CHARLOTTE, NC—Sources at Cobalt Media confirmed Tuesday that the wow factor—an intangible set of viscerally pleasing features that instill onlookers with a feeling of exhilaration and intense interest—was successfully added to this Thursday's upcoming PowerPoint presentation, entitled "New Ideas For Integrating Social Media Into Product Marketing."
According to those who will deliver the presentation to executives from Sketchers, the 1:34 a.m. addition of an animated bar graph depicting the market-share percentages increasing as colored bars extend slowly upward provided the final wow-factor-inducing element.
"When we first finished the PowerPoint, the content was all there, but it still lacked that certain something," head market researcher Jeremy Batson said. "For example, we wanted to drive home the fact that, in the age of Twitter, we as a marketing company have an obligation to harness the power of distinct thoughts within a limited space. So we spiced that section up by including pictures of celebrities who use Twitter. The Ashton Kutcher photo we found is freakin' hilarious."
"And then from there we go—boom," continued Batson, clapping his hands together, "straight into the section about how we can use Google Reader to track activity streams. I think it's really going to floor them."
Members of the group told reporters that, prior to the wow factor's insertion, the presentation was lacking in both sizzle and pop. These necessary dynamics, along with punch, were integrated by adding more than 30 "flip left" slide transitions, replacing basic blue backgrounds with a more colorful aurora borealis template, and inserting an audio element featuring the Smash Mouth song "Walkin' On The Sun."
During an 11th-hour meeting about how to push the wow factor even further, the 12-person presentation team also made the breakthrough decision to replace normal bullet points with miniature Cobalt company logos.
"Overall, we wanted it to be more visual, more active, more in your face," said assistant market coordinator Chris McConnell, who contributed most to the wow factor by suggesting that some graphics "fly in" from the right side of the screen. "Basically, we said, 'What can we do to absolutely knock the socks off [company CEO] Nathan [DeGeorge]?' And that's when Matt had the idea that instead of all of us standing behind a podium, we'd begin the presentation by entering from the back of the conference room."
McConnell said that the wow factor's official implementation was the culmination of nearly a dozen conference calls with the Chicago office and three all-night meetings to determine how to "successfully and meaningfully" wow those watching the presentation.
During those early wow-factor brainstorming sessions, presenters ultimately agreed that in order to really make the wow factor jump off the screen, the PowerPoint presentation would need to be bolstered by several complementary outside wows. According to office sources, that is why market analyst Marie Waters will begin the presentation by asking audience members to close their eyes and envision a world where teenagers flock to the unveiling of a new Sketchers billboard.
If that fails to wow them, Waters said, she doesn't know what will.
"This presentation really reaches out and grabs you," Waters told reporters, adding that she is banking on a big promotion for her work on the wow-factor. "Once the audience sees our font choice on slide 15, they're not going to know what hit them."
Past Cobalt presentations indicate that the company has a history of wow-factor-packed speeches. In February, a presentation on pragmatic marketing included the results of an anonymous office-wide survey, which many agreed really gave the presentation wow factor. And last month, the board of trustees was almost over-wowed when market researcher James Clement was able to convince local weatherman Mark Mathis to tape a prerecorded message about the company's favorable economic forecast.
Now that they've added the final touches of wow factor to Thursday's presentation, employees seem confident their pitch is a can't-miss.
"To think about what our presentation was before it had that sort of, you know, that wow factor, is kind of embarrassing," account supervisor Scott Weston said. "It was mostly just slides of straight statistics and comprehensive charts that explained very plainly that in order to more successfully get the word out about our clients, we should utilize all types of media."
Added Weston: "It would have been over in 30 seconds."