Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry, Be Bloody Useful: Mars CMO

Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry, Be Bloody Useful: Mars CMO

Following on from last week’s story about how to imprison your creative agency partners, here Mars global CMO Bruce McColl shares his secrets on how to get the most out of your creative partners.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

Citing The Beatles ability to transform and be dissatisfied with where they were – in 1963 they had 12 hits in the top 100 including numbers 1 through 5 – and to evolve their sound and success, McColl said brands could learn volumes.

He said there were four primary lessons to be taken from The Beatles to achieve creative excellence.

  1. Perfomers perfect their craft
  2. Let dissatisfaction drive your creative ambition
  3. Be curious and collaborative
  4. Fail spectacularly, fail cheap, just don’t fail safe and ignorant

McColl also pointed to another performer, Jerry Seinfield, who is renowned for practising his routines on small comedy club audiences again and again until he has it side-splittingly funny.

McColl reinforced the importance of being a perpetual student. He said while Mars worked with BBDO, DDB and MediaCom, the FMCG giant also partnered with academic institutions MIT and Université de Genève to make sure its staff were across the latest thinking and innovation.

Another aspect for marketers and agencies alike to come to terms with, McColl said, was that the majority of people who bought Mars products were what he termed “light buyers”.

This meant that you should not “try to convince them, but gently nudge them about what the category benefits are . . . there’s no-one out there saying I can’t wait for the next Pedigree ad . . . there is no audience,” he said.

McColl said that the key challenge for marketers in this aspect was to overcome indifference. This is  where he said a piece of marketing had to make you laugh, make you cry or be bloody useful. This is what was necessary to “stop the filter out the crap instinct”.

Here’s what McColl said was Snickers commercial that failed the brief:

Here’s another Snickers spot that nailed the brief:

So that’s for laughter, how about making you cry? This little piece ought to get your eyes going. This time out of New Zealand for Pedigree.