Hey everyone! I’m writing this before the episode airs for the Buick Verano to give you all my take on it and my recollection without seeing what was edited or included on air !
Let me start at the very beginning…(Sound of Music reference!)
I took on the task because :
A) I thought it was time to step up!
B) Nobody else was!
C) I knew nothing about cars but did know about presentations in terms of concerts and charity events
D) I was in the market for a new car (still am!) and viewed this is hard core research! A chance to learn something new!
Let me start by saying, from the moment you sign on to be PM the oxygen leaves your brain, your palms start to sweat… I have performed for royalty, presidents, 150,000 people, and I sware to Mr Trump himself i have never felt more pressure!
Donald asked me a question about the direction Buick is headed and I stumbled. OMG. I knew NOTHING and Adam Carolla is a GUY and quick witted. I’m witty for a chick singer. But in a presentation about cars…let’s just say I momentarily started doubting my ability to command the topic and impress the execs.
Sooo… We venture back to the warroom and the ideas start flying. Instantly Lisa and Aubrey are spouting ideas. I feel inadequate because I’m not coming up with ideas. Then I realize, it is my role to act as I would if I was producing a record. It’s my job to sift through ideas and have moments of clarity to spot the right ones! It is also my job to delegate. It is also my job to make everyone feel valued and respected. Oops…forgot that one amidst the hyperventilating!
I start to feel like a mother. Kids are tugging on my sleeves asking me the equivalent of “can I join the soccer team next year?” Next year?!? I don’t know what we are having for dinner tonight ?!? You get the point!
It FELT as if either questions were being asked that did not pertain to what we were doing in that moment OR, people wanted to be heard for the sake of it even if that idea’s time had past, OR people wanted to frazzle me so I’d look bad…..
I will say however, I own the fact that I did pay most attention to Lisa and Aubrey’s ideas. They had proven in the past they were the “creatives”. When playing beat the clock , a proven track record was important. They were the “go to girls”
I had Tia looking up facts on the car, Dayana’s role would prevail more on day two on the tech end, Theresa was brainstorming her anecdote to put into our presentation, Patricia was doing graphic design…
The only time I did not feel like deferring to Lisa and Aubrey was when they suggested I should not test drive the car because I was needed in the warroom for creative. I had a strong knowing that in order to represent a product, I HAD to familiarize myself with that product. Even if ONE thing, or an overall feeling got translated in that presentation as a result of me test driving that car…it was worth it. I made the exec decision to take the brainstorming into the van and create the concept and write en route to the test drive site
The other gals went ahead to the sits to do pix we would possible use as projected images. I wasn’t sure this was necessary but everyone seemed into it!
I remembered my friend Jimmy Van Patten was is town doing press for Natural Balance Dog Food with Tillman the skateboarding dog. This dog is a viral YouTube sensation. I thought “Oh my God…we MUST find a way to use this dog!”. The venue and the producers kept informing me of the status of the possibility of that happening. First we were allowed to use him. Then, no pets at the venue. Then we were on again. Then off. Long story short… The dog did not get to rehearse and consequently some very good television happened! Who knew the dog had to learn cues?!? Lol!
When we got to the test drive site, I kept hearing the same word the execs kept stressing. “Thoughtful”! I KNEW that word had to play a key role in the presentation. There were also 4 key points. We are girls and so we paid attention to the subtle details!
I realized driving the car was possibly the most crucial and best decision I made as PM. Especially because I fell in love with the Verano! I loved the combo of elegance and modern relative technology. I suddenly related it to my career journey. All American Pop Singer evolving and becoming True American Woman. Iconic All American Classic Car now has grown to become modern and chic True American Car! I knew that feeling would translate. The presentation was not yet written but already it had heart!
The idea was born to do monologues relating to the key features of the car. Theresa, Lisa, Aubrey, and I would tell our stories. Tia would play a casting director looking for the new Buick Verano Spokesperson. We would each emerge from the audience. I thought it was brilliant! I take no credit for dreaming it up. I just knew it when I heard it… It was authentic and clear! We also wanted to make sure we got across that your car reflects who you are and that this car was every bit as rich and solid and grounded and fabulous as the person driving it. Apparently this theme was a bit confusing. Maybe so!
At some point at the rehearsal on day one Patricia informed me we could not afford to get all the 4 points put on the wall. I said. “Let’s just use the word THOUGHTFUL then”. We did!
Dayana was functioning beautifully on tech. Lisa was somewhat directing. We also had to cue live camera operators. Oh….my…God. SO much to do. Not breathing snippy gal party of one!
That night felt like cramming for an exam. About my worst subject in school! I memorized facts about gas mileage, horsepower, and on and on. All the girls took a few pages of facts. Tia probably most of all!
Day two, morning of the presentation. Jimmy shows up with Tillman. My musical director Sky shows up with a track for Shake Your Love which would be played from the car radio. Theresa’s family turns up. It’s a zoo! Breathe…breathe….
The dog never once made his cue. Couldn’t blame him. He didn’t get to rehearse!
Turns out the printing has typos. Lisa goes off on Patricia. I quickly decide to cut the fliers in order to salvage the part that was done correctly. I take responsibility for not appointing a proof reader.
Theresa is nervous
Aubrey is going for an Oscar worthy performance
Lisa is pissed at me cuz I rewrote my monologue. It didn’t feel natural to me so I had to do it my way.
I was slightly petrified about the Q&A. But I knew no matter what, we would speak from the heart.
The show begins! I feel great about the start. Tia is doing great. Lisa, funny as ever. I stumble a bit but turn it into a bit about being nervous because being the new Verano spokeswoman is so important! Aubrey does her bit, tears flowing. Then she says Verona instead of Verano….twice! Noooo! Then Theresa. She rocks it. Then Tillman….skates right into the front row! OhhhhhhhWoooooow!
Oh well…funny !
We get to the ending. There’s a bit with a mirror. Mine flew out of my hands in my nervous flurry after my monologue! Oh no! My notes for the Q&A were on the back!!!! Cliffs notes! Cheat sheet! GONE!
The Q&A starts. The first question stumps us. Oh no… Then we find our groove. We are answering everything right and With heart. I’m so proud of the team!
My only concern is that we were told av”Steve Jobs” type presentation. Tho I looked that up online and came to learn it was not only about one man at a podium. There were many traits we infused that fell into that category. And, we used our authentic assets.
We go back to the trailer dressing rooms. When the camera turns to me and asks about Children International, the charity I’m playing for, I start sobbing. It hits me that if we put this much work in and my charity did not get that 50k I’d be devastated.
Its Boardroom time. I’m now so over tired that I feel carefree. Nothing to be done now! Though I couldn’t anticipate the girls negative take on the job I did. I own up to being short or snippy. I do not take kindly to Theresa bringing up last weeks task and accusing me of stealing ideas! Ideas are channeled. They cannot be owned! And they are the teams collective ideas stemming from a group energy. I feel her insecurities translating into lashing out. Ok. This is what everyone talks about in reference to her show…which I never saw. But this must be the “good television” they were expecting from her. And I was on the receiving end. I was thinking “If we lost and I got fired then I’d be fine…if cheap shots is what it’s come to!”