SUMMARY

vSente is a marketing consultancy. We help challenger enterprises wage and win battles for market shares.

Disciplines - Advertising | Marketing | Sales
Competency - Challenge | Defend
Deliverable - Profitable Market Share
Audience - CEO's | Marketing | Sales
Scale - Small | Medium-sized Enterprise
Services - Campaigns | Workshops
Location - San Francisco | London


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If you're responsible for sales or marketing in a small or medium-sized enterprise, then I'd like to invite you to join vSente's Campaigner list. This list is composed of marketers interested in learning more about accountable and effective marketing campaigning techniques.

Weekly we send via plain text email a short description of a competitive marketing tool or technique along with a link to a resource you can download and use. These resources come from vSente's Armory and consist of wizards, manuals, white papers, planners all focused on helping marketing managers battle larger competitors.

The content and resources are free to members of the campaigner list. But should you find yourself engaged in a tough battle for market share against a larger competitor then you will likely gain value from paying for a monthly subscription to vSente's Armory, booking our two-day workshop or engaging us to help with your campaign.

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Nobody Ever Did a Good Ad Writing to a Strategy?

Do not hire any grads of Virginia Commonwealth University's graduate program in advertising. At least don't if you want to increase market share or operating margins. On the other hand if you want to win a ton of creative awards, be an artiste and hang with really cool folks then go ahead and hire 'em.

Mark Fenske currently teaches in the graduate program in advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University and he has a fascinating take on the creative process and what it takes to make great ads. Mark is also a highly celebrated Madison Avenue creative director. He does voice overs - his droll, Midwestern twang has generated a lot of work and copycats. You currently hear him on Cheezit spots... Cheezit - get your own box. And Mark even won an MTV video award in the mid-nineties for directing Van Halens music video Right Now.

I recently came across a podcast of an interview done with Mark by two copywriters at Sullivan, Higdon and Sink. Mark was describing some of the "truths" he teaches his students including this little gem:

"... you can't do your job well if what you care about is selling the clients product."

He also has several other truths/rules including "never take the company tour" and "nobody ever created a good ad writing to a strategy". Mark's point seems to be that all this business shit gets in the way of the creative process. So just don't listen. Block it out.

I don't get this. I never will get this. I am proud of the fact I don't get it. Look, advertising is not art. Advertising is weaponry in a battle for market share. If creativity helps me gain more share fine. If not then it is wasted sword motion. If you want to create art, if you want to be an artiste then get out of advertising and go be an artist. Write a screenplay, write a novel, go make another award winning music video but get the fuck out of advertising. God forbid if you work for me and try to create an ad without the strategy.

I have one question for Mr. Fenske... did you ever learn how to hit the curve ball?

UPDATE: 12.15.05: MARK FENSKE TO WIEDEN: HAS MARY MINNICK READ THE 14 ANTI-LAWS OF ADVERTISING?

Mark Fenske is returning to Wieden to work on the recently awarded Coke account. Mary Minnick, Coke's new marketing guru is the latest in a long line of Coke marketers to try to move the needle.

I have several predictions: First, Mark will craft ads that will be creatively brilliant and will win at least two Lions at the '07 Cannes. Second, Weiden will siphon huge amounts of cash from Coke shareholders over the next 12 months. Third, Coke's market share erosion will accelerate as will their year over year marketing spend. Fourth, Minnick will depart Coke for personal reasons and then write a book about branding. Mark Fenske will write the forward to Minnick's book. Do you think anybody on Coke's board of directors has read Fenske's 14 anti-laws of advertising?

AdWeek via Yahoo via Adpulp has the full story on Fenske's return to Wieden. I found this exchange between Wieden and Fenske interesting:

"He (Wieden) asked me (Fenske) what I'd been doing, and I told him I've been working freelance gigs; it's just that no one can sell what I write. He looked at me and said, 'I can."

Mark Fenske is returning to Wieden to work on the recently awarded Coke account. Mary Minnick, Coke's new marketing guru is the latest in a long line of Coke marketers to try to move the needle. George Parker has his typically hysterical view on the account move here.

I have several predictions: First, Mark will craft ads that will be creatively brilliant and will win at least two Lions at the '07 Cannes. Second, Weiden will siphon huge amounts of cash from Coke shareholders over the next 12 months. Third, Coke's market share erosion will accelerate as will their year over year marketing spend. Fourth, Minnick will depart Coke for personal reasons and then write a book about branding. Mark Fenske will write the forward to Minnick's book. Do you think anybody on Coke's board of directors has read Fenske's 14 anti-laws of advertising?

UPDATE: 01.15.07 - A little more than a year ago I predicted Mary Minnick's departure from Coke. Her departure was announced today. I also made some predictions about her next move, Mark Fenske's creativity and Coke's market share and spend.

UPDATE: 01.31.07: Mark Fenske announces his departure from Wieden & Kennedy according to Adweek:

"I missed teaching," said Fenske, cautioning against reading more into his move. "In fact, I've already started teaching. The semester started two weeks ago." His last day at Wieden was Monday.

He said the Coke business would be "left in very good hands," but did not elaborate.

More on Mark Fenske here.

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