The CMO Show: Andrew Howie and the legendary Australia Day lamb ad

by The CMO Show

“Crackin’ spot. Fire up the barbie.”

Whether it’s Lee Lin Chin launching a covert operation to rescue Aussie ex-pats from a lamb-less lunch, Lambassador Sam Kekovich’s scorching rebukes of “unaustralianism”, or Adam Gilchrist suggesting a game of cricket in Australia’s sprawling backyard, the annual Australia Day Lamb ad has become something of a tradition. And the latest instalment is no exception – it’s chock full of cultural sizzle and dripping with political satire.

In this episode of The CMO Show, Meat and Livestock Australia’s group marketing manager, Andrew Howie, lifts the curtain to give the lowdown on Australia’s most anticipated marketing campaign in the lead up to Australia Day.

With a secret sauce that balances grit and giggles, challenges conservatism, and celebrates nationalism to create real cut-through, Andrew says it’s bravery and honesty that keep MLA’s campaigns fresh – and the audience coming back for more.

Take a look for yourself… 

“The only way you can disrupt that or you can stop people from just doing the same stuff, is to make them feel a bit uncomfortable or do something that’s out of the ordinary. That can be in the form of controversy or saying something that people don’t normally say, or showing them something that they don’t normally see.”

Listen along to learn how collaboration can lead to the best amplification opportunities, and why you’ll never lamb alone. That plus plenty of meaty ideas for you to sink your teeth into.

Listen to the podcast above and subscribe on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Resources:

####

The CMO Show production team

Producers – Megan Wright & Tom van Leeuwen

Audio Engineer – Jonny McNee

Design Manager – Daniel Marr

Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au.

####

Transcript:

Participants:
Mark Jones (MJ)

Jeanne-Vida Douglas (JVD)
Andrew Howie (AH)

JVD: Welcome back to the CMO Show.  I’m JV Douglas, and I’m here with…

MJ:   Mark Jones.  I always introduce myself that way, isn’t it?

JVD: Yeah, it’s as though someone’s going to forget our names between one show and the next.

MJ:   I know.

JVD: We might have to sneak someone in, though.  We should have a guest on the show, not just a guest that we’re interviewing, but maybe a guest like compere.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

MJ:   Oh, a guest co-host, but by definition they’re still a guest.

JVD: Right, okay.

MJ:   Anyway, we digress because…  We digress because we digress, but we have a great guest this episode, and his name is Andrew Howie, group marketing manager at Meat and Livestock Australia.  He’s quite regularly in the marketing press, and has got a lot of things to say actually, particularly about the way they’ve gone about constructing their campaigns.  Of course as we all know, the lamb ad that rolls around every year on Australia Day, it’s quite controversial.

JVD: It’s controversial, but it’s one of those really rare examples of an ad people actually look forward to.  It’s what we’re all aspiring to when we’re making any kind of content, is not to be interrupting people but for people to actually be reaching out and looking for it.

MJ:   I know, it’s amazing.

JVD: It’s so exciting when the lamb ad comes up.

MJ:   That’s a traditional TVC, right?

JVD: Yeah, totally, although it’s no longer on TV, insofar as they don’t actually buy any broadcast for it, because people are so desperate to see it.

MJ:   That’s something we’ve really got to understand in terms of, tell us about the strategy behind that.  

JVD: Let’s switch over now.  

MJ:   We’re with Andrew Howie in the studio, thanks for joining us.

AH:   Thanks for having me.

MJ:   Let’s get straight into it. We talk a lot in marketing about campaigns versus longer term engagements, content marketing itself, another discipline that’s built around answering questions and solving problems for customers on an ongoing basis, which speaks to this idea of you’ve got an event marketing exercise, if you like.  Like you say, it’s once a year.  What have your thoughts been on how you actually create something that’s sustained over the 12 months?

AH:   Well, I think we’ve made an attempt to do that this year with the latest spring campaign we put out, which was all very much about diversity and the fact that most people on TV are white and upper class.  We kind of poked fun at that a little bit, and then tried to do that with our brand tone and tried to be as genuine as you can be without being worthy.  We were still lucky enough to attract some complaints, because we were really derogatory towards perky white males.

MJ:   Now there’s a group you really want to upset.

AH:   Yeah, I tell you what, that’s a big group of people to piss off, I’ll tell you that, and all four people complained…

MJ:   I shouldn’t make a Trump comment, right.

JVD: I was just thinking, how deeply do we want to get into politics?

AH:   Yeah, the T bone, he specialises that.  The other complaint that I thought was really strong was the fact that we didn’t include indigenous Australia in the ad. It’s a shame that person was anonymous because I would’ve punched them in the nose and gone, “Did you see Cathy Freeman?” I don’t think they even watched the ad. Concerned Australia, people like to complain.

JVD: Concerned Australia.

MJ:   You know, that’s always the problem with trolls, they comment before reading or watching or whatever.

AH:   Look, I read industry blogs and just go straight to the comments.

JVD: That’s where the fun starts.

AH:   Yeah, with popcorn.

MJ:   In other words, you can see more frequent campaigns rolling out.  You’ve gone from Australia Day to spring, would there be other…  Are they back into the year, for example?

AH:   We’ve always done spring and autumn activity, it probably it just hasn’t had the same impact or impetus, and as the brand’s really starting to gain traction around its purpose of unity, the opportunity to be more unifying across the year becomes available.

MJ:   Yeah.

JVD: Does that mean spring was a bit like a “suck it and see” for whether or not that you were heading in the right direction in terms of embracing a broader sense of what it is to be Australian?

AH:   It was the brief.  We need to do this.  As a brand, it’s easy to talk about stuff, what are we going to do to try and progress conversations.  As of marketing fraternity, I’m not sure that there’s a lot of businesses or brands out there that should be proud of the work that they’re making.  In a world where paid media exists, I think you’ve got declining numbers of viewers on TV, you’ve got radio holding its own, but you’ve got a really fragmented marketplace.  Most people actually don’t give a shit about what you’re doing.  If you’re creating litter, you’re actually more part of the problem than being part of the solution.  I think anyone who has the title “marketing” or similar in their job description really should suck it up and have it go.

JVD: Now, but you’re coming – I guess the challenge that we often have as an agency is, we still work with really conservative marketing leads within companies.  They’ve grown up doing things a certain way, and they have a certain view of the world, and getting them to move beyond that, it’s almost a declamatory approach to marketing.  “This is who we are, listen to us about who we are,” as opposed to really looking for ways to engage with the public.  That’s a big shift, and I don’t think there’s actually much appetite to make that leap.

AH:   Well, there’s a joint onus on clients and agencies to push that agenda.

MJ:   I mean, this is the age-old, “Are you going to be brave,” quote unquote.  It really does depend on the brand and your attitude, as in you, your attitude, on am I prepared to go out on a limb on something that’s not safe.

AH:   Yeah, but I’m a bit of a maniac, so.

MJ:   Then it’s not hard, then, right?

AH:   No, I’m the guy who’s like, I’ll ask people to jump off bridges with me.  I have a reasonably crude, but it’s one of my favourite analogies.  If you ever meet someone that really likes doing missionary, if you introduce sex swing, they’re going to freak out.  Sometimes you might just want to propose doing it with the lights on first.

JVD: No mirror on the ceiling.

AH:   If Warnie’s around it, the mirrors never fail him and Chris Gayle.  It’s funny, but it’s designed to obviously have cut-through as well.  The opportunities for all brands, or all marketers just to be a little bit better than they were before, and if everyone has a continual improvement philosophy, eventually everyone’s standards are going to get better, but if you’re just happy doing what you’ve done before, I mean, how boring?  Don’t have a senior marketing job.  Just be a middle of the road marketer and get out of the way, because the world’s changing and it’s changing quickly.  The opportunity to generate a greater marketing ROI is on the edges.

JVD: Also, the greatest falls happen on the edge.  You fly very close to the edge when you’re making these campaigns.  To what extent does the chance of you actually overstepping the mark keep you awake at night?

AH:   The edges that I play at would probably send most people in a flat spin, but that’s where our comfort zone is now, because we’ve made those steps.

MJ:   Well, it’s been a few years now.

AH:   Yeah, and you become more comfortable in those areas.

MJ:   You’re actually in production right now for the much-anticipated marketing event of Australia Day, of course.

JVD: 2017.

MJ:   Lamb ads.  We’re not expecting you to reveal things, but from a, if you like, a production perspective, what’s it like to be responsible for a marketing campaign that actually, people care about it, quite frankly.

JVD: They look forward to downloading it and seeing it.

AH:   Well, that anticipation has been built up over many years, and I guess the challenge is always trying to work out, people always go, “Where are you going to go from here?” You never know.  You get through it and sometimes it’s a little bit like post-traumatic stress.  You have this amnesia for a while, and you forget about how painful it is.

JVD: Like having babies.

AH:   Yeah, it is a bit like childbirth, right?  You come out of there, you’ve got this beautiful baby, and you go… aaah!  And next thing you know it’s like July and you go, “Oh man, I’ve got to brief the agency again.” The only person who hates that more than I do is Scott, who’s the ECD at the Monkeys, because I don’t know if you’ve seen him recently, but that guy is like a cue ball.  Any hair he had left is now just, it’s gone.

MJ:   It’s a bit like prime ministers when you look at them at the end of their term, right?

AH:   It’s basically like that.  This year, we’re trying to…  The script got leaked recently through the casting process, which kind of gave away a little bit about where we’re trying to go with it, but I’d just like to give a quick shout-out to whoever that was for the free focus groups.  I don’t know if they know what focus groups cost these times, these days, but I probably saved 50 grand in not having to do focus groups.  Didn’t have to pay for any sandwiches, any Diet Cokes…

MJ:   Yeah, yeah.

AH:   You know, all that kind of stuff.  The community just gave us a little bit of free feedback along the way.

MJ:   I think a little bit’s probably an understatement, though, is it?  I’m sure you’re getting quite a bit of it.

AH:   No, it’s actually been pretty good, you know, like…  One journalist had a bit of a red hot crack a few times, but hasn’t really managed to get that much traction.  The reality is that, the community who are listening in to us today are aware of what we’re doing or are familiar with the campaign, but, there’s bigger things going on in the world than, “Oh, what are the lamb guys going to do for Australia Day,” but you are right people get a little bit excited.

JVD: Yeah.

AH:   What’s Maria Sharapova going to be wearing this year, and what are the lamb guys going to do?

MJ:   Pretty much.

JVD: Where does it all start?  When do you sit down with a blank piece of paper, and where do you get those first seeds from, in terms of ideas?

AH:   A big change happened a couple of years ago where the feedback from the broader community was around progressing beyond just this un-Australian Sam Kekovich rant work.  It wasn’t at a cliff’s edge, but I guess…

JVD: You didn’t want it to get too old.

AH:   No, and…

JVD: Because it’d been, what, two years, three years of Sam?

AH:   Sam…10.

JVD: 10 years of Sam.

AH:   10 years of Sam.

MJ:   Wow.

JVD: Wow.

MJ:   Now he’s got like a token role.

AH:   No, he hasn’t.

JVD: A cameo.

AH:   It’s a cameo.  He might be listening.

MJ:   I didn’t mean to be unkind.

AH:   No, he has an honorary position as the lambassador, which we continue to use.  The anecdotal feedback was this idea of un-Australian and what it’s not to be Australian was starting to wear in a country that is becoming more inclusive and trying to be much more about bringing people together, recognising history.

JVD: Where did you find out that factoid?  What data research do you do initially that feeds into that process, that ideation if you like?

AH:   We track all our campaigns with Millward Brown.  It wasn’t data-rich, but anecdotes started to become a little bit more pointed, a bit more frequent.  It also coincided with a shift to a new creative agency, and so there was an appetite for new, and we did Richie’s Barbecue, which was sort of the first era of a new one, and the feedback from that was, it was pretty white and pretty male, Ita Buttrose flying the flag for women and you don’t come much whiter than old Ita.  You know, we hadn’t really pushed the boat out too far there.  We took that on board and said, “Well, I can give you something that’s the opposite of that,” and so we got Lee Lin Chin, and you couldn’t get much less white and much less male than Lee Lin Chin.  She does drink a beer like a fiend, though, I’ll tell you that.  She can can on!

JVD: While wearing the world’s most amazing outfits.

AH:   Dresses herself in shoots, I’ll tell you that.  She had a hula hoop on for that.  I was like, “How do you even get that on your head?” If you get into a boat race with her, I’ll tell you, she’ll scull that can and crush it.  Small hands, but very powerful.

JVD: You could also with your later media events, you could pick who’s she’s dressed, because I swear one year on the Walkleys, she dressed Anton Enus.  He had a bow tie that was…

AH:   Enormous, yeah.

JVD: As wide as his shoulders.

AH:   All right, did it spin and squirt water?

JVD: That would have been even better.

AH:   That would have been unreal.

JVD: I didn’t get close enough to find out.

AH:   I guess the key feedback from last year was vegans hate Australia Day ads, that was probably a big piece of feedback. Concerned Australia have an ability to mobilise very quickly we learnt, but we also sort of realised that there’s actually an element of the community that no matter what we do, as long as Australia Day’s celebrated on the day it is…

JVD: Are not going to be happy.

AH:   Indigenous Australia are never going to be happy.  So I don’t quite know how we’re going to solve that just yet.

MJ:   Change the date, what’s the phrase?

AH:   Yeah, so Fremantle Council are looking to change it from that date.  Look, I mean, you heard it here first, one day it will change.  I don’t know where it’s going to change to or when.  So it will happen, but I guess it’s a challenge for a business and a brand that’s built so much infamy around a particular day and occasion, there’s probably a responsibility for us to start thinking about what we can do to lead that conversation.  

MJ:   You put these things up on YouTube.  That’s an interesting thing because you flip, I presume, most of your cost into production versus TVCs, right?  You’re never spending money on air time is that right.

AH:   Look, our production costs probably the last three or four years haven’t changed.  We’ve kept that pretty constant, but what we’ve worked out is if you create stuff that people want to watch, your cost-per-view plummets.  We can get our cost-per-views down to 3, 4 cents a view.  I also think completed views is bullshit.  The Facebook measuring metrics is ridiculous and someone needs to pay for that, that’s bullshit.  For a long time, I suspected it was all bogus.  I asked my agencies to tell me.  I have a personal view of views to 75%, and I classify that as a valued view.  There’s probably a cooler way of articulating that, but I go, “Well, if you’ve got to 75% of my video, you might have actually watched 99%, I don’t actually know, but no one watches 100% of anything.  If you’re looking for completed views, that’s a ridiculous metric.

MJ:   It’s like a vanity.

AH:   It’s a unicorn.  Doesn’t happen.  So you know what I mean? I think everyone should try and work out what their success metrics look like and build work to get there, but if you’re creating things that people want to watch and it’s engaging, I mean, even the best work that we do might get a 78% completion rate, or 84% completion rate, because some people just don’t give a shit because it’s an ad.

JVD: Or they’ll watch a bit and then watch it later.  Or watch a bit because they’re sharing it with someone or…

AH:   Like my kid Baxter who still loves “Operation Boomerang” so much that he always wants to see the last bit where Sam Kekovich says, “Kookoo koo,” which is his kookaburra sound, which I’m cool with because it means we’ve got to go the whole way through the video.  That’s another completed view, people.  Boom town.

JVD: It’s not just the TVC that we’re focusing on, because that’s the exciting, creative part of it. What other elements are there in the campaign of “You’ll never lamb alone”?  Because I understand there’s a sort of community side of it as well.

AH:   MLS philosophy for a long time has been having long term and trusted partners rather than suppliers, because it means that the longer you work with someone, the better your relationship becomes.  It also means that we can hold our partners to higher standards.  We’ve got the Monkeys, we’ve got BMF, we’ve got One Green Bean, we’ve got UM, and they’ve all been in place for quite a while now.  You can have tough conversations.  You can have really good conversations.  You can challenge each other respectfully.  Then that extends beyond that, so we do a lot with Nova from a radio point of view.  We do a lot with O Media from an outdoor point of view, and various relationships with TV networks.  We try and create work that people want to be part of, so that also helps.  You want to create work that people want to see.

We are terrible as a business at amplification.  Like, it’s just not what we do.  We’re very brave, we’re great at spotting a great idea, getting out of the agency to make it great, not mucking it up.  Most clients want to get their fingers into it.  In doing that, you have a greater collaboration.  If I throw an idea out on the table, they don’t go, “The client’s got another idea, what a dick.” They go, “That’s interesting.  Maybe that will work.” Maybe 1% of them makes it through, but that doesn’t matter because an iterative process, everything you’re doing.  It’s the same with our media partners.  You go and you brief it out, and these partners mobilise their whole business to try and come back with the greatest amplification of your idea you can.  They want to do stuff that’s never been done before, and it almost becomes infectious, just as the opposite is.  If you’re Scrooge and you don’t want to spend anything, and you go, “No, this is what we always do,” then that’s the kind of people you surround yourself with.

MJ:   My experience has been, that dynamic will happen if the agencies feel like you trust them.

AH:   That’s right.

MJ:   How do you communicate that trust?

AH:   Just hug them a lot.

MJ:   That sounds awesome.  That’s like beers, meat barbecues, just like.

AH:   Bum taps are a really good way of communicating someone’s done a good job.  Just a little tap…

MJ:   Just not a [overtalking 00:26:31] in corporate…

AH:   The wet towel flick.  Bang.  Good job, hit the showers.

JVD: Oh my lord.

MJ:   You know what?  I did not see that coming, I’ve got to say.

AH:   I never do at the time either, I tell you.  Ooh!

MJ:   Yeah, I can see it in the boardroom now, actually.

AH:   Yeah, yeah.

MJ:   It’s like a scene out of “Liar Liar”.

AH:   There’s nothing worse than when someone’s left a video conferencing unit on and we’re running around with towels, “whack whack”.  “Hello?  Sorry.”

MJ:   In other words, we’re just taking this all a bit too seriously.

AH:   Yeah, well, look, there’s a really serious element to what we do, because particularly in my organisation, we are spending other people’s money.  One of the values of our business is, “Respect where the money comes from.” That’s just kind of a value that, I’m not even sure if it’s a written value anymore, but it’s so ingrained in our business that, if there’s an opportunity to take a bus instead of a taxi, you take the bus.  If you can cut some corners and save some dollars here and there, you’ve got to understand that you’re spending someone else’s money.

MJ:   In other words, the farmer’s money.

AH:   It is the farmer’s money.  It’s interesting because, equally in a listed company, you’re spending your shareholder’s money.  A lot of the time people don’t think about that.  They go, “This is a massive organisation, we’ve got thousands of people who work here”…

JVD: [unclear 00:27:47]

AH:   “I’ll take a taxi home, and I’ll do this and I’ll do that.” Because it doesn’t feel real.  In our organisation, it’s very real because you have contact with the people whose money it is all the time.  There’s a very serious part to what we do, but the spirit in which we undertake the work and the desired outcome, you try and have a bit of fun along the way.

JVD: That I find particularly interesting, because farmers are traditionally pretty conservative people.  Mapping that you’re doing back to a fairly conservative community within Australia is…  What’s their response?  What does the National Farmer’s Federation say to you when it comes out?

AH:   The NFF is not a direct stakeholder of ours, so the Sheep Meat Council of Australia is our lamb stakeholder.  We’ve built trust with them over time, and they look forward to the campaign as much as anyone else.  For that leak to have happened this year was highly unorthodox.  Normally everything is kept really tight.  It’s just quite weird that anyone…  Star Wars Episode 8 has been leaked, it turns out, because we did a thing of leaked scripts just to see what sort of stuff happens, and Star Wars Episode 8 and Lamb Australia Day 2017, one and two on the list.

MJ:   You’re in great company.

AH:   Yeah, me and…  I don’t even know who’s in the latest one, but someone cool.  Interestingly, that industry has over many years grown to trust us, but then the cattle industry, beef work doesn’t afford the same space and opportunity to try and flourish.  We’re working really hard to try and raise the profile of our beef marketing, to try and create something that’s like our lamb work, but it’s a more complex product.  It’s a staple product, versus lamb which is kind of more special occasions.  It has price pressures, it’s a main competitor to chicken, its average retail price hasn’t gone up for 15 years, and ours is now four times theirs, or so.  A lot of the things that we see as benefits, like versatility, there’s 50 cuts that come off the animal.  We go, “Hey man, how good is this?  There’s 50 different things you can cook.” The consumer goes, “What the fuck?  I just need one.” We’ve got this…

JVD: Just make it simple.

AH:   Just make it simple.  We’ve got to really go back to grass roots and try and make some changes there, but it’s the same team, same skill set, same abilities.  It’s just a slight different playing field.

MJ:   Yeah, and the interesting thing about that whole analogy of the different choices, you go the butcher and you have this personal relationship, and it’s like, “I’m choosing my cut of meat,” and there’s almost like an emotion or sentiment behind it.  The connection point, obviously in the ads, is this sort of emotional driver behind the sale.

AH:   Yeah, I mean, we have a pretty clear mapped out path to purchase strategy.  At the top of the funnel, at the emotional end of stuff, we’re very much about creating connection and getting people to think differently, building meaning for our products.  Then on the path to purchase, it’s about converting consideration into intent, because life’s getting busy, people are less planned, they’re shopping more frequently.  The old days of doing your Sunday shopping, having the week planned out is really changing.

We have saliency in bags.  When you think of a meat, people go, “Beef.” We’ve got that, but the problem is, when you go, “What’s for dinner?” They go, “Chicken.” This is the real problem.  What we’re trying to get to is, we’re trying to help them understand that there’s actually solutions that meet their…  We do have variety, but that’s good.  We do have cuts you can cut quickly, so that’s good.  We are suitable for a range of meals, so that’s good.  It’s much more ground work and leg work to try and change that, whereas the lamb’s just kind of, the spinnaker’s  up and going, “You beauty, here we come.”

JVD: A bit of fun.

AH:   The biggest problem we’ve got for lamb is that our population is aging.  All those who’ve grown up in Australia eating lamb are heading towards retirement age, physiology means you start eating less, they’ve got less teeth, wanting to chew is not…  Some of them still have a few teeth.

JVD: Or they’re not catering for several people because they’ve all moved out of home now, if they can afford to…

AH:   They’re spending less but eating smaller portions.  This whole shift towards inclusion and multiculturalism is very much about connecting with a newer, younger, more diverse Australia than just my parents from the North Shore.

JVD: Yeah, and lamb’s the perfect thing to do it because everybody can eat lamb.

AH:   That’s true.

JVD: Unless you’re vegetarian.

AH:   It is a cross-cultural protein.  Most cultures have some kind of connection or story to the protein.  It’s not really excluded from many religious purposes, and it’s pretty versatile.  It’s got a quite distinct flavour, but it does travel well.

JVD: One of the things that I find fascinating about your ads is actually you’re challenging people.  Is that a mindset that you want to get people into to shift their other decision processes?   

AH:   Yeah, most definitely, and I think that’s really this point about what happens on the fringes, because you’ve got autopilot which is everything that kind of happens through the meal, and let’s just say it’s 90% of what you do in your day.  You’re bombarded with messages, you’re just trying to get from A to B, you just want to get to the finish line.  The only way you can disrupt that or you can stop people from just doing the same stuff, is to make them feel a bit uncomfortable or do something that’s out of the ordinary.  That can be in the form of controversy or saying something that people don’t normally say, or showing them something that they don’t normally see.

One of my favourite sayings, and I have to say it a lot because I seem to offend a lot of people, but it’s generally that, “Offence is taken, it’s never given.” So it’s therefore determined by the values of your family, what your upbringing’s been, the culture that you’ve been exposed to over time.  More and more, I’m experiencing there’s people out there that they’re not offended because of their values.  They’re offended because of what they think is right and wrong on behalf of other people, or because they think that someone else can’t defend their own opinions, and that’s a real threat for marketers.

MJ:   Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting insight, we have to have this politically correct culture, which as we’ve seen overseas is such a minefield for brands.  You’re kind of saying, “We’re going to step into it and we know it’s going to be messy, and we’re going to deal with the consequences.”

MJ:   I think from a creative perspective, regardless of whether it’s digital or TVCs or whatever it is, the more that we can go towards that kind of thinking in terms of getting someone’s attention, because ultimately you want them to remember, talk about whatever it is you’ve done, right?

AH:   Want to change their behaviour.

MJ:   Yeah.

AH:   Yeah, and it’s often about trying to find the next conversation, not the current one.  I’ve just kept watching this mannequin challenge going on at the moment, and I think, “Well, that was cool a couple of weeks ago,” and now you start seeing creative agencies doing it, and I think do you guys…

JVD: Too late.

AH:   “This is really damaging for your brand.  You guys are creative who are trying to be pioneering, you’re trying to show what’s next and what’s cool, what’s never been done before, and you dickheads are doing the mannequin challenge?” I’m like, “You guys, someone in there needs to probably lose their job.”

MJ:   It’s true, right?

JVD: Would this approach work…

AH:   Why would you be doing that?  If you’re a creative agency, what’s next?  Don’t do the mannequin challenge.  Do the…

MJ:   This is a bit like your friend who shares the meme that everyone’s been sharing, but they just get onto it.  “I’ve just seen this thing.” They’re like…

AH:   “Have you seen this?”

MJ:   Yeah, “It’s so amazing,” and [overtalking 00:40:14] weeks ago.

AH:   They’re going to start pouring buckets of water over their head.

JVD: Is that the same friend that you poke until they bite back?  Is it all the same person?

AH:   Hey, why does no one poke on Facebook anymore?

JVD: Yeah, what happened to poking?

MJ:   Look, I’m going to say from the start it was never okay.

JVD: It was never okay to be poked?

MJ:   It was always weird.  I’m going to poke somebody?  What?

AH:   Cam, who’s the ECD at BMF, he and I are trying to get to the world record for the most pokes.

MJ:   Is that right?

AH:   It’s 100,001.  We’ve researched it, Guinness Book of Records, most poked between two people, 100,001.  We got to about 1,200 and Facebook reset it for some reason.

JVD: Oh no.

AH:   We lost like 1,200 pokes.  I don’t know if you know how that feels, but it doesn’t feel good.

MJ:   That’s devastating.

AH:   We’ve had to start again.

MJ:   Did you screenshot it or something?

AH:   Don’t know.  That doesn’t really count.

JVD: [overtalking 00:41:03] disappear.

MJ:   You can hire people overseas who can just click for you, right?

JVD: Like people do with Pokemon.  You hire someone [overtalking 00:41:11].

AH:   Like bad brands do with their YouTube clicks?

MJ:   Yeah, it’s totally ethical.

AH:   How do you think we get to 6 million all the time?

MJ:   This is awesome.

MJ:   Before you go, let’s hit you up with some 21 questions.

AH:   Anything could happen here.

MJ:   Anything probably will.  What are you grateful for?

AH:   My health.

JVD: Do you like rain?

AH:   On a hot day.

MJ:   In the movie of your life, who would play you?

AH:   I would.

MJ:   Nice.

JVD: What’s your greatest career fail?

AH:   There’s so many.  The campaigns that don’t work.

MJ:   Yeah.  Beach or mountain?

AH:   Mountain, as long as there’s snow on it.

JVD: What’s your best career advice?

AH:   Learn from your mistakes.

MJ:   Summer or winter?

AH:   Well, it has to be winter, man.  I’m on the mountain with the snow.

JVD: Who’s your hero?

AH:   My old man.

MJ:   If you weren’t a marketer, you’d be a…

AH:   Porn star.

JVD: Chocolate or strawberry?

MJ:   Moving right along.

AH:   Chocolate porn star.

MJ:   What did you have for breakfast?  Don’t say porn star.

AH:   Oh.  I had a three egg omelette.

JVD: What would you rather have had?

AH:   A four egg omelette.

MJ:   Thought you were going to say lamb.

AH:   Yeah, with lamb in it.

JVD: A lamb omelette.

AH:   Yeah, a lomelette.

MJ:   What was the last conversation with your parents?

AH:   I called my old man today just to check in and see how things are going.

MJ:   Nice.

JVD: Scrunch or fold?

AH:   Scrunch, and it comes over the top.

JVD: That’s right.

MJ:   You’re a man after my own heart.  If you could change one thing about the marketing industry, what would it be?

AH:   I’d like most people to be more brave.

JVD: Can you ride a bike?

AH:   Yeah.  I did this morning, 5 a.m.

MJ:   What’s your greatest frustration?

AH:   Not being able to ride my bike faster.

JVD: Touch, taste, sight, hearing or smell.  Which would you sacrifice to save the rest?

AH:   Smell.

MJ:   Dogs or cats?

AH:   Dogs.

JVD: Favourite book?

AH:   A book about dogs.

MJ:   Last one.  If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

AH:   It’d be Ace.

MJ:   Ace.

AH:   I wanted to call my kid who’s Baxter, I wanted to call him Ace.  My wife thought I was joking.  My dog’s name is Kevin, and my son’s name is Baxter, everyone always gets them mixed up.  They always think my dog’s Baxter and my son’s Kevin.  I’m like, “Who would call their kid Kevin?  What a ridiculous name.”

MJ:   The only Ace I know is Ace Frehley from KISS, right?

AH:   Yeah.  Ace Ventura.

MJ:   Oh, of course.

AH:   My hypothesis was, if your kid’s called Ace, it’s going be really hard for him to be a loser.

MJ:   Yeah, he’s ace.  He’s always ace, right?

AH:   He’s going to grow up to be ace.  Then my wife said, “Well, what if he’s not?” I said, “I’d take that personally.”

JVD: Andrew Howie, thanks for joining us on the CMO Show.

AH:   Thank you for having me.

Share this: