Use What You Have To Work With

It's great to take a client an idea that wasn't a part of an assignment. You just have an idea that would help their business--they always appreciate this. But unfortunately, these bonus ideas are often met with a response of, "Great thinking. Thank you for bringing it to us. We just don't have the money for that."

But rather than pitch a completely different "bonus" idea, sometimes it helps to start with what you already have. If you're already working on an assignment for a client, is there something extra you can do with it? Are there assets you can leverage?

Recently, I had a team who had sold an Armor All spot they were going to shoot with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. In the spot, Tony's pit crew is helping him around the house. They swap out the wheels on his desk chair, make his breakfast and, in one scene, are using their impact wrenches to bolt a painting to the wall.

In the production of the spot, the team had to decide what the subject of the painting should be. Someone suggested a formal portrait of Tony Stewart with his pet monkey, Mojo. Then someone had the thought that there are a lot of Tony Stewart fans out there who would kill to have a weird painting of Tony and his monkey. So we decided to auction it off. Between shots on the shoot day, the team pulled Tony aside and shot a video of him introducing the painting and its significance. The money made on the auction will go to support the Tony Stewart Foundation.

This was all "bonus" for the client, but it cost them nothing extra. We weren't bringing them a completely different project--we were just leveraging assets from the TV shoot. As such, it was hard for them not to say yes.

When you're working on your next project, ask yourself if there's something extra that can be done. Can you use one of your props? The out-takes? The set? How can you go beyond the assignment?

You can bid on the painting through June 14th here.