Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Ads #10 - We Can Solve It

Whether you hug trees for a living, or chop them down, if you're able to set aside your personal feelings and allegiances, you can appreciate this great ad. This ad by The Alliance for Climate Protection was clipped from the December 2008 issue of GQ.

What makes it so great? Let's take apart the elements.

The stopper effect is very strong. First off, it is impossible to miss the gargantuan headline treatment with its nearly 2-inch tall font. Reminds me a bit of the famous "Dewey Beats Truman" headline of old. "Free us." It is a simple message in a world of increasingly complex messages.

Next, I am taken by the unusual layout. You'll notice that the page is split vertically by image (on the left) and copy block (on the right). Most print ads today are designed with an image that spans the full page. If there is separate copy block is designed into the layout, the page is usually split horizontally with the image on top and copy below. In a metaphorical sense, this vertical split almost gives a sense of demarcation ... a new era, a change, etc ... if you think about a horizontal timeline or progression of time.

The visual image is stark and unusual. How often do we see an oil tanker in an ad? The cropping of the photo and the perspective supplied by the camera angle combine to communicate the massive size of that sea-faring vessel.

Finally, take a hard look at the ad copy. It is arranged in an unusual format, almost like a poem. Short lines, all contained to one row, and repetition are used to give the copy a choppy meter and an emphatic feel. And like all great ads, there is a distinct call-to-action or response mechanism. The advertiser clearly invites and urges the reader to go to the Web site to join their cause.

No matter how green you are, we can all be a little green with envy over the creative genius of this print advertisement.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dare to Prepare

Skip asked me to reflect on my experience on making effective and winning presentations. In my first career as the Founder and President of Pray Construction Company, we procured a fair amount of work that involved either a formal presentation to a selection committee or to an important decision-maker. In that industry and I imagine most industries, work procured through negotiations was beneficial to the organization…i.e. it was more profitable and less contentious. If you allowed the market to make you into a commodity….i.e. to make the selection process all about being the low bidder…then all of the value added components of your offering were left unappreciated and unrewarded.

Here are some of the guidelines we utilized when preparing a presentation.

1) Probe…probe…probe. In other words, understand not only what was written in the solicitation but find out what was REALLY important to the owner. Money is always on the table…but so are time, your team’s experience, other owner’s experience with you and your team, value added ideas, and what problems had the owner experienced in the past. Really try and understand what is important to them.
2) Who’s on the committee? What is their experience? What’s important to them?
3) We made an attempt to do a physiological profile of the selectors. Did they want simple choices and want you to drop down to the bottom line quickly….(A “D” personality using the DICS profile)….was the relationship important…as in a strong people person…( The “I”…easy to pick out…give them a big smile and they will almost always give you a big smile back)…..or were the details important (this is the “C” …and so we always were sure to introduce the “C”’s to our engineers)…or was past dependable experience the issue…(The “S”). So, for sure, we couldn't ask the selection committee to take a test but we were sure to try and have a little bit of everything for all the types.
4) And now the killer…Rehearse…Rehearse…Rehearse. This does so many things. If you are using multi media…it shakes that all out. It is very effective in getting the bugs out. I also really like to present. That is not typical. Many people just hate it and rehearsal can provide a lot of reassurance to presenters that are inclined towards stage fright. In front of a mock audience, you can also figure out what might need more work.
5) Stay within the time limit. If the selector group is full of D types, you will win if you finish early and lose if you go 30 minutes over.
6) Know your material or bring the people with you who do….But be careful with that. I’ve had some team members that just should never present. They don’t have it. If you must bring them…rehearse them to death…as in…..say as little as possible.
7) Lastly, make the presentation about them (the owner/buyer) Please…don’t wee wee on the committee. It’s their project and that is what is important. Never forget that.

At PrayWorks, I market and sell a service known as owner’s representation. I can help owners put together effective project delivery teams and help an owner with the evaluation process. Learn more about my services at and follow my musings on my BLOG at . And of course there is always Twitter…follow davidpray.

Thanks for reading!

Dave Pray

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dave Pray on Facebook/Social Media

Skip Lineberg is a friend of mine and Maple Creative has performed work for me and my companies. A few years ago I launched a new company, PrayWorks, and the Maple team created the name, logo, and initial web presence. Too, I subleased a small office at Maple’s headquarters, so I got to hang around the Maple team for a year or two. I am Blogger ( 209 Capitol Street ) (Skip introduced me to this world as well) and recently Skip asked me to guest BLOG on the Marketing Genius website….so here is post number 1!!!

I think BLOG posts need to be short…so my intent is to discuss Facebook. I have written about Facebook (a venue for “social media”) on my Blog so go and read my general musings. a component of a marketing plan….social media is a device or forum that wants to be on your radar screen. Here’s why:

People do business with people. So, by making regular (you decide what regular means, but I think a few times a week qualifies as regular) you begin to paint a picture of whom you are for your market (i.e. “Friends”). Now these entries should likely be a combination of professional and personal musings. Perhaps you post a link to an interesting magazine article about something relevant in your industry (business) or post a sports link (personal) you think your market might like to see. You can provide very brief updates about your work day (business) and then post a very short thought about the movie you just saw (personal).

Multi-Media. Too…Facebook is not just about text….it’s a great place for photos. You know the creative types by how often (and with what) that post as their picture…Hmmmm…time for me to change up. Maybe a few project photos as well as pictures of you and your family.

Network. Reconnecting with old friends (OK…your network) I think is fundamentally a personal endeavor. However, isn’t marketing about getting a “friend” to refer you? “You really need to talk to Dave Pray”. Facebook can be all about personal entries and just simply provide your market with top of mind awareness.

How about as a recruiting tool?

Now… of the big knocks about Facebook is…….Who has any time?? I suggest this is simply a learning curve. Sure…there are those who obsess and just seem to live in this world…but I think most of us either keep the page up and give it a glance or, using your iPhone, just keep track of activity while you are walking down the street….but that’s another subject!


Follow me on Twitter @davidpray

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Great ads #9

The other night I was watching the elite 8 and a commercial came on that was a parody of Tom Cruise's Risky Business. It had Duke's Coach K, UNC's Roy Williams and Lousiville's Rick Pitino and Bobby Knight. It was just an entertaining way for Guitar Hero to promote the new Guitar Hero Metallica. It's now on YouTube. I think it's a good way to promote the new game because it was on CBS during March Madness with well-known coaches. I know for me it made me go check out the website and see what all was going on with Guitar Hero and the new games.