Dogs, dildos and designer dresses: Six lessons from Three UK CMO

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 17 October 2017
Dogs, dildos and dresses were a hot topic at AANA Reset

Being scared and failing are good things for marketers - as long as they get back up again, get the job done and have fun while they're doing it, according to CMO of UK telco Three, Shadi Halliwell.

Halliwell, who before joining Three in July was CMO for upmarket department store Harvey Nichols, and before that telco O2 where she was responsible for British ads including the ‘Be more dog’ campaign from 2013.

As well as being a marketer, she’s also an entrepreneur, would be sex-toy retailer, dog treat expert and amateur jockey.

be more dogThe successful Be More Dog campaign

Speaking at the AANA Reset conference, she had some advice for marketers.

“Everything you do has to be rooted in insight, if it’s not you’re wasting your company's money and boring your customer to death. Be brave, keep being brave. Fail but get back up again, money doesn’t buy great work, have a great boss because if you have someone that trusts you, you can do great things as a marketer. Balance work and play,” she says.

1: Be scared and prepared: “Always go for it because you’ve got nothing to lose”.

2: Communications isn’t the be all and end all:  “One of the biggest things I think is lacking in marketing today is understanding that comms aren’t the be all and end all. The way you communicate is important, but if you haven't got the proposition right you shouldn't be in the market at all. Stop throwing messages into the market just because you think you’re colouring in the right lines and you're doing your job.”

3: Have a great boss: “A great boss challenges you to put the right message out into the market."

4: Failing is OK, but get back up again: While Be More Dog was one of the most successful, a later campaign Halliwell led for O2 failed. “I’m a perfect marketer, obviously, I’ve never made any mistakes,” she joked. “I think failing is important. I was trying to think what my worst ad was to show you.  I promised the world with that ad and it delivered absolutely nothing. It didn't work, the proposition did not work and the customer didn't get it. I think failing is a good thing to do in your career. Just get back up.”

5: Money doesn’t buy great work: “At Harvey Nichols I wanted to prove that you could do great work on no money, because money doesn't buy great work, but loyalty doesn't come for free."

6: Enjoy it as you do it. This one is two-fold. O2’s campaign Be More Dog came after the UK had been in recession for six years and Halliwell’s insight was the ads needed to be fun. “I thought as a brand we had an opportunity to start cheering people up. It was the right insight and it became one of the most successful UK campaigns ever.” On the flip side, while the job is important, Halliwell says in recent years, after spending so much time working, she has discovered that "all work and no play really makes you quite dull”. The message, is work hard, but play hard too.

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