|Hey, They're Catching Up! We Should Advertise.
By: Brian Keller
Miles ReCo was the premier “record store” in the country specializing in vinyl recordings for audiophiles. The new love for old analog technology had left Miles of Miles ReCo with 70 stores throughout the country in neighborhoods that used to look like Baghdad on a bad day. Then, hipsters in black who buy fair-trade coffee and wannabe hipsters dressed in black who buy fair-trade coffee populated these neighborhoods. There were people looking for the original “Love Forever Changes” LP, an album so hip that it was rediscovered by the hippest hippie hipsters of them all — ad agency people. There were people looking for the latest vinyl release from the Black Keys and other acts. Miles ReCo had it all, and Miles lived in a neighborhood so cool George Clooney bought a house there to not live in it.
Thom of Thom ReCo lived in a suburb and drank Folgers. One morning, he woke with a cup, saying, "Well, I’ll dump CDs and invest in vinyl for audiophiles, collectors, and hip hipsters who will pay 40 dollars for a record. I like the Miles ReCo model. I will buy properties out of very cool neighborhoods and use the shabbiness as a statement that I’m for the people. I’ll buy neighborhood property, and when the hipsters come I’ll sell it to them with the vinyl records that I sell for less than Miles ReCo. I will squash him like an ant. I will sell out when Target opens. I’ll open a fair-trade coffee company in another crappy neighborhood. It will be populated and gentrified in moments."
Here's Where We Come In
Miles of Miles ReCo started seeing his sales erode. His decision? “I’ll advertise and crush Thom of Thom ReCo like an ant.”
Then What Happened?
Miles ReCo searched for an ad agency and found one in a warehouse in Davenport, Iowa. An army of different-colored people dressed in black populated the agency. There was no sign. The staff was so good that they didn’t even come in. The agency was known as Farm Collective for the People. Meat had to be thrown out before entering the parking lot.
Farm Collective for the People studied the music business, the recording business, demographics, downloads, buying trends, analog, digital, retail, and more.
Miles bought Photoshop. It is said that, at the time of his purchase, every staff member of Farm Collective for the People got chills.
Then What Happened?
Farm Collective for the People overwhelmed Miles of Miles ReCo with print, TV, POP, videos that they were gong to make to go viral on purpose, websites, and more. Lou Reed liked it. There were hip account plans, media plans, strategic plans, innovation, strategized stuff, and more. The campaign was based on a “Love Forever Changes” cut. It was to be covered by Tony Bennett, Bono, K.D. Lang, Kanye West, and Jeremy Lin. The agency would appeal to Gay, African American, and Asian markets. They got Tony Bennett because everyone likes him.
Then what happened?
Farm Collective for the People won.
Miles of Miles ReCo realized that he had committed millions of dollars to strangers. “Damn, no one knows more than me about this business. What the hell is wrong with these people? I’ll smash Thom and Thom ReCo myself. I have Photoshop. Everyone knows that “Love Forever Changes” is so cool that no one listens to it anymore. The song will come from Nicky Hopkins “The Tin Man Was A Dreamer” album. These agency people…curse them all.”
Then What Happened?
They had a meeting. Miles uttered the most dreaded words in advertising. (It is said that, at the time of his utterance, all the staff at Farm Collective for the People got chills.) “When can I see new creative?”
Two weeks later, the “Hi, I’m Miles of Miles ReCo, for the record” 10% off coupons came out in mailers.
Then What Happened?
Thom of Thom ReCo saw the coupons and fired the agency he had hired after he heard about the Miles ReCo agency. His nephew knew Photoshop and made coupons for Thom of Thom ReCo.
What Do We Take from This?
People have great ideas and build fabulous businesses. Eventually imitators, competition, better ideas, and the evolution of newer ideas challenge market shares and sales and people look to move the business forward once again.
People turn to us: the communicators, the strategists, the thinkers. They task us with separating them from the competition. We eagerly accept the challenge and soak up knowledge and devise work to drive clients to our clients’ “doors.”
Sometimes the client remembers that the original idea for the business was his/hers and no one can “sell it better."
Sometimes the client remembers that the original idea for the business was his/hers and no one can “sell it better” than someone who is not so close. Sometimes the agency thinks that the client must bow to every plan and every suggestion. The agencies sometimes forget that the client remains an innovator and is in the grand position to have the wherewithal to hire an agency.
Sometimes all forget that they started in Mom and Dad’s garage.
It’s a paranoid existence we lead on each side. Be empathetic as both client and agency are — and have always been — laying it all on the line.
That’s why you are all successful. Have fun.
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.