Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Tale of the Taza

A few weeks ago, Wills Burns, who I know only through social media, put up a post on behalf of his friends at Taza Chocolate, based in Boston. They were looking for advertising/marketing help but didn't want to spend the money for a big, bloated ad agency. So, they held a Round Robin type contest. For freelancers.

They offered an unmentionable stipend and held out the promise of larger renumeration for the winners. Many of my colleagues in the freelance world scoffed at the idea. They held their noses up and claimed this was just one more step in the race to the bottom.

My partner and I -- no strangers to the world of start ups and scrappy companies trying to make the most of a buck -- had a different take.

First of all, what did we have to lose? We normally get together at my house to work on paying projects, how would it kill us to spend a few extra hours every day working on Taza? Moreover, since the summer doldrums are in full effect, business has been on the slow side lately anyway.

Secondly, perhaps more importantly, this was fucking chocolate. And we're two fat Jews who love chocolate. At the very least we'd get our hands on some tasty samples of super premium, stone ground chocolate.


The other thing is, and you can read this as thinly-veiled self promotion, but it's not, this was an opportunity to do what we have been doing, or used to do, our whole lives -- building a brand.

For us, this is the fun stuff. We had no planners in our ears. No hourly check ins. No false deadlines. No presentations before a pompous Leadership Council or Partner Panel. It was just two guys at a dining room table coming up with big, bold, ballsy ideas and laughing our asses off while we did it.

That's not work.

Amortizing fixed assets with corresponding depreciating tables, like what my brother the CPA does, that's work.

So we didn't win, so what?

And we ended up giving them work that we normally would have been paid twenty times than the fee we did earn, again so what?

We had an an opportunity to do what we do best. And what we love most.

We met and presented to a bunch of great people who literally gasped and snickered their way through our entire presentation, that doesn't happen often enough. At one point the CEO was reading one of the long copy ad-like objects we had written and was later quoting snippets from it.

And though we came tantalizingly close to winning the Taza account, we were promised to be put in touch with a fellow CMO at a different company on a well paying assignment/project.

The way we see it this is one of those rare Lose/Win/Win type of situations.

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