A while back, when I was working on the Nissan account at TBWA Manchester, Paul Burns and I came up with a proactive piece of work to coincide with Alistair Darling’s 2.5% cut in the rate of VAT. The headline simply read: “Thank you, Darling.” Then underneath a couple of lines of copy about how much easier it was to get into a Nissan thanks to the Chancellor. Ads like this are just as much about building brand personality as they are about shifting metal. The trick is to get in first. You need to move quickly. The creative team, the account team, the media team, the client and the production team all working in unison to make something happen. You haven’t got time to dither. No time to run a focus group. Someone is going to have to make a decision on this one, god forbid. Shoot now, ask questions later. There are, (or should be), thousands of creatives out there scanning the news for similar opportunities for their clients, so you would be forgiven if another team/agency came up with a similar concept. (In our case, it was BMW.)
But can you plan proactivity? Surely, a contradiction in terms. Well, let’s take a look at what’s coming up in the news in the next few weeks. Hmmm, let me see… nothing interesting there… Wait, what’s this about an election? Let’s get scratching and scribbling, you’ve only got another 3 weeks to show how spontaneous you are!
The aforementioned ad for the VAT decrease.
And another, intended to run the day after Obama’s inauguration.