I’d forgotten how inspiring great media guys can be.
How creative the best ones are.
How they really get predatory thinking.
Mike Yershon was the media director all the creatives respected.
Because Mike broke the rules.
He looked to see what everyone else was doing.
So he could do the opposite.
Mike knew the opportunity was always in standing out from the herd.
And to do that, you had to know what the herd was doing.
Creatives respected Mike because he made their ads look better.
He made sure everyone saw them.
In these days of media independents, we don’t think of it as creative.
We just think of it as numbers.
Mike wasn’t like that, he was media director of CDP when I was a junior writer at BMP.
We used to watch Mike’s agency picking up new business faster than anyone else.
But they never pitched.
Because by the time the clients got there, they were already convinced they wanted to give CDP their account.
They’d seen all the campaigns, the work was famous and visible.
Clients wanted their work to be as famous as that.
What they didn’t realise was that Mike had bought most of the 48 sheet poster sites within half a mile radius of CDP.
Then he’d put all CDP’s posters up on them.
So that any new business client visiting the agency had already been exposed to all their work by the time they got there.
Mike used the streets all around CDP as the agency’s showcase.
Clients didn’t know that.
They just thought “I’ve seen all these ads, they’re famous. I want this agency to make me as famous as that.”
So they gave CDP their account.
The best media guys get predatory thinking.
And, as one of the very best, Mike understood it more than most.
All media departments would get the upcoming TV schedules so they knew what programmes they were booking into.
That’s what everyone did.
So Mike did that.
But he also did the opposite.
He got the TV schedules for the BBC channels.
Why did he bother with that, you couldn’t even run advertising on the BBC channels?
But Mike wasn’t just judging when and where the ads were running, but what was running on the other side at the same time.
It often meant expensive spots weren’t worth the price.
Because people would be switching over to BBC at that point.
So Mike wouldn’t waste his client’s money on those spots.
It also meant Mike could spot the great value on some really cheap spots no one else wanted.
Because people would be switching away from BBC at that time.
Right into the cheaper ad spots.
So those spots were worth much more than they cost.
Mike knew more about what people were going to be doing than the people running the commercial channels did.
With predatory thinking, Mike was getting more bang from every buck.
Because he bothered to find out things the others didn’t.
So he could see value where they couldn’t.
Mike understood what predatory thinking is really about.
Context controls everything.
So control context and you control everything.
But of course that takes a bit more effort.
And that’s too much like hard work for most people.
So most people don’t bother.
Which is good news for predatory thinkers like Mike.