Brandersnatch – How CTP Hack(athon)’d Night Shift Brewing’s Exciting RFP

Every day we run as fast as we can to deliver our best work for our many clients. But how do we make sure we are constantly learning and collaborating with each other? Because we have so many talented and resourceful people at CTP – what’s the best way to encourage collaboration that’s supportive, educational, and all around fun?

So, I had a crazy idea – let’s roll out a new, ongoing educational event that accomplishes all of the above. Let’s have a Hackathon.

As soon as I shared the idea, I got approval. And as soon as I got approval, I stopped dead in my tracks. How do I come up with a topic that is applicable to every single person in the agency, that presents better than any lunch-and-learn or team training, and truly is collaborative.

But then Netflix came out with Bandersnatch, a Black Mirror episode in a breakout new format, where the viewer decides what happens next in the plot. It was as entertaining as it was thought-provoking, truly testing the morals of everyone who watched… how far will I take it to “win.” Will I take my medicine? Will I go to therapy? Will I kill my dad? Which cereal is actually my favorite? I wanted to apply the same thinking at CTP.

And thus, Brandersnatch was born.

A marketing & advertising spin on the classic “choose your own adventure” format. Not pairing up people who don’t work together everyday. Not counting off names or pulling them from a hat. But grouping people together who made the same exact decisions and were interested in following the same exact approach.

Everything afterwards happened quickly.

Michael Oxton, owner of the rapidly growing Night Shift Brewing in Everett, agreed to be our “client,” and Ryan Wilson, industry veteran and Strategist, agreed to be our guest speaker.

The ask: Respond to an RFP from Night Shift Brewing. We focused on the new business process because not everyone at the agency is exposed to these types of projects.
The twist: The more time you spend learning about the brand, the less time you have to plan your response. We revealed 4 questions throughout the day that invited each person to get access to details and insight that would help shape their responses. Then, based on their answer, they’d filter into a group that made the same exact choices.

And, here’s how it unfolded:

We landed with 5 total teams and 5 completely different presentations, because each one took different paths that led to different conclusions.

  • Team 1: This is the group that skipped all of the discovery sessions so they had the maximum amount of time to shape their response. We loved their beautifully designed new can design and logo, and their unique executions focused on driving trial.
  • Team 2: They stayed for the consumer research but skipped the rest. The result was a nighttime oriented stunt activation, leveraging the “Night” in Night Shift and their amazing Owl logo.
  • Team 3: They stayed for consumer research and the Q&A with the client. Their recommendation was an exclusive event that felt both VIP and on-brand – not an easy balance to maintain, with a really great OOH design (despite not having any designers on their team).
  • Team 4: They also stayed for consumer research and Q&A, and came back with a nighttime oriented activation and some really great point of purchase displays.
  • Team 5: They stayed for all of the discovery sessions (consumer research, Q&A, market research / competitive audit), and capitalized on every insight they heard – that no one else did. The result was an incredibly thorough presentation, despite having no time to plan who was presenting which slides.

It was really tough to choose a winner, but ultimately, what resonated best with Michael boiled down to 1 – the team that was most on brand, and 2 – the concepts and ideas that were most conceivable, and had the strongest short and long-term impact. Though there were pieces of every presentation that we all loved, the winning team was unanimous across the full judges panel.

Drum roll…

Team 5, the team with the most information, won. They leveraged every insight they heard and even though their slides were not as streamlined or detailed as some of their counterparts on other teams, they checked the most boxes across all of the components.

It challenged how we handle our own RFP process, but it was also a fantastic study in personalities, and a really interesting way for people to self-identify and find like-minded teams.

It was a whirlwind of a day that I know I’ll still be thinking about for days / weeks / months to come. I learned so much about how we go about our own RFP responses, and how everyone, no matter your experience level and no matter your role, should be pushing themselves to learn, collaborate, listen, and to really challenge the norm.

I’m also so excited to see what Night Shift does with our ideas. Michael was a fantastic partner, we couldn’t have asked for a better brand to work with for our day. This Hackathon will sure be hard to beat!

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