Tampa's Eric Polins a finalist in "greatest" sales person contest, all for "noble art of ka-ching"
Wake up and good morning. Call me thick as a brick, but Tampa's Eric Polins (left) stands on the edge of greatness. He's six days away from competing in Cannes, France, for "World's Greatest Salesperson," having out pitched nearly 230 global competitors for a finalist shot at the title offered up by giant New York advertising icon OgilvyOne Worldwide.
No matter that Polins owes his success to selling a lowly red brick. That was the contest assignment and judges found Polins, Canadian Todd Herman from Edmonton and Yong Lee Abbas from Japan the three finalists. Here's my St. Petersburg Times column today on Polins and the contest. You can see all three of their YouTube red brick pitches here.
In an interview, Polins, 41, says he used the past weekend to pull together his Cannes presentation (the finalists must pitch a high tech product), which he must deliver live Monday in a theater before a marketing audience who will vote electronically to pick the winner. Polins is a managing partner with Tampa's HCP Consultants, a marketing and strategy development firm.
In announcing the contest in March, Rory Sutherland, vice chairman for the British operations of Ogilvy & Mather (part of OgilvyOne) in London, told the New York Times that the competition's goal is “recreating the noble art of ka-ching." He added: "There’s an interesting case to be made that advertising has strayed too far from the business of salesmanship.” That's unfortunate because it can be “a good test of how well you understand people and your creativity." Here's that story.
As a representative of Tampa Bay since 1995 -- Polins used to visit his brother here until the Penn Stater moved here because it was so beautiful -- we wish Monsieur Polins bon chance in France in pursuit of the World's Greatest Salesperson title. We will report on the outcome next week.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist