
From the day the very first advertisement was scratched on the wall of a cave, true creative thinking has remained the domain of clients. In the products and services they create, in the creative ways they market those products and services. Historically, agencies have merely spread the word, pushing their clients' wares. Yet somehow agencies garnered the lion's share of creative credit. Through the CBI, agencies now have the opportunity to earn their creative keep... working with clients to enlarge their visions, embark on more-profitable missions.
—Jim Durfee, Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York
Creativity at the Heart of Business Strategy
If the essence of CBIs is “profitable innovation," at the very beginning we have to take a hard look at the business value chain and the prosumer relationship with the brand and ask ourselves, “How can we add more value to that relationship?" Creativity and profitability will follow. —Jose Luis Betancourt, Betancourt Beker Euro RSCG, Mexico City
Intel: The Power of Belief
A month after I was named chairman and CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, I had my first meeting with our clients at Intel. Our group had handled the Intel business in Asia for some years, had recently won it in Europe, and had also acquired the U.S. agency that had the business. So Intel had become a global client. In June 1997,
I met Andy Grove for the first time. Grove is another leader whose openness to creative ideas is legendary. It began with his eagerness to brand the computer inside the computer—and invest enormous resources in building that brand. That required tremendous leaps of faith in the power of marketing and communications—and a very high level of trust in his agency partner. He had to believe in the magic of connecting people with something they cannot see.
Intel’s first venture into marketing directly to consumers—now known as the Red X campaign—began back in 1989, coinciding with a general market shift toward the home PC user. The goal was to get consumers to upgrade from the 286 chip to the new state-of-the-art 386 SX microprocessor, which needed a boost in sales. The campaign was simple, but bold—the visual was the number 286 with a huge graffiti-style red X spray-painted over it. What was even bolder was that Intel had intentionally set out to cannibalize its own product line.
Dennis Carter, then the marketing director, was given an advertising budget of $5 million—a turning point in the brand’s development. “We were changing people’s buying behaviors,” said Carter. “We proved to ourselves that we could communicate technical information in a basic way, and I concluded that we should do this more. Inadvertently, we had created a brand for processors.”5