Friday, December 14, 2007

Current TV - Entertainment v Message

It turns out I inadvertently addressed a real issue for the folks at Current TV. I was asked to make a promo for them as part of their New Icons series: I had to go to and then tell a webcam about my experience on the site.

I had expected to become engaged with videos about the global warming situation (well it is Al Gore’s company) or with some other deeply meaningful cause. But instead I was completely entranced by a video of a fellow in The Netherlands who has a pocket full of remote controls and who surreptitiously uses them to turn off TVs in public places – during the soccer finals. Chaos and desperation ensues as the fans try to figure out why their match has disappeared and our hero just moves anonymously on to the next set of victims. Yes it was irresponsible – but it was utterly hilarious.

So this is what I told the webcam - and this, it seems, is Current’s issue (and not only theirs). How to make good and important causes entertaining enough to divert us from such frivolity. You can see my video on Current TV on December 14th.

See the final edited video.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Selling Statement for a film director

This talented film director had left a career making TV commercials to write and direct a Feature Film (which incidentally had some very big stars in it - we were impressed!) and to shoot TV shows.

Now he wanted to find a new balance in his career between feature projects and TV spots. He needed to reintroduce himself to the ad agency and production company market, so he asked Pollock Spark help him to develop a Statement defining his style and to craft a presentation that would get him back into the competitive world of TV spots.

Here’s what the director said of Pollock Spark's work: “This is terrific. I really like the Statement … Seems very sellable to me, easy for a rep to remember and for an agency to repeat to a client.”

This is what we all need - a simple statement of our value proposition. And it is not easy to craft that for yourself - seeing yourself as others see you is very hard.

UPDATE 3/28/08
He's been booked solid for the last eight weeks - see what he says.

Pollock Spark works...

...For a successful 22 yr old animation company.

Under new ownership, this company wanted to know where it stood in the marketplace, how it was perceived by its advertising agency clients and what it needed to do to reach new levels of success.

Pollock Spark was able to reach out to the company's former clients and potential clients. These senior ad agency creatives told this independent interviewer things they would never tell the company or its reps. We learned some things that “surprised” our client and were invaluable in formulating a new strategy. The learning and the analysis, inspired by Pollock Spark's insights, led to a retooled strategy for the company and a new marketing plan.

“I am excited about moving forward” said the owner after spending a day absorbing the results.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Green Clutter or Social Awareness

Most US consumers think of themselves as environmentally friendly, according to an Environmental Leader article citing BBMG's "Conscious Consumer Report."

In addition to being eco-friendly, nearly nine in 10 US respondents self-identified themselves either as "conscious consumers" or "socially responsible."

That contrasts with respondents who self-identified themselves as "green." About two-thirds of respondents in the BBMG study said that the term described them "well," and 18% said it described them "very well."

"In a world of green clutter, conscious consumers expect companies to do more than make eco-friendly claims," said Raphael Bemporad, partner at BBMG. "They demand transparency and accountability across every level of business practice."

Thanks to emarketer who sent us this information. And to Greenpeace for the image.

Barry Diller's Mouthfuls

Barry Diller, recently the nation's highest paid executive, is breaking up his

"While we have created a lot of value," Mr Diller said, "I have always believed that our complexity and many mouthfuls of sentences to explain who we are and what our strategy is have hampered clarity of understanding with all our constituencies, including investors."

Could this be true of your company too?

Win-win for a brand and a cause

A powerful and productive partnership was created when our sister nonprofit The Cyrano Project introduced Carissa Phelps and filmmaker David Sauvage to Virgin Mobile.

The no-contract wireless provider screened a special preview of a moving new film about Carissa's harrowing young life on the streets and in the motels of Fresno. Directed and produced by Sauvage and executive produced by Davis Guggenheim (Oscar winner for "An Inconvenient Truth") --it was shown at the Virgin Mobile RE*Generation Art Gallery Auction and Benefit in New York in November.

The downtown art crowd was there, young and beautiful and buying art for the cause of
Youth Homelessness. The nonprofits who work on the streets with homeless kids were there - there are about a million teens and children on the streets of the US today. And VM staffers were there - telling anyone who'd listen that they are so proud to work for a company that does this.

To learn more about the artists whose work was on sale you simply had to dial a number on one of the fantastically decorated VM phones that were on display.

It was terrific branding for VM, whose prime customer is young and who empathizes with the plight of these homeless kids.

The event raised money and awareness for the cause, it was great entertainment and made complete sense as a brilliant branded promotion.

I should add that VM has sponsored Congressional legislation making November,Youth Homelessness Awareness Month and Carissa - a phenomenal woman who is no longer on the streets and has just earned a law degree and an MBA - is their national spokesperson. So this thing has legs.

There must be a perfect cause for your business. Let us help you find it.