Be brave. Be bold. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. It’s an amazing time in our business.Adam Tucker
"Sandwich" for Walkers Crisps, 2012 AME Grand Award-winner from AMVBBDO
Normal TV production is a highly controlled process from start to finish. As the Walkers Sandwich idea was based on surprising the town and capturing spontaneous reactions, we had to give up the usual controls. We focused our energies on planning for every possible scenario in the pre-production phase. On the ground we had a tight, highly empowered team between client, agency, film crew, social media team, and PR team. Declan Lowney, our director, had a very clear vision for the reactions he wanted to capture. Somehow unbeknownst to us, he was able to scope each celeb's biggest fan, capturing their reaction on-camera as the celeb entered. Everyone (including the celebs) knew we were bringing a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the town of Sandwich. Therefore, the coordination was intense but everyone pulled their weight with a smile.
It wasn't hard. They loved the idea from day one. They knew it would be one of the biggest events to ever happen in the town of Sandwich. The town is known for two things: 1, being a quaint English seaside village and 2, the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich there. The town mayor appreciated the opportunity to bring national focus to the town in a way that benefited the townspeople. Who wouldn't want to mingle with their favourite celebs in their own hometown?
The initial brief was simple but tricky: "Remind people their sandwich will be that much more enjoyable with Walkers crisps". While we appreciated the simplicity, we worried it lacked creative tension. Early ideas felt more like one-off stunts. Our account planning team did a quant study and learned people enjoy their sandwich 3.9 times more with a bag of Walkers crisps. This was the creative springboard. We'd quantified a truth. Equally we knew it wasn't a truth to convey in one way advertising. We had to prove it, and thus the idea "any sandwich is better with Walkers… even the town of Sandwich" was born. The ultimate metaphor. Just as we were filming in Sandwich, Coca-Cola broke a new poster campaign in London. It showed a bottle of Coke next to a sandwich with the line "enjoy your lunch more with Coke". They did exactly what we didn't want to do.
They create more opportunities to connect people with brands. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty and play more as an agency and a brand owner. It's exciting. We are now far more purposeful when writing strategies and briefs in thinking about the kind of work we are expecting from a brief.
Many years ago as a young grad trainee I saw Levi's "Pocket Condom" and knew I was in the right business. I loved what it said about Levi's—effortlessly cool and rebellious. Over the years few brands have stayed so true to their core values. I'm also a massive fan of EDS "Herding Cats" because it's such a brilliantly clever metaphor for the new tech-driven world. More recently, The Yellow Pages "Treehouse" and "Yellow Chocolate" campaigns have resonated. While probably one of the hardest categories in the world, these campaigns set a new standard for innovation and creating a truly unexpected experience. Imagine the meeting when the agency said "let's build a restaurant in a tree to promote Yellow Pages".
While many would argue it's always been about selling, there used to be far greater delineation between advertising and direct selling. I grew up in training programmes teaching the role of advertising was to shift brand perception—and there was a "hand-off" to the direct selling work. That's a dated model. Today the definition of advertising is far broader and more multi-disciplined. Success is about creating a total brand experience that changes people's behavior.
Every brand is different and has different needs. This is where it's important to have KPI's from the outset. For example, the definition of success for Sandwich was twofold: 1, a 10% sales uplift and 2, secure long-term shelf space for Walkers in the chilled sandwich section in all the major retailers. The campaign wouldn't have done the job if we'd only hit the sales target (which we smashed at a 26% uplift). Two years later, Walkers still have a strong shelf presence in the sandwich section. The campaign is still paying off. Clearly spelling out the business problem and key objectives in any brief is the foundation to sparking solutions like Walkers Sandwich.
High standards and clear pursuit of awarding innovation and creative excellence.
More diverse juries make standards tougher. Local (potentially unfamiliar) brands in particular like Walkers have to prove a very strong case. International juries create checks and balances and an objective view on the best standard of work. They also create a need to produce clear, stand-out case study films. The case study film is now almost as important as the original idea.
Have fun. Be bold. Be brave. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. It's an amazing time in our business.