Category Archives: Insights

Being Remarkable: Mayweather vs. McGregor – A Marketing Match Made In Heaven

In this month’s Being Remarkable, Connecting Plots’ Group Managing Director, Tom Phillips takes a look at the famous 2017 ‘Money Fight’ between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor and pulls out a few marketing lessons that we could learn from one of the most publicised and profitable boxing matches of the 21st century.

I’m no boxing expert by any means, but I do love a good publicity stunt! I’ve been seeing Conor McGregor’s name pop up a lot after his most recent “leg-breaking” fight and it got me reminiscing about the infamous Mayweather vs. McGregor match.

To refresh your memory, the two professional fighters clashed in an unconventional boxing match on 26 August 2017 which saw the world of boxing and MMA coming together in a marketing match made in heaven.

So what are some of the lessons about remarkable marketing that we can learn from this event? I’ve broken out seven that really stood out to me…

1. Novelty Earns Interest

Consumers jump at content that breaks the norm and stands out as unique or different. This unorthodox match-up between the world’s greatest boxer and the world’s greatest MMA fighter was a huge draw in and a great way to grow an audience and capture different markets. The two worlds of boxing and MMA had never been merged in this way before which meant the fight appealed to two incredibly passionate groups of fans, as well as a whole new group of people who were drawn in by the pure novelty of this out-of-the-box event.

2. Be Single-Minded With Your Messaging

As the KISS principle says – keep it simple, stupid. In marketing that means knowing your key message and ensuring it’s reiterated at every point you can. In the lead up to the Mayweather vs Macgregor fight, every weigh-in, every interview, every piece of content or even every run-in on the street made sure to mention one very important thing: the date of the fight. Miss it… miss out!

3. Understand What Your Audience Wants

The pair’s feud dated back to 2015, when McGregor was asked whether he would fight Mayweather during an interview with Conan O’Brien. Soon enough, both sides started making smart comments in interviews and calling each other out on social media. Their fans became invested quickly and spent the next two years asking for a fight. But while audiences did, of course, want a great match between two talented fighters, what everyone really wanted was the entertainment and scandal that came with these two specific personalities and their ongoing feud. And lucky for them, that’s exactly what they got.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Controversial

This leads perfectly to our next point – never be afraid to be a little bit controversial. Our Creative Director, CJ has written a whole article about Contentiousness, but in the case of Mayweather and McGregor, the main reason people became so invested in the fight was because of the war of words between the two of them, with neither fighter being afraid to be contentious or polarising. Not only does a narrative like this drive interest, but it offers a great talking point and publicity opportunities that increases awareness and audience participation.

5. Know Your Brand Identity

Both fighters have a very clear identity. McGregor is “Notorious” and outspoken while Mayweather is all about “Money” and his brands. McGregor was seen as the antagonist from the start, while Mayweather was pinned as the hero. However, they both seemed happy to play to their personalities and strengths and never wavered from that throughout everything.

6. Have Clear Objectives

There is no denying the fact that Mayweather and McGregor got a big payday, but that’s not all they earned. From a boost in McGregor’s profile to more publicity for Mayweather’s The Money Team brand, there were advantages for both competitors. Mayweather even chose to come out of retirement to take part, despite the risk to his 49-0 winning streak, a clear sign there were many factors at play. Someone had to lose but both teams were very clear on what they wanted to achieve that the benefits clearly outweighed the risks.

7. Make Your Marketing Authentic & Integrated

From the promotional interviews to the weigh-ins to the personal arguments and online rants, the campaign spanned PR, numerous media channels and both McGregor & Mayweather’s own personal social media channels. It was a cohesive marketing campaign that ran for months leading up to the fight, but was all the more special because it felt truly authentic.

Three New Promotions for Our Team at CP

Connecting Plots has announced three new promotions within its strategy, client service and creative teams, including a newly created Managing Partner role for strategist, Tim Collier.

Collier, who’s been with the agency since its inception in 2018, has been promoted to Integrated Strategy & Planning Partner, a newly created role that will see him help shape the trajectory, offering and profile of the company while also leading the strategic department at Connecting Plots.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Tim to step up into this managing partner role,” says Group Managing Director and Co-Founder, Tom Phillips. “Tim has been with us since day one and has played a huge part in the success of the company. He’s an incredible strategist and has a strong voice and vision in the company.”

Meanwhile, Account Director, Gemma Barr has been promoted into the role of Integrated Project Director, a new role that will see Gemma focus on integrated campaigns and clients including Fantastic Furniture, Tourism Australia, Menulog, Westinghouse & Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Since starting at the agency in April 2019, Barr has had a proven track record of managing multi-faceted campaigns, including notable work such as ‘When It Feels Like Home’ for Fantastic Furniture and the new ‘Experts In Air’ brand positioning for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Joe Davies-Griffith, a talented designer who has worked within the creative and studio team since September 2019, has also been promoted to Senior Designer. In the new role, Davies-Griffith will take on additional duties managing and overseeing more of the studio projects.

It’s fantastic to be able to acknowledge and reward exceptional talent with new opportunities,” added Phillips. “All three have delivered remarkable work over the past year and these promotions are just a testament to their talent and commitment.”

Being Remarkable: A Lesson in Leadership from Pablo Escobar

In this month’s Being Remarkable, Connecting Plots’ Group Managing Director, Tom Phillips takes a closer look at the infamous Pablo Escobar and why, despite his questionable career choice, he was a truly remarkable leader…

So I may have been a little late to the party but I recently finished watching Narcos. And it got me thinking about how a leader becomes a remarkable leader.

First things first, what do we know about Pablo Escobar?

He was a famous Colombian drug lord, whose cartel almost monopolised the supply of cocaine to the US – making him easily the wealthiest rags-to-super-billionaire criminal in history.

So, while Escobar was obviously a bad guy, and we don’t condone what he got up to, there is something that can’t be ignored. And that’s his success.

Undoubtedly a remarkable leader, he even crossed into the world of politics in the ’80s and was highly popular with the people of his home town Medellin until police shot him the day after he turned 44.

Perhaps the biggest lesson we can take from one of crime’s biggest ‘success’ stories – like him or loathe him – is the profile of a great leader.

So here’s are nine things I learnt about remarkable leadership from Narcos:

1. Think Big

In episode 1, when someone asks for help in selling cocaine at $10, Escobar replies: “You don’t have a vision, my friend.” Imagining what people would pay for coke in Miami, Escobar thought outside the box.

2. Lead by Example

Great leaders aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and take risks. When police had checkpoints on every street, Escobar was still meeting with business partners and checking on operations from the back of a taxi.

3. Be Determined

Great leaders like Escobar don’t give up. His vision was to rule cocaine, amid strong competition, intense opposition from authorities, and even scepticism from within his inner circle.

4. Build A Network

Hardly any success story is the result of having ‘gone it alone’, and Escobar knew this well. Indeed, he fostered an intense sense of loyalty among his clan, which extended beyond the criminal world to government officials, police, politicians, journalists, and even his fiercest rivals.

5. Work Isn’t Everything

Great leaders don’t burn out because they get their work-life balance just right, and Escobar truly valued his family and friends. Amid the turmoil and danger of his daily life, he always sat at the family dinner table and spent time with his kids.

6. Have Passion

Success – whether it’s running a great business or a system-beating cocaine empire – is the result of an incredible amount of hard work and hours, and it’s just not possible or sustainable without passion.

7. Be Confident

All around him, people were either questioning Escobar or actively seeking to bring him down, but true confidence is the resolve to keep your eye on the prize without succumbing to the pressure to change that vision or avoid taking risks.

8. Trust Your Instincts

Great leaders are meticulous planners and savvy business people, but they’re also the captain of a ship who has a sense of what the next change of course should be.

9. Take Responsibility

Narcos depicted Escobar with those smart and shrewd qualities, but he was also someone prepared to use often a small amount of information, make a decision and stand by the consequences – good or bad.

Being Remarkable: Contentiousness Cuts Through

Welcome to the second instalment of ‘Being Remarkable’ – short reads that slice, dice and celebrate remarkable creative work from around the world. This month, Connecting Plots’ Creative Director, Chris Johnson explains how contentious campaigns can play an important role in earning your brand amazing exposure and attention, without it having to cost the earth…

When I started out in the advertising business I was promptly told by an older, wiser adlander, “if no one notices your ad, then you’ve failed.” It’s sound advice, rooted firmly in principle. Yet in today’s world, quite literally drowning in advertising, I barely notice anything. You would think that simple principle would apply now more than ever, right?

Behind the Doors of Remarkability 

But why are so few ads standing out? I think it has a lot to do with a lack of appetite for anything marketers deem “risky”. But is there anything riskier than going unnoticed? As American creative director Dave Trott correctly states – “Contentiousness equals free media.”

This idea is exactly what lies at the heart of any really successful viral or earned media campaign. Think Nike’s Emmy-award winning ‘Dream Crazy’ Kaepernick stunt. Or more recently, Heineken’s dig at the ill-founded breakaway European football league. Or even our very-own 420 hijack campaign for Menulog, celebrating the role of food delivery for the munchies in a funny way. All embracing something contentious for maximum remarkability.

Vegemite’s Viral Ashes Campaign 

That’s why I particularly love the viral 2019 campaign from Vegemite. The full-page ad, which was placed in London newspaper The Daily Mirror, threw its support behind the Aussie cricket team and celebrated Australia’s victory against England in the First Test. The campaign was a direct response to a Marmite marketing campaign, which launched before the First Test and was an attempt to convert Aussie cricket fans to the rival breakfast spread. As part of the campaign, promotional staff branded as the ‘Marmy Army’ handed out free samples of Marmite at the cricket. This is when Vegemite decided to take matters into its own hands with a cheeky full-page ad. 

Whilst it’s not in the same realm of contentiousness as Nike’s Dream Crazy campaign, it still sits in the uncomfortable zone of taking a shot at another brand. But how uncomfortable is it really? Isn’t it just good old-fashioned fun? The kind that everybody in their busy, serious lives love? Obviously yes, when you look at the results.

Engineered to be Remarkable 

What’s truly notable about this idea is that it’s engineered to be remarkable. It plays into an already established rivalry. The creatives behind the campaign and people who wrote the copy could almost be certain it would get a reaction from its intended audience because it was cheeky and controversial. Not to mention the brands are so distinctly English and Australian they sit atop the rivalry beautifully. The stunt also worked well within a series – someone had to win the next game, and the next. This meant there were plenty of chances to create fun, remarkable content as the Test series drew on.

I also love the idea of utilising a simple, old-fashioned newspaper ad, knowing full well it would quickly infiltrate the social space. Overall, it’s a highly successful campaign that’s even more remarkable because it was conceived and executed without an enormous price tag, simply because it was built around a natural rivalry and topic of debate. 

The ad is a good lesson for all of us. Nobody is waiting for our ads. We need to be clever in how we grab the attention of our intended audience. And in my opinion, creating noticeably contentious campaigns is a sure-fire shortcut to remarkability.