I contacted my friend after I found out about the Chick-fil-A comic launch in San Diego this year. Five years after his first unsuccessful pitch for a Chick-fil-A comic book. Needless to say, he felt a little nauseous. After all this time Chick-fil-A was growing by leaps and bounds. But neither my friend nor my friend’s client ever re-pitched Chick-fil-A with another idea. Now here’s where the story gets really interesting. It’s not like it was hard to set up a meeting with Chick-fil-A’s executives. My friend’s brother actually has contacts with the Chick-fil-A organization and he can basically get my friend any meeting he needs. If he had wanted, he could break away from his clients and do his own pitch, or he could have pitched on behalf of his client. He had every opportunity to do so. But his vision got stifled from the day-to-day work of working with his employer and going after freelance work for his other clients.
Let me give you a little bit of back story, because this is funny. The Chick-fil-A cow campaign kicked off with Billboards in 1995 from the Richards Group advertising firm based in Dallas, Texas. Their very influential ad campaigns branched out into cow coupon calendars in 1998. Sometime late 2003 early 2004 the “Mad Cow” disease scare was coming out all over the news. Chick-fil-A temporarily stopped the campaign so as not to make the chain seem insensitive or appear to be taking advantage of the scare to increase its sales. This is when the pitch was made from my friend’s company, shying away from the cow campaign altogether. A few months later, when the scare had calmed down, the cows were put back in action again. They even came out with even a “Super Hero Cows” calendar released later in 2004. Coincidence?
As it was, the pitch was made and didn’t go anywhere. My friend’s company and my friend moved on to other things. My friend and the company he worked for got caught up in other projects, other endeavors and other ventures, and after 5 years, never went back with another pitch for Chik-fil-A all the while the huge marketing campaign success for their cows that continues to grow to this day.
LESSON TWO: YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE TRENDS AND TIME YOUR ACTIONS ACCORDINGLY.
Can you just imagine what would have happened if my friend decided to go the extra mile and actually put a proposal together that would catch attention and come alongside with Chick-fil-A’s mission and endorsements. Or even followed up after the calendar came out with another pitch? Or even after the Superhero Cow Calendar of 2004? Maybe nothing, maybe something, who knows. But at least my friend would have gotten a satisfaction for knowing that he did all he could to make the best pitch possible. It may have resulted in more work for him, more honor from his boss, and a lot more satisfaction for him personally.
How about you? Any near misses that continue to haunt your dreams?