Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

Fire Meets Desire

bk3One thing that you don’t see too often in the advertising industry, is a budget that includes some viral work. Certain brands tend to stray this way, and one of these is Burger King.

After I lambasted their Whopper Virgins campaign two weeks ago, CP+B and Alex have redeemed themselves with an interesting concept that really has nothing to do with the flame-grilled objects of desire served at Burger King.

Enter FireMeetsDesire.com.

One thing that food establishments are always associated with is scent. But not very many of these scents are available as perfume for purchase. FireMeetsDesire is based on “Flame” a new perfume from BK that “sets the mood no matter what mood you’re in the mood for.” Described as the “scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat”, spraying the bottle takes you through a variety of moods and scenarios, with a great selection of 80’s groove in the background.

And for some Whopper-addicts, it’s even available for purchase.

My two cents?



Getting Dirty While Staying Clean

One Dirty ManIn one of my recent posts about Michael Phelps I mentioned how his brand has been stretched a little too far in the wake of his record-breaking success in Beijing.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working for a large construction equipment manufacturer at the CONEXPO – CON/AGG tradeshow in Las Vegas. CONEXPO occurs every three years and consists of the who’s who of the construction industry. In my work with the manufacturer, I had the chance to interact with Mike Rowe for the entire span of the tradeshow. Mike Rowe is the host/victim of the popular show “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery, and through my three days of work with him I realized that Mike has his brand under control.

Although having held numerous jobs and roles in the past, Mike is known as the guy who does the dirty work. He’s known to his fans as the guy who cleans bird poop at a chicken farm, sweeps chimneys, shears alpacas and handles baggage. There are two remarkable things about the show.


  1. 90% of the jobs are collected through user-submission – engaging the fans, the people who actually complete these jobs, with the program
  2. Mike Rowe and Discovery truly understand his audience both on and off the air

In February 2008, FastCompany officially labeled “Dirty Jobs” a megabrand, and indicated that Mike Rowe had become a hot commodity for advertisers with his extremely unique access to a certain demographic. In the process, Rowe has sidestepped deals for reality TV shows, hosting activities and acting roles. Why? Credibility.

What Mike and his team has understood is the idea of credibility. One thing that he consistently mentioned during the tradeshow is “maintaining the brand image” and “not selling out”. Through the success of the show he has almost single-handedly brought attention to “people who make civilized life possible.” One of the questions he consistenly asked was “how can all that brilliance be ignored?” By not selling out, Rowe and the Dirty Jobs brand is keeping true to the demographic with which it has the closest ties.

In the meantime he has picked up sponsorships with Ford, Whirlpool, HP and done speaking events for companies such as Motorola or Yahoo. Despite being approached by Toyota, Rowe felt that Ford, as an American company, fit much better with their image as well as the demographic. What else would the guy with dirty work drive than a Ford F-150.

With well thought out planning, Rowe and his team has managed to maintain the authenticity that appeals to the tastes of this group of individuals, while not alienating the other viewers – those who love watching the Discovery channel. Steering clear of the lucrative temptations that have peppered the rising popularity of the show, Dirty Jobs has managed to stay raw, rugged and most importantly – dirty. 

The Man with the Scraggly Beard
November 10, 2008, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Business, marketing, mystery, passion, richard branson, spontaneous, virgin


Richard Branson

Richard Branson - CEO in Spandex

Yes. Richard Branson.

I recently finished yet another book about the ways of this entrepreneur, adventurer, business man and family man. The first book I read was an autobiography called Losing My Virginity and I most recently finished Business The Richard Branson Waya foray into his style of work.

One thing that really caught my attention was Branson’s ability to garner extremely large amounts of publicity, without spending money. That fact goes hand in hand with the idea that you don’t necessarily have to be the leader in any one category in order to rise through the ranks and gain attention. And you sure don’t have to have a multimillion dollar budget to achieve it.

Richard Branson’s forays into the world of adventure – his attempts to cross the Atlantic in a speedboat, circumnavigate the world in a balloon and fly into space have placed him on the map. And with it, his company. There are not very many CEOs in the world as recognizable – Gates, Jobs and maybe Welch being the select few. There are certainly not very many CEOs in the world recognized for their endeavors outside the business world. Could you even imagine Bill Gates suspended in a hot air balloon, or Jack Welch trying to sail across the Atlantic? Neither could I.  

Now what effect has this had on the Virgin brand? Branson is known as the image of Virgin, and every time he goes out on one of his adventures, it is associated with the Virgin name. Instead of spending extremely large amounts of money on advertising against Coke and Pepsi in the US, he rolled out Virgin Cola by driving a tank into Times Square and firing at a Coke vending machine. For the price of renting a tank and setting up the scene, Virgin graced newspapers worldwide.


Through a well-developed P.R. strategy, taking extreme (but relatively calculated risks) and just being a die-hard child of the 60’s, Branson has single-handedly created one of the most successful and interesting conglomerates in the world.

Some Great Advice
April 6, 2007, 1:33 am
Filed under: advice, Business, learning, passion, success

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for the American Advertising Federation Mosaic Career Fair. I also had the chance to go on agency tours at Draft FCB and Downtown Partners, a pair of well-respected Chicago agency.

At Downtown Partners we had the priviledge of having the President and CEO, Ray Gillette, present to us. Being a former executive at BBD Chicago, Mr. Gillette had a great deal of advice to give out. Here are some of the best pieces:

Find your passion
Success doesn’t happen without passion

Linear career paths don’t exist
They’re based on experimentation and opportunity

Don’t settle for Mediocrity

Imagine if Michelangelo said “I don’t do ceilings”
Everything is an opportunity
Take risks and go out on the limb
Detest Mediocrity

You’re responsible for how people perceive you
Lead by example
Generate trust
Jerks don’t last long