“That’s one small step for a planner, one giant leap for Martell.”

Posted on December 2, 2009

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I haven’t posted for a while, not since April to be specific. Mostly because I’ve been too busy. But also because I haven’t felt like it. And forcing myself  would seem to defeat the object of why I started writing a blog in the first place. But today I felt like posting again. The reason being that the idea we pitched and won Pernod Ricard’s Martell business with earlier in the year over at TBWA officially launched today. Considering the conservative nature of Pernod Ricard as an organisation, getting this idea through feels like a proper accomplishment.

In a nutshell, the pitch brief was about bringing relevant meaning to the brand’s “challenge yourself” territory in a new campaign. The brief also included breathing new life into Martell’s annual awards event, The Rising Personalities Award.

In short, we told Martell that in order to be relevant to their core audience, they ought to stop celebrating the already successful people – the usual category bollocks – and start focusing on actively helping people get there by encouraging them to challenge themselves purposefully. (I’ll get to the how in a minute.)  By doing so their core drinkers would be able to relate to the brand and would want to engage with it.

Whilst their big annual event was called Rising Personality, it actually celebrated people who’d already made it. It was in actual fact The RISEN Personalities Award and we wanted to set this straight. This was a big opportunity for the Martell brand.

We needed an idea that could work hard at the on-premise POS, where the battle of the throat in the Asian volume market is decided. In this market, people order their spirit by bottle rather than drink by drink. And our research showed that the choice of brand is heavily influenced by brand-sponsored promotion girls. We decided to use these girls differently (don’t jump to the wrong conclusion) to actively seed the brand into our audience’s conversations as they were drinking and chatting.

We suggested we do this by turning the Martell promotion girls (traditionally wearing scarlet evening gowns) into attractive secretaries. These girls would be trained to deliver a little “speech” to present “the business opportunity of a lifetime” as they were promoting Martell VSOP at the tables.  The girls would be equipped with entry forms to our competition:

Click for website here: http://www.ultimatestartupspace.com.sg/

We would secure the actual start up space well in advance of the competition so that during the call for entries period, the actual “start up space” would become our advertising. During this period, a rotation of business themes, or rather projections of a set of diverse business spaces would be displayed onto the empty white walls, putting the challenge to by-passers in high-traffic Clark Quay area

Projection reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM8DA830xng

The insight that sparked the idea come from our research into the consumption occasion itself: when guys and gals have had a few drinks and covered off the usual conversation topics, their conversation invariably get to a point where people express what they would really like to do…if only they had the courage. Suggestions about quitting their jobs, perhaps joining forces with their friends to pursue their passion would pop up. At this point, our idea would encourage people to rise to the challenge and make this leap – to start their own business. And the role of the brand would also be to help them get there by offering support by partnership deals.

Congrats to Gary and Hagan, Simon and Justine, Nirmalo and Bibiana and everyone else involved for making it happen. Hat off to the client as well. Well done!

(Picture of The Ultimate Start-up Space at Clark Quay pre launch)

Watch case video here:

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Posted in: Planning-related