Risky business.

By: Paul Lindamood, Creative Director

“The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.”

Jawaharlal Nehru, First prime minister of India

Clients often suggest they’re looking for something unique, cutting-edge or in-your-face. I’ve learned that many really mean, “show us something different – but not too different.”

It’s probably human nature, instinctive as survival itself. We think we’re ready for a dramatic change, until actually confronted with it. Picture this: as VP of Marketing of a prestigious, global widget conglomerate, you sit watching the Superbowl enamored by commercial after commercial braving the jagged edge … using everything from irreverent humor to overt sexuality to get your attention and deliver recall for the brand. Love ’em or hate ’em, these are often the ads that command attention. Notice how we watch fearlessly – safe behind our Magnavox – since it isn’t our brand being represented by a flying pig?

There may be no ready-made answer to the question of risk. I can tell you that it has been our experience that those who follow their instincts to be boldly unique are often rewarded with success. We at P/O/N try to live by that same maxim.

For example, we have wooed – and won – clients in presentations that included strafing a conference room with a WWI biplane, live performances of the Blues Brothers, singing telegrams introducing new jingles, strutting our stuff in a chicken suit and delivering pizzas bearing our logo. We later learned that it was our “risky behavior” that helped seal each client’s decision. As they explained, all the agencies competing for the account offered the requisite experience. Only P/O/N demonstrated the confidence and chutzpah to creatively communicate its capabilities in such unique, entertaining ways.

So, if you find your company’s message or image in need of rejuvenation, be bold, brave and willing to consider the benefits of strategically planned risk. As experience shows, it can make all the difference.


Penny Ohlmann Neimann

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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