November 17, 2016
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4 Key Lessons on Marketing Success Inspired by CEO of BBDO New York, John Osborn

With the right mix of clients and creative work, a career in marketing and advertising can be one that you’ll love and have fun with every step of the way. That being said, making your mark in the industry is far from easy.

Success often requires long nights, super-tight deadlines, and an ever-changing world driven by new technologies—all while dreaming up the next sensation to help brands sell products. Getting on top—and staying there—requires constant curiosity and a ceaseless drive to find new inspiration and learn new things. This is precisely why the Seed team was so excited to attend a recent luncheon presentation featuring John Osborn, the CEO of BBDO® New York.

During this event, Mr. Osborn reflected on his career in advertising and service, giving insight into what it takes for marketing professionals to be successful in today’s world. We learned a lot during from his inspiring presentation, but here are four key takeaways any industry professional can leverage in order to become a better marketer.

1. Grounded in Values
For Osborn, his success in marketing begins with values, which also play a huge role in BBDO®’s company culture. Some of his key tenets include: push to make the work better, be a trusted advisor, foster collaboration, ask questions, don’t pass the blame, be positive, present yourself well, represent the agency proudly and strive to be your best, among others. At the end of the day, it’s not just about dreaming up great ideas, it’s about serving the clients, being good people, and executing compelling ideas.

2. Exceptionally Entertaining
With more people looking to fast-forward through commercials—or skip them all together with platforms like Netflix—it is imperative that your marketing strategy focuses on being entertaining while still communicating the key benefits of the product. An example Osborn shared was BBDO’s work on Mtn Dew Kickstart®—a commercial titled “PuppyMonkeyBaby.” In the spot, a weirdly cute puppy-monkey-baby creature enters a room full of male Millennials. Then, like a jolt of energy, the PuppyMonkeyBaby delivers the product and inspires the guys to get up, dance, and head out for the night. This commercial, while entertaining and memorable, also communicated the product’s benefit of combining three great things (Mtn Dew®, juice and caffeine) in one.

3. Extraordinarily Relevant
Connecting with consumers on an emotional level with relevant content that pulls at their heartstrings can be an extremely effective way to cut through the clutter and win over their hearts, minds and wallets. As an example, Osborn shared an AT&T® television spot titled,“It Can Wait.” Texting while driving has resulted in a horrific amount of accidents and shows no signs of slowing. It was time to take a stand, so AT&T® enlisted BBDO® to create a safer road for all. This emotional and suspenseful ad reminds the audience that no matter how important a text message may seem at the time, it can wait. This proved to be an incredibly resonant spot, inspiring over 11 million people to sign the “It Can Wait Pledge.”

4. Extremely Useful
If you can be useful to people in their everyday lives, your marketing efforts will quickly gain traction. Think about the challenges in peoples’ lives, and find what small things you can do to help make their lives a little easier. For this lesson, Osborn shared a Vine campaign for Lowe’s titled, “Fix in Six.” These fun and quirky films took just six seconds to show quick fixes for things around the house. It was the perfect way to connect with new homeowners in the Millennial demographic, making Lowe’s a Vine sensation, overnight.

John Osborn showed that establishing values and creating content that is entertaining, relevant and useful can help anyone go a long way towards becoming the best marketer that they can be. Are there any other key learnings that you’d add to the list? I’d love to hear about them—connect with me on LinkedIn or post them in the comments section below.

Jeff Johns is SVP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he consistently delivers breakthrough creative at lightning speed across a wide range of best-in-class design practices; packaging, branding, shelf aisle optimization, and advertising.

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