3 Great Takeaways From Russ Klein’s Presentation

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AMA Tampa Bay hosted a very engaging event on May 19th at the Center Club in Tampa. Russ Klein, CEO at The American Marketing Association, spoke about his experiences from his CMO days with Burger King Corporation, Arby’s Restaurant Group and other well-known brands.  If you weren’t at the event, you could have followed the #amatampabay live Twitter stream!

Russ shared valuable tips for building an advertising strategy that drives positive results. He shared why these are crucial components to include in your plans:   strategy, relevant tension, and frequency.


When building the strategy for your advertising message, you must be communicating your business’ competitive advantage for it to qualify as a real strategy.  Is your business successfully communicating what makes you different from your competition?  Russ encouraged the marketers in the room to “think differently” to come up with the competitive advantage and use that to define your brand.  And, as always, deliver exactly what you promised to your customers.

Relevant Tension

During Russ’ career, he researched what is shared among all award-winning advertising that successfully drives results and he discovered that they all had a source of relevant tension.  In order to discover what the relevant tension is, he described “finding the intersection of the customer and the product” and then drawing from that experience. Russ shared examples from his career where the tension is clear in the brand’s message:

  • Gatorade’s tag line “Is it in you?” was meant to compare their product to the confidence you need to succeed as an athlete. That’s a powerful message!
  • Burger King introduced the “Whopper Freakout” campaign because they realized when customers wanted a Whopper, nothing else will do.
  • Burger King created this Texas Double Whopper commercial to respond to those men that don’t always get to revel in their masculinity.


Russ reminded us that an integrated marketing campaign is mostly successful because of frequency.  As the number of impressions rise over time, the results grow too.  Just a few impressions of the message may not be sufficient to convince your audience to buy your product. Don’t give up until you reach the frequency you need see the results!

If you were at the event, you heard numerous other examples from Russ to support his message.  Take a moment to reflect on your business to decide if you may need to tweak your strategy or advertising message as he described.

Don’t miss our next event on June 16 when Christy Amador, Sr. Communications Manager for The Coca-Cola Company, discusses building brand loyalty.


By Alison Clinton

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Alison is volunteering her time with AMA Tampa Bay on the communications team as the Director of Content.  She is also Director of Marketing at Bright House Networks in St. Petersburg.  LinkedIn