3 Doors Down - My Feelings Confirmed in Fashion Rocks Ad!

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On very rare occasions I am forced to use the kids’ bathroom upstairs. As you may imagine, with three daughters, two teenage and a six year old, the bathroom is rarely unoccupied and when it is, I need a military grade breathing apparatus to get through the layers of perfume. The other problem is that there’s never anything to read, at least not that I’d be interested in. What’s a man to do? Start reading the backs of shampoo bottles, conditioners, pretty much anything within reach of the bowl. In the distance a magazine catches my eye, unfortunately it’s an issue of Fashion Rocks. Oh well, what did I expect.

So here I am flipping through the pages of Fashion Rocks and I’m amazed that anyone would actually buy this magazine because it contains nothing but ads. So I start looking for the price on this thing and it reads “Supplement To Teen Vogue Fall 2008” Ah, Ok, at least my daughter didn’t pay $5-6 bucks for this thing. Score a point for the kids or the Mrs.

Now picture this, I’m working my way through this magazine when low and behold, I turn the page to find an ad featuring the guys from 3 Doors Down. To my amazement, they’re endorsing NIVEA! What, the skin cream company? Are you kidding me? Aren’t these guys Rock Stars? NIVEA? The ad reads; “What Men Want.” What Men Want? Who’s the genius at the ad agency that came up with that one. I can attest unquestionably that “what men want” has nothing to do with body wash or revitalizing face cream. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go for a good body wash that the Mrs. brings home, and I may even go in for a little loofa action every now and again but I’m certainly not putting it on my to do list. And, I’m fairly certain the average Joe isn’t heading out to CVS thinking… hmm, now where’s that Revitalizing Lotion from NIVEA that the idiot from 3 Doors Down was pitching in that lame-o ad? Just not gonna happen.

So this ad is six pages long and it features all the guys from 3DD on the first page, then each one separately sharing excerpts from the road while the last page features some “average guy” which btw, if you stuck him in jeans and a T-shirt, could’ve been swapped with any member of the band. God, where do they find these art directors? Anyway, here’s where I get floored. Chris Henderson’s quote reads “I want to be comfortable on stage. Over the ten years I’ve been doing this, [touring, I assume] I’ve narrowed my stage clothes down to probably three or four pairs of pants and seven or eight shirts. Our clothes don’t make us.” Well Chris, from this writers perspective that was painfully obvious judging your recent concert performance.

Then the other guitar player Matt Roberts is quoted, “I want the fans to keep us going every night” What? Is he serious with comment? Hey Greg, let me clue you in on something, over the past 15 plus years, I’ve performed in front of thousands of people on a regular basis and I never once expected my “customers” to “keep us going. As a writer, director and performer It was up to me to provide a high-energy experience for the audience as they had fulfilled their end of the bargain when they purchased their tickets. Although to be fair, I get what Matt is saying, and that is the band (essentially any artist, athlete, etc.) feeds off of the crowd’s energy. Agreed, but if you’re not putting anything out there than you’re not likely to get a whole lot back. Like the old saying goes… “You get out of something what you put in to it.”

Moving right along, the drummer Greg Upchurch is quoted, “We don’t rely on style, we rely on substance. We don’t try to be somebody we’re not because if we’re uncomfortable, you can tell.” Wait a second now, grammar notwithstanding, let me try to wrap my brain around all this… the guys from 3 Doors Down expect their customers to pay an average of $85.00 for a ticket, $65.00 for a T-shirt plus another $100 for beer, food, transportation, etc. and in exchange, these guys will roll out of bed and perform their songs (good as many of them are) and they’ll expect the fans to keep them going or they’ll just give a mediocre performance. Well there you have it Philadelphia… you must not have held up your end of the bargain because that show was boring, boring, uneventful and did I say boring?

Now, you may be wondering, why am I hammering 3DD for the past few weeks? I’m not. I’m using them to illustrate a point. One that seems to be so pervasive in our culture anymore. To help me articulate this better, I’d like to use a few excepts from Christina Binkley’s article What I Wore to the Takeover (FYI, you’ll need a subscription to WSJ to view this article.) The article essentially highlights Thomas J. Barrack Jr.’ philosophies regarding some his tactics for earning business which in this particular case involves his clothing. The article is from July 26, 2007.

Several weeks ago, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. found himself in an un-air-conditioned conference room in the Middle East with five rival bidders for a rich government deal. He wore a blue double-breasted Italian custom suit with thin red pinstripes placed about an inch apart. Blue shirt. As the 110-degree-Fahrenheit afternoon wore on, Mr. Barrack watched his competitors remove their jackets, loosen their ties, and roll up their sleeves. “Everybody was hot and irritable,” says Mr. Barrack, who is chairman and chief executive of investment company Colony Capital LLC. But he refused to give in to the sweat drizzling down his back. “I sat and ate the heat,” he says. “I didn’t take my coat off and didn’t roll up my sleeves.”

This self-made son of a Lebanese shopkeeper now ranks No. 195 on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans, where he’s estimated to be worth $2.3 billion dollars. Clearly, this is a guy who can afford to dress any way he chooses… and he chooses to do what’s necessary to earn the business and create value for his shareholders.

What’s the takeaway from this post? It’s not about the clothing, it’s about showing appreciation for your costumers time and money by giving 100% of yourself and attempting to exceed your customers expectations… not the other way around. I give 100% of myself whether dealing with a difficult customer, improving our systems or simply spending a few minutes talking with an employee about something of interest to them. I want to exceed my customers expectations. As Mr. Barrack says “I want to be above emotionalism. I want to be steward-like, reliable.” Those words almost sound poetic. Hey Mr. B, can I borrow those words for a forthcoming interview?

As for 3 Doors Down, well… I guess only time will tell but I’d strongly encourage them to step up their “live” game and start giving more than they expect in return lest they find themselves on one of those multi-act nostalgia tours 20 years from now.

Yours in service,


By Doug Taylor 08/26/2008 07:24 PM

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