Welcome to Jerry's Ad Tricks, a well respected and admired advertising agency for almost 50 years. Led by current CEO Jerry Jones (who re-named the company after himself), the company is the richest ad agency in the United States (just barely surpassing it's nearest competitor, The Snyder Show). While having an amazing run of success during the 1990's, representing huge Fortune 100 companies and launching industry-leading campaigns, Jerry's Ad Tricks was in a 10-year slump, as most of the leading creative minds from the 90's had either retired, started their own companies, or switched to higher-paying jobs at competitive agencies.
In desperate need of a huge account with a well respected company, Jerry meets with Bob Schlokendock, CEO of XXX Toys, Inc, the most popular toy manufacturer of late, in an attempt to get back on the horse. After wooing Bob with some brilliant ideas and lofty goals, Jerry lands the coveted advertising account for the upcoming year.
With a giant budget in hand, Jerry sets out to build a specialized team to execute the campaign. After much searching, he hires Wade Phillips to be his Chief Creative Director. Wade, formally Creative Director of the Chargin' Campaigns Agency, had shown a strong penchant for hard-knocking ideas (yet tenderness with his staff). Jerry then promotes Jason Garret, a former art-director for Jerry's Ad Tricks, to Creative Director. Garrett, a super-geek, would balance out Wade's creativity with solid logic and real-world management experience.
The new campaign launched mid-September to mixed-results. There was much to-do in the media about the new-look XXX Toys, and consumers were excited to see the re-brand, but the first round of executions were just so-so. It wasn't until early October that afterthought-hire Miles Austin, a happy-faced programmer, came up with an amazing idea for a new application that would integrate XXX Toy's new website with Facebook and Twitter. The idea was a huge hit, and the social-media-plex was booming with giddy-ness about the new tool. Sales were up, and consumer loyalty was high.
But then came December, the most important month of sales for XXX Toys. With the previous 2 months of success, Bob Schlokendock was expecting to put Santa's elves out of business with record-breaking sales. The new Christmas-themed promotions seemed to rub consumers the wrong way and didn't create much excitement. In the end, XXX Toys fired Jerry's Ad Tricks and moved on with a new agency that January.
There are many reasons for the failure - consider the following:
- The IT company Jerry outsources to (First-Line Defense) blew it big time when a hacker managed to steal hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and personal data from the XXX Toy's website database.
- The public relations company Jerry hired (O-Line PR) to clean up that data security leak left by First-Line Defense failed miserably. While O-Line PR is well respected, they come from old-school print and television, and didn't have much experience putting out fires related to the digital world.
- Was it Wade Phillips' - the Executive Creative Director - fault? Ultimately he is responsible for 2 things - the ideas and making sure everyone else executes those ideas to perfection. While there were many good ideas, perhaps the execution was not on-point?
- Was it Jason Garrett's fault? Hired to backup Wade and run the production team, you could say that he had some success in the beginning, but was often predicable, causing his production team many late nights.
- Was it Jerry Jones' fault? He hand-picked the staff that he thought could get the job done. No no, that's silly - besides, you cannot fire the CEO who has been better to his share-holders than any other advertising CEO, right?
- Was it Tony Romo, the lead Art Director's fault? Everyone said the print/media/online branding looked fabulous, but maybe if Tony had stayed later at work rather than going to happy hour, everything would have been ever better?
- Perhaps the competition was better? The Giant Blue Ad Company and the Iggles Ideas Inc. agencies launched better campaigns for their respective toy company clients, particularly during December.
- Or maybe because of all the pre-launch buzz, consumers just expected too much?