Last night’s episode focused on the teams creating a 4-page “advertorial” for Norton 360 and Lifelock security systems, using a personality from each side to act as ‘spokesperson’ for the campaign.
The music artists on both sides continue to impact the dynamics of each team.
Poison’s Bret Michaels, who won as Project Manager on week 1, had some very workable ideas that were shunned by PM Michael Johnson. While Johnson remained focused on his version of what the advertorial should be, he refused to consider Michaels’ ideas, and his team lost as result. More details on that in a sec.
Dealing with Cyndi Lauper on the women’s side is a real puzzle for the ladies; they just haven’t figured out how to harness someone with huge amounts of creative energy. Quite often, Lauper is seen rambling on and somewhat confused at times, and the team’s challenge is getting Lauper to her point faster so that they can remain on task. Meanwhile, PM and former Olympian Summer Saunders was useless as a manager, unsure, throughout most of the show, as to what the very concept was she had been creating – she couldn’t explain it to her team or to Trump's son when he came by to peek in on things.
It feels like the talents of both artists are being underutilized by the straight-laced PMs.
Bret’s design ideas included using former wrestler, and Bullrun producer/host Bill Goldberg as the spokesperson for their package. For a team of internet and identity security products, Bret felt that Goldberg’s image of strength would best represent the package - I not only agreed with Michaels, but I called it from my couch before Bret even brought it up. In the boardroom, Johnson claimed Goldberg was too ‘obvious’ of a choice, so dismissed the idea; however, Donald Trump declared that, despite the obvious ‘factor,’ Goldberg would have been a better representative, and so did the client. Advertisers like obvious because things don’t need to be explained to the consumer – keep it simple, stupid.
In addition, Bret suggested a ‘bold’ move by creating the advertorial with a black background; Johnson immediately turned down the idea without even considering it. Guess what: the women’s side not only won, but they went with the black background, as well.
Bret also knew that Johnson had loaded up the advertorial with far too much text; consumers simply wouldn’t sit through that much detail. Again, I agreed, but by this point in the process, Michaels knew his voice wasn’t being heard so sat back and let things unfold naturally without intervening – if the team had a truly open and supportive working environment (even with the massive egos involved), Bret could have saved the day here if Johnson and others hadn’t continued to wear him down with the refusal to hear his ideas while painting him (incorrectly) as a nuisance.
On the other side, Lauper was pissed that she wasn’t used as creative director on the photo shoot for the package; instead, Summers went with the model in the group…and chaos followed, for a variety of reasons.
In both cases, I’m continuing to support the artists involved, keenly aware that both Michaels and Lauper are being dismissed by their teammates without proper consideration or respect for their talents. Granted, most people don’t know how to manage truly creative forces; the trick is sifting (and sitting) through the brainstorming while looking for that one piece of gold that, when identified, could take a project from good to great.
While it’s easiest for people to default to the stereotype of a musician as a burnt-out hippie with no business sense, I’d suggest that’s the lazy man’s way of thinking, and needs to be changed. I’ve worked with, and interviewed, musicians for more than 25 years, and one of the things I have come to appreciate is that virtually every one of them has a very clear sense of identity and purpose, which extends to everything they do: music, imaging, packaging, merchandising, etc. Consumers and fans have little, or no, idea of how involved artists are in many aspects of the careers, but it’s been my experience that their input is key to keeping their identity on track.
In the end, Darryl Strawberry basically quit, saving Johnson from being fired, which wasn't much of a surprise: Strawberry didn't contribute much of anything this week and pretty much slept through the entire project.
Ratings for the show continue to climb, but I’m still puzzled as to why the show needs to be 2-hours each week; after a 2-hour premiere episode, surely a 1-hour version could get the job done.
Poison - The Best of Poison - 20 Years of Rock - Talk Dirty to Me
Poison – Talk Dirty To Me
Live Raw And Uncut 2008
Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual (Remastered) - Time After Time
Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time (1984)