Archives For Super Bowl

Mirren Mashup

MH3 —  May 20, 2014

Attending a New Business conference isn’t something you usually tell your loyal clients about.

But without the aid of an alias I crossed the border last week and attended Mirren Live in New York. Clearly I haven’t learned any lessons on discretion in this area, because I am now going to share my key learnings in this blog, which by my last check is read by many of our clients.

While there wasn’t a client in sight among the 300+ attendees, there were insights and inspirations that resonated so loudly with me I think they are worth sharing with all participants in my marketing ecosystem: staff, interns, suppliers, competitors, industry colleagues, clients, ex-clients, and maybe even a few future clients. While intended by the presenters as advice for agency leaders, their applicability to all marketing constituents will hopefully be apparent.

I debated long and hard whether I should attribute these ideas to their contributors and decided I would. However given certain legal trouble I am facing (just kidding), I do offer the following caveats.
1. If I misquoted you as a contributor, please forgive me, advise me, and correct me. In that order.
2. If you didn’t want your comments publicly broadcast – it’s too late for that.
3. If you wish to add to your comments, then please fill your boots and comment away.

I was mentioning to a friend the other day how I get so many comments on my blog directly by email, text, etc. Selfishly, nothing gets me more excited when I receive a WordPress notice of a comment to moderate. Yes I love having comments. Check back to my Donald Sterling blog. I even approve comments when people take a swipe at me.

Excuse the mindless segue about comments. Just don’t ignore it.

Okay here goes my version of the Mirren Mashup. Remember speakers, these aren’t direct quotes….just me paraphrasing and in some cases not so loosely interpreting.

Hiring Tip from David C. Baker of ReCourses:
If you couldn’t imagine yourself surviving a nine-hour car ride with the candidate, don’t hire them.

Hiring Tip from Alex Bogusky, FearLess Cottage:
Obnoxious people need not apply.

Client Loyalty Regret from Bogusky:
Dumping Mini for VW (while at Crispin Porter + Bogusky)…will haunt me for a lifetime.

Tim Sullivan of Sales Performance International on Agency Pitches:
The majority of agency pitches do not provide a value proposition to the prospect. What is the transactional value? What is the collaboration value? What is the financial value?

Lead Generation Advice from Peter Caputa of HubSpot:
Utilize multiple landing pages to generate more leads for your inbound programs.

WONGDOODY’s Ben Wiener various tips for Agencies:
Don’t wait for the client to ask before you bring them ideas… Have the balls to say no… Don’t forget who you are… My worst day in Advertising is a better day at the office than my wife’s best (who is a lawyer)… Killed doesn’t mean dead… Pitch less.

Mark Harrison on Mirren:
Pitch less was a big theme of the conference. I wonder how clients feel about that?

Sullivan on 2nd Place Finishers in Pitches:
Finishing second is finishing last. The true second place finisher is the first agency to withdraw from the pitch. It’s a poker analogy. When you fold, you cut your losses.

Future of Advertising Comment from Pete Stein, Razorfish:
Less Campaigns and more Real Time Marketing.

Sarah Hofstetter, 360i on Social Strategy:
Develop a database/relationship with the top 10,000 (yes 10,000) online influencers.

Hofstetter on consumers:
They are human beings.

Hoftstetter on the Oreo Super Bowl Moment:
That wasn’t a fluke. It was a case of a brand understanding its DNA and jumping on a moment.

DDB Worldwide’s Mark O’Brien on client-agency fit:
We are a great agency for a client that has tons of ongoing work that needs to be outputted with efficiency. If you’re doing one spot a year, we may not be the right shop for you.

O’Brien on small agencies:
You have advantages over big agencies. Use them.

Mark Harrison on speaking at Mirren:
I would love to speak next year. (Think this will work?!)

Hofstetter on clients assigning agencies based on marketing channels:
You are better off assigning different parts of the marketing ecosystem and having an agency attack that in an integrated manner.

Laura Maness of Havas on Brainstorming:
You need to transition people into the room. They need to be able to switch from their current distractions to the task at hand. Interview them 2-3 days prior to get the juices flowing. Do Projective Exercises when they are in the room to create moments of reflection. Most of all ensure discipline in the brainstorming process.

Values Redefined by Bogusky:
Your values don’t have to be nice values, just have some.

Client Admiration Comment by Edward Cotton of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners:
Ugly clients can be great for an agency…. You don’t have to have a BEER client on your roster.

Cotton on Being Persistent:
Just because a client turns you down, doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing them. The Saatchi brothers built an empire on not taking NO for an answer.

We had a private investigator on retainer to get us scoops on prospective clients for pitches.

Hopefully my clients feel I wasn’t in the Big Apple trying to cheat on them, but rather working hard to make my agency a better contributor to their business.

This is where I make a kissy face.

Sleepless in Seattle

MH3 —  February 3, 2014

Why in the name of Jim Zorn does everyone think the Super Bowl game was boring?

A safety on the first play from scrimmage?
A pick-six interception return by an obscure linebacker soon to be Super Bowl MVP?
A drum solo by Bruno Mars?
A gritty TD reception by an undrafted free agent?

I thought it was a great spectacle, albeit not a close game.

The highlights, big plays, and momentum-changing moments beautifully illustrated the true storyline behind the game. This game wasn’t about Manning vs Sherman; prolific offence vs dominating defence; skiers vs sippers. It was about Passion vs Precision.

The Precision was Peyton Manning and John Fox and the Denver Broncos’ attempt to out-think, out-plan, and out-scheme Seattle. Instead they were knocked out by the passion of the Seahawks.

That passion oozes out daily through the energy and emotion of Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. Maybe it was the decade in the California sun, but this 62-year-old man looks and acts 42. Once cast off from the NFL coaching ranks as too soft and too caring, his return to the league has been clearly categorized as triumphant with this Lombardi Trophy win.

Carroll honed his approach at USC and created a college football powerhouse with the Trojans. He didn’t change a thing when he returned to the No Fun League. Instead, what he has done is showcase the power of having a purpose, instilling confidence in your charges, and understanding that passion will always win out over system.

Carroll’s will to win is every bit as strong as the namesake on the Super Bowl trophy. It would be a disservice to suggest that Seattle doesn’t have complex schemes and systems. Of course they do. But more than that, they have a culture, a program, and a sense of team that goes far beyond any X’s and O’s.

Roman Times

MH3 —  February 7, 2013

My friend got mugged at the Super Bowl.

Not Michael Crabtree ticky tack on the most important fourth down of his life, which he deserved for running a wimpy route to cap off a deer in the headlights set of play calls to end the 49ers chances.

No, I mean mugged mugged.

Confronted on his way home by two apparently friendly locals, he was cowardly jumped from behind and flattened. The trio then pummeled him with their boots in a unique Louisiana welcome. Fortunately, two rent-a-cops from a nearby party scared off the unwelcoming committee before too much damage was inflicted.

That incident is a snapshot of New Orleans to me.  What a beautifully strange place. It’s everything the TV shows and movies make it out to be. The music was amazing, the food even better. The weather, highly cooperative.

It was only my third Super Bowl. Yes, I’ve already received plenty of kickback for saying only, but it was by far the best and definitely the strangest.

A kid tried to swipe my wallet in broad daylight. He grabbed it. I grabbed him. Shrieked some foreign shriek at him and it was over. TKO by Harrison.  Unfortunately, another Canadian we knew wasn’t so lucky succumbing to a Bourbon Street pick pocket.

Emboldened by my pugilistic prowess, I glared down a drunk who grabbed and threatened me in the men’s room at the Superdome. Truthfully, I was backed up by six new best friends made while waiting for this weak belly to finish ralphing all over the stall we were awaiting.

But don’t let these misdemeanors dissuade you from seeing NOLA some day. Everyone needs to once. But as our pilot said when we landed, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens in New Orleans winds up on Twitter!”

On TV you saw the same magical game we did. Though I would be remiss in not telling you I was a mere ten rows from the last gasp play. But from Section 135 I experienced more than a football game. Pregame concerts, tailgate parties, live alligators, and fortunetellers surrounded the stadium. Rich, and wanting to be rich, and never going to be rich united for a single day in their entry into football heaven. Ravens fans and 49ers fans, inebriated by the Mardi Gras spirit, dancing together in the stands to the pre-game marching bands.

The emotional high evaporating when twenty-six Sandy Hook students came to the field to sing America the Beautiful. In front of me, David Arquette had brought one of the Sandy Hook first responders as his guest. His t-shirt imprinted with small footprints, a morbid reminder that life isn’t a game.

There was the eerie feeling when the blackout first struck. Immediate thoughts of Hurricane Katrina cast a spell of unease over the stadium. The tensions on the field rose, as the delay grew longer. Maybe this was a life or death game as we anxiously awaited Emperor Goodell to allow the combatants back into the arena.

In Roman Times the losers would have died. Thankfully, all the San Fran players and my buddy get to see another day. That’s sort of how you will feel after wading through Bourbon Street.


Second Fiddle

MH3 —  January 31, 2013

I feel badly for Alex Smith.

Smith is the recently minted backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

He has fallen from being the overall # 1 pick in the NFL draft, and after several underwhelming seasons, to almost leading his team to the Super Bowl a year ago. Magically this year he was leading the NFL in passer rating before the cruel twist of being injured led to becoming a sideline patrolling clipboard carrier.

If I have to explain this to you, then clearly you are not a football fan and evidently you are not tracking the second biggest story line of Super Bowl XLVII. It’s not that Smith is the first QB in NFL history to lose his role as a starter. But it’s the way he fell on the depth chart and the amazing manner in which he has responded that contributes such an intriguing thread to this story.

There is an unwritten rule in sport that you don’t lose your job to injury. Meaning your replacement’s tenure is over the minute you are medically cleared to play again. In football this rule is close to a constitutional right especially for key skill positions such as quarterback. Amplify that Smith was, statistically at least, the best performer at the QB position in the league, at the time of his injury, and the violation of the injury rule code is even more amazing.

But unfortunately for Smith waiting in the wings was a freak of nature named Colin Kaepernick. I will bet you a souvenir Super Bowl t-shirt that you never witnessed CK7 play in college at Nevada. Well I saw a few games on late late late night ESPN, and I knew what was coming. Partially anyway. Not even his supporter emeritus, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, could have imagined what was coming.

Kaepernick is part Michael Vick, part Peyton Manning, part Cam Newton, and part Adrian Peterson. Whatever parts I missed are covered in his tattoos. This guy can play.

He has set records with his legs, sliced up defenses with his arm, and energized a franchise with his energy. Plus he seems genuinely nice in his interviews.

So this weekend will feature this newly minted phenom against retiring warrior Ray Lewis.

What about Smith? Has he run away to pout? Is he spending his waking hours inebriated? Has he picked up a weekend’s supply of Mardi Gras beads for his stay in NOLA?

None of the above. Instead he is thrilled to be competing in a Super Bowl. He has turned into a coach, confidant, and cheerleader for his usurper. He has kept his skills sharp, his teammates motivated, and his ego in check for the betterment of his entire team.

Let that be a lesson for us all. I know we all want to be #1, but at times fate or failure stop us short of our goal. Alex Smith will benefit in the long run from how he responded to this dose of adversity. He will rise again.