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Meet the Makers E3: Susan O’Brien, Just Eat: Did somebody say?


How Snoop Dogg broke the rules of client-talent relationships

It takes a brave client to admit its flaws. An ever braver one to embrace those flaws. But, when the client then pays Snoop Dogg to amplify those flaws, that’s a whole new level.

Brave? Yes. But bravery only works when it’s backed by a partnership built on trust. McCann London and Just Eat prove what can be achieved when both sides are ‘all in’ – one of this year’s most viewed TrueView ads.

In Episode 3 of Meet the Makers, we get the inside scoop on Snoop from Chief Marketing Officer at Just Eat, Susan O’Brien. O’Brien has three pieces of advice for anyone working with high-profile talent.

1. Accept one piece of work can’t work for everyone

As O’Brien tells it; “Did somebody say… was in culture, in the vernacular. Some people really liked it, while others didn’t.” The truth is, the tune is a classic 'earwig' – once heard it’s difficult to get it out of your head. It would have been tempting to try and push back against this polarisation, but Just Eat didn’t. Instead, they embraced it. To the point where Snoop’s first line in his version of the track was; “Get those Just Eat fools on the line.”

2. Be brave, back yourself

Changing direction would have been easy. Going conservative. Even safe. Snoop’s contract had a million iterations. The music was recorded and sent as a fait accompli. Four days of shooting included multiple sets and wardrobe changes. But through it all, O’Brien and the team from McCann London held their nerve. As Alexei Berwitz, Creative Director at McCann puts it: “It’s a brave thing to do, it’s an unusual thing for clients to be that brave.”

3. When you buy talent, let them be themselves

It’s a familiar scene. A last-minute script change surfaces when everyone’s on set, ready to roll. The client talks to the writer, who talks to the director, who talks to the talent. Under normal circumstances, a compromise is found and everyone’s happy. But when you hire Snoop, you get Snoop. As O’Brien tells it “Where I landed was, this guy is a legend. I have to trust his judgement.”

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