How to survive a creative presentation to Darth Vader
by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director
It’s the day of your big creative presentation and you’re about to take center stage.
Are you nervous? Please. Everything is iced. The strategy is inspired, the budget is on the penny and the creative is exceptional. You live for moments like this.
Besides, the room is alive. The clients are geeked about the new program. In fact, their whole month has been leading up to this meeting.
Then Darth Vader walks in.
The chatter stops. Clients scramble madly for their chairs. Someone whispers, “I thought he was in China this week.”
Darth Vader slashes his business card at you. Maybe his title reads CEO, or CFO or Group Marketing Director. But you know what it should say: Intergalactic Concept Killer. This is the guy everyone warned you about and he just showed up at the worst possible moment. How can you possibly survive a creative presentation to Darth Vader?
For starters, it helps to realize that old Darth isn’t all bad. Yes, he has a legendary temper: the man has destroyed entire planets. But you have more in common with your mortal adversary than you think. Here are some Jedi presentation tricks that can save your ideas.
Get in touch with the Dark Side
What is Darth Vader’s goal at this creative presentation? Surprisingly, it’s not to kill your work. That’s why it’s important to get in touch with the Dark Side and uncover his motivations.
Let’s say he wants to assert ironclad authority over his team and the agency. The best way for him to do that is challenge the effectiveness of your approach. It happens as you’re explaining the lead generation workflow process. Darth suddenly rasps: “What good are all of these leads you’re going to capture if our sales team can’t handle them?”
That was devious. He attacked you and his sales people in the same sentence. But you’re a Jedi. So you listen attentively, then calmly prove that you addressed this very challenge from his perspective. “Thank you for raising that issue Mr. Vader. It’s always a legitimate concern. And that’s why this approach will prepare your sales team for leads before the campaign ever launches. This program includes sales support materials designed around your key segments and their paint points. Let’s take a look at those.”
Score one for the Rebels.
Trust the Force of your ideas
Darth Vader has been rebuffed. But this light sabre duel is not finished. He has a counterattack for you.
As you move into the concepts, Darth decides to play creative. “Our product is the finest. Why doesn’t your headline read: “BEST OF BREED!!!”?
Again, respectfully demonstrate the logic of your approach. “We agree that your product is the best. But our customer interviews revealed that your target’s number one concern is downtime. That’s why this approach focuses on their hot button issue. It uses proven facts to pinpoint how you reduce downtime, and that speaks to your superiority from the customer’s perspective.”
The Force is strong in this one.
In the end, you survived. So did your ideas. Darth Vader kept his power, but you demonstrated your wisdom. Master Yoda would be proud.