Friday, April 18, 2008

Marketing madness

Originally it was planned to relax in Poland.

The three weeks of working for the project “The most beautiful people in the world” in Mumbai, India together with senior team members Marjolein van Veen and Karine Versluis had been rather exhausting.
Often difficult situations and circumstances and limited comfort and diversions.
Even the massage centre around the corner was closed for renovation.

Therefore the idea was to go to Poland and enjoy the hospitality of the family and spend the days reading books.
To recover of the extreme trip to India.

“Shantaram”, the book by Gregory David Roberts playing in Mumbai was packed.
Hemingway’s “Across the river and into the trees”.
John Steinbeck’s “The log from the Sea of Cortez”.
A book by the Belgium writer Hugo Claus: “Het verdriet van België”.
And the fascinating book about Mumbai “Karma Sutra” by friend Rajendar Menen.

So now that the two weeks in Poland are almost over the question is asked how those books are?
By asking this question the truth is revealed that the books were not read at all, except for a large part in friend Rajendar Menen’s book.

Have the days been spent sleeping?
Or chasing the beautiful Polish ladies, in abundance around?
Maybe dining, wining and rhyming all the time?

The truth is that there was no time for leisure.
So much work had to be done that no time could be found to read books or even make a daily walk.
From seven in the morning till late in the afternoon the time was spent behind the computer every single day.
All work concerning the project “The most beautiful people in the world”, the conceptual images of the “PS-series”, correspondence and blogwriting.

Most activities are positive and constructive and a great joy to do.
However, a few rotten apples are in the basket.
This is the consequence of the work being successful and finding its way into the world.
It gets to people who promise and make agreements after which they only act based on what is in their own interest.
After an agreement is made they get hold of the material they want to have and next ignore the agreement on those points that are not in their advantage.

This happens now with one magazine and one newspaper both in Europe.
They were interested to publish a selection of the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.
As usual, responsible for the negotiations was senior marketing manager Marjolein van Veen.
She has a long experience working in a management position with the American company General Electric and is therefore highly professional in her work for the project “The most beautiful people in the world”.

What happened was that the newspaper and the magazine agreed to publish the results of the project based on a specific amount of pages and for a certain amount per page.
Let’s say 8 pages for 500 € per page.
This part of the agreement is essential for the photographer because it decides how much money the sale will bring in and how prominent the project is presented to the audience.
If the amount of pages and/or the price per page is too low, the photographer will not accept the agreement and go to another magazine.

What has happened is that after the agreement was made, and this is in writing, the magazine one-sidedly decided to half the amount of the pages.
Instead of 8 pages, only 4 pages.
This decision has two consequences.
Suddenly the income for the photographer drops 50 %.
And the project is presented in a much less prominent way and therefore less effective with its message.
Meanwhile the magazine demands exclusivity: no other magazine at that stage is allowed to be approached to see if a better publication can be had there.

The difficulty here is that the magazine or the newspaper believes they have the right to do this.
They think it is normal they break an agreement.
And they put the photographer in a difficult situation.
What to do?

These issues are now playing and Marjolein van Veen, the marketing manager handles them as best as she can.
But unavoidably the photographer gets involved as well.

Another issue that can be expected when doing business worldwide is problems with payment.
One major magazine on the other side of the world signed an agreement including a deadline for paying.
We are now 4 months after this deadline and no money has been transferred.

These issues are part of being a photographer who sells.
There is no complaining about these aspects of the profession.
Besides, marketing manager Marjolein van Veen does the bulk of the work.
But in spite of that, these things are annoying and on the mind too often.

However, no finish line will be reached and a gold medal won without successfully jumping over the hurdles.


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