Thursday, 19 March 2015

It's Better To Arrive Before Time.

Int. Corner Office. One of  India's Top 5 Agencies

Distorted sounds. Dropped lines. Greetings and guffaws from old acquaintances. Cynical young copywriter feels like all conference calls, this one too will go south.

On the other end is the regional marketing head of one of the biggest brands in the world. He's briefing all the agency partners on how to leverage their global sponsorship at the FIFA World Cup.

The cynical young copywriter smiles. This is IT. Real time responses. Dedicated apps. Separate fan-based ecosystems. On-ground integration. In-store promos. Games. And then he catches the marketing head's voice. 

The budget for digital is a little above his CTC. He's slowly accepted the fact that digital campaign budgets will always be what, 1/10th of the main marketing budgets. But this? This is the last straw.

His boss' boss is on the call with him. He's taken aback but not as surprised as the young lad .

The marketing head explains that India is still an emerging market for the sport. We are betting big on the IPL. Don't forget that there's the Cricket World Cup next year.

The boss' boss agrees. 

They start talking numbers. 

'So, what do you think is possible?'

Ever to wait his turn, he weighs in. Suggests something cheap, effective with good ROI for the client and a shining badge for his portfolio.

The client likes it. The boss' boss beams. The price is bought into question.

The boss' boss throws a number.

The client renegs.

The boss' boss and the client go way back. They both know the agency isn't out to suck his coffers dry.

The client keeps trying to find some slack. The boss' boss won't budge either. The client says, 'It's not really a big deal for us. We'd rather have you focus on the bigger events.'

The copywriter adds with some reluctance, 'But sir, that's the point. No other Indian brand has the leverage you will. No other brand will ever have any association with soccer. You will be the first to have it and eventually own it. Standard Chartered has Mumbai Marathon. This, if we use it right could be our Mumbai Marathon. Any other brand could later try to outspend us but we'll win by virtue of foresight. Indians will migrate to soccer. They have already started and when they do, they'll remember us. Anything we do here is not a marketing expenditure, it's an investment.'

The distortion and the noise on the line is so much that the client mistakes him for the boss' boss. 'I thought you weren't keen on this dude.'

The boss' boss butts in again. The conversation fizzles. Another agency steps in. One which would bite the bullet and settle for the bargain. And no one in India remembers that the food brand was a global sponsor at the World Cup.

The said food brand and soccer never form a strong association.

The cynical young copywriter shrugs and thinks to himself, 'To sit on a goldmine and not know it. To own the soccer field before other brands take a run at it. To, ah, no wonder, I am this cynical.'

The next day the boss' boss receives an email.

The subject line reads: 'Cricket World Cup Ideas for big food brand.'

Maybe he is far less cynical than he thinks. 
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