President, Maxwell House Coffee division of Kraft Foods
I've worked with Burrell since 1989, when I headed the marketing organization for our Stove Top Stuffing line. We were looking for unique ways to talk to the African-American consumer about Stove Top, and I found the agency was very good at researching this market. In the course of working with Burrell and finding out about the consumer, we learned a lot about customers' perceptions about stuffing-cornbread stuffing in particular, which we hadn't spent a lot of time promoting previously.
So I learned that Burrell is really good at finding unique insights into the African-American consumer and helping us decide what to promote.
When I came over to Maxwell House in '94, I asked the agency about opportunities for us with regard to coffee. They again started off by getting background research on the consumer and on particular products that might be appealing. Now we're in the process of developing new spots based on this research.
I think good advertising starts with great consumer insights. That leads to the strategy, and the creative comes right out of the strategy, tapping into the consumer insights.
LOOKING FOR RESULTS
That's the next part of the puzzle: The first part is getting consumer insights; next is getting great creative, then getting business results. Burrell delivers on all three.
What I look for in an agency is people who are always raising questions, and Burrell's staff does a great job of raising the right questions. They also do a great job of listening. They listen; they have ideas; they challenge you. That's a great combination.
Another thing I like is that Tom Burrell gets involved personally. I know I can always call him and get his thoughts.
Also, we recognize that they're now branching out beyond the African-American focus. So we're looking at some of the ideas they've come up with for us, with an eye toward how we can integrate them more broadly into how we advertise products.