Two Guys Walk Into a Bar

Who gets the girl?

They see wall to wall beautiful women.

Guy #1 sees this stunningly beautiful woman, sits in a miraculously-empty stool next to her and starts talking about himself.

He talks about his cars, his penthouse overlooking the ocean, his great vacation in Bali, the little-known tailor he discovered in Savile Row who makes perfect suits… smiling, the woman says “excuse me, I need to use the ladies’ room”. And never comes back.

Guy #2 sees this also-stunningly-beautiful woman, sits in another miraculously-empty stool near her and says, “Hi, I’m Peter, what’s your name?”.

From that point, the conversation is all about her. What does she do? What would she like to do? What does she like? Dislike? What are her plans?

An hour later, they are still talking. But now the conversation has taken a more personal bent: is she even aware of what a beautiful smile she has? How her eyes dance when she is smiling… you get the drift.

Question. Who gets the woman?


And yet, we have the same conversation every day.

This medium “works”. That one “doesn’t”. This medium is “hot”. That one is “cold”. This one is “engaging”. This other one is “below the line”. That one is “above”.

Let’s be cold and objective about it. Every medium works.

I began my career on the creative side, switched to media, then to strategic planning and have been privileged to work everywhere: in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Along the way I’ve learned more than a handful of lessons.

The main lesson was: It’s the message.

Let me give you two examples of the importance of the message

The mosquito season is the most important thing in the world for insecticide manufacturers.

Most people buy a can of insecticide the moment they see a surge in the number of mosquitoes. The second can is usually the same brand as the first one and most people buy only between 3 and 4 cans per year.

So you can see the problem: miss the first can and you’ve shot 50% of your share of market down the tubes. Some years back S.C. Johnson told us that they would be late in Brazil with the launch of Raid Max.

We created a radio “Testimonial” campaign –live reads—which asked women to “please hold off on buying your insecticide until we launch Raid Max”. Just that simple message read convincingly by a well-known DJ held back the buying of enough insecticide in the country to allow us to launch Raid Max properly and make our numbers.

For Plenitude (a L’Oreal brand) in Mexico, the French-originated campaign was lacking on two key aspects:

First: the target definition was off: the international campaign targeted women 25+ in the upper and mid upper segments.

Second: the message was not resonating with the real buyer in Mexico, younger women.

We first did the obvious thing: redefined the target to be women 18-34 in the mid-and-lower segments (a huge segment in Mexico) and then created advertorials based on the #1 reasons these women were giving us when buying Plenitude: “I don’t want to look like my mom at 30”.

The advertorials were, of course adapted to each magazine.

The result: #2 brand in the country in less than a year with 19.2% SOM

The Big Lesson: It's the message!