NEW YORK: Pimm's Pukka, an extension to Diageo's popular alcoholic drinks brand in the UK, effectively demonstrated the unique power of planning to create new products.

Tara Austin, a senior brand planner at Ogilvy & Mather/London, discussed this subject during the 2015 Strategy Festival convened by the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) in New York.

More specifically, Austin drilled down into how she drew on personal and consumer insights about Pimm's being the ideal beverage to partner Indian food in driving the development of its "Pukka" extension.

"It took me two years of really concerted effort and a lot of dead ends to get a meeting with the Diageo Pimm's brand team to talk about why it's the perfect accompaniment with spicy food, Indian food, and how there was this gap in the market," she said. (For more, including further insights, read Warc's exclusive report: How an Ogilvy strategist reimagined Pimm's.)

Drawing on this experience, Austin recommended that planners adopt an increasingly positive stance in going beyond client briefs.

"I truly believe that we should follow our hearts more often. We should be more proactive in the approaches we make to the clients, whose business we really want to work on," she said.

This model perhaps carries greater risk, but even the failures can yield valuable learnings and potentially deepen the bond between a brand and its agency.

"Even if [an idea] completely misses the mark – which I fully expected Pimm's Pukka to when I first met with Diageo – it still would have been worth doing," said Austin.

"Too often, we treat business like a Victorian dating agency: we rely on lengthy marriage proposals and dowries rather than starting with magic and love.

"But, sometimes, if we follow our hearts and our hunches, we can invest in new relationships with clients whose problems we want to solve – and we'd all be better off for it, I think."

Data sourced from Warc