BLENDING STRONG CREATIVITY AND ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT; DUAL STRENGTHS: JORDAN MCGRATH CLIENTS TALK ABOUT THE VERSATILITY OF THE AGENCY

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Tim Penner, VP-North American Tissues & Towel, Procter & Gamble Co.

we consider Jordan McGrath to be full partners in our business. They are excellent strategic thinkers, and they're heavily involved in understanding the consumer. They spend an enormous amount of time learning what turns the consumer on and what turns the consumer off in advertising.

I don't think you can create effective advertising by shooting from the hip. There must be a long-term learning commitment. You keep learning; you keep adapting; you keep picking up on what the consumer is telling you. That's what I think Jordan McGrath offers. And it's a big reason we've been working with them since 1985.

They then apply that knowledge of the market with some real creative flair. For example, they've done some very innovative work for our Bounty business. In fact, I believe they are responsible for a large portion of the tremendous growth that Bounty has enjoyed in recent years.

In the mid-'90s, they convinced us to move away from our old "Rosie" campaign, which was purely demo-focused and took a rather caustic approach, and move to what we call the "Little Kids, Big Spills" campaign. This more heart-warming campaign has made the brand and the advertising much more relevant to consumers.

new relevance

Then, in the past year, they've brought new relevance to that campaign with new ads, such as "Like son, like father." They've made the advertising fresh and innovative and much more watchable. But most important have been the results. Bounty now has a 42 share of the category, and that's 27 share points higher than its nearest competitor. That gap has widened from 24 share points a year ago to 27 points. So we're just pulling away.

These campaigns are created by some inspired people, and we have a wonderful working relationship with the agency at all levels. We have a tremendous respect for them; they're great folks.

Those working on our account constitute a small, very powerful team. Their quality starts at the top, with Pat McGrath [chairman and CEO], who knows our business well. Also important to us are Stephen Badenhop [president], Ilon Specht [executive creative director] and Angela Pasqualucci [management supervisor], who is our main contact; Angela is absolutely top notch, one of the best partners we have. On the creative side, we value the creative team led by Grace McQueen [senior art director] and Stuart Tom [copywriter].

All in all, in a world where a lot of clients are moving to global agencies, there's still a place for a U.S.-only agency that offers real creative brilliance. For us, Jordan fills that role in the U.S., and we love working with them.

Randy Papdellis, VP-marketing, Welch's

we've been working with Jordan McGrath for 20 years, and there are two main factors that have kept us together all these years. The first is their in-depth understanding of the Welch's brand and the equity associated with it. They've been a big part of helping us to build our very strong brand equity.

The other reason I like working with them is they are out to move our business, as opposed to creating advertising strictly to generate awards. Their approach is very product-focused, and the advertising has been very effective for us.

Their understanding of our business and our market is good. But what they contribute that's unique is their understanding of Welch's ethos -- the essence of what the Welch's brand is all about and how it relates to the consumer.

That understanding drives the creative. For example, the current campaign uses a child spokesperson -- currently a little girl, previously a little boy. Essentially, the child talks to the camera, virtually in his or her own words, about the brand, about why they like it, about the unique taste of the Concord grapes. In this way, the advertising is able to re-acquaint people with the strong connection between the brand and people's childhood. It triggers memories that the viewer, as an adult, may have about the brand.

This advertising really works for us. Our copy testing shows that the campaign consistently scores in the top 1% of food and beverage ads. And we've been recognized in the industry for our campaigns. Last year, we won a bronze Effie for our purple grape juice spot. And I just learned that this year we will receive an Effie for our white grape juice ads.

But most important, when we go on-air with our advertising, it moves cases. Our volume increases. We have doubled our market share in the past two years. Clearly, our advertising, and the strategic input that Jordan has provided, has been a major contributor to that.

great chemistry

In addition, Jordan's people are great to work with. We wouldn't have been as successful as we've been, especially in the last few years, without a great chemistry between our staff and the agency's. Sure, there's a bit of give and take. They will push us on issues that they feel strongly about, and they will listen to us when we have issues that we feel strongly about. Somehow, between us, we're able to be effective.

Of course, there has been turnover in personnel over the years. But there's been consistency provided through Rob Moorman [group director] and Denny O'Hearn [group director]. They're the two people on the account side who have done a great job for us. On the creative side, Grace McQueen [senior art director] has been a big factor.

It's almost as if Jordan, McGrath's staff is a part of our company. They've been around here for so long, that in many respects we don't consider them an outside supplier. We have a very solid relationship.

Doug Seserman, Senior VP-marketing, AT&T Broadband & Internet Services

based on our three years' experience working with Jordan, McGrath (under our former name, TCI), I'd say they strike a nice balance between being strategically driven and being creative in their execution. Another of their strengths is that while they do push back at the client, as many creative agencies do, they also listen well and adapt to constructive criticism. There's always push and pull in an agency-client relationship, and they do push for their point of view. But when the client communicates a particular point of view, they're good listeners.

In fact, I feel an agency is not doing its job if it doesn't stand up for its point of view. If they acquiesce too early, it wouldn't work well. But, at the end of day, Jordan McGrath's people do listen and take direction. And their ability to listen leads to good creative.

Ours is a difficult business to understand. It's highly technical and it's moving very quickly. So it takes study as well as listening.

In this regard, Rick Bodge [management supervisor] has distinguished himself as the senior member on the account side at the agency. He really spends a lot of time reading the trades and staying up on our business. In fact, of all the agency people we work with, his command of what's happening in our difficult industry is as strong as anyone I've ever encountered. And Tom Wambach [exec VP-creative director] is good at pushing for strong creative, then responding to constructive criticism.

Actually, everyone at Jordan McGrath seems to understand that good advertising is more commerce than art.

They understand that advertising must be strategically driven. Here's how we usually work together: After we do the positioning work up front, we draft a creative brief, which they then re-interpret in their own style. We agree on that, then the creatives go to work against that brief. That way, you don't see executions that are outside the strategy.

Another distinguishing aspect of their execution is the quality of the production work. Nothing comes out of their shop that doesn't have the look of high-quality execution. And we can count on that, even without spending enormous amounts of money. Even when there's a tight production budget, they still deliver high-quality creative.

rebuilding an image

Among the best work they've done for us is some award-winning comparative advertising, comparing TCI and satellite TV. In fact, it was some of the best comparative advertising I've ever seen. It does a great job of communicating the "Us vs. Them" points of view, but with an execution that's very friendly and humorous. It makes its point without bashing the competitor.

Jordan McGrath also did quite a bit of image work for us, aimed at rebuilding the image of TCI as a company that acknowledged it wasn't always as customer-oriented in the past as it needed to be and was taking steps to get better in the future.

In addition, they provided all the launch marketing support for our digital cabling introduction. All of that advertising has been very effective.

We know the image work resonated very strongly with our consumers and was very compelling. It told the story that TCI realizes its problems in the past and is making improvements. And the executions conveyed a sense of humility. In focus groups, there was applause of the creative because the message was so heartfelt. That's something I'd never seen before.

And our digital launch was hugely successful. In our first year, we sold more than a million customers on our new digital cable product. We know from market results that our competition is 20% less penetrated in our markets than they are in the rest of the industry.

Fred Huser, President, Novartis OTC

actually, i'm reluctant to talk about Jordan, McGrath. I don't want everyone else to know how good they are.

But seriously, they impress me as excellent healthcare marketers; they really understand the nuances of what it takes to market over-the-counter drugs. They understand the importance of good in-benefit visualization. And they're able to create clever, memorable selling lines that are on-strategy. They recognize that the advertising has to be functional in nature, while, at the same time, be a selling instrument. They don't do anything extravagant, but what they do works very well.

We like to involve our agency partners from the beginning, all the way back to strategy development and business planning. So Jordan McGrath works with us in developing the marketing strategy.

Jordan McGrath has handled some of our other products since 1992, but a few years ago, we asked them to handle all our cough and cold medicines. Since they came on board to do this, they've improved all the advertising campaigns for our over-the-counter products TheraFlu, Triaminic and Tavist-D.

McGrath Pitches in

It's been a team effort, and the team seems to work well together. Dean Schwartz [group director], who supervises our business, has been terrific. He's a very clear strategic thinker. And Pat McGrath has come to our strategy meetings as well. It's not often an agency chairman gets involved in day-to-day strategy discussions. He pitches right in. Given his level of experience and his expertise, it's great to have him involved in our business.

So they've contributed to strategy development. But I think what they do best is work on the visual aspects of the advertising.

For example, a few years ago we asked them to work on our TheraFlu commercials, a product that had been marketed in the U.S. since early '90s. We wanted to re-work our marketing strategy, and they helped us with that. In fact, before Jordan arrived on the scene, there really had not been a lot of clear work on what the strategy should be; we were all over the map strategically.

Together, we built a strategy around the fact that TheraFlu provides instant relief, plus longer-term relief for symptoms. The agency recognized the benefits of the medicine, then created commercials that visualized the relief it supplied. An ad showed a guy in his rocker in front of a fire, sipping a cup of TheraFlu. The commercial was filmed in b&w to start; then, as he sips the medicine, the color gradually spreads to the whole picture. The selling line was great, too: "Instant comfort, powerful relief."

Effective selling line

In other words, they did a good job from start to finish -- good visualization and an effective selling line.

Each campaign has gotten better and better, and they've produced results. For example, this season, TheraFlu's market share has increased dramatically, up more than a share point from last season. Triaminic sales are up about half a share point.

Beyond that, we are planning a launch for this summer, and I expect by yearend we'll be able to improve even more on these results.

Dale Siswick, General manager-U.S. sales & marketing, Hasbro Games

what strikes me about Jordan, McGrath is that both their account team and their creative team are terrifically talented. Some agencies may be stronger on one side or the other, but seldom in both areas. Jordan, McGrath's terrific blend of creative and account talent makes for a very synchronized team.

range of approaches

They've handled our account for 10 years, and they are very actively involved in the toy industry and in the games business. Because we have a partnership relationship, they make it a point to actively participate in our strategic planning and in the overall process as we develop our product lines.

This approach starts with Pat McGrath and is pervasive throughout the entire agency. The agency provides a depth and breadth of talent, and they've dedicated this to our business. Their creative reflects this. What I find appealing is they always approach an assignment from several different perspectives. They will present a range of creative approaches that will address that assignment from a number of different angles, presenting rationales on why they are offering the different approaches.

Similarly, the account team will provide various strategic approaches and reasons why they are suggesting each particular approach. Clearly, this stimulates a client's thinking and enables you to think outside the box.

hyping adult games

One of their particularly effective campaigns, which we launched about three years ago, is a category campaign called "Get Together Games." This effort was designed to stimulate play of adult games (such as Pictionary, Scattergories, Taboo). It represents a different approach for us, since historically we had advertised individual products. The creative incorporates a celebrity (Jane Leeves from the "Frasier" TV show) as a spokesperson, and the message is contemporary. It suggests: "Hey, it's great to play adult games. This is a viable alternative to activities such as watching videos or going to movies. Games are contemporary and provide great social interaction in a fun manner for you and your friends."

In other words, the campaign addresses the issue of adult game-playing as leisure entertainment, and it has created results. It has taken a category that was in decline three or four years ago and has stimulated interest in the entire category of adult games.

George Quesnelle, VP and director of medical marketing & sales, SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare

jordan mcgrath has an outstanding creative team and an outstanding account management team. We work very well together in an extended team atmosphere.

The agency, which we've worked with since 1974, is very good at determining consumer insights that get to the emotional core for the consumer. They take product features and benefits and then translate them into advertising that touches the consumer in a very emotional way.

reaching smokers

Currently, they handle our smoking-control products -- Nico-rette and Nicoderm CQ, our patch and our gum. This is a very interesting and challenging area. Basically, you're telling people you want them to give up their best friend, which is the way some smokers describe cigarettes. So how do you reach them in a way that makes giving up their best friend OK?

That's what Jordan McGrath has been able to do for us. They created campaigns that established this sort of emotional bond from the beginning, from the launch spot for Nicorette in 1996. In it, a young man talks about his last cigarette at 11:15 last night and his first piece of Nicorette gum, which was about 15 seconds after he woke up the next morning. He's not sure how he feels at that point. Then the commercial fast-forwards to about seven days into the program, and he talks about how he feels then. That's an excellent example of the kind of work Jordan McGrath has done for us.

If you look at the range of their Nicorette advertising over time, you'll see it's kept that same feel.

emotional pull

For Nicoderm CQ, I'd point to their most recent work. They created one commercial called "Dad's Deal." This is a father-and-daughter situation, where the daughter challenges the father to quit smoking. It's a great product sell, but a very emotional pull at same time.

Jordan McGrath has put some outstanding people on our account since the beginning. On the account side, I should give credit to Stephen Badenhop [president], Rob Moorman [group director] and Mindy Tegay [management supervisor]. On the creative side, the lead people are Ilon Specht [executive creative director] and Gene Case [executive VP-copy director], who have been the focal points for all our work. They've all been with us since Day One. But everyone there has been good.

I've worked with a lot of agencies over the years, and I think Jordan McGrath is among the best in terms of the quality of our working relationship and the

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