Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
It truly blows my mind how quickly time has been passing by. It's been almost a week since my last post, but I swear it feels like minutes ago that I finished the last sentence. And wait, it's almost November. What??? This past week we had the pleasure of learning from Beth Fetzer, currently a planner at DraftFCB in NYC. She was very insightful and intelligent. She was our first planner that still works in an agency, so it was good to get her perspective.
And now a story about beer and branding- a very happy matrimony indeed. On Thursday evening our Spanish representative, Antonio, invited us all over to his place because he was going "to make a party". Before the party I stopped by the store to pick up some wine and beer. As I stood in front of beer cooler I was confronted with several brands as well as a social conundrum: clearly whatever I brought was going to be a direct reflection of me so I needed to choose wisely. I spotted the Stella Artois, one of my favorite pilsners, but decided that might look like I'm trying too hard. Then I looked for the Trumer Pils, another fave, but they were out and besides that I wasn't it would have been the crowd-pleaser I was looking for. I considered one more local microbrew before I ultimately landed on the Anderson Valley Brewing Company's seasonal brew called "Winter Solstice". After dissecting my decision making process, I've concluded that my brand of preference (not beer, important to note) was one that reflected my adventurous side (willing to break away from the familiar), positioned me as someone in the know (I was the first to discover this seasonal brew), and if the beer actually tasted good I was also responsible for making others happy (and if it was bad, I could just shrug and say that at least I tried!). The beer turned out to taste great and the part was a great time. Cheers.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Drinks, class, group meetings, class, a cigarette or two, more meetings, coffee, coffee, coffee. That's a pretty good summary of the last week as a MAS Bootcamper. But the highlight was our weekend workshop with Lisa Welch-Nehring, an LA-based planner. To quote Lisa's webpage: "Lisa is not only charming and witty, she also has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and creative consumer research." The page doesn't lie. She was as entertaining as she was interesting and I learned a ton from her. The meat of the workshop was reviewing a zillion case studies from some of the world's most premier brands including Apple, Levis, Dreyers. The case study that stuck with me the most was Levi's. The big question that Lisa posed in regards to the current state of the Levi's brand was: what role does advertising play in getting the brand back on track? The idea was to consider all of the other factors that play a role in brand perception like distribution and price.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
As I mentioned in the previous post, Leslie believes that there are interesting insights all around us and that a large part of a planner's role is to observe what's happening and glean those insights. She's asked that we take our observations one step further and record some of them in a journal. I will be doing this both in the lovely little spiral bound notebook covered with earth images (appropriate) as well as here on this blog.
Today's entry is about a food that I love: Swedish Fish. I can't recall exactly how or why (not that it matters) the conversation started, but I was very surprised to learn that my coworker had never in his entire life enjoyed a Swedish Fish. So unfortunate for him. Naturally, upon hearing this I promptly left the office to head across the way to Newsspot where I could purchase Swedish Fish in bulk.
Upon arriving at Newsspot and making my way to the bulk candy section I noticed something highly unusual: the number of red fish in the bulk candy sea far outnumbered the green, yellow and orange fish. Now, anyone who's had the pleasure of nibbling on these gummy candies knows that red is the tastiest flavor. I was bewildered. But what was more bewildering was my sudden desire for the non-red fish flavors. I dug around and managed to fish out (pun entirely intended) a couple oranges, three greens and maybe five yellows.
This sugary scene reminded me of the premise behind luxury goods- maintain a low supply (presumably of a high quality good) in order to increase desire. I asked the clerk about the unusual ratio of reds to non-reds and he explained to me that when he only orders the mixed bag, the reds tend to disappear quickly, so he started ordering one all-red bag to every mixed bag to appease his customers. A sensible business decision indeed. But I wonder if maybe, just maybe, his ordering strategy will help the oranges, yellows and green fish swim a little further up the preference stream.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Today was the first day of the San Francisco 2008 Bootcamp for Account Planners. Ah yes, "Account Planner"- a title I look forward to claiming. And after today, I can look forward to earning. Sounds like we have a busy 12 weeks ahead including Role Reversal class where we try on the hats of groups like the consumer, the client and of course the creatives. Watch out Bill Bernbach.
Leslie Kennedy, a very smart women and San Fran planner who's worked with the great Jon Steel at Goodby, is leading our Role Reversal class for the first 5 weeks. I was a head nodding fool listening to Leslie- "a planners role is to distill and simplify", "great insights are all around us- we just need to observe", etc. etc. I'm looking forward to more words of wisdom and advice from Leslie. And with that, I end on a great quote from Lao Tzu that Leslie wrote on the board today:
"He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened." I hope to get to know more about myself, future Account Planner, over the following weeks.