Friday, 29 June 2012

Now Here's a True Story you may find interesting...

When we started Interactive Marketing we were introduced to Alvin Toffler who, when hearing of what we were doing simply said "Persevere but remember vested interests will be against you".

Was he ever right!

We were confident that what we were proposing would be more effective and we would be giving clients the very communication programme they needed, that we borrowed three and a half million dollars from venture capitalists.

Our pitch to Clients was beguiling and had never been heard before: "you pay nothing to come into the programme. However, you agree to accept the findings of a stringent purchase study, to be conducted by the independent Market Research Corporation of America.

Based on those findings would you then pay us a fifteen per cent commission on the incremental increases in sales produced."

The Clients fell about laughing, they had never had such an offer from any of their advertising agencies. "Where do we sign?"

We mail delivered nineteen million copies of Shopper’s Voice. Because it was mail delivered we could have Test and Control cells as next door neighbours, thus allowing us to measure changes in behaviour and actual purchase amongst those who had received the program – Test and those who had not – Control.

Obviously Control was exposed to everything else the featured brands were involved in. MRCA are on record as saying, "It was the (then) most precise purchase study ever carried out by us."

To get a perspective, no advertising campaign had ever had such a high degree of accountability put behind it after just one exposure and to this day still hasn’t.

To cut a long story short, when we presented the increase in sales figures to Colgate Palmolive, we said that the results indicated a fee of seven hundred and eighty thousand dollars based upon the agreed MRCA formulae. All Colgate could say to us as they handed us the cheque, "Could we redefine the rules of this game please?"

The figure arrived at was due to the results gained from a double page interactive spread inside our Shopper’s Voice Magazine. But interactive in our terms is where the communication process became two way not based upon any electronic gizmo! The recipients were, for the first time in any advertising context, given the opportunity to be involved with the brands and be part of the communication process.

Colgate had never experienced such a result from all their billions of dollars invested in conventional advertising and they directed us to their advertising agency.

In hindsight, it is amusing to recall the many, many excuses they made not to use us and they stifled the idea. And in those days if the agency said no, very often the client accepted their judgement.

Why did they bring down the portcullis? Well you can draw your own conclusions but in our mind it was a fear that here was an idea better and more cost effective than anything they were capable of doing. It was outside of their control and, God forbid, it would make their contribution ACCOUNTABLE!

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