Ben Perreira

My head's dropbox.

Month: July, 2014


In the advertising business, if a copywriter’s output is words and an art director’s product is visual imagery, then a planner’s contribution is insight.

“Insight” is so commonly used that its meaning has worn around the edges a bit.

A lot of people use the word to mean a finite factoid – “an insight.” I’ve been guilty of this, but I don’t think it captures what the word is supposed to mean.

To me, insight is what happens when you succinctly answer a great question. The answer to “Why do our customers prefer our competitors even though they offer inferior products with higher prices?” would offer a good look into the psyche of your customer – an insight.

These kinds questions are answerable, but not on a survey. We can’t expect to ask people these questions and get usable answers. That’s where we come in. We have to read between the lines.

If planners do this well, they come up with an idea that makes us take a step back and think, “Huh, I’ve never thought about it quite like that before.”



A few months ago I got a call to come in the following Monday for a brainstorm on “an entertainment property trying to reach tweens [8-12 year olds].” That was all. I agreed to do it.

I walked in excited and a little nervous. Who would I be meeting? What was this project all about? Is marketing to tweens a little weird?

It turned out that Disney was looking to get tweens interested in Disney World. They needed an approach to get there. A handful of us sat around a table all day eating candy and tossing around crazy ideas to try to find something that would stick. Over the course of a couple weeks we formed some pretty strong concepts. I’m hoping they’ll be executed so I can share them.

The project was fun and I had awesome time working with riCardo Crespo, the person leading the project. He came in with an infectious level of enthusiasm and with a seemingly bottomless toolbox of ways to bring good ideas out of people.

As we vetted ideas he would sometimes say, “I like this, but it’s missing the HSF – the ‘holy shit factor.'” 

Simple yet effective, the HSF quickly became part of my approach as another way to solve demand problems.

It forces strategic and creative people to go beyond doing typical marketing. It should be clever and well-executed, whether its a stunt or a TV commercial for toothpaste. It should force people (whether they are being consumers at that time or not) to pause in delight and wonder how anyone thought of it. As the name suggests, it should make you say “holy shit!”

If you want to spend a couple hours watching riCardo talk marketing, he is speaking at the SIMA Boot Camp tomorrow, July 22, in Irvine, CA. Get a ticket here. You won’t regret it.