Monday, August 27, 2007

Clients... can't live with 'em, you can't shoot 'em.

The number of odd choices and decisions clients make never seems to end. Most of the times they do something because of how it affects (effects- the dumb filmmaker never remembers?) the bottom line. But if you think about it closely the cost of making and airing of a TV commercial shouldn't affect it at all. A commercial- good or bad- will draw attention to a product but the TV production costs are such a small factor in the overall performance of the brand, the outcome is negligible.

As that is my preamble here is dumb client story number 521.

A few years ago we were shooting a pair of spots for the General Mills cereal brands Basic 4 and Raisin Nut Bran. Over a few days we built a supermarket aisle. We cast a kid to be "the Stock Boy" and were all set to go except for one thing- General Mills refused to send us enough boxes of cereal to stock our shelves. It was ridiculous, they are paying $75,000-$100,000 in production costs, yet can't send us a few hundred boxes of their product. The ad agency was no help, but they did tell us we could go buy cereal and charge it back to them as an overage,

So, a few days before the shoot we had production assistants scour the Chicago area for boxes each cereal. We ended up buying an additional couple of hundred boxes of flakes at $4 a box which we then marked up 25 percent and charged back to the agency, which then marked it up again and charged the client. So General Mills ultimately spent $1500 buying their own cereal from us. Go figure.



denise said...

that's a perfect dumb client story. and you got the word right-affect!

KL said...

I loved this story! It seems so ludicrous, but it doesn't surprise me in the least. BTW: I have a degree in advertising...and I decided to head for the hills of Hollywood instead. No regrets on that front.