Here’s how Trump helped us plan this.
Integrity. (noun). Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character and a level honesty. Having spent what seemed an age writing a new business plan, we repeatedly kept tripping up on this word. We had asked ourselves what we stood for? What was the point of it all? What was life all about? And as we grappled with this question and filled our workshop walls twice over, things started to head south very quickly. So we did what any sensible group of people would do. We asked ourselves, what would Donald Trump do?
First, we asked Twitter about honesty. But we kept coming away feeling soiled, and if anything, fake and confused. We tried grabbing some pussy in Amsterdam to show some macho persona, but then the Poezenboot cat rescue service soon sent us packing. And then there was the time when we talked about building a big wall, a really big one to represent our ambitions and growth curve. But no matter what the idea of getting another team to pay for it just didn’t seem to catch on.
We did what any expert creative types would do by drawing metaphors on the wall for comparison; “Were we a fish?” we asked, or a phoenix rising from the ashes? If a novelist were to describe us what kind of character would we be? Or if we were gods, would we like Apollo; strong, artistic, beardless and handsome? But as we got deeper into Greek mythology and its understanding, we realized he was actually rather cruel and destructive. Not good.
So we asked Jaap Vliegenthart, the photographer on this shoot what made him tick? Was he inspired by current affairs in the US of A? He’d been pretty bullish about the work and his passion was inspiring. He kept his focus on the model sitting on the scooter. We didn’t get an answer from him. He just scratched his head and just smiled. (It was a knowing grin, which kind of unnerved the team).
We asked Amsterdam’s queen of PR what drove her, but the conversation quickly moved on to talking about great authors and her passion for great fiction and poetry. Her mindset was so totally focused on other great people who inspired her, and for sure the President of America was the least of her inspirations. We felt we weren’t cracking the question. What did we stand for? What was it that would be at the heart of everything we would speak of and do? And why bother anyway?
And then it hit us. It was a briefing for an American client with an impressive portfolio of tobaccos and an even more impressive budget. The contact wanted a flash-pitch over the weekend effort, as their agency wasn’t able to solve what they called a ‘dark market situation in Brazil’. They wanted to convince the street vendors to up-sell more cigarettes with what really was a buy one get one free offer. Or what they preferred to refer to as ‘BOG-OFF’. The wanted a snappy slogan. And that was when the alarm bells started to ring. As much as any team wanting to get their business off the ground with good income, our business plan dawned on us. And it was with just two simple questions that we were clear of our response; would this work make us smile? Was this something that would ‘pay it forward’ by creating a positive effect on the environment or the people in it?
The following week we were finishing up these posters and calendars for Scootercity. He told us that he was bringing in a fresh range of Niu electric scooters from China that were taking Germany by storm. He felt that these scooters were going to help clean up Amsterdam. They would in themselves assist the powers that be to make the city a no-petrol zone within years rather than decades. It made us smile. And with that, we were clear on whom we wanted to be, and just what level of integrity we could draw on. As the last few weeks of the year approached, we took notice of Mr. Trump’s latest efforts and the effect they were having in the Middle East. Whilst we could do little to convince the American public to rally against him, we knew we could do our bit from this side of the world with a sense of clarity, a cleaner conscience, and a sound business plan. A very sound business plan indeed.