Opinion

Creating an ad campaign: No amount of blagging will dig you out of a hole like this

5 min read

21 November 2017

Director

As this year’s series of The Apprentice continues, former winner Mark Wright has given us his weekly review, with the latest episode calling on contestants to show their advertising acumen.

From a disaster at a medieval village to an over-honest pitch, episode seven of The Apprentice was another one of Lord Sugar’s favourite tasks, as Team Graphene and Team Vitality showcased what they did, or perhaps didn’t, know about creating an ad campaign.

“Led” by James, Team Graphene branded their car “Expando” and decided to target families, based on Bushra’s claim that she would be able to fit all three of her children in the back.

Assumptions aside, the team were never going to win when they chose the medieval village as the setting for creating an ad campaign to promote a brand-new car. Fail.

Dictated by Michaela, Team Vitality branded their car “Miami”, and although their agenda when creating an ad campaign remained consistent, their pitch was extremely weak with Anisa’s damaging honesty to blame.

“You have a photo booth business – you can direct this?”

No James, because a photo booth and creating an ad campaign are clearly two very different things.

Consistency remains a fatal error for this year’s candidates, where Team Graphene showed a distinct lack of connection between the Expando TV ad – contrasting Elizabeth, chickens and a medieval village with the ad imagery, and even the product itself.

No amount of sales or blagging could have dug them out of that hole, and it’s no surprise they found themselves battling it out in the boardroom.

We’ve been here before, but consistency in business, and particularly in sales and marketing is vital for success. Where consumers see information about a new product on TV, they will expect correlating activity online and through social media channels.

A big, but basic, part of consumer marketing is utilising as many relevant channels as possible to promote a consistent message to your target audience, and is something 2017’s candidates are failing to grasp week after week.

My way or the high way

When Anisa called Michaela to discuss the branding ideas for the car, it was clear there was no discussion, no interest or no care on Michaela’s part. The car was going to be called Miami – end of. The same could be said for Elizabeth, who literally walked all over James, refusing to acknowledge his position as PM.

In business, your staff are your main asset. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to deliver your product or service to a high enough standard to succeed.

Talking people down, refusing to listen and disregarding their ideas is one sure fire way to lose your team. If you don’t listen to them, what’s to say they will listen to you?

Respect the opinions of others, and they are far more likely to respect yours in return.

With pitching, you must plan

This week’s pitches were messy and weak – with the exception of Sarah, who always delivers a strong speech, and Bushra, who managed to remain confident despite the number of questions thrown at her.

The real car crash was, of course, Anisa, who failed to stand up for the product or brand, and sided with the negative feedback – jeopardising the performance of the rest of the team.

When pitching for business, planning and product knowledge are key to success – without either, you will struggle to deliver a confident and convincing pitch, for any product or service and within any market sector.

Mark Wright is director of Climb Online and winner of The Apprentice 2014 – he’ll be back next week with lessons of the latest episode

Image source: BBC

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