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Innovation: A Face. A Name. And 42 Cases of Wine.

Our team recently concluded a complex client deal with a major celebrity chef, that chef’s production company, and a major TV network. As with any personal endorsement contract there were a number of sticky areas that we had to, well, unstick.

A face, a name, and 42 cases of wine can lead to a big volume bump in sales – if it’s done right.

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Our team recently concluded a complex client deal with a major celebrity chef, that chef’s production company, and a major TV network. The program constitutes a year-long promotion and includes on-air product integration, off-air licensing, retail executions, online/mobile elements, and regional field ‘activations.’ As with any personal endorsement contract there were a number of sticky areas that we had to, well, unstick.

The program was initially a tough client sell because the brand in question had never seen a deal like this before. The client had no idea what the costs would be to have its product featured on a hit network show without smoothing the way by buying advertising. Apart from the cost, the client wondered about the value for its
money. How much airtime would it really get? Could the show’s characters hold the product and say nice things about it? How many tickets to the finale would the client get? And could the client’s CMO appear on camera? Oh yeah, one more thing: Tell us again – just what is this program’s ROI?

The client also balked initially at some of the talent requirements, not the least of which was the exorbitant fee, the limited amount of ‘face time’ with the celeb, and, oh yes, those 42 cases of wine. With so many players in the mix, we also had to be extra alert so that our client’s brand would always be well represented.

While it is deceptively easy to get all caught up in the excitement and drama of a tie-in with a high-profile property or celebrity, the key to success is to staying focused on the client’s objectives and making sure you get everything you want out of the deal.

To achieve just that, our team has synthesized a five-step process called A.G.E.N.T. This process ensures that each of our clients ends up with a deal that they can leverage to make a real marketplace impact. A.G.E.N.T. works like this:

1. Assess. Go into the program with your eyes open. Know what you need from the property or partners to ‘activate’ the program. Ascertain what they may have done in the past – this is where experience really pays off. Plan for the worst-case scenario, i.e., in terms of costs. Finally, set realistic expectations with the client.

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2. Gives & Gets. Be crystal clear both in what you are offering and what you expect in return. Wherever possible, monetize the value; this will aid in negotiating an exchange of assets. I have learned that a clear proposal and statement embracing these elements will, in the end, save everyone a lot of time and money.

3. Evaluate. What are the deal breakers? Where can you be flexible? You have to know these so that you can negotiate properly. It is important that everyone agrees on these key points.

4. Negotiate. You may not agree, but I think this is the fun part. It’s simple: Be clear, be firm, and go for it. Remember that you’ll never receive without asking and you will be surprised at how well it works. Everyone can come out a winner but know that there will be compromises in the process. Just be sure you get
everything you need. That’s the bottom line.

5. Triumph. You just landed the property, saved some money, and got a few unexpected deal points that you never thought they would go for. It’s time to celebrate by proving that ROI in sales results.

Have a personality or property deal story to tell? Love to hear from you – and of course we’d all appreciate learning from your experience. Send me your comments. Thanks!

The Game Changer • Los Angeles • www.catapultmarketing.com

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