"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

What Would You Do With $3 Million?

Posted: January 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

$3 million dollars. What could it buy you? A nice house. The ability to travel around the world for the rest of your life. About 8 Ferraris. Two weeks of AIDS retroviral treatments for 300,000 people in Africa.

Or it could buy a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl.

The question posed by Brains On Fire was, what would you do with $3 million? I guess the answer (as always) is it depends. It depends what brand I’m representing and what I want to achieve.

Football Brand – Under Armor

I’m not entirely sure how much Under Armor has to spend in their marketing budget, but I have a feeling it might be slightly less than Nike, their number one competitor in the category. Of course, Under Armor has a much stronger, competitive and authentic brand image than Nike within this segment. All of the Average Joes out there think that by putting on some tight-fighting UA gear, I’m suddenly going to be exponentially more awesome at Sunday pick-up flag football. That’s amazing equity for the brand.

Instead of spending $3 million on the media buy for the commercials during the Super Bowl (on major US networks), I would fans insights on how the teams/players are prepping for the big game. I’m talking about last minute productions, interviews and training montages. Ones that are gritty and provide an honest view into how the players are prepping for the big game.

Then, instead of buying media weight, I would sell these mini-prep episodes to ESPN. All real American sports fans have ESPN. Under Armor doesn’t care about the mini-van majority. They just want the hardcore fans/players who love football.

Car Brand

Car companies are the worst at advertising! For the vast majority, their ads are some shiny new car model driving around either in the city (if they’re a car) or kicking up dirt in a desert (if they’re a pickup truck). From a personal perspective, I can never remember which ad goes with which brand.

The solution? Don’t buy media during the Super Bowl. The majority of people are going to mistake a competitor’s ad for yours anyways, so just skip it. Instead, what I would do is put the $3 million on the line as the world’s biggest (official) Super Bowl bet.

You pick two of your dealers, one in each hometown. Whoever wins the game, also wins free cars for the first 150 people to show up at the dealership. It’s like Oprah’s free car day … except, this time your brand isn’t overshadowed by Oprah.

Beer Brand – Anyone But Budweiser

Let’s face it. Anheuser-Busch is going to outspend you. They are going to have a bunch of horses, or a Dalmatian, or hot cheerleaders appear about a zillion times during the Super Bowl. They are going to drive everyone to the liquor stores to pick up beer before the game, during the game and on the way home.

And that’s cool. Let them spend their money reminding people to drink Bud. Let them own the airwaves. What I would do is mass the budget in a place where I could outspend them (and convert spending directly to sales). I would own the point of sale. I would throw some kick ass sales promotion out there. Maybe a sweet gift-with-purchase? (A DVD of 100 best Super Bowl moments?) Or maybe a limited time offer of $5 off a 24? To be honest, my creativity in the promotional realm has gotten a little rusty lately, but you get the idea. You mass your funds at a single point, where you can beat Bud and convert people to real sales.

So that’s what I would do with $3 million. What would you do? (And it definitely doesn’t have to be marketing related).

- Christian

Canadian Blog Awards

Posted: January 23rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

So, something super-groovy happened. Apparently, Idea Drunk is a finalist for the Canadian Blog Awards for Best Business/Finance Blog. That’s cool.

DJ Team Canada … some quality home grown talent.

I’ve taken a quick look at the other blogs in the category, and some of them seem quite good, although some skew finance, which isn’t really my style. But, they are all established blogs (definitely more than 5 months old) with good reputations. I think my favourites are Major Persuasion and My Name Is Kate. But they all provide some good old fashioned Canadian content in the online business world.

Anyways, here’s a list of the other finalists:
Canadian Free Stuff
Canadian Silver Bug
Major Persuasion
My Name is Kate

And you can vote here.

- Christian

A Hot Bath – The Perfect White Space

Posted: January 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

Last week, I wrote a post on the importance of white space and gave a few examples. I realize that each individual will have specific ingredients for what composes their ideal creative environment. Now I’d like to share with you my personal favourite white space: a hot bath.

I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t get the chance to indulge in a bath too often due to the current bathing structure of my condo, but when I do, it’s like magic. I feel as though a nice relaxing soak provides me with the correct mindspace to tackle any problem.

Why Does It Work?

Most people find they have some of their best ideas when they are relaxing. To relax fully, you need to relax your body as well as your mind. By lying in a hot bath, closing your eyes and chilling out, your whole state becomes receptive to creative ideas.

So here’s my suggestion of how to initiate your own (personal) bath brainstorm:

  1. Run a bath
  2. Soak and relax
  3. Write down your ideas
  4. Soak and chill out

And even if you’re not getting the ideas that you need, at least you’ll be clean. And I think we can all agree that hygiene is important.

- Christian

Addition to the post at 2:15pm on Monday, January 21st:

Apparently today is also the most depressing day of the year, according to the American Insitute of Psychologists and Time magazine. And a hot bath has been proven to make you feel better and relax the muslces in your neck and lower back, which can tighten as a result of stress.

A Pitch For The Pits: For Women Only

Posted: January 16th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

Renita, one of my friends from back in university, came up with some interesting thoughts after reading the original A Pitch For The Pits post that was written last week. Here’s what she said:

“At the risk of making you wildly uncomfortable by mentioning lady bits, this would probably also work for (cough) Feminine Products, no? They need replacing even more often than deodorant, though women might be a little more likely to stock up without prompting – but would also be mighty tempted by a magazine or gift.”

My first thought is that is an awesome idea! I had no idea that women were as lazy as men with this stuff. I mean, I hate making a trip to Shopper’s Drug Mart to buy deodorant, but I always felt that women felt differently about the subject. So a subscription that automatically replenishes your stash of “feminine products” every month definitely makes sense. There’s no need to waste valuable storage space with a stockpile, and you save the hassle of going out to buy a pack every month.

Why buy tampons when you hang under your umbrella-ella-ella eh eh eh?

But let’s take this idea to the next level. What if the package that was delivered didn’t only contain tampons? What if it also came with a month’s supply of razors, lip balm, tooth paste and whatever else busy women tend to go through on a monthly basis? What if it also contained free samples of new products? That way, you could turn the subscription service into a dual profit center – you make money from selling and delivering the products, but you also sell a permission based sampling list to companies with products that your customers would enjoy. You could even publish a monthly magazine that acts as a companion and represents the foundation for the subscription service’s branding.

The easiest iteration of this idea would be to implement it in partnership with a pre-existing magazine. It’d be cool if Cosmo or some other popular women’s magazine offered it as an upgrade option to a normal subscription. So each month you would receive your Cosmo and everything to enable a busy Cosmopolitan women at the top of her game. What do you think?

- Christian

Word Of The Day: White Space

Posted: January 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | No Comments »

You don’t do work at your desk. You reply to emails, book meetings,and do budgets at your desk, but those are all menial tasks. To accomplish REAL work, you can’t be huddled over your computer in a cubicle or office somewhere. By real work, I’m talking about solving problems, coming up with ideas and planning strategies. The type of work where you add value.

To do real work, you need space. Space for your mind to stretch out. An area for you to spread your information, so you can step back and look at the problem. You need white space. White space can be anywhere that isn’t your desk. It’s where you go to get REAL work done. It can be on a couch in a hidden nook of the office. A boardroom that you booked off for just yourself. Your favourite chair in the Starbucks across the street.

Each individual has different characteristics that define their personal white space. Some people need a constant background noise. Some people need total quiet. Some people need to sit on the floor. Some people need fresh air. The point is that everyone needs to retreat to a special place in order to align their mind to deal with the challenging tasks.

From personal experience, I know that I work far better on pitches when I get into the “zone”. And that white space for me was sitting on couches in a board room by myself with a whole bunch of Post-It notes littering the coffee table. It allowed me to remove myself from the distractions of my desk and focus on the pitch. It also allowed me to step back and view all elements of the pitch in simplified Post-It note form.

So I encourage you to go and find your white space. And if your supervisor hassles you, just tell him (or her) that you are solving a problem that couldn’t be done at your desk. The best argument for preserving your white space will be your resulting ideas. And trust me, they will be much better than those that could have been produced staring at your computer screen at your desk.

- Christian

Worst Brand Partnership in the History of Time

Posted: January 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

Did anyone else know that Will Smith was a Scientologist? I just found out. My immediate reaction was disbelief. Will Smith is one cool cat. He was funny on Fresh Prince, awesome in Bad Boys (I and II) and proved himself as a legit actor/producer with The Pursuit of Happiness.

Before I knew about him being a Scientologist, I thought he was cool. Someone who was able to parlay a less-than-serious music persona into a full blown Hollywood career. Now I think he’s just a crazy person. I mean, a public association with a brand ridiculed as a cult that worships aliens has got to mess up your brand equity. I know it certainly has for my perception of Will Smith.

Now what I predict in the coming hours will be an intense internal battle in my mind of trying to justify it. Does Will Smith’s coolness outweigh the craziness factor of Scientology? Hey, maybe if Will Smith thinks Scientology is legit … maybe I should give it another shot! After all, he’s not an outwardly crazy person like Tom Cruise. Now, this pattern of thought parallels what occurs in every consumer’s mind when they see a brand they like associate with one that they find sketchy. The question is, will your brand be strong enough to survive a shifty marketing partnership?

The brand partnership of Will Smith and Scientology is kind of like Labatt partnering with General Motors. Some dumb consumers might think that it’s cool, but the rest of us are saying “What the fuck?”

- Christian

A Pitch For The Pits

Posted: January 7th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to help work on a new business pitch for Speed Stick. Yeah, I know, deodorant (or Under-Arm Protection as they call it in the industry) isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. But what is cool is thinking about things that you could do to change the category. Even though we won the pitch, I realized that one of the best ideas was actually cut from the presentation.

The Insight:
I never remember to buy deodorant. I have no idea how often I use it. I never pre-buy that stuff. I just get it every time I run out. The crappy thing is that it’s such a pain in the ass to go to Shopper’s and pick it up. There are so much better things that I would rather do. Like hang out with my buddies and watch the Canucks.

The Idea:
A subscription service for deodorant. You sign up online and it gets mailed to you every 3 months. Auto billed to your credit card. No additional fee for it to be mailed to you. I don’t have to remember to go to shoppers. Speed Stick has a happy customer locked in to their brand.

They could even throw in a quarterly magazine as a value-add. Or maybe a pair of socks. Everyone can use a new pair of socks.

Validation? I just read an article this morning on Seth’s blog. Here’s what he had to say:

“Few businesses can successfully sell subscriptions (magazines being the very best example), but when you can, the whole world changes. HBO, for example, is able to spend its money making shows for its viewers rather than working to find viewers for every show.”

Hey, if he’s down with this subscription idea, it can’t be all bad.

- Christian

An Idea Drunk Morning After: The Resolutions

Posted: January 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

After a night of heavy drinking, sometimes you vow never to drink again. I never do that, because I know that I will always drink. However, seeing as it is the New Year, I felt that some resolutions may be in order.

So my last post was on how to make your ideas a reality in 2008. I wrote about having a list written on my mirror. Now, I realize that sometimes resolutions can be very personal. They are admissions of fault. They point out where your life requires improvement. However, far too often, people will make resolutions and keep them to themselves. Unless you are extremely self-motivated, this won’t help you along the path to achieving your goals.

In order to succeed, you need to let your support network know what you want. It’s kind of like having a running partner. You are less likely to sleep through your morning run if you know that there is someone waiting for you. So let’s say that your goal is to be promoted at work. Let your boss fucking know. And let her know early. And remind her often. That way, you both can work together to achieve that goal. She can give you pointers on getting your shit together. You can address those pointers.

Simply having your ideas out in the public domain is motivation. You will find that your network of friends, family and co-workers have access to resources to help you achieve your goals. And they WANT to help you. People love helping other people, sharing connections, knowledge and resources. Perhaps even a little motivation.

Here’s my list of resolutions:

Have fun playing ultimate. Last summer sucked because we kept on losing. Winning is fun. My plan is pretty simple. Step 1 is be on a winning team. Step 2 is to win.

Hang out with at least half of the people that I’m friends with on Facebook … in real life.

Be Ari Gold for a year. Kick ass and take names.

Make use of the camcorder + headcam to make movies this year. Also, take more pictures. How else am I supposed to remember what happened?

Fill my Idea Notebook. Also, have three of my ideas picked up and put into action. Time to start pitching!

- Christian