Stories From The Past: Shaving Like A Gentlman

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I emphasize Gentleman Jack’s Barber Shop not just as an example of a good idea, more like one of the very significant marketing events in the region in the past year. It is because  he steps out of the standard model and contains all essential elements of the modern concepts of market communication.

You have to admit that it is not very easy to write a story for the column “Stories from the Past” at the very beginning of the year. If there is a moment when we push our past away from us and, stronger than ever, believe that better times are just about to come and that by itself, that is the moment of transition from  December  31st to January 1st. That transition is different from any other shift of the day – just then the difference between two days is the whole year. That is why we pay such importance and celebrate it solemnly.  That is when we make “New Year’s resolutions” in which we promise to ourselves that we will change radically for better, that everything we did wrong in the past year, we will finally do it as we should, and that everything we did well, we will do it even better. We especially promise strongly to ourselves that we will for sure do everything that we have been postponing for so long. And of course – we will start with diet and exercising, but this time for real. As soon as we imagine the perfect picture in our head, we will be calm until the beginning of the next year when we will repeat it all. The atmosphere around New Year is the best described by New Year’s card which circles the network around these days and where it says: “My plan for 2015 is to accomplish goals from 2014, which I should have accomplished in 2013, because I had promised them to myself  in 2012, and had planned in 2011!”

I do not know whose plan it all is, but it could be, for example, the plan of a sales director of a television who, in that case, wishes again for New Year to raise ratings on his television within all target groups, but especially in that most important group 18-49, but this time for real; that people understand that it is so much better to watch programs on big TV screen, rather than on those phones, tablets and fablets; that advertisers finally admit that commercial is not a commercial if it is not broadcasted on television; that this new show will become even more popular than “Sulejman”, and that these new reality shows will break all records.And then, prices can finally be raised, and not just fall as they have been in the past couple of years, and that the agencies finally agree on a normal agency percentage, not this misery.  His colleague journalist probably has a similar plan. That plan is based on only his hope that people will spend less time reading statuses, sharing twits and staring in thousands of photos and more time on reading real and serious texts, which, of course, he publishes and ask for a pay rise. When you think more carefully, this is exactly the essence of believing that the good old media times will be back – just a New Year’s Wish!

The form of pushing past from us at the transition from old to New Year is making different perspective on events and people “that marked the year behind us.” That is how the rang list is created for the most important, beautiful, handsome, popular, the best and worst in different categories. And in our industry, we make lists views of the best campaigns, spots, ads, slogans, twits, statuses… No worries, I will not bother you now with another boring list.  I will highlight one campaign from last year not because it marked the year that passed, but just the other way around – this “story from the past” represents an example of the new model of market communication that announces a new media reality.

Agency from Zagreb “Pepermint” got an assignment from “Jack Daniels” to design a promotive campaign for the premium brand of whiskey Gentleman Jack. The basic idea was that Gentleman Jack is presented as a drink for strong men. Further development came up with the concept “what is a man without moustaches”  which was the title of a cult novel by Ante Tomić which was filmed in 2005. Pepermint turned its agency’s thirty-square-meters area on the corner of Preradovićeva and Berislavićeva Street, in the centre of Zagreb, into a retro barbershop “Gentleman Jack’s Barber Shop”. Two regular shaving chairs set in front of a large mirror, and a couple of tall tables with bar chairs, and a squeezed small bar on the side were more than eye-catching.  The retro design was emphasised by a number of well-chosen details including antique coat hangouts, black and white photos of movie stars in the 1950s on the wall and the head of a wild boar. The atmosphere was complete with great DJs that played music from vinyl records only. The stylish barbers were already the best advertisement for the top service they provided. Shaving and haircut were free, but every customer could leave a tip that was intended for “The league fighting against cancer.” The shop was open every working day from 5 pm to 11 pm. You could not make an appointment, you just come, and if there is someone in front of you for shaving/ getting haircut, you wait for a while, hang out with people, and, of course, drink something. In less than two months, while it was open (the campaign lasted until December 31st, 2014 as planned ), Gentleman Jack’s Barber Shop, or as it was called among people ‘’a barber shop’’, became a real attraction. Sales and promotional results were far over expectations. Although there were some similar campaigns on this topic, this is the first concept that was fully designed and implemented in the world and it will be presented to other distributors of Jack Daniels.

I am highlighting this campaign no just as an example of a good idea, more as one of many significant events in the region in the past year. The reason is because it stands out from the standard model and consist every important elements of modern concept of marketing communication. First of all, we have an innovative concept of transformation of the physical location into an event (experience point), through joining two topics (‘’shaving’’ and ‘’drink” for the strong men’’). This created a natural context for creating a relevant content (content creation). ‘’Shaving’’ and “drink for the real men’’ are just a frame, a platform for creating content, while the real creators of that content are visitors who themselves become the active participants of that unique event (customer engagement). It is logical that they want to share their experience with others (sharing) and thus becoming an effective marketing through which the desired information is broadcasted (social media marketing). This was largely due to the unhindered natural integration of all elements of the campaign, as it was a foundation for creating an authentic experience. The diversity of the content, unique experience and limited time of duration were motives for satisfied visitors to come back (loyalty) which effect is just additionally multiplied. Thanks to that, the place became “in” and “barbarian store”  became a city story in next to no time. That is how the whole thing had to be in the news, broadcasted by traditional media, too.  With all the other indicators that make this campaign successful, and it contains an element of subversiveness because it symbolically shows how the old media-marketing would turn everything upside down.  In the old world, people would tell what they had read in newspapers, listened on the radio or watched on television, while in this new world,  newspapers, radio and television broadcast what people are talking about. The success of market communication will be less and less measured by the number of people that get information. It will be valued by the number of people that send the information because that is the measure of the relevance of the story you want to tell.

Before I ever went to the barbershop, I knew for the whole concept, so, based on that, I had certain expectations. When I walked in, for a moment I thought that I walked into the wrong place. But, in the next moment, I realized and felt that I am in the right place and that the place is right. That is the moment when you fell a bit sad because you didn’t have that idea. And then you promise to yourself that you will think of something good like that next year. At least, this looks easy and possible New Year’s Eve.

Source: Media Marketing

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