Recently I was lucky enough to make it to the top 10 shortlist for entries to the Million Dollar Brief: an AdNews competition which asks you to spend $1million on the national launch of a fictitious company. I was also lucky enough to get my photo in the local paper and a short story to feature my achievement. I received a phonecall prior to the article to source some details, and the very congratulatory journalist asked me a very important question: “what did you do that was so different?” The article didn’t do my answer justice, so I’d like to explain myself a little further with the aim of encouraging you to do the same.

The competition didn’t judge entries based on the vehicles chosen or your media negotiation skills, but how you strategically devised the best, most cost effective way to meet the client’s objectives. Essentially, this is what I, and Jack in the box specifically, do every day.

As a strategist, there are limited awards or competitions to enter – how do you gauge ‘good’ strategic thinking? Creatives, on the other hand, have hundreds of different state, national and international awards in which they can enter their work. The Million Dollar Brief provided a unique opportunity for the recognition of ‘thinking’, which is something rare in our industry.

The strategy in writing my entry was to think differently about how the target market in question (in my case, affluent female tea drinkers) behaved and consumed media. My thought process began here: what do these women do in their spare time? In what situations do they drink tea? Who do they drink tea with? And – what would influence their tea purchase decisions?

In the case of a new food product, stimulating a trial is the best way to induce purchase (this is why you are regularly offered free samples of just about anything when you enter a supermarket, or when you buy a cooking/lifestyle magazine). It is a rare occurrence that consumers will purchase a new food product before trialling it first.

So my answer was to create a competition, The Great Australian Tea-Off, which encouraged product uptake in the workplace, with the overall aim of transferring tea consumption at the workplace to the household. A million dollars is not much for a national launch, so there was a need to be highly selective and targeted with the media approach. I had to be very cautious of minimising ‘media wastage’. If you’d like to read more, contact me and I’ll happily share a copy of my entry with you.

Replace the figure of a million dollars with your budget, and this is how you should approach your marketing each year. In fact, just for fun, why not write your own million dollar media plan. Removing the boundaries and thinking of possibilities, not impossibilities, could open your mind to new approaches and ideas you never thought possible.

Pick up a copy of 22 May edition of AdNews to read the winning entry and 5 of the ten finalists and consider how you can apply this same thinking to your business, or come and chat to me about how we can help you in the form of our Marketing Audits or Promotional Plans.