Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Watching Television Can Improve Your Marketing

If Black Sheep made television shows (it’s gonna happen), we would win Emmys L and R. You know why? Because we love entertaining. In fact, if someone made a reality show about Black Sheep (just an idea, executives at major broadcasting networks), it would be like all of our favorite shows rolled into one hilariously fantastic, dramatically different agency. But that’s just us. We take cues from this spectacular programming because we recognize the importance of performance and the necessity of theatrics in our “everyday” work.

Let’s take a look at some of our greatest inspiration.

Glee – This show took what was just another played-out high school storyline, threw in some great tunes and questionable dancing, and abracadabra… semi-attractive stars were born. And they’re all about the mash-up – combining two unlikely disciplines and bringing them together. Adding a little extra flair to your campaign, presentation or event never goes to waste. Incorporate video, live performances and music, and before you know it you’ll be entertaining instead of just spitting out information. Black Sheep’s The  Rhyme and Reason to Outsource campaign for PFS Group, an accounts receivable outsourcing provider for hospitals, involves an elaborate characterization of Dr. Paid, the company’s own celebrity rapper. Dr. Paid has an album with songs, a fan page, magazine articles and news interviews available explaining his involvement with PFS and the outstanding services they provide. We mashed things up and took the entertainment value to a whole new level. And now, Dr. Paid is famous… at healthcare finance trade shows anyway.

Mad Men – Of course this seems like an obvious choice, but we’re not going to tell you to come up with advertising campaigns like these skinny tied skirt-chasers. Not at all. What you should notice with this show is the amount of intrigue and hype they create. Think about it – in one hour-long episode, NOTHING really happens. Just subtle nuance and suggestive foreshadowing. For your next campaign or publicity stunt, try to arouse that same kind of mystery. Instead of being up-front, plaster the town with ambiguous flyers or send obscure messages to your customers. People will be so overwhelmed with the need to find out, they’ll be hooked. Just like we are at 9 pm on Sundays. Once, in order to attract a major client, Black Sheep arranged for 25 hand-delivered envelopes filled with photographs and clever phrases to our target contact along with several personalized animated videos. By package 17 he’d already acquiesced to meeting with us for lunch to propose a contract. Who wouldn’t want to meet a secret admirer?

30 Rock – Funny one-liners, crazy scenarios and outrageous antics – that’s Black Sheep in a nutshell. We whole-heartedly believe in making the audience laugh… no matter how serious you might be about your business. People want to have a good time, and that’s all there is to it. How can you inject humor into your materials? Well, we can’t tell you HOW to be funny, but we will share an example of how we did it. One of our clients owns a bar, and we decided displaying mannequins outside would get some attention. We dressed them in silly outfits and even started a blog dedicated to following their every move (not real moves… because they’re plastic, but you get the idea)… scandals, awkward nights out and even the adventures of losing your pants! And because they only have one real facial expression, the jokes pretty much write themselves. Customers love it… and so do the bartenders!

See what we mean? There’s nothing more important than logging several hours of television-watching each day to learn from the best. Once you learn how to entertain your audience, they’ll forget you’re trying to sell something, and they’ll be coming to you for more. So sit back, relax and pour yourself a cold one. You’ve got work to do.

No comments: