Born: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Worked in: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Argentina.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. John Duban believes that innovation is the ultimate team sport. While he is particularly proud of this innovation from when he was a
vice president at Momentum Worldwide, it was the result of a lot of hard work by
a lot of folks.
Coca-Cola wanted to own the key summer selling season with an inside-thepack sweepstakes; however, John and his team found that consumers have sweeps-fatigue.
After racking their brains, John’s team came up with a unique and creative solution. What if the 12 oz can actually is the game piece? And instead of it being a code printed inside the can, what if you opened up a 12 pack, and found a can with a button on the side that activated a live GPS signal, and the race was on for you to get your prize? Even more, instead of you finding out what you won, Coca Cola would find you. The tagline for the program was “You can win, but you can’t hide” (that was actually John’s bit of copy.) Every time a consumer found a special can, the hunt was on to deliver them their prize. John and his team even helitransported
a car to a location where they knew the consumer was near using the GPS tracker.
Although the campaign was initiated in Australia, due to its success it moved quickly to North America and was then used in several other markets.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? John has said that if you are not zigging while the others are zagging in today’s marketplace, you might be dead in the water. When he builds forward strategies and plans he always asks the questions 1.) Did we do it this way last year? and 2.) Could we have even done it this way last year? If the answers are NO and NO, he knows he is on to something.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? John believes there are two critical ingredients for driving innovation, development and acceptance—open sourcing and creative thinking. Not every culture or market has the same understanding or belief in the power of open sourcing or creativity.
In some cultures, open sourcing is actually considered a sign of competitive weakness, while in others it is cost-of-entry for group membership. The challenge is to figure out which is which and work to bring it all together because open sourcing is a reality of our marketplace today and it is the driving factor in many successful campaigns.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? ohn’s international career started as a foreign exchange student with American Field Service (AFS) in a little town of 3,000 people on the Hungarian border in Austria. This experience ultimately led to his first job out of college at DMB&B Vienna—and his nomadic way of life was born.