Before Elon Musk and Tesla there was Steve Bassett and Pivot. Both cars had supply chain problems, but there was one big difference. Pivot wasn’t real.
One of our clients wanted to promote their new Supply Chain Maximization or SCM. (Does that roll off the tongue, or what?)
I did some research and found that when it came to global supply chains, the automotive industry was the most complex. The average vehicle has around 30,000 individual parts. Each one is either manufactured in house or sourced from a third-party, often located in places outside the United States. A delay in just one section of the supply chain slows down the whole manufacturing process. In worst-case scenarios, the production line gets shut down entirely.
Launch a new car that never quite makes it to market.
We’d set up a fake Pivot dealership in Southern California. It would have all the trappings of a new car dealership except for the cars. Inside, all of the new Pivot models would be “parked” on the showroom floor except they’d be life-sized cardboard cutouts. There would be Pivot toy model cars for the kids. The showroom would have all the usual promotional materials and a sales staff “ready to put you into a new Pivot, if not today at some unspecified date in the future.”
We’d film lots of material, including hidden camera footage of real people coming in to look at the new Pivot and take a test drive. “Sorry, we have no actual cars, but we do have VR headsets. It’s just like being behind the wheel, and we don’t have to make a copy of your driver’s license.”
We’d cut together six or seven of the best spots, and at the end of each one, a voice-over would deliver the last line:
If you can’t make it, they can’t buy it. Supply Chain Maximization. Find out more at SCM.com
When I share my concepts in internal presentations, I usually include a key visual and a brief description of my idea. This was the one I submitted for Pivot.
The media buy would be directed to C-suite executives and supply chain managers. The TV campaign would run on programs like The Masters.
I’d love to report that the client bought my idea, but alas, just like Pivot, it never made it into production.
In the end, the client decided to go with a business-to-business print campaign. A more efficient media spend? Yes. A more disruptive idea? I would argue, no.
P.S. If your new Tesla still hasn’t been delivered, please, cut Elon just a little more slack. Take it from me, supply chain problems are a bitch.