What it takes to create effective, customized media solutions
By Swapnil Patel
The phrase “DEFY WHAT IS” hangs prominently on one of the walls of our office. I see it every day. I never let it go unnoticed. In fact, I make a point to internalize it, remind myself of the challenges we face and use it to purposefully guide the work my team and I do for our clients. As a department, we ask ourselves all the time: In a world full of large, established media-only agencies with thousands of media minds and billions of media dollars managed, why would clients ever entrust a small media team at a creative agency with their media needs? The onus is on us to give them reasons to do so. To know their business and be involved in the process from ideation through optimization. To not settle for the status quo, to show them a better way. To harness the power of creative media thinking to yield more meaningful connections with their best prospects. And to proactively service their business and add value to every interaction. So that’s exactly what we set out to do every day.
The past few weeks have been exciting ones. A lot of what we’ve been working on for months is or will soon be in market. To whet your appetite, below are just a few examples of the creative thinking our small but relentless media team is bringing to fruition:
Just in time for painting season, we’re executing a series of never-been-done-before color takeovers with theSkimm, a popular daily email newsletter with a whopping 40% open rate. Play “I spy” and keep an eye out for when one of Sherwin-Williams’ 1,500+ colors replaces theSkimm’s signature teal.
For DIYers looking for color inspiration, check out Apartment Therapy Color Search. We’ve partnered with the design blog over the past two years to create a first-of-its-kind utility that allows users to easily search Apartment Therapy’s archive of over one million images by color or by room and then take their desired action (i.e., see the colors, email or text the colors by name, pin the image or find the nearest Sherwin-Williams).
For Crocs, we leveraged our TV spend with NBC Universal properties to secure an added value on-air integration with the “TODAY Show,” where the show’s talent will help bring the essence of new Crocs commercial, “Mom’s Day Off,” to life for a deserving mom around Mother’s Day.
To get more chefs’ feet in Crocs, we integrated the brand and its #FindYourFun positioning into a themed episode of “Chopped Junior” (airing 5/17) and created a custom 60-second branded vignette that replicates the “Chopped Junior” experience with built-in product placement and a guest judging cameo by Katy Michael (Crocs Global Communications Vice President).
Our clients’ marketing dollars are precious. Media properties and placements, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. It’s our job to sift through all the possibilities and identify opportunities that transcend the conventional “brought to you by” placements that are commonplace in our industry. In doing so, we push one another and, ultimately, earn the respect of our clients, co-workers and media partners.
Our secret sauce to defying what is:
Break category conventions. We challenge ourselves to find creative, unexpected and more meaningful ways to connect with our client’s target audience.
Aim to always overdeliver. We add value by trying to always do things better than people expect them to be done. This holds true no matter how big or small the task.
Some money or no money. That’s our negotiation philosophy. Simple and straightforward. Not many media properties in today’s fragmented media landscape are a must buy. We’re fine walking away if the price and/or placement opportunity doesn’t provide value for our clients. That mindset alone provides us all the leverage we need.
Call ’em every five minutes. An idea on paper is just that: an idea on paper. The wins are earned by working relentlessly to bring first-to-market ideas — like our partnership with theSkimm — to life.
Philosophically, that’s what “DEFY WHAT IS” brings to mind each and every day. For me and my team, it’s what drives us and why we care so much about customizing the best possible media solutions for our clients.
If you’re frustrated with the status quo, let’s chat and start defying what is.