Pt II: Chamber Media Wasted 50k Dollars of Our Money and Wanted More

Chamber Media fail, ad campaign, poor customer service

Part II of our experience with Chamber Media.


The Pitch:

So, we signed the contract paid the 20k dollars upfront fee, and met with the creative team.

If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on, see Part I of this calamity here.

In spite of the terrible sales experience, we were optimistic that things were going to improve. We, no I, was smitten with the previous videos they had made for others and was convinced that if they could do the same thing for us, it would be huge.

I was excited to get into the creative process.

As described during the sales process, Chamber was to create 3 options for us, three different ideas or concepts we were to choose from and one to develop further.

They also gave us a timeline for everything. (Live the Second Week of Aug.)

Excited, we met with their creative team, walked them through the Gap Selling methodology, gave them access to the online training, and answered all of their questions. We let them know that we were not interested in the traditional, cheezy sales stereotypes and that we wanted to attack things differently. We also informed them we were targeting individual reps not company’s or sales leaders.

The Swing . . .

With that direction and multiple conversations, they returned with ONE option. Remember, we were originally promised at least 3 options. Their one big idea? A salesperson in a “Low Sales Support Group.” It was positioned similar to an AA meeting, talking about how bad a salesperson they were and how it was negatively affecting their life. That was it. Just one option. They were very excited about it and said that’s why they chose to only share one. Although creative and funny in parts, it mirrored traditional AA elements and salespeople’s sleazy stereotypes and we felt it was disrespectful to those fighting addiction or mental health issues and did not want to associate our brand with that. It also targeted B2B leaders to a degree, after we had told them that wasn’t our objective.

We asked them to try again.

They did and we were quite surprised and pleased with the new options. We felt they were far more creative and unique. With that, they still didn’t quite exactly deliver what we were looking for, as we felt they again didn’t understand our brand or the unique message we were trying to deliver.

It was then we learned the team hadn’t watched the online training. The creative team DIDN’T take the time to actually watch the product they were trying to market. We were upset about this and had stressed the importance. Eventually, they all watched some parts of it, yet only one person on the creative team actually participated in the entire training and it showed.

With multiple options in hand, we processed the pros and cons of each. Some were more unique than others. After review, we had an alternative idea that we had come up with. It was called the Smelley Sales Guy. The idea was to have over the top, slapstick comedy with salespeople just stinking up the place where ever they went. We envisioned salespeople walking around the office with a visible green odor emanating from their bodies. We envisioned them leaving a trail of co-workers gasping for air as they walked through the office, the client holding their breath while the salesperson pitched. It was an over the top slapstick, aggressively comedic idea, all narrated by a sarcastic, energetic “spokesperson.” The crescendo or pitch was Gap Selling Body Wash (imagine fun energetic jingle playing in the background every time Gap Selling Body Wash is mentioned.) LOL!  The spokesperson would pitch the Gap Selling Body Wash as a way to clean off the stench from bad selling. We envisioned a salesperson in the shower washing themselves off and ridding themselves of all the bad sales habits, represented as germ bubbles being washed away by Gap Selling Body Wash.  It was funny and clever.  Not wanting to be biased, we shared all the ideas with a number of people in our network and told them all the ideas came from ChamberMedia. The smelling salesperson was the clear choice.

We went back to Chamber and shared the idea and asked for feedback. They said they liked it and we all decided to move forward with it.

And The Miss . . .

Just before the deadline, the Chamber team reached out and said that they got the script back and were not happy with it at all and asked their writers to do it over and said it was going to be an extra week or so.  Keep in mind we’re already now behind schedule because their first attempt only provided one scenario. Understanding this, we didn’t press Chamber about being late, as we understood and just wanted a good video.

A little more than a week passes and the first script comes out. It’s nothing like we described. It has the “Office” theme.  It’s a smelly salesperson Steve Korrel type Office skit. With very few of the ideas, we had suggested. There was no body wash, no shower scene, no green odor emanating from the salespeople, no energetic, funny spokesperson. When challenged, Chamber said it was never a good idea to pitch “two products.”  In spite of the body wash being a metaphor, they were vehemently against it. To add to the confusion, we were told the script was 90% complete and that only minor changes could be made. They didn’t take our suggestions and then told us we couldn’t change it.  We could only make small alterations. After we shared our suggestions there was real consternation on Chamber’s part as they felt we changed too much. We told them most were suggestions or alterations, but to use THEIR best judgment as the experts. Well, they did.

And this quote stood out and I will never forget it.

We would never make a video we don’t think would work. So know that we feel very confident in this idea.

UGH! No less true words spoken.

In the end, we got a video ad that started slow and had no hook. That wasn’t funny or unique or captivating until almost 30 seconds in. Nothing to hold the viewer.  We got very little of our original idea. Making matters worse, they used a video that WASN’T even part of the Gap Selling Online Training. They literally didn’t know what they were promoting and used a video that had nothing to do with training. It even had the actors using language and selling approaches we say are NOT good in Gap Selling. It was clear they just didn’t understand.

In spite of all of that, the video had its moments and it was what it was. We still hoped it would perform. We remained optimistic. Hoped for the best and looked forward.

Up next the Ad Team

We had agreed to use their ad team for the first three months and we agreed to a sizable monthly budget to ensure success.

Boy, did any remaining optimism fade in our first meeting with the ad team when they acknowledged that NONE OF THEM HAD SEEN THE VIDEO, weren’t part of the creative process, and didn’t know what they were promoting.

Things were going from bad to worse . . .

To be continued,

The Chamber ad team, our money, and no one driving the boat!