Many years ago I was a partner in an Advertising Agency. I was very naive; more of a writer than a shrewd business mind. One of my roles was to look after a new client.
The client was Mocka’s Pies. Mocka’s Pies was a franchise business. It wanted to do for pies what Baker’s Delight was doing for bread. Our client was the business partner.
I still believe we did some very good work for them. It was fresh and relevant to the nature of the business. And the business grew. I still remember vividly the day I was called to the client. I was expecting a brief for a new campaign or promotion.
What followed was the first time I was ever fired by a client.
The reason we were fired was that Mocka’s Pies, the brand, was growing so quickly, and they believed they would be better served by going to a bigger Advertising Agency. And so they did. That day is still fresh in my mind. What hurt even more was that Mocka’s Pies didn’t survive much longer. They disappeared.
I have no real idea why, though for years I felt responsible. I always thought that if they had stayed, we would have helped them grow and prosper, and succeed.
A few months ago, I thought about them again and this time there was something different. Like I said I remember that day vividly. I walked into their office in South Melbourne and they fired Henderson Merrick Di Stefano to go to a larger Agency.
What I remembered most was the ingredient that was missing from their offices. They made pies, this is what they wanted to be famous for. Mocka apparently was a good bloke and a local character somewhere in Brisbane. Pies give off the most mouth watering aroma.
In fact, if you think of golden, crusty pastry, housing delicious chunks of meat, you can smell it in your head and your mouth is about to start watering. This was the whole thrust of the campaign we had created for them. However, looking back, I had never met Mocka. I had never been asked to taste one of his pies. In fact I had never seen one. There were no pies in the fridge. There was never the smell of baking or that unforgettable smell of pies.
Now that I think of it, they were selling a business. It could have been guttering or copper piping. They were never passionate or excited about the product.
I was reminded of this later when Baker’s Delight was a client at another employer. We had an early morning meeting at their offices. The meeting was for 9.am but didn’t get going until about 15 minutes later. At 9.30, there was this incredible aroma of bread. It seemed to quietly enter the room and provide a distraction. Outside the office other staff members laughed and I swear there were high pitched whoops of delight. We were told this happened every morning.
At 9.30am the local Baker’s Delight brought in a large basket of just-baked-bread. We were taken into the kitchen and saw staff members gathered together sorting through the loaves, the croissants, the freshly baked rolls, the buttery scones and more. This was more like it; I could see the passion for the product here. It was not just a ritual, but a quiet devotion to the product that they worked to produce.
I still think about Mocka’s Pies. After all, it was my first client and my first great disappointment. Like a first love, I still think of her fondly. I just don’t think she loved herself as much as I did.