Siegel + Gale prospecting stunt: good or bad?

Hey there! Did you read about Siegel + Gale’s stunt to get the attention of Gap? Today’s post will provide some background, as well as briefly offer up the good and “what coulda been done better” about it.

Background: The Gap has recently unveiled a new logo. And many are crapping all over it. Sadly, sports fans, yours truly doesn’t have all the details. But one of the latest developments is that branding firm Siegel + Gale executed a stunt to get the attention of Gap clients. Their NY offices are close to each other. And a sign went up in the Siegel + Gale window asking the client to check their email. You’ll find the Ad Age story here. A public letter to the client is here. (Presumably, this letter was the email.) Both are worth your reading to get the story.

The letter basically is a POV suggesting S+G  doesn’t like the new identity and that they have some ideas to fix it. (It’s said a whole lot better than that. But that’s the gist.)

Here’s what’s cool about this:

  • The new business romantic in me… loves this stunt. It’s the kind of thing you read about in books! In a time when agencies may be spending less energy and time on individual new business pitches – when we as an industry are letting go new biz pros because they’re “unbillable” – this is a refreshing little bit of fun.
  • The offer is clearly set in the letter, and there’s value in it for the prospect to take S+G up on a cup of coffee. S+G is a global firm, and no slouch. The reader gets that in the note.
  • It’s short and to the point. Another plus.
  • Even if they don’t specifically engage Gap, this has generated awareness for this agency brand. While I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about this particular segment of our business, my impression is that S+G is a major player – on par with the Landors and Interbrands – but has lost a little bit of their luster. You just don’t hear about them as much as you used to. They may not have the top of mind awareness that gets them invited to pitches. This can help ’em do that. That can be a big win.

In my opinion, here’s what could have been done a little differently:

  • Add a bit more charm. Have a bit more fun with the approach. “We need to talk” in the letter can have some negative connotations. You’re doing something ballsy and original. But it’s a stunt. And executing it puts a smile on a face. So, leverage that.
  • Add a Gap customer perspective. So, an agency has a POV. Which agency doesn’t? What might have connected more with Gap is a line or two that captures target perceptions of the new look. These perceptions matter a whole bunch more than an agency’s.

Still, having said this, ya gotta applaud the effort. The new biz geek in me can’t help but appreciate it for the story alone. Should you have a different feeling…please share! Your perspective is more than welcome.

Now, will it work with Gap? No idea. But do know there are some guidelines agencies can use to execute a stunt. Saved for another post, naturally. (Come on back later this week!)