When last we wrote, I was being escorted from a meeting room in which the Caucasian theme was "I had a dream": to successfully launch a "new" Coca-Cola, sweeter, like Pepsi, to wup the upstart (Pepsi) and maintain the soft drink king's market hegemony. When I arrived at my desk, the Coca-Cola media director had called alerting me to the materialization of a $2 million budget for Diet Coke. Needed to be on the air tomorrow. Prime time and late night. No problem. I contacted my broadcast network salespeople. There were only three broadcast networks at that time -- remember, it was 1985: Fox was birthing and the cable networks were considered step, step children with distinctive personalities.
Plans were submitted almost immediately, evaluated, placed on hold, presented to the client and ordered within a few hours.
The next day, I received a call from the Coca-Cola media director informing me that he needed to cancel yesterday's order. Plans had changed. I contacted the broadcast networks, informed them of my client's directive. Reluctantly, they agreed to let me out of the previous day's order but warned me that if my client changed his mind again and wished to get back on the air there would be a 25% premium to be paid for the inventory. The broadcast networks were adamant. A reasonable position, I thought. I passed along this information to my client. Understood.
The next day, I received a call from the Coca Cola media director informing me that he needed to un-cancel yesterday's cancellation and get back on the air immediately with a re-materialized $2 million budget for Diet Coke. I know there is room in this story for a Sergio Zyman (former Chief Marketing Officer) reference, however.... I reminded him that as I mentioned yesterday there would be a 25% premium charged if Coca-Cola wished to re-attain the inventory purchased but canceled hours ago. He acquiesced and accepted that there would be a 25% surcharge.
I contacted my broadcast network salespeople and relayed Coca-Cola's request. With some trepidation, they reminded me that there would be a 25% premium charged for the inventory. I didn't give them a hard time. They were very clear about the terms of engagement if Coca-Cola wished to be back on the air. Befuddled, though appreciative of the premium they gleaned, they queried, to a network, why Coca-Cola would behave in this way. Having been on the job for all of three days, I responded that paying a 25% premium was our strategy.