When in advertising and the ad agency I was with having the McDonald’s business, it was never ever about sitting on our McLaurels and watching the McWheels turn with everything on Remote.
With the fiercely creative driven Keith Reinhard, below, leading what was DDB, he did everything he could to inspire us young Turks in the creative sphere.
Maybe he was helping us to see where our strengths lay in that vast hinterland of creative possibilities.
He brought in people like life coach guru Tony Robbins, music video director Joe Pytka, below, before he went on to direct one of the most entertaining films built around horse racing- “Let It Ride”.
At one conference in Amsterdam, he had the great musician Wynton Marsalis talk to us about the creativity in Jazz.
Only now do I understand and appreciate what Keith was doing- making us understand that the creative product came from anything and everything around us that sparked an Eureka moment.
It was something that couldn’t be taught or learned.
It had to do with one’s DNA and that inquisitive mind asking, What if?- though sometimes curiosity killed the cat.
Memorable, and something which I will always remember, and have been thinking about more and more recently was attending a creative workshop organised by Keith.
The person running it told us to forget everything we knew, including who was running McDonald’s.
Instead, we were asked to think what Steven Spielberg, The Bangles, Stallone and Walt Disney might have done if they were in charge of the Golden Arches.
I headed up Team Spielberg which gave us the creativity to roam with no barriers.
We could have E.T and Jurassic Park themed restaurants. Maybe all kinds of McHappy Meals.
Of course, all manner of merchandising and product placement in some of the biggest movies of all time.
There could be Close Encounters dinners at a time when one didn’t think of McDonald’s as somewhere for a romantic dinner.
But that was the point: To think of what wasn’t there, but what could be as there existed a customer segment for the dinner trade.
It made me think what Taylor Swift or Elon Musk might do if they ran a horse racing club, or better yet, horse racing itself.
Though no longer connected with any racing club anywhere after ten years of seeing the pastime’s ebbs and flows, the marketing of turnover-driven horse racing is a helluva challenge because of all its many “risk averse” management rules and regulations that, ironically, asks its customers to have a flutter.
With her being a high profile animal activist, Taylor Swift, most likely, wouldn’t look twice at horse racing.
However, for the sake of this What If experiment, if running a racing what might she do differently to give it an edge?
Firstly, she’s Taylor Swift and has a direct line to just about anyone who’s somebody including those in the technology sector who might be able to completely change the wagering and media landscape.
She might name Harry Styles as her Global Executive Director Of-what else?-Style.
Swifties around the world could be recruited as racing’s street marketing teams.
She might write a new song for horse racing that is recorded as a duet with Harry Styles.
The accompanying music video includes Jamie Kah, Holly Watson, Hollie Doyle, Alana Kelly and, er, a singing and dancing Bruce Clark, Peter V’landys and Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges and Andrew Bensley. Video goes viral.
Taylor Swift ousts Elon Musk and creates a kinder and gentler version of Twitter which is renamed Swifter.
There will be Swiftie merchandise giveaways on course for everyone who attends a race meeting.
What If Elon Musk ran a racing club?
It would never happen as the gig would be too small and insignificant for him.
What Musky might do is change the entire game by combining horse racing with Formula 1 racing, brand it Horsepower, own all Rights and offer Lewis Hamilton, Beyoncé and Zac Purton Executive Director roles being Influencers.
We can all dream, can’t we?
And dreams can often be magical and offer up ideas that can become reality and stop recycling everything that’s come before and serving up warmed up leftovers.