I’d just started as a junior copywriter at BMP and an account man gave me a brief for a 30” TV commercial for Tower Pans.
I said, “What’s good about them.”
He said, “Nothing, all pans are the same.”
I said, “Can I go to the factory?”
He said, “If you like.”
So I went to the factory and talked to the people on the production line.
Afterwards I talked to the R&D guys, who are always the most important.
They develop the product, so they know everything about how it’s made, what it does and why.
And, even more important, they know about the competition.
Talking to them, I found 9 points where Tower Pans were better made than anyone else’s pans.
So I wrote a commercial with a split screen showing two pans of boiling water on separate stoves.
Two women lift the pans off the stoves.
The VO says, “Tower Pans have a much stronger welding system for our handles than other pans.
One day you may wish you’d bought Tower pans.”
At that point, the handle breaks off the pan on the left and we freeze-frame before the boiling water goes over the woman’s legs.
I showed it to the client.
He said, “You can’t say that.”
I said, “Why not, it’s true?”
He said, “It can’t be. All pans are the same.”
I said, “They’re not. Ordinary pans have a handle-stud welded to 95 psi, your studs are welded to 110 psi.”
The client said, “How can that be true?”
I said, “Your competitors use contact-welding, you use drawn-arc welding.”
He said, “What’s the difference?”
So I took out a pencil and paper and did a little drawing to show him.
You see, the person usually called the ‘client’ is actually a marketing person.
They know about marketing.
This year they’re selling pans.
If they get a job at Vauxhall, next year, they’ll be selling cars.
If they get a job at Rowntree, the year after, they’ll be selling sweets.
They are experts at marketing, not experts in pans, cars, or sweets.
If you want experts in those fields you have to talk to the people who spend their life making them.
So having found a lot of facts that weren’t on the brief, I also found something else missing.
Tower made 3 different ranges of pans: cheap, medium, and expensive.
Obviously different types of people are willing to pay different amounts of money for their pans.
How could you get all those different demographics with one ad?
So I went to see the media guys.
I said, “Instead of one 30” spot, could we do 3 different DPS press ads in 3 different magazines?’
The media guy said, “Sure, it’s a much easier way to target the different groups.”
So that’s what we did.
Upmarket mags for the expensive pans, and down-market mags for the cheap ones.
So we went from a 30” TV brief with nothing to say, to a hardworking press campaign with plenty of facts.
What I learned is, it’s no good moaning that other people won’t do their job.
If they won’t do their job, you have to do it.
And don’t expect anyone else to care as much about your ads as you do.
All those ads got into the D&AD annual.
They had my name on them, but no client, no media guy, no account man.
Why should they care as much as me?