Friday, December 23, 2005

Twas two days before Xmas (Pam)

My yearning for ginger cookies, a pail of Baileys, the National Enquirer and my overstuffed leather chair is now palpable.

Alas, I am in my office with my dog at my feet and Christmas carols playing on the radio.

It's a good moment to look back on the year and rejoice of the bounty given unto WWF over the past year.

Our revenues are up almost 13% for the year. This in a time when most charities not dealing with natural disasters are significantly down for the year.

Why the success, I ask myself? Because much of our efforts have been focused on advertising versus direct marketing, we're now in the same boat as so many other marketers who can't put a finger on exactly what is causing what.

I do know that two national campaigns in six months is having a profound effect. But, I'm getting lots of questions about how a charity can afford to be doing what we are.

It's pretty simple, really. Not easy, but simple.

The production and media industries are making it happen. We can't afford the creative that FCB has been pumping out. Production houses like Brown and Spy and Ruckus are the ones that allow us to do this work. And then the media companies put it on the air and in their magazines and on their garbage cans and in the subway stations.

So as I count down the last hours before I go home with my dog to drink a pail of Baileys and read the paper, I give thanks for the stuff we've been given so we can make a difference for the planet.

I'm feeling pretty good.

Accha and peace out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trying not to check out (Pam)

Have I mentioned that I'm exhausted?

Three more sleeps until I'm off until the new year. The pace has never been more frenetic. Trying not to check out early for the holidays.

In the past 36 hours, I have given approvals/feedback to the following:

- radio scripts (too funny, the spot is)
- television supers (just the type...waiting to see it in place with sound and proper timing)
- direct mail (RED folder - the final round of revisions)
- web site architecture and copy
- public relations backgrounders

I, along with our PR guru, Tara, have also been trying to recruit famous people for our campaign launch on January 16. It will be terribly embarrassing if I can't find any famous people to help us out. Does anyone know any famous people who are into stopping climate change?

The big thing I was holding my breath over was whether or not we'd get the CN Tower as the venue for our press conference. That was secured this morning.

Had a group Xmas lunch at my house yesterday. My team gave me this awesome Baileys gift set. Booze and cool mugs from which to drink it. Love it. A shout out to my posse. (I'm SO street.)

Had my first TV interview today on CITY TV in Toronto. The show is called "Animal House Calls". The host, Ann Rohmer, made me wear a WWF toque through the entire interview. At no time could I actually see myself. I am blessed. My husband, the famous Brad Ross, city of Toronto spokesperson, says I didn't look like a female Trailer Park Boy. I choose to believe him.

Three more sleeps. Just three more sleeps.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Great Clients = Great Advertising (Bill)

Pam really is a remarkable client. There is a unique creative treatment in the :60 version of the spot that Pam was not going to approve. We had both strategic and creative rationale for using the treatment, but it wasn't doing it for Pam. When she showed it to her colleagues, however, many of them liked the treatment - some liked it a lot. So when we got together to discuss the issue on Friday, Pam completely backed down, and approved the spot as presented. I should probably repeat that: Pam approved the :60 fine cut without a single change - that never happens.

Pam is very quick to heap praise on the Agency for all the great work, but the truth of the situation is this: there are numerous creative people involved in the process - our creative team, our creative directors, the director, the editor, the producer, and even a few account people - but there is one person responsible for the integrity of this campaign. If not for Pam saying the three most important words in advertising, "it is approved," we would be nowhere.

Clients get the advertising they deserve, and with Pam at the helm, WWF deserves some great advertising.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Approved! (Pam)

That's right. TV is approved. Staff loved it. Still have to work on supers.

Big debate re: cool creative treatment on the picture in a couple places that I felt hurt the message. Apparently, it's just me who has a prob with it.

My staff thought my decision was "sick". Piccolo and Taciuk had a bird. Even Bill was unaligned with me. (Bill never really outright disagrees with me, per se. He just hammers me with profoundly articulate arguments phrased in a manner that makes me go, "Yeah, what he said." It's creepy.)

I think what we've been through over the past couple of months is tiring all of us out. When we met this morning to discuss my feedback, we agreed to the parameters of what we're going to argue about. If it's something that hurts the communication value, it's fair game for me. If it's a creative decision, then I leave it alone. Fine.

Am fried. Waiting for the weekend and my Chinese food delivery.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

So far, so good on TV approvals (Pam)

Showed fine cuts to Mike (the prez), Yves (my boss) and Shawn (comms cheese)this morning. So far, so good. Mike says, "I think this is brilliant."

In fact, Mike wants me to present it to all staff right before we go out for our Christmas party this evening. It will make everyone very excited. Our staff take a lot of pride in the marketing work and the fact that we've been so visible over the past six months. Is an excellent morale booster right before we go off and get overly refreshed.

Still need to show it to Julia (climate change guru) and her boss, Arlin (conservation cheese). These two will be my toughest audience.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The fine cut is soooo fine (Pam)

Saw the fine cut of the :60 and :30 TV spots this evening. Heavens to Betsy. It's hot stuff.

My biggest worry was that the story we were telling wouldn't come through clearly. If you've looked at the concept script, you'll know that it looks good on paper, but once you sign off on a concept you can only hope that it works in practice.

As always happens, some copy that was written the morning of the shoot is what brings the whole thing home.

It's a tough thing we're doing. We're taking the hard road. We're not talking about death and destruction that can be so emotional. We're talking about how WWF-Canada works. It's a positioning exercise. Essentially, we're selling a process -- how we do our business.

Anyway, once the thing is finished, I'll post it for a sneak preview. It's H-O-T hot, I tell you!

Print is done and out the door. Don't have a final PDF yet, but when I do, I'll post it.

Direct mail is in progress. We're on the YELLOW round of copy revisions -- revision #2. Shot the photography with the brilliant Robert Lear.

The web stuff is killer. Ha! Can't wait for something to show you on that. Bit of a scare on that yesterday, though. Got a whiff that Julia, climate change guru, was not happy with the concept after I'd presented it to her and she appeared to be very happy.

Funny how some executional details can threaten to skuttle a concept. Lesson: sweat the small stuff.

Anyway, is solved and all is well.

Approved a radio script the other day. Very funny stuff. Will put that up here, too.

Press conference is a bit of a challenge. Trying to get some super secret celebrities on board for the event. Having probs getting our venue nailed. Messaging is finished, though. At least I think it's finished. You never seem to know when anything's actually finished around here.

We've gotten massive press from the international climate change conference that just ended in Montreal. We've got a lot of momentum leading up to the launch on Jan. 16.

The shoot, in pictures

Pam (can you believe we got a helicopter!?) Davis

Frozen agency people, with Wiseman on the left

Noble Jones: Director in a funny hat

Joe Piccolo and Chris Taciuk: Creative team and super-great friends!

Frozen talent

Thursday, December 08, 2005

On the brink of a breakthrough (Bill)

I’m a big believer in the philosophy of Good to Great. In fact, people I work with are probably sick of me talking about it all the time. But the parallels between the process outlined in Collins’ book and the process WWF is in the midst of, are remarkable. The past 12 months have seen numerous small steps forward, which are starting to add up to one big difference. It’s the Flywheel Effect – there isn’t one moment in time or one event we can point to that is making the difference in the performance of the brand; it is the cumulative effect of EVERY moment and EVERY event that is starting to create the momentum.

And the timing of this campaign couldn’t be better -- Global Warming is a top of mind issue for Canadians, and WWF Canada is going to be first to market with a compelling proposition to address the problem.

I bet that if WWF stays on the Good to Great track they’re on today, Climate Change is going to be the breakthrough campaign.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The trouble with talent (Bill)

The trouble with talent is that you never really know what you're going to get until the day of the shoot. We all agreed our hero woman was absolutely the right choice for the Climate Change spot - she gave us exactly what we were looking for in the auditions. But in the real world, with lights, cameras, a huge crew, clients, agency and 50 extras all staring at the actor, we had a tough time getting what we were looking for.

The good news is, we have a patient client who understands the process -- and the magic of post production. We know we'll have a killer spot when it's all said and done.

Pam's digs about me not being on the set aside, we're in great shape.

We shoot....we score! (Pam)

With a helicopter flying overhead, I stood in the -12 degree breeze at the base of a rigged out cherry picker and surveyed the controlled chaos around me.

Fifty talent, walking from their "diplomatic limosines" to a house, were choreographed as keenly as a Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes public petting session. It was magic.

I'll tell you what else was magic -- a 16-hour shoot day that did not end with tears, stitches or resignation.

There was some stress.

There was shocking purility (mostly from Chris Taciuk) that is so often the unfortunate product of boredom.

There were those special moments of theatrical climax as you wordlessly watch the battle of wills between director, producer and creative team.

Those are the most interesting exchanges, once distanced by 24 hours. The raging civility that masks the fury of creative will. Who's going to win? The Hollywood director who knows Steven Spielburg (or whomever) or the Cannes-winning creative team? Then the producer John-Waynes himself into the fray and lays the hammer down. Ba-bam! Crisis over. We breathe. We return to eating M&Ms.

Witnessing it is one thing. Having to participate in it is another.

It's an intimidating situation, particularly for a client. There's stuff happening that you just aren't down with. You know what you want, but because you're in foreign territory -- creative --what you want is sometimes difficult to get. Because the intangible must be articulated. It has to be defended with logic and words. Mental swashbucklery when you're tired and gassy from sitting all day. It's a bitch.

Anyway, we got 'er done. Ruckus Films ponied up a major production on our behalf. Generous, generous, generous.

Our principal talent was suffering from a brutal bout of temporary brain atrophy but pulled it out a couple times to give some stellar moments. I swear to Buddha, I thought I was going to have to get in there and do it myself. Literally, I was on the verge of tears at some points. Alas, even tears would not have helped this poor woman of plethoric mental seizures. I chose to silently curse her instead. Then wildly blessed her when she got it right. Man, I felt so sorry for her and for me, too. She was a rollercoaster, baby!

And where was Bill Baker through all of this? I don't know. Probably cheating on me with some other client. Typical agency client-izer.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wardrobe malfunctions avoided (Pam)

While Bill Baker was cozy at home, his right hand, Jennnifer Lee, accompanied me to a review of wardrobe this fine Sunday evening.

All's well. Saw almost all of it. Some military uniforms are en route from Vancouver.

Pre-pro in the morning.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Great way to end the week (Pam)

Holy guacamole.

Had a great day. Saw the media plan. It's awesome. Did you know that there are free phone booths that play videos? I did not know this.

Saw final casting for the TV. There are........get ready for it.......50 talent involved in this shoot. 50 people who said, "Yeah, I think I'll spend a day working for no pay." I can't believe it. It's so incredibly humbling when stuff like this happens. I think I might have already said this before, but, man, I just am amazed by the generousity of people. We'd be absolutely nowhere without people like this.

Did I mention that there's a helicopter involved, too?

Saw the location. The exterior is great. A regular house on a regular street in Etobicoke. The interior is the exact opposite of what I wanted. After some 'discussion', I've agreed to just chill out and let the set designer/prop guru make it all fine.

(The lamps in the living room have giant jewels hanging from them. The kind that, when I was a kid, my grandma had on her lamps and I fantasized about stealing them and selling them and being a rich princess who sleeps on 10 mattresses and can feel a pea under them. Those kinda jewels.)

Had a convo about the big web site idea previously hinted at. Just sorting out the flow of action and architecture. Is going to be big, I tell you!

Had a big team meeting to review exactly where we're at with the whole campaign. Julia, the conservationist, has been in Montreal at the international climate change conference. She's really kicking ass, getting our message out, working the politics.

So much has changed, so quickly, that not everyone on the team even knew what was going on. For a day, there was little communication to the broader team so that some people didn't even know that the launch date had been pushed back by a week.

Everyone's back on board and in the loop. Going to try to sleep tonight.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Crazy things are happening (Pam)

Our whole public relations launch plan has changed. Guess why? I'll tell you why.

Because the FCBi people have an idea that's so huge, I haven't even calculated all the ways we can use this idea.

So, we push back the launch date by a week to accommodate the time they'll need for the tech work needed to build this crazy thing they've recommended.

More on that when I figure it all out. (Teaser: Big celebrities are involved. Uh, if we can get some on board really, really fast.)