S02E08 – The 49 Rules

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

If you find yourself pitching and presenting even when you are sceptical a sale will result, it is time to seek the power of the future yes

It's one thing to be good at marketing. In marketing, you choose the areas to fish and select the right bait and plan the finer details of your fishing expedition. However, if you get a bite, can you land your prize? This latter part of the process is called Sales.

In this episode, we discuss David Sandler's 49 rules of sales. According to summaries.com, the rules can be divided thus:

  • Rules 1 - 6 are the core concepts of the Sandler System and can be used to transform your selling process.
  • Rules 7 - 33 are the heart and soul of executing your sales process. You have to do what works.
  • Rules 34 - 49 are all about reminding yourself of those principles which are all too easy to forget.

David Olney and Steve Davis share their insights into these rules and how to apply them.

We also stretch the boundaries of content this episode, with a reflection on some sizzling consumer marketing commentary by comedian, Chris Rock. In fact, the show stretches more than a pair of Lululemon's yoga pants!

We traverse a very common problem that can frustrate your website, domain, and online services usage before finishing off with an ice cold, AI-generated Coke.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

02:18  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Selective Outrage

A few weeks ago, Steve watched the Chris Rock comedy special, Selective Outrage. At one point, Rock launches a tirade against the sportswear retailer, Lululemon.

He ridicules the signs they apparently have in their storefronts saying they do not support racism, sexism, discrimination, or hate. But he then goes on to note that they sell $100 yoga pants, so they must hate somebody: the poor.

It was a well-delivered joke and it picks at an uncomfortable topic in the world of marketing. We do believe our businesses should stand for positive, community-building princoples but maybe that's better done by living and demonstrating those principles.

Placing signs in shop windows or posting catchy, cute value messages in social media, is a hamfisted, short cut for trying to get kudos for being good.

Steve also saw a superb Welcome to Country at the Thunderbirds game on the weekend and noted how it was authentic and earnest, contrasting greatly by the increasingly long and convoluted Acknowledgements Of Country appearing at the beginning of some theatre shows. Again, it takes time, effort, and expense to have an elder appear at the event, so some organisations just pile on the "make up" as they confect concern.

13:32  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

Sandler Training's 49 Rules

The topic of sales training has come up recently in mentoring we've been delivering, and David referenced Sandler Training's 49 Rules.

As you'll hear in this discussion, there are some interesting points from the principles encapsulated by David Sandler that can make a positive impact on your business.

David Olney is particularly taken by the Power of the Future Yes.

Another point of interest is Sandler's transactional analysis. Sandler argues that in any sales process the emotional child of the buyer must be excited (emotional drive overlaps a lot with inbound marketing), the adult within the buyer needs to be able to reason it is good (the rational mind at work at the end of the process), the parent gives permission (emotional and rational together).

Meanwhile, Steve uncovered the vivid imagery of Rule Number 2, Don't Spill Your Candy In the Lobby. He plays a snippet from Dave Mattson's interpretation of this rule and Steve thinks it's pertinent.

Instead of rushing to "spill our beans", we first need to make sure our prospect actually wants our beans.

27:18  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Check The Spelling

Steve had a client battling to register for a paid Zoom account over the weekend.

He offered to step in and help but she was keen to keep trying a little longer.

Found out this morning that after 48 hours of struggle and wondering why she was not able to log back in to pay for her upgraded account, she has been mistyping her email address.

Yes, a simple typo is sometimes to blame.

29:16  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case study from the past.

Coca-Cola Masterpiece

Does Coke add life to AI or vice versa?

This is a little on the side of the ledger for “do it because you can rather than because you should”, reminding me of the early 3D movies where an actor sweeping would pause, look at the camera, lift their broom, and gently poke it at the audience “because they could”.

What saves this from purely being a simple showcase of using AI in film, is that the playfulness is on brand with the Coke advertising legacy; they’ve simply swapped beach antics, surfing, or novelty extreme sports for a romp through the art world.

What is unexpected and unintentional messaging, however, is that the protagonist in this Coke ad is not being physically active. Instead of cartwheeling around the place (and burning off those syrupy calories) he’s just sitting there, passively seeking inspiration from the AI zeitgeist. Hmmm, sounds familiar?

TRANSCRIPT  This is a transcript of the episode. Please note, although checked briefly, this was crafted by an AI tool and will contain errors. For quoting purposes, always check against the original audio.

Caitlin Davis: [00:00:00] Talking about marketing is a podcast for business owners and leaders, produced by my dad, Steve Davis, and his colleague at Talked About Marketing, David Olney, in which they explore marketing through the lens of their own four P's, person, principles, problems, and perspicacity. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Apart from their love of words, they really love helping people, so they hope this podcast will become a trusted companion on your journey in business.

Steve Davis: David, what is the first rule of the Talking About Marketing podcast?

David Olney: I don't know. I would say the most important thing is that we should probably turn up with a positive attitude and looking to solve problems.

Steve Davis: There's a good first rule. Well, I was going to say it was, you do not talk about the talking about marketing podcast [00:01:00] if I was going to plagiarize the fight club and make the whole enterprise pointless, but fun.

David Olney: In that case, we can go silent right now and listeners enjoy the static.

Steve Davis: Actually, looking at the Fight Club rules, number one, you don't talk about it. Number two, you don't talk about it. If someone says stop or goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. We don't have a safe word for that, do we, David?

David Olney: I thought our safe word for everything was porridge.

Steve Davis: Okay.

 two guys to a fight. Well, that's what we've got here. One fight at a time. We record one episode at a time. No shirts, no shoes.

David Olney: Sorry, it's a cold day. I'm wearing socks.

Steve Davis: Okay, at least you're topless. That's, at least you've got that. Halfway there. Yes. Fights go on as long as they have to, which is what we do for our podcast.

And if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight. So, let's get ready. You've got to record, David. You've got to record.

David Olney: I'll do it. Ow! I didn't do [00:02:00] it.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number one, person. The aim of life is self development. To realise one's nature perfectly. That is what each of us is here for. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: Now, a few weeks ago, David, at the time of recording, I watched the Chris Rock comedy special Selective Outrage. It was the first time I'd really watched a Chris Rock comedy special. His style of comedy delivery isn't my cup of tea. He sort of bulldozes his points into the audience and people laugh out of, you know, shock.

And there are some that are classically... Hand tooled jokes, but others thrust an idea on the table and go on, react. It's quite an interesting, interesting style. Have you, have you listened to much Chris Rock?

David Olney: Enough to stop listening.

Steve Davis: Okay. So not your cup of tea.

David Olney: No, like [00:03:00] to me, he's trying to push hard enough to get an emotional response and to get the kind of thinking brain off the table.

So the thinking brain has got nothing to put together. And eventually the emotional brain just responds to the prod. Whether it's discomfort or release of discomfort into a laugh, but yeah, it's not really my scene. I would much rather, you know, go back to the classics of Lennie Henry or Billy Connolly.

Steve Davis: Well, it's interesting. I was watching it at about halfway through, I think, well, sometime throughout, he suddenly veered into this little bit about Lululemon, which is a What would you call them, a upscale retailer of sportswear and gym wear, et cetera.

David Olney: Yeah, it's a lifestyle brand for people into fitness and health.

And I will put my hand in the air and say my travel yoga mat is Lululemon because it's the best.

Steve Davis: Oh, you're gonna love this excerpt. Let's have a listen. Probably not. Let's have a listen.[00:04:00]

There we are, lucky he didn't reference the yoga mats, David.

David Olney: Still wouldn't change my opinion of how good a travel man it is.

Steve Davis: Well look, the thing that I think struck me is, amid all his show, this had the sort of shtick that was more classically comedic, with a strong social justice message, I mean that the whole...

Undercurrent of this show of selective outrage was poking at hypocrisy and it just brought a couple of things together because there's a difference between actually being against racism, sexism, discrimination, and hate And just telling people that you're against it. And there's a middle ground there somewhere, because I believe we believe that the enterprises we're engaged in should be constructed to do some sort of positive good in the world.[00:05:00]

I wouldn't work with anyone who didn't subscribe to that, but that's different from going around. Saying it and it was brought home to me. I had to go to the netball on the weekend and I watched the Thunderbirds and the fever, which was a great game, by the way, and there was a wonderful welcome to country short, earnest.

Perfect and poignant and then I reflected on, cause I'm a theater reviewer, how there's a bit of a trend among some theater groups of making their acknowledgement of country longer and longer and more contrived and there's something in me, David. That doesn't sit with this, it seems like posturing, a bit like the greenwashing that we get when, you know, a major oil company says, hey, we're here and we love the environment and we think flowers are nice as they trample over them and poison the ground.

So, so from a personal perspective, [00:06:00] in our businesses, in our organizations, I just wanted to share these mishmash of thoughts. So that we can take a little check. Are we walking the walk or are we just talking it? Your thoughts, David?

David Olney: I think I'll start with the Lululemon example because, you know, there I use one of the products.

I'm not really interested in all the, the lifestyle and after wear clothing. I just wear cheap bamboo clothing to do my yoga practice. But I think what Lululemon do is interesting. They make their stand on issues very clear as you enter the store. Because they've wanted to make their stores a really safe place for people who agree with all of those statements to be themselves and feel comfortable.

Yep. And I think at the heart of it, even if their message doesn't translate well to the people outside their community, like Chris Rock, who's looking for a way to build a gag, it's [00:07:00] resonating very well with their community, who overtly want to signal the things they believe in. And are willing to spend a hundred dollars on a pair of yoga pants, because they're made somewhere where the materials didn't waste too much water.

Ideally, it's made of a material that's renewable. The people who made it are allowed to form a union. The dye that was used to color it doesn't poison a river and kill everything. So, in a sense, this kind of virtue signaling is now ubiquitous in the world, and in a lot of cases is very uncomfortable if you aren't part of the community that shares the virtue signalling.

And I think, you know, your description of going to the netball and the welcome to country being a really good example of it, that's another thing where this is meant to be more than virtue signaling, but in a sense, with the welcome to country, we're talking to every group who turns up and some groups are very much aware of indigenous culture and what the [00:08:00] welcome to country means, other people just go there.

Yeah. All right, I can sit quietly through this, I don't really understand it. And other people go, this is a waste of time. So virtue signaling to a specific group where you're a part of it can be very easy and successful and make sense to the group on the inside. But if you're trying to talk to people who aren't interested, virtue signaling falls flat.

Steve Davis: Yeah, I think there's plenty of nuance On the table here, because it was actually that reflection, there's a difference between the welcome to country, when an actual elder is there, has been paid to be there, and an acknowledgement of country, and, and yeah, so I, I, there is nuance, because on one hand, you could write it off as a glib virtue signaling, because, oh, yes, we'll just read badly this acknowledgement of country,

David Olney: and that's most of our experience of it, is not meeting someone from the culture, for whom this is their lived experience.

It's normally now it's time to go through this process, which [00:09:00] should and could be very important. But do we understand it? Does the person delivering it understand it? Do we have a cohesive understanding? And again, we're straying into interesting ethical and philosophical territory here, and we're going to have to bring it back in a minute for, for people running small business.

And I think the critical takeaway in that is, are you talking to the group who already know who you are and care? Or are you talking in an inclusive way to let people know what they can expect interacting with you? And how do you balance those two things?

Steve Davis: I think that's the key, is how do you balance? Is actually going through the motions authentically of actually thinking this through.

Are we doing anything for lip service because that's what you're meant to do? Or is it part of it? Because yet again, even the badly read Acknowledgement of Country or the the side up the front that says, Hey, we don't like racism, even though it's susceptible to those things being written off as glib, maybe they still create, [00:10:00] play a function because at least it's being mentioned and the absence is also saying something as well.

David Olney: And to a proportion of the community who know what it means and know they're welcome and know they're safe. Having it said just straight up at the beginning bluntly actually gives them a sense of feeling like this place is okay and I'm going to be okay and in a world where people feel less and less safe, anything we can do in our business is to say to people, even if we don't entirely understand you and you don't entirely understand us, we're trying to signal that this is a safe and inclusive place where you'll be treated with respect and also hinting that that's how we expect you to behave when you interact with us.

Steve Davis: So I think this is fertile ground to reflect on. Yes, it's ethical and philosophical, but it is, it brings everything together. Well, the whole reason we reflect on who our customer [00:11:00] personas are, who it is, we feel we're best placed to serve is a lens through which you can look at this. Now, if your group of people hate anything.

At the virtual end of the spectrum, then you've opted to serve these people and that's the bed you've made. Or is there a small role you can play if you think it's important to bring them along on a journey? But then how far removed is that from your core business? And then how do you separate your core business from your whole of life as a human being engaged in work every day?

This is not a black and white answer.

David Olney: Maybe a final thought from me on this is, I think one of the things we're having to deal with in the world at the moment is, clearly we're in relatively stressful economic times for a lot of people. There is more and more pressure how much money people have and what they can spend it on and how little it buys.

And I think one of the flow and effects of this is that. Once people get through the necessities, the [00:12:00] majority of people have less money to spend and therefore are spending more time thinking about how they're going to spend it. And if people are feeling stressed about what's going on economically, they want to feel good about the things they do that are meant to be fun or enjoyable or rewarding or give them a sense of gratification or satisfaction.

So if you can think about the fact that your customers are thinking more about, I've got a little bit of money to spend, how do the ways I spend money impact the world? How do they impact me? Then you can probably do a better job of connecting with people who are thinking longer and harder before they spend money on your product or service.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number two. Principles. You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde.[00:13:00]

Steve Davis: David, if I was to ask you... How many rules there are when it comes to getting your head into selling and sales, what number would you pick?

David Olney: I would say 49.

Steve Davis: And why? Because we know the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42, so why are there 7 extra rules?

David Olney: David Sandler did so much thinking about this and had so much experience going from being a very successful 30 something to essentially not quite penniless overnight, but pretty close and having to, you know, rebuild his business career, rebuild his skill set.

And in doing so, single handedly transformed how selling is done well. So he, after all that experience, says there's 49 rules. It's a pretty odd number, but it worked for him. It's worked for probably hundreds of thousands of people since the late 1960s, and [00:14:00] it's still a pretty decent guide to help you sell your product or service more effectively and with less stress.

Steve Davis: And, and we're bringing this up because the topic of Sandler training has come up in our conversations internally recently with different people we've been interacting with. And so I thought it was a perfect time to look at maybe two or three aspects of this realm of Sandler training, which is one of the purveyors of training out there in the world.

And one of the things you said to me with me, David, that Really grabbed you by the scruff of your neck within the realm of the Sandler approach to sales was the power of the future. Yes. What the heck does that mean?

David Olney: I thought this was a great idea because so many sales people I've interacted with are always looking for the opportunity to make the sale, looking for the opportunity to make the sale and in doing so apply [00:15:00] pressure.

On the prospect and then the prospect feels even more pressure to lie or evade because they're being pushed and I really like the approach. David Sandler came up with, which is the idea of the future. Yes. And it's that if you're the salesperson and you've had a first chat with a prospect and it's clear they've got a pain point and you've got them to elaborate on what they need to achieve, what they want to achieve, what would improve the situation.

And you think your product or service is a good fit. The Sandler approach is to say to the prospect, Okay, it looks like it would be worth us having a further conversation. But I need to ask you a question. If I put all the work in to do a really detailed presentation for you next week, or at a time we can both agree on, at the end of that conversation, if I can meet all your requirements, would you be in a position to say yes and spend the money to buy our product or service?

And, you know, Sandler was quite unique in setting up these future yeses from what I can work out. [00:16:00] And it makes it clear where the salesperson is going. It gives the prospect a chance to say no or yes, but to know what they're saying no or yes to. So the salesperson moves forward to prepare the presentation, knowing that, well, if I get this right, the person said they can say yes.

And the prospect has I'm interested enough, and if this is good enough, I can say yes. And... Well, I can always still say no, but at least we're on the same page and we've taken some of the adversarial nature of the way we've taken away some of the misunderstandings and the salesperson doesn't have to apply as much pressure and the prospect doesn't have to be as evasive.

So I really like this idea as a way of essentially, it's almost like getting a form of consent for the next step of talking about how much work should the salesperson put in. And how prepared is the prospect to listen? And if the prospect says [00:17:00] no, actually, after a presentation, I would be in no state to say yes.

That's not worth it as a prospect. The salesperson can then ask the next question. Well, is this something where you would like me to get back to in a month? Are any of these circumstances going to change? Or could I do anything to help change these circumstances? Or is it simply where you are at the moment?

It's not worth me doing a presentation because you aren't in a position to purchase a product or service that would change your pain point. So it suddenly changes the whole nature of the conversation and makes it, you know, a lot less icky for sales people to sell things.

Steve Davis: The other thing I like about it is that by asking the person, look, if I, if I get this right, would you be in a position to say yes, knowing they could still say no, but you've increased the chance that a, they've got a nice, easy way to get out now without being embarrassed about coming up with an excuse after an elaborate presentation.

But secondly. [00:18:00] Robert Cialdini makes this point really clear in a lot of his psychology of persuasion books about our internal needs for consistency. If we've heard ourselves say, yes, we could say yes, then when that time comes, it's actually a big job for us to say, well, actually, that sounds great, but I'm going to say no.

Because we're not now being internally consistent with the image of us and the public pledge that we made to you in the outset. So some of that science of persuasion is right at the heart of what Sandler's talking about here.

David Olney: And the interesting thing is, you know, David Sandler got there 20 years.

Before Cialdini was doing his research. Well, there you go. So it's amazing, you know, he worked out from experience, and he was very interested in transactional analysis, which is one of the first big psychological theories that, you know, help people like Cialdini work out how influence works. So there's a wonderful tie up between good psychological research and a salesperson [00:19:00] actually going, Why icky when instead I can have a conversation and be helpful?

Like, consultative selling is so much better a way to move forward because the salesperson doesn't have to twist them out of shape and the prospect doesn't have to deal with someone who's twisted out of shape.

Steve Davis: Actually, it's on that transactional analysis, that was something else I wanted us to talk about today in this conversation, is you broke it down really interestingly, almost like the holy trinity of the consumer or the potential buyer in the way Sandler argues about this, about what the emotional, the child, the parent and the adult, do you want to just expand on that?

David Olney: Absolutely, so one of the things that Sandler took away from transactional analysis, which was a psychological approach that said that, you know, people are always both emotional and rational. And what transactional analysis came up with is there is an emotional child, there is a very [00:20:00] responsible adult.

And there is a parent who decides if it's a good idea. And in the sales case, what Sandler got this to, is the child wants, the adult decides, and the parent gives permission that we can go ahead. And he worked out that the child who wants normally wants to fulfill a goal or get rid of pain. We all know that's very, very central to sales and marketing.

So find out what the pain point is, find out what the dream is, but then you've got to swap to the rational. You've got to help the adult understand. Here are all the good reasons why a product or service could help you get rid of that pain point or achieve that goal. But in the end, it won't be reason that gets the person finally over the line.

It goes back to the parent. Going, well, it would make the child happy, and I think it's a responsible choice. So it really starts emotional, then moves rational. And the final bit is the emotional brain and the rational brain get themselves [00:21:00] on the same page. So the child wants, the adult can see the benefit, but the emotional parent, who's both emotional and rational, then gives permission.

And it's an interesting way to look at it and to realize that when you interact with people, you know, clients, providers, salespeople, everybody, really, that it's that to and fro between things being a bit more emotional, a bit more rational, a bit more emotional, a bit more rational, and that this is how people are, and that we should accept that interplay.

And not manipulate emotions and not expect people to always be rational. Because if you do one or the other, you're always missing that it's a combination of the two that informs behavior.

Steve Davis: Interesting. It's like a grown up approach to interacting with a potential customer. Because the thing I've always got my hackles up was where you hear people talking in [00:22:00] the sales world and they reduce.

Humans down to quota that you have to get through the doors and it, it's always struck me as being absolutely horrible, really anathema to anything that I'd want to be part of, but this approach will be saying we don't want to trick people. We actually just want to be. In the whole process, it's like the pigeon pair of inbound marketing that we've talked about a number of times, which is leading out on our marketing by helping educate, helping people understand what could help them deal with a pain point they're experiencing.

So no pressure. They can then choose to come to us. Fantastic. And then when those conversations start, when we shift from marketing into sales, we don't suddenly go all shyster on them. We continue with this higher approach to just being adults about [00:23:00] it. Yep.

David Olney: And the amazing thing is Sandler was doing this in a a period where he probably wasn't the only one who had worked out that traditional pressure sales don't work.

But I think he was probably the first to really systematize it and work out how to train people. And that was basically an accident. You know, a client he had sold motivational material to, which is the job he was in while he was transitioning to being a sales training person, simply rang him back and said, You're so good at working out what people need and helping them.

I want you to train my 100 person sales, you know, workforce. And Sam was like I know how to talk to individual people to sell the product I'm selling, but to actually sell how to sell. And you kind of realized, hang on, what have I been learning to do for a couple of years? Yeah, exactly this. Well, keep treating people like they are a clever and emotional and rational and engaged and they have pain points and they have goals and listen to where they're at and then help them.[00:24:00]

I'm like, you know, he was a very successful guy and a lot of people write very nice things about him historically because he was quite selfless despite being very driven to be a wealthy guy. He's an interesting kind of role model for how to be in business and stay ethical and stay balanced. And, you know, to not do harm along the way.

Steve Davis: Well, let's finish off this conversation with one of the rules, and I've selected one, David. I love rule number two. Don't spill your candy in the lobby. And we're going to hear it espoused by Dave Mattson, who now is heading up the Sandler Training Company, you were saying. Is that right, David?

David Olney: Yeah, he took over when David Sandler died in, I think, the late 90s.

Steve Davis: Okay, let's have a listen to rule number two.

David Mattson: Hi, it's Dave. Hey, don't spill your candy in the lobby. That's rule number two. Tell you what that's about. You know, when Sandler was growing up, [00:25:00] he would wait for a movie and get all his candy and his popcorn. He would enjoy it throughout the movie. But sometimes he spilled it in the lobby because he was rushed.

He didn't really pay attention. Well, that's what you do as a salesperson as well. Sometimes when you spill your candy in the lobby, you're rushing. You just show up and throw up all over your prospect, your buyer. Let me tell you about our products. Let me tell you about this. Let me tell you how wonderful we are.

The fact of the matter is the only way people care about what you do. And how wonderful you are is if you can connect your products and services with what is important to them, their problems, their pain. And that's what you have to uncover through questioning, become a doctor, ask good questions, and then link your product knowledge to their problem.

And you will close sales.

Steve Davis: Well, first of all, I just love that[00:26:00] description, the analogy of spilling the candy in the lobby. It's an evocative image. It's one that, yes, of course, you don't want to do that. You want to save that till you're sitting in the cinema and the movie's engaged engaging. But perhaps that's something we could all reflect on and put into practice this week, is if we do get into a scenario where we're with someone who might be a customer, hold back.

Don't talk about us. Ask questions about them, which actually would apply well to life, not just in the dynamic of selling.

David Olney: Very much so. Again, Sam, this real point here was, you know the features and benefits of your product, but you don't yet know the pain pole, pain point or goal of your prospect. So ask questions.

And find out as much as you can about their pain point and goal, and how they want to get there, and what things they're interested in. And then, if your product or [00:27:00] service fits, then you can start unpacking your candy. But once it's genuinely being helpful to them, and they're convinced that you're different, you're listening and you're engaging in a thoughtful way, and you're reflecting and responding to them, rather than just, you know, spilling your candy all over them.

Steve Davis: Yes. David, can I ask you... Would you be satisfied and, and comfortable and happy if we moved on now to the next segment? I absolutely would.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number three, Problems. I asked a question for the best reason possible. Simple curiosity. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: I'm going to share a problem that a client had in real life over the last weekend before we recorded this and it all comes down to spelling. A dear client decided to get a paid plan of Zoom [00:28:00] for her work and I got a call or a message in distress that she had registered, but then wasn't able to pay, nothing was happening, hitting dead end.

So I offered that I could step in and help. She said, no, no, no. I'm going to conquer this, so fair enough. And I got the message this morning. 48 hours of struggle and frustration and hair being pulled out. And it all came down to the fact that she was misspelling her email address. Just one letter was wrong at a crucial point in the process and was absolutely doing her hair in, or her head in and her hair out.

David, sometimes it's just those simple little things. It's the equivalent of IT people saying, just turn the machine off and on again.

David Olney: Yeah, it's one of those things that I kind of feel ridiculous each time I fill in a form, checking the spelling of my [00:29:00] name. And the spelling of my email address, but I can't break the habit of doing it.

Steve Davis: Yes, so there you go. A really quick little problem. If you are ever in that sort of loop of hell, just slow down and really double check the spelling. And sometimes we're too close to it, the brain is filling in the gaps. Have someone look over our shoulder. Double check, it could give you 48 hours of your life back.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps, number four, Perspicacity. The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: That was meant to be the sound of a Coke bottle opening, David, did it convince you?

David Olney: I found it relatively convincing.

Steve Davis: Good, maybe I could be the new AI generative audio creator. Look, I'm mentioning this because in Perspicacity, in this episode, When we [00:30:00] look at typically older campaigns, ads that have become part of the furniture at their time and question whether they would still work today, this time we've got one hot off the press.

It's only about a month or so old. It's from Coca Cola. It's called The Masterpiece. And it caught my attention because this ad is a blending. It's a blending of real life actors, And a generative AI, which is where, and a whole lot of special effects too. But the generative AI is where you use text based prompts and the system generates images out of whole cloth right before your eyes.

And in fact, you can see the ad on our show notes. You can just hit play and have a look at that. But in essence, there's a young man in an art gallery, an art student who's sitting down with his sketch pad and suddenly. I think it starts with Andy Warhol's famous Coke bottle painting, the Coke bottle becomes [00:31:00] animated and starts being thrown around from painting to painting.

I reckon the Mona Lisa's in there at some point, you know, it's, it's going around the place and so it's very well done. It's an amazing example, but here's the question, David, is this going to be a persuasive ad to drink Coke? Or more or less a showcase of where AI technology is at, at the moment. And before you answer, it reminded me of the very early days of 3d movies.

Well, in, in my era, I remember in the early eighties, seeing these really bad spaghetti Western style movies in which the band was sweeping in the, the wooden hideout. We're watching him, and he's sweeping, and he stops, lifts the broom up, pokes it, [00:32:00] weirdly, at the audience. It was because they could do that in 3D, and of course, we all go, Uuuuugh!

And it was completely out of place in the story. There is no reason he needed to do that. It was doing it because they could. Not because they should. David?

David Olney: I think that parallel you've drawn there between instead of using the 3D effectively in the 80s in the movie and instead doing a stunt which made the stunt of 3D far more memorable than the movie.

Like you can remember the broom being, you know, pointed at you. Can you remember anything? Who was the hero? Who was the bad guy? Who got tied to the railway track?

Steve Davis: Or like, I remember one other thing. opening a can of dried beans, a big barrel of dried beans, and dropping them down. Of course, we were underneath and they were falling at us again.

Yeah. No one's ever.

David Olney: Whether it had any reason in the plot whatsoever, all you remember is the two things that were deliberate stunts. Correct. And I my feeling is that, you know, with AI.[00:33:00]

The ad is going to be memorable for those who are excited about AI going, Wow, look at what generative AI can do. And for those who are scared of AI, it's, Wow, look at what AI can do. And now AI that I'm frightened of has been attached to Coke. And I'm kind of afraid of Coke too, because it's got enough sugar in it to do bad things to me.

I've now heard that message for 20 years. So I think Coke may have just done an own goal where the last thing that will benefit from the ad is Coca Cola.

Steve Davis: Yeah. And the first one is all the people selling the latest tools in AI and visual effects, etc. Look, it's true. There is one thing that's interesting is typically, CoCADs have ridden trends, but they tended to be outdoor trends.

I remember, you know, a lot of surfing and the ads in the, in the 70s and you had hopping in those big blow up [00:34:00] plastic balls and, you know, walking like mice inside those across the, the river sand surfing going down, whatever you call that on, on big sand dunes.

David Olney: Yeah, it was always, you're very young, you're very fit, you're doing a very outdoor activity and you can absorb this much sugar because you've just burnt that many calories.

Yes, but here... That was the ultimate thing of trying to sell a fantasy. Whereas here, again, how many people fantasize sitting still and drawing in an art gallery? Now, they've got the sitting still thing right. Most people who drink large amounts of coke spend a lot of time sitting still.

Steve Davis: Well, that's the odd thing.

This is a protagonist in a coke ad who is... Actually sitting still and then just going to drink Coke as well. So that's a, that's a weird aspect. I mean, but it is really well done and maybe own goal is a little harsh, but it's in the mix, David. I'm, I'm with you because I don't think it's going to lead to any extra [00:35:00] sales of Coke, but it is being talked about maybe subliminally it's keeping Coke connected to the edge.

And yeah, depending on where you sit. On that edge, which we're gonna talk about more in the next episode. The world of ai, et cetera. Yeah. Maybe it is a fizz from their perspective.

David Olney: It will fizzle either way.

Steve Davis: Oh, one last thing before we finish this. In applying this to future ads, this is always going to be the case when there's a new trend.

The early adopters want to try and use the technology, but you send I I sense that. There's a like, like when you crack open a Coke bottle and there's and the bubbles rise and then it sort of settles down again. Maybe this is that and this is not a sustainable way of doing advertising, but it's in the mix if you've got the budget and you want to have that positioning as a leader.

David Olney: I think Coke will do the Clever ad next. And it will be that someone is out on the surfboard or going down [00:36:00] the sand dune on their, whatever kind of board you use on a sand dune and they'll go, damn, I wish I had a Coke. And the bottle will literally, you know, fly out of the water or whatever, land on the front of the board and go, catch me if you can.

You know, it'll be, it will get used cleverly, just not yet. At the moment, there's the aura of the technology. And it always takes a little bit of time to get past the aura of technology. Remember that the purpose of the ad is to make the product appealing, not the technology behind it. Yeah.

Steve Davis: And we're just on that cusp where we're being distracted by the technology.

Exactly. Our eyes off the ball. Oh, well. Kocad's AI.

Caitlin Davis: Thank you for listening to Talking About Marketing. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating or a review in your favorite podcast app. And if you found it helpful, please share it with others. Steve and David always welcome your comments and questions, so send them to podcast at talkedaboutmarketing.

com. And finally, the [00:37:00] last word to Oscar Wilde. There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.

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