Over the past 35 plus years, Susan and Dill and their teams have worked with some of the best companies in the world. As a result, they have experience across multiple industries ranging from small consulting projects to massive global events. Because of this breadth of experience, Susan and Dill have experienced a vast variety of challenges and creative solutions. This knowledge is what guides their work for all of their clients so that they deliver winning solutions that will positively impact business and the people involved.
Anheuser Busch was Dill’s first client. Busch Beer allowed Dill to be a pioneer in creating the Experiential Marketing industry. The industry began with the idea of literally bringing Advertising to Life. Busch Beer Head for the Mountains became a literal snow-capped mountain built by Dill and his teams in cities across America and around the world while sampling ice cold beer. This program also taught thousands of people how to ski on these man-made mountains across the country.
Among the many programs created and executed for AT&T, one of our favorites was taking AT&T NASCAR racing. AT&T had a new brand called The Lucky Dog Phone Company also known as 10 10 345 (back in the day when you could dial around for a better long distance rate). As a start-up, the funds were limited, so we created a NASCAR sponsorship based on a pay for performance model. As it would turn out, the business platform changed and a dial around was no longer relevant for NASCAR fans; so we weren’t too disappointed when our NASCAR team was not a top performer on the track, which saved the brand marketing dollars to pivot the strategy and focus on the Latino market where the brand remained relevant.
Relationships are key for all companies, but especially when there is a business crisis. After working with BP over the years, focusing on the local gas station owners with marketing programs to grow their businesses, when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred our team geared up to mend broken relationships. No technology can replace the human touch when a crisis occurs to apologize, mend broken relationships and contribute to healing the environment and the community.
The mission of McWhorter Driscoll in 1997 and then ignition in 1998 and beyond has always been to Make a Positive Difference in People’s Lives. Chick-fil-A (CFA) is an enterprise that also embodies that mission to positive impacts the lives that they touch every day. We were privileged to be a part of their marketing advisory team working in collaboration with their other marketing agencies. CFA is unique in that it encourages it partners to all work together to create the best solutions for the company with an attitude that there is enough rewarding work for all of its partners.
The Coca-Cola Company
When Dill and Susan joined together, she had worked for The Coca-Cola Company for 10 years spearheading one of their largest project management initiatives – the commercialization of the 20 oz PET Contour Coca-Cola bottle. Coca-Cola was ignition’s first client and is still a client today of the company Susan and Dill founded. Eleven Olympics, five FIFA World Cup Trophy Tours, over 180 countries, and many many more significant projects through the years has provided us with extensive insights on consumer marketing and communications at its best. Through celebrations and challenges such as the Belgium Crisis where Coca-Cola had its first and hopefully only full product recall, we were honored to be a part of the team to spread fun and refreshment throughout the world. Click here to learn more about those stories.
Delta Air lines
Local marketing programs and building lasting relationships was the goal of our programs working with Delta Air Lines. This was a client that we shared the great business years with as well as the bankruptcy. ignition was the only marketing agency that remained with Delta from pre-bankruptcy through post-bankruptcy always focusing on building relationships, thus loyal customers for Delta.
When Dill approached DOW with the idea of promoting Safe Drinking Water around the world, DOW was not the obvious partner to most people. However, DOW is a committed company to being a good corporate citizen and correcting its past mistakes. Together DOW supported and allowed the team to create Blue Planet Run to literally run around the world to raise awareness for safe drinking water for so many people do not have access that so many of us take for granted.
We were asked, “you can sell $.50 Coca-Colas can you sell jets?” And the answer was “yes of course we can!” We took Embraer Phenom 100 and 500 to the people that would be potential purchasers of these planes – NASCAR owners lots, Polo matches and many other high-end locations. Before the planes were even completed, we had helped Embraer sell out of the production.
With sports a big part of our backgrounds, what a great, fun client to work with – ESPN. Through the years, we helped create experiences at sporting events to further build a connection between ESPN and their viewers
Collaboration is key and one of the most difficult collaboration projects was Driving American Quality back in the 1980s. The opportunity was for the American Auto manufacturers to drive awareness of the improved quality of their vehicles on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Dill led the team to execute the event, but also manage the normal rivals to collaborate for a great message to the American People. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, President Clinton sat in the Mustang to the disappointment of GM, but as we all know, you can only control the event activities but the human will can make them more interesting.
One of the first properties that Dill created was NARB – National Association of Record Breakers. Hasbro is in the “hit” business and the holidays are key. With Hasbro as a client, new ideas had to be created and executed quickly to drive quick sales. Along with NARB, Go Go My Walkin Pup a hit was made with Dill’s idea of having attractive people walking their Go Go where dad’s could see the precious toy that their daughters must have. The key being always taking the product to the purchaser where they may not expect it in a way they may not expect it.
The simple and the new can sell out a new brand. Before Butterfinger BBs existed and roller blades were new, Dill combined the two with an old faithful Frisbee to help soar the introduction of Butterfinger BBs to a new high for a product launch. We believe there are no new ideas – just new executions of those ideas in new environments. DaVinci brought the glaciers to the cities and Dill brought the mountains to the cities for Busch Beer. Study the past and create the future.
Nokia is a global brand where in some markets it is number one and other markets number three and was searching for a way to solidify their presence in the global telecommunications market. The key was to create a holiday that they could own, thus Nokia New Years Eve was born around the global with Nokia “owning” New Years Eve in eight countries around the globe. This was an interesting experiment that proved owning your own property done well tends to provide better results than borrowing someone else’s property as Nokia did in New York City.
A proud English company acquired a proud German company and as you can imagine, even today the German consumers were not happy with the acquisition. However, with the right thinking and communications Vodafone was able to overcome those consumer perceptions with ground breaking experiential marketing focused at teaching consumers how to save money and then hiring the German sports icon – Michael Schumacher – to represent them in F1 around the world. We helped Vodafone to really understand the consumer psyche in order to turn a negative perception into a positive. Understanding culture and consumer dynamics is key to creating successful marketing programs.