Challenge Conventional Wisdom

Just because you’ve always done it that way it doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it wrong either, though. Sometimes the tried and true methods are still the best, or at the very least, they make great foundations for building something new.

But sometimes, just sometimes, you have to completely challenge the conventional wisdom. This was true for TCM Creative as we continued to work with one of our favorite clients, Shriners Hospitals for Children.

There’s no crying in fundraising

The conventional wisdom of DRTV fundraising was “tell a story from one person’s point of view and make the viewer cry and feel guilty.” As we mentioned before, sometimes the conventional wisdom works, but we wanted to see if, perhaps, there was a better way for this client.

What was it about them that connected to the audience? It’s quite simple really: the kids.

Filming with the stars

So how do we do a better job of connecting the kids to the Shriners Hospitals for Children audience? Make them the stars of the commercials and inspire viewers with the amazing things these kids can do… and they can do some amazing things.

We took the focus off the story and let the kids star in spots that were more concept-oriented. We couldn’t abandon the key story structures, scientifically-validated influence factors or other important aspects of making successful spots, but we could change the message.

Fingers crossed

So what happened? It worked. It worked really well. Side note, not all risks like this work. We’ve had our share of flops, but without being willing to risk failure, you won’t ever truly achieve success. So risk on!

The new kid-centric spots outperformed the previous story style spots 2 – 1 and, in some instances, 3 – 1.

Risk, it’s more than just a board game

So wherever you find yourself as you read this, we bet there is some conventional wisdom you can use to build something new from or better yet, completely challenge in the work you do.

It is our hope that you challenge it bravely and make the world a better place in the process as you do something that matters.

Enjoy the day!

P.S. You can see the new spots we made from the risk we took here:

Love Is… and Imagine a Kid

We hope you like them too 🙂

The Secret Ingredient

While most of us enjoy being on set (we’re not naming any names), we understand that everyone who hasn’t been on a set has this romanticized view of production. (There is Craft Services, which is sort of like a fairy tale, right?)

Invariably, however, after spending even just a little time on set, everyone quickly wakes up from the dream and realizes that there is more business than romanticized creativity to production, and the storybook ending is more about call sheets and legal documents than anyone riding off into the sunset.

Creativity and Coffee

The same is true for creating successful fundraising spots. People picture us sitting around in an artistically decorated room (probably with a fancy pour over coffee area and some super hero artwork) developing creative ideas that will become an award-winning spot. They think creativity is the secret ingredient to fundraising success.

While creativity is important, almost anyone can dream up a crazy idea, and you can do it with a cup of regular coffee from a Mr. Coffee pot. Shocking, we know.

It’s alive!

Then there are some that picture us as mad scientists, mixing and stirring scientifically proven influence factors until the perfect mixture has been created and we have a potion that will cause everyone to give. They think that is the secret ingredient to our success.

While you do have to understand basic human responses and key influence factors to make a successful spot, anyone can see the science and put it to use for themselves. We don’t own the patent; they publish it online and in books for less than $15. Crazy!

So then, what is the secret ingredient?

As any veteran of the kitchen knows, you can give three different people the same recipe and one of the products is going to taste better than the others. Why? The intangibles.

The only difference isn’t in the recipeit’s in the cook.

There is only one you!

So while almost anyone can write a book or shoot a basketball, there is only one Hemmingway and Jordan. It is those things that only you possess that make you able to do what you do.

We like to think our team at TCM is the same way. While there are plenty of companies that make commercials, the people that have come together here give us the intangibles to do the job in our own unique way.

We’re different

It doesn’t make us special, just different. You and your company have your own intangibles, so go celebrate them, and make the world a better place in the process.

(Besides, all this talk about recipes and secret ingredients made us hungry. Where are those leftovers from our company lunch?)