That Dick Smith Australia Day Ad

PR stunt perhaps? But more seriously, a poor and very amateur attempt at advertising. Many comments in social media hark back to a more ‘open’ time in 1970 something. Exactly. And the charity sign-off doesn’t excuse the execution.

Channel 4 Paralympics ad – Meet the Superhumans

Channel 4 promo

There is some great outdoor advertising in the UK from Channel 4 that features the line “thanks for the warm-up” in reference to their broadcast of the paralympic games in London.

Australia’s satirical show on all things advertising The Gruen Sweat featured this promo (not ad., but in-house produced promo).

This is one of the best examples of selling a product and subject that isn’t instantly in demand from the general public. As well as agency quality production, the genius is in the creative idea that includes the depiction of accidents that led to injury and disability.

The message is that this could be you.

It is a powerfully produced piece of work and a good effort to get our attention and awareness of Channel 4’s broadcast, whether it will drive actual viewership is another question, but given the momentum of the Olympics this is giving the games the best chance of some serious viewing.

This also proves a point I have long believed in. In-house production teams, who know their brand and content, can do a great job to sell it to their viewers at a fraction of the cost of agencies.

A nice taster here:

Channel 4 says the campaign is the biggest it has run since the station launched in 1982.

The advert was directed by Tom Tagholm for Channel 4’s in-house agency 4Creative. Tagholm said:

“We knew we had to make some noise. We knew we had to add some edge and grit and attitude.

“We narrowed it down to four or five concepts but then someone came up with this line: ‘Meet The Superhumans’. We loved the scale and the confidence of it. So we built up from there to create the strongest, most impactful concept we could get.”

The Channel 4 blog puts it like this:

“As for the scenes in the middle with the explosion and car crash and the mother in the hospital – we thought long and hard about how to include them because one thing that we weren’t interested at all in doing was an advert which said ‘Isn’t it great that these guys have made it to the start line?’ That just didn’t interest me and I don’t think it interested the channel.

“What I wanted to do though was just get a flashback moment – to show that it’s a part of what they are now and a part of their physicality. I didn’t want to dwell on it, just to give a hint, a moment of just how tough these characters have had to be. I could have put those scenes at the beginning or the end of the trailer but I think it’d have been weirdly less impactful that way – having them where they are stops you right in your tracks and hits you in the face.”

And the Public Image soundtrack nails it.

Bust out the Beanz – Heinz Baked Beanz TV ad

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Here is a truly iconic brand that has consistently been in shopping baskets since first sold in Fortnum & Mason in 1901.

Most of us still associate it with the famous 1967 “Beanz Meanz Heinz” slogan created by advertising executive Maurice Drake.

In other words it is a true perennial that is still in most households.

I love this ad because it shows some proper insight on the shopper. It relies on the fact that most of us have a can, but many of us have lapsed with our usage if not love of the beleaguered bean.

The message immediately resonates with the viewer. It reminds us of a neglected friend hidden away that deserves better!

Tom Ward, head of strategy and insights at GPY&R, said:

“The problem is that all too often that is where they stay, to the point that people will sometimes end up with two or three cans tucked away.”

This sort of genuine shopper insight is great to see. Hopefully the campaign will grow as we see how people have rekindled their love affair and bust out the beautiful bean…

U by Kotex leakage freakage

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Kimberley Clark are going out of their way to push the problem.

It might be “leakage” or it could be the risk of attracting dogs by virtue of an unclean bum (ref Kleenex Cottonelle).

This latest effort is confronting women with what we are told is a common problem. The solution is U by Kotex.

In both cases the company tackles the problem with clear product solutions.

Both approaches and that of Carefree raise an interesting question. Do consumers respond better to direct, descriptive advertising and what level of directness is more effective? The word “vagina” has recently been a subject of many complaints regarding the advertising campaign for Carefree Actifresh.

It’s interesting to ask if this approach researches well with all women / consumers? The industry likes to trumpet from on high and say we MUST change the consumer – “better out than in!” and remove ourselves from these suppressed notions of discrete advertising…? A vocal minority applaud the use of language that can make mums and dads cringe into their sofa. “It’s a vaginal discharge so lets herald it from on high!”. I’m not so sure.

There is a subtle balance between being direct and being overtly confronting to women and families in their own living rooms. U, which is firmly youth targeted, gets it right. We aren’t shocked into awareness of the problem and efficacy of the solution, we don’t hear language that is too confronting and we are indirectly very aware of the problem without being told that it is a “vaginal discharge”…territory other brands would prefer to own.

At the end of the day it is about understanding the audience not just the user and when it is the mass medium of TV the family audience matters. This is why it is an interesting topic for discussion when used in mass market media (rather than more directly targeted communication).

Without being overly conservative I sincerely hope that brands don’t continue to reach for stand-out notoriety by the use of the lowest creative common denominators in overtly describing what many real people consider to be discrete categories.

The true creative challenge is to communicate the problem and benefit / solution without the reliance on the literal descriptions and language.

New Qantas TV ad – “you’re the reason we fly”

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2007 to present

After much anticipation the new Qantas campaign has launched.

The ad features the new tagline “You’re the reason we fly” with a Daniel Johns track, titled “Atlas”. Somewhat put in the shade by the latest Telstra “Land Down Under” track. The ad also has a new logo, a compilation of 22,000 Australian faces which make up the flying kangaroo.

It’s interesting that the campaign has dropped the famous song “I still call Australia Home” and has also moved away from iconic Australian images.

Featuring real people is a “see-through” strategy to ensure that “real” people feel that this is their airline (and that’s the reason they fly…). It hopes to be relevant to them and that they will relate to it. As an iconic national carrier, that has arguably lost it’s way, this is quite a risk. The notional change from “Australia’s” to “Australian‘s” airline indicated that this was coming.

The question is what does the ad do to either inspire people afresh or change attitudes? And there is a bit of a negative mountain to climb in many travelers minds both perceived (press negativity) and experienced (the entertainment isn’t working, it’s late again etc)

Emotionally it engages through the everyday people it hopes to be relevant to. Some nice shots and as you would expect beautifully produced. The launch campaign is customer-focused, featuring Australian’s from the coast, the cities and the country, a destination-based TVC will follow.

Unfortunately the depiction of everyday people is somewhat generic. The “reasons to believe” or think differently about the carrier are absent.

I believe advertising must have a creative message that sells (really!). I’m not sure what I am asked to buy in this ad or what attitude I am expected to change? In other words it is generic.

The previous ad famously became an anthem for all that was great about Australia (and delivered by Qantas).

This seems to lack any proprietary backbone in terms of what is unique about Qantas. Owning the place was one thing that resonated as it is a national carrier going to all parts of the country (less true these days). Owning the people is quite a different proposition that relies on delivering superb service which judging from on-line comments is somewhat lacking of late.

In comparison to the Virgin ad which stressed a fast pace and determined approach to service (…showing staff, service and boasting a lot of planes no less!), this ad falls short on delivering a message that you can grab hold of and believe in. At this stage in the brand journey, people need a bit more substance to believe in.

The compilation logo treatment has a lot more style than substance and is perhaps too wrapped up in the strategy of “Australian’s” versus a clear depiction of the logo, particularly when there are no other clear brand references in the ad – I believe that you can never assume that everyone seeing it knows who it is for.

I completely get where the ad is trying to position the brand, I’m just not sure it is as convincing as it needs to be.

As a recent article put it the new generation of traveller has no emotional attachment to Qantas and its wider significance to the country, also suggesting that:

Qantas is coming home to an empty house, with a sign pinned to the fridge saying, “Your chicken dinner – or beef dinner if we cannot fulfil your first choice – is in the dog” and an ever-growing stack of bills to pay.

A lot of work to be done to change hearts and minds.

Qantas has said that the TVCs are designed to tug on the “heart strings” and to “re-engage emotionally with consumers”.

The final stage of the campaign, which Qantas has labelled the ‘prove’ segment, will make up the lions-share of the rebrand efforts.

Is this another example of the consumer being gently introduced into the sell via a soft emotionally charged entrée? It seems to be a trend amongst bigger budget brands to “engage” emotionally first then sell second with proof points (Commonwealth Bank, Virgin Mobile, Woolworth’s etc).

The cynical might suggest this could be a clever sales tactic by agencies. But I think it is flawed to assume that consumers are interested enough to stay with brands through these different phases (and connect them). The better option is surely to make a single ad (or connected campaign) which can receive significant weight and generate the desired impact emotionally AND rationally (Hyundai, Cannon, The Guardian etc)

The team at Qantas are skilled marketeers with broad budgets and I hope that the rational reasons to fly with them (the proof) will be delivered in the next ad against this emotionally staged backdrop of relating to everyday people.

The problem with this execution is a basic one – marketing 101 really:

“what is actually proprietary and unique about this ad”?

The answer is very little. Added to which, the ‘You’re The Reason We Fly‘ tagline is exactly the same wording used by the now-defunct Carnival Airlines in the USA.

As reported in AdNews, creative leaders have not suggested Qantas plagiarised the positioning, they have chastised the company for using a “generic” statement that could have been used before, and for “not doing their homework”.

McCann executive creative director John Mescall told AdNews: “It’s not surprising this has happened because it is such a generic motherhood statement. This is laziness not plagiarism.

A lazy, generic approach to advertising and the assumption that consumers will be interested enough in the emotional “art” to act or change opinions, shows a lack of insight into the consumer, the category and a lack of belief in the brand’s selling points (which are absent).

Ultimately everyday people will judge this work versus the previous iconic work and more importantly, they will judge the airline by the delivery of a decent service in a highly competitive market.

Unfortunately, I think that this work will fly by them relatively unnoticed.

Carefree Actifresh – The “Vagina” Word TV ad

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Much of my recent postings have been around the subject of “taste”.

This is taste in terms of what advertising should and shouldn’t say and suggest around traditionally taboo subjects. As well as examples of poor taste propped up by the excuse of irreverence and tongue in cheek (Lynx being a shocker)

Some would argue that taste is a subjective measure of what we as individuals deem appropriate as advertising.

I think that the question of taste or advertising standards is more than that. We need to arbitrate in these matters on behalf of the mass market majority who are exposed to the advertising – particularly when it is on TV. Rather than crushing creativity, this should actually prompt more ingenious, imaginative solutions to communication.

The creative community can argue that we should break these taboos – use the word vagina when discussing feminine hygiene. Show explicit imagery to demonstrate problems (accidents / disease etc). Many might suggest that we are lessening the creative impact by embargoing these words and images.

At the risk of sounding conservative on creativity, I don’t agree.

I think that this ad is a beautifully produced ad. It captures the attention and the dialogue is relevant and motivating to the target. The last thing it needed was the seemingly gratuitous inclusion of the word vagina. I don’t think this inclusion adds anything to comprehension or awareness of the message. It just shocks the casual viewer, as in “did they just say that”?

Are we to imagine that the target didn’t get the message and needed to be alerted to it through hearing vagina in the monologue?

In the words of Johnson & Johnson:

“We have decided to take a bold approach in this campaign with the aim to tackle a subject which has always been taboo.”

I don’t think the language is going to make this a bold ad on a taboo subject.

There is a lot of debate on it at present. Daye Moffitt, brand strategy director at creative agency Moon, offered a female perspective.

“Personally, it makes me cringe, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I do think it is a good strategy. The shock tactic helps with getting young women to listen up – it gets their attention in a very loud marketplace.  It’s an effective and memorable ad, certainly.”

With the greatest respect to Daye, I think that cringe is the issue – imagine how parents with teenage boys respond when they hear it.

As anticipated the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has received over 30 complaints since the ad first screened on Sunday evening. A spokesperson for the ASB said:

 “Most of the complaints are about the terminology that’s used and the nakedness of the woman,”

Interesting that the nudity got so much attention, suggesting how conservative our viewers really are.

The creative challenge reaches beyond the use of explicit or provocative language. And “vagina” can be considered as explicit language to many in the mass market living rooms.

Creativity needs to find new ways of reaching into the consciousness of viewers. Ways that don’t rely on gimmicks, tricks and controversy.

The ad is good, not great, and the inclusion of the word vagina merely serves to draw attention to the word not the problem or brand. Probably at the cringing discomfort of many women who would rather not shout it loud and proud from the living room floor.

These women are after all the target market and discretion in communication is perhaps more relevant and motivating than the vagina monologue.

Status Quo Coles TV ad – Prices are Down, Down, they’re staying down!

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Coles Supermarkets logo.

Every bit of me says I should lambast this work.

Here we have the legends (Grandfathers…) of Rock, the mighty Status Quo, reworking their 1975 hit, ‘Down, deeper and down’, to include Coles’ ‘Down, down, prices are down’.

Quo’s original track was the inspiration behind the supermarket’s grating, but memorable tune introduced last year.

But before I drift off into dismissive hyperbole about the demise of the once great ad industry, a few salient thoughts:

  1. There is a lot of tongue in cheek in this one.
  2. Quo were the inspiration for the tune anyway.
  3. The band seem to be having fun – no doubt acutely aware of the ease of making money from Coles.

The overall impression isn’t therefore that this is a credible Rock band selling out, it’s more a case of here are some ageing Rockers having a laugh at the expense of Coles.

At the same time it delivers the message and as a nod to the original tune is a bit of fun (if a bit of a cringe at the same time). This should appeal to a lot of the mass market and get the tune lazer etched into everyone’s subconscious.

Red guitars on sale in-store apparently.

Funny for a moment, but I only hope we don’t have to endure the joke too often on our screens!

Here are the boys doing their bit:

The best ad from Cannes – Guardian open journalism: “Three Little Pigs” TV ad – the Guardian

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Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a long history of great advertising.

The classic Points of View TV ad is one of the best.

This ad (even at 2 minutes) is my choice from Cannes, although it didn’t bring home the bacon in terms of awards…

It communicates a complicated message of the breadth of Guardian coverage through a brilliantly constructed creative examination of a story we all know. Entertaining, interesting, relevant and motivating by underpinning the credentials of a great paper that is still innovating in the digital world.

A very different perspective and very much what the Guardian brand stands for.

McCann Melbourne creative director Annie Price.

Price has urged Aussie marketers and agencies against treating people like “idiots”, and has held up the highly regarded ‘The Little Pigs’ campaign by BBH as an example of the type of advertising the local industry should be striving for.

She told AdNews: “There’s not much Australian advertising can’t learn from this stunning commercial.

“It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s beautifully produced and so gripping, it has you coming back for more and more. It really is storytelling at its finest. There’s no doubt who it’s for and you’re left feeling compelled to go and buy a paper.

“It’s the intelligence of the Guardian commercial that most impressed me.

“No denying we make some great ads in Oz.

“But sadly, Australian TV screens are still full of a disproportional amount of commercials that treat people like idiots. Ads that assume that we are sitting there on the edge of our seats, just waiting to be informed about toilet cleaner, muesli bars or moisturiser by a moronic presenter. It’s 1950s advertising without the lovely retro outfits and atomic burst laminate.

“Clients and agencies alike would do well to remember that consumers are getting their information from so many sources nowadays, TV is not king. For us to truly impact on someone’s life via TV, and make a real connection, we’d better be smart about it and we’d better not insult his or her intelligence.”

John Hegarty Bursts the Cannes Bubble – “Make the bloody work better”

I’ve glanced at the commentary coming from Cannes annual advertising shindig. A lot of local Australian reports have bemoaned the fact that local agencies haven’t swept the board with awards. In fact Australian agencies such as Clemengers seem to have done quite well?

It was therefore interesting to see John Hegarty who is founder and worldwide creative director of BBH, returning to the basics and telling the industry to pull it’s creative socks up in his speech at Cannes as reported in AdNews.

The great thing about John and his leadership of BBH is that he doesn’t change. His principles and practical approach to advertising remain basically the same, they just evolve with experience. I am biased having worked there, but it made a lasting impression as John was one of the best marketeers I ever met, as well as having countless creative credentials.

Despite the chagrin of many in advertising who are scratching their heads as to why awards and recognition aren’t flowing their way, John puts it simply:

“Make the bloody work better. We must be the only industry in the world that actually thinks you can succeed when the work’s getting worse. We don’t talk about this enough.

“Obviously Cannes is about this, but what are we doing about it, how are we changing the way we’re working to create better work.”

I think that this is outstanding for the fact that it is true, the fact that BBH have been at the forefront of creativity and that John has the guts to throw off the Emperors new clothes and look at the industry with fresh eyes as a respected veteran of the business.

Not to say that there isn’t great work out there. There just isn’t enough of it. There seems to be a lot of “lazy” advertising, dictated by the need to get the campaign on-air on-time. I’ve seen creativity rushed and ruined as a result of a notional deadline to get it on-air.

John went on to say that advertising needs to stimulate and solicit the right response in the consumer along the lines of:

“Wow, I want to have a conversation with these people’, as opposed to ‘I’m doing my best to ignore them and they’re doing their best to trip me up in some way or another’. Isn’t that awful, we’re an industry that tries to trick people into watching what we do, why isn’t it inspiring, so people want to watch it.”

The discussion about the effectiveness of introspective “teaser” campaigns (Commbank, Blackberry etc) falls into this bracket of trying to “trick” and entice people into guessing the campaign. This assumes that consumers can actually be bothered?

Advertisers being big (in spend terms…) with teasers and tricks, but not necessarily clever in terms of creatively attracting consumers, are then bemused as to why effectiveness awards allude them and their CMO’s are replaced every 18 months?

Consumers don’t like to be deceived or have to guess who or what is behind a campaign, even if advertisers think that this brings engagement. It is more likely to bring annoyance and antipathy towards the campaign and brand. Consumers are wise to it and the novelty has worn off.

Advertising is a tool to drive awareness, engagement and sales and should be judged on these parameters. Advertisers are at risk of talking to themselves and then wondering why no one is listening?

The truth is that advertisers are not making ads that are truly relevant, interesting and motivating and that reach a mass market quickly and efficiently with the message.

As John says the ads aren’t good enough. Many advertisers are seduced into making advertising for social engagement on-line and PR notoriety first. Whilst this is important in contributing to a campaign idea, it can’t replace the effectiveness of producing strategically sound mass market creative to impact consumers and change opinions into new behaviour (i.e. buying stuff).

What was the last TV ad (TV still reaches the most households), that made you say “I really want that” or “they look like a great company I want to hear more from” or “wow, that changes my opinion!”

Hopefully hearing this from John will provoke the industry into some positive thought and action.

His book lays it out pretty clearly and is boiled down to the basics of the two most important points to remember if you’re a creative:

• The truth is the most powerful strategy

• The power of irreverence

The truth of product propositions seems to be getting lost in the “art” of advertising. The same rules still apply. Great products and services with genuine unique selling points (product truths), creatively delivered to attract the attention of consumers – this is what still works and sells.

When it comes to handling a situation or tackling an idea, John couldn’t stress more the importance of these two aspects of truth and irreverence in his book. Ask yourself, what is it exactly you’re trying to do? You should always challenge the accepted norm. Of course, he highlighted the fact that when it comes to clients, you can’t always break prejudice, it’s all about how you make the limits they give you distinctive. A nice challenge to the traditional brief.

He follows up with the first of many interesting anecdotes, featuring one of the most influential creative minds in advertising, Bill Bernbach. After the Second World War, Germany’s economy was kaput and they were in desperate need of a boost. One of the key elements they had to offer was their cars and they needed to sell them badly. They decided to approach an American named Bill Bernbach to try to generate sales for the Volkwagen Beetle. Now here was a car which was completely unappealing and actually not all that good, but Bernbach saw an opportunity in advertising a key feature about it. It was small. In this world of everything getting bigger, and bigger meaning better, Bernbach identified that the beetle went against the grain, and instead of trying to hide from supposed disadvantage, he turned the spotlight onto it and came up with the now famous line: “Think small”…and as they say the rest is history.

I hope that John and his blunt appraisal drives clients and creatives to make history and produce the campaigns that the industry can be proud of and that the consumers deserve.

Woolworths Fresh Food People new ad – “Welcome to Australia’s Fresh Food People”.

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After much anticipation (in ad circles at least) Woolworths aired the new campaign from Droga in last nights high rating spots. Here is the corporate line:

“Today we embark on a new journey for our company. We have a proud history at Woolworths of bringing Australians outstanding fresh food and value. We are building on this and our new campaign marks the start of a new promise to our customers as ‘Australia’s Fresh Food People’.
“A new ad campaign, which commences tonight, features nine real Woolworths Fresh Food people. Our renewed focus on our people is testament to the faith we have that Woolworths’ people are our greatest asset.

“Coupled with that is our new theme song, which highlights the rhythm of the seasons and celebrates that every day, every week, every month of the year, Woolies people open the doors to our stores and bake the freshest bread, serve the freshest fruit and veg and the best quality Australian meat and seafood.

Interestingly the music, written by Frankie Carle‘s “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I Love You” has been used previously by Walmart. The track was re-recorded by Gossling (Helen Croome) in keeping with the original recording by Kitty Kallen with Lawrence Welk & His Champagne Orchestra and made famous by Betty Driver

In a nice twist, Woolworth’s have given you the chance to download for free on their website

The ad is about Woolies people and continues to push the “Fresh Food” promise via these people. I really like the simple, but effective introduction of the word “Australia’s”. Home grown provenance is a big motivator (…if at the right price!)

Many analysts were expecting a bigger leap forward from the new agency, but this is a mega-brand making it’s move and nothing is done without careful consideration. The tone of these ads brings a freshness that has been lacking and does differentiate from Coles celeb advocacy approach.

People are important, but product and prices are dominating the supermarket wars at present, which Coles are perceived as winning through delivery of this message with strong personalities in the Curtis and Dawn ad that resonates well with the viewer.

This ad delivers “year round” love of Woolies by Woolies fresh food people. It demonstrates what we assume are real employees and suppliers who love Woolies. But why should we love Woolies?

It is an expensive looking and beautifully produced piece of work. Watchability is right up there and I actually believe that these people are who they claim to be, which is important in advocate advertising. But is it effective advertising in building loyalty?

The question as to why consumers would love Woolies remains. Seeing people at work in farms, fields and stores might not be enough to give people reasons why Woolies is really the “freshest” in the cut throat world of battling Coles.

Fresh Food People needs qualification since Coles came into the argument. The ad is relevant, certainly interesting, but the motivation for a consumer to believe the Fresh Food promise and why this if different to Coles is the key deliverable.

Assuming people will click into the website for more answers is a big assumption – on-line is the domain of range and pricing (as shown in the great Woolies app). Without this step, there is no qualification to the promise?

Here is an example of what people see when they click – Malcolm the farmer talking about running and potatoes. There is actually some motivating news in there, but should this be the main ad (apparently 12 ads will run so it might well be)? :

Hopefully the campaign develops with rational product and price proof points, still delivered in this strong emotive style to entice the shoppers – perhaps less sexy advertising, but potentially more motivating in today’s climate.

A couple of other interesting points to note are the subtle re-brand (Woolworths moves from red to green). And as reported in Mumbrella, Woolworths will remove walls to behind-the-scenes areas of its stores so that customers will be able to see bakers and butchers in action. The brand will also refit stores with better lighting and address checkout queues. (My local Woolies did this 3 weeks ago by moving the stacked special offers from in front of the tills –  and it is still talked about in hushed tones down the aisles…!)

Great advertising engages and entertains, but ultimately needs to sell to us by delivering reasons to believe in the brand promise and motivate us to buy and remain loyal.

Hopefully this campaign will deliver the rational reasons, as well as the feel-good fresh food people.

Harvey Nichols summer sale ad with models who wet themselves

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Harvey Nichols pushes summer sale with incontinent models

Advertising never fails to surprise.

Often as a result of marketing and advertising professionals desire to be “different”.

Sometimes with ground breaking results, from brave, bold insightful clients partnering with strategically driven, experienced creatives.

And sometimes quite the opposite, as we see in the campaign from Harvey Nichols.

I believe a lot of this desire to be different is too introspective. Does it really put the consumer first and show any true insight about who they are selling to and how best they should do it?

I imagine (totally cynically of course), the process to be something along the lines of… client and agency discuss the consumers as “irrational, hand-bag wielding crazies” at the prospect of the sale at Harvey Nichols.

A bed-head, 30 something year old creative in ripped jeans and sullen attitude suggests that the poor punter might even “wet themselves” at the prospect of a bargain in the hallowed halls of Harveys!

Amidst the giggles and guffaw the idea becomes “irreverent” and “break-through” and here is the result. An actual campaign (a lot of direct mail money was spent on this…), around consumers wetting themselves in anticipation of the sale.

Julia Bowe, group press and marketing director, at Harvey Nichols said: “In the past we’ve experienced everything from customers camping outside the store overnight to be at the front of the queue, to fierce tussles between over-zealous bargain-hunters on the shop floor.

“In humorous reaction to the often-irrational excitement sale time engenders, we have developed this campaign to capture this near-fanatical spirit.”

Jeremy Craigen, executive creative director at DDB UK, said: “I wet myself when I saw this idea. That says it all really.”

It certainly does. Both client and agency are pretty far removed from their consumer.

The controversial campaign comes after the company narrowly avoided a ban from the Advertising Standards Authority for its notorious “Walk of Shame” advert, which ran on TV last December. A deeply disturbing effort at advertising.

This is a symptom of the “anything goes” prevailing advertising attitude. Or it might be more accurate to say “anything can be sold” attitude with respect to the client…

This campaign, although claiming to be tongue-in-cheek, (which has become the most often used term for poor taste in a tepid idea), mocks the consumer and devalues a premium brand.

What does the person in the street think? Particularly the aspirationally premium target? I doubt many share the same sense of irreverent humour about their excitement in the sale or relate to the image and see themselves as losing bowel control for the chance to grab a bargain. Advertising can no longer hide from their consumers who in this case have taken to twitter on receipt of the flyers with the images as reported:

  • One user said: “Really, Harvey Nicks? Really? They’re certainly pushing the boundaries.”
  • Another woman tweeted: “That absolutely does not make me the slightest bit inclined to shop there!”
  • And another wrote: “We received this in the post, hideous! It makes me think of their sale goods as being soiled :(”, while one poster merely said: “Oh how the mighty have fallen!”

This campaign suggests the client doesn’t exactly put their punter on a pedestal in terms of premium perceptions, or even understand who their customer is?

I tend to think these ideas are lazy and exist in the absence of any strategically inspired creative idea that is truly relevant, interesting and motivating to the punter and potentially drives sales.

A lot of the PR generated by the campaign tends to agree. The “accident” is all Harvey Nichols, not their consumer’s…

Lynx “Clean your balls” with Sophie Monk.

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I used to think that Lynx prided themselves in clever advertising.

Lynx have built a brand around the promise to pre-pubescent boys that using Lynx makes you irresistible to the opposite sex.

This has been done with wit, irreverence and a clever tongue in cheek sense of humour to the most part.

This latest work featuring Sophie Monk (a red flag in itself) was directly, scene for scene, copied from an existing AXE ad in the US? Surely just looking at the US effort would force you to question the merits of this campaign, not encourage you to repeat the mistake?

The online ad exploits the hilarious double entendre of the phrase ‘clean your balls’ as Sophie Monk demonstrates the grime-removal strength of Lynx gel on “hairy balls” (tennis balls), “saggy balls” (deflated medicine balls) and an African American man’s “big ball sack” (a netted bag of soccer balls).

3 minutes of the same puerile joke.

No sitting on the fence, no excuses, it is an absolute shocker.

It was done in conjunction with ZOO magazine and is described as

“provocative, tongue-fully-planted-in-cheek campaign”.

Really?

I think they got it very wrong.

Even more amazing when you also consider that the ‘Clean your balls’ campaign follows Lynx’s controversial ‘Rules of rugby’ campaign which was removed at the behest of the Advertising Standards Bureau last year after complaints that it objectified women.

Collective Shout, a lobby group that campaigns against the sexualisation of advertising, has put in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Tankard Reist, co-founder of Collective Shout said that:

“objectifying women” in these “hyper-sexualised scenes” is actually harmful, adding: “They contribute to an ongoing second-class status of women.”

There is a big difference between “sexy advertising” or irreverent tongue in cheek humour and bad taste and there is no excuse for suggesting that this is what the target responds to. A few people have used this generalisation in support of the work. It actually suggests a level of disregard for the target’s ability to comprehend a clever piece of advertising and justifies cheap work that throws the industry back 10 years.

Previous Lynx work (ref Angels or Anarchy House or Snow Angles ) is far superior to this effort, generating a much more aspirational and positive brand image and Unilever should prepare themselves for a trade (if not consumer) backlash.

As Mumbrella said:

One hundred and eighty seconds around one double innuendo. Somebody had to come home from work knowing that they made this”. 

Dee Madigan, the respected creative director of Madigan Communications and a panellist on ABC1’s The Gruen Transfer, said the Lynx ”cleans your balls” advertisement was suited to its target audience.

”Young males like to go against the grain,” she said. ”Doing something sexist and offensive, that’s kind of the strategy.”

I couldn’t disagree more. This is confusing irreverence with irrevocable bad taste and poor advertising, defended by a lack of insight on the target. Industry figures should strive for a smarter, aspirational solution otherwise the industry will continue to be derided by on-lookers.

Not what the brand or industry needs and surely Sophie Monk isn’t that desperate to get work?

And as a postscript, the advert has (finally!) been censured after a slew of complaints to the ad watchdog.

Bizarrely, the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) decided that the ad was not derogatory to women, but said

“with the exception of the depiction of the older man, the depictions were not offensive or demeaning to any person or section of society”.

Not so sure myself!

The Board noted the concerns that the advertisement is offensive and discriminates against elderly men in particular as it refers to their “old saggy balls not being played with for years”.

The Board considered that the older man is depicted in a negative manner with the inference in the advertisement being that the older man does not receive any attention due to his age. The Board considered that this is a negative depiction of an older person and that this depiction does amount to discrimination against older men.”

In response to the findings Unilever said:

“The men who appear in the commercial are representative of a wide range of age groups, from young to old, and all of them are portrayed in a humorous and good-natured way. It was never the intention of the commercial to discriminate against  elderly people”

The elderly man is an object of ridicule. Unilever should not try to defend the indefensible.

A classic case of misinterpreting “irreverence” and “tongue in cheek” and stereotyping men and women – not clever work at all.

But if Unilever are repentant it is interesting to see them respond to the censure of the ‘clean your balls’ ad with a new online video featuring a mock press conference loaded with more dirty ball references

This is a desperate brand attempt to be funny and a further replication of the US mistake. For such an occasionally great brand it is a massive error of judgement.
And not funny. Perhaps the ASB will agree.

UK Cancer Council “the answer is plain” anti-smoking plain packaging ad

Video

The logo-free, drab dark brown plain cigarette...

So often we are told “what to do and what not to do”.

Seldom are we convinced of what we as individuals or society “should” be doing and why.

Government bodies have lost the art of advertising in favour of preaching or scare tactics.

This UK Cancer Council ad has a beautiful mix of advertising art and science. It intrigues you enough to interest you, hold your attention and then delivers a concluding message that is both powerful and absolutely believable. No drama, just the truth presented in a motivating manner.

It is completely relevant to the argument about plain packaging and will do more to motivate change than any number of government polls and opinions.

A great example of advertising resolving a complex argument with a simple and effective execution.

Commonwealth Bank “Can” and “Can’t” Campaign with Toni Collette – “An Ode to Can” and the latest TV ad

After being teased with “can’t” we now see the “can” campaign in full from Commonwealth Bank.

Much has been written about the merits of the teaser campaign, about those that ambushed it and if it was effective against the target, assuming that we know who it is targeted at and what effect “teasing” has on a target inundated with advertising messages? I think “teasing” is a figment of the agencies imagination and the consumer rarely notices the message, despite a massive amount of expensive media.

This campaign has plenty of polish. M&C Saatchi work their magic in film and their creative team wrote a very nicely crafted poem as well (see the bottom of the post for the words), delivered impeccably by Toni Collette, who is surprisingly appropriate for the tone of the ad.

You are invited into the prospect of a great big brand reveal in the ad. Nike? A charity? Perhaps a vocational career? Saving the world or rain forests?

And then it’s a bank?

Some more cynical consumers might say that banks are the antithesis of “can”. They could pass on the interest rate cuts in full, but “can’t” due to the bottom line, economy, shareholders etc. Banks certainly suffer in a financial crisis and are often and sometimes wrongly (who helped me buy the house again…?), portrayed as the pariah of the masses. They are arguably no longer a badge of honor for employees – all post GFC issues that are very real if you are trying to attract and retain customers and the best staff.

So back to the bank ad, it positively glows with warmth and radiates assured positive vibes…the choice of Toni and the strategy to read a nice poem about the “possible” entertains and entices beautifully. It is a very slick, simple piece of work that you enjoy viewing.

But what is it aiming to achieve?

I wonder if a large part of the client “buying” the campaign is to do with internal communications? If all Commbank staff adopted a “can do” mentality, the customers might be happier which equals more money and happier staff, which equals happier customers and more money (over simplified I accept).

I am less certain about the relevance of “can” to the bank’s consumers when delivered so conceptually via a TV ad. Are people likely to be left feeling inspired, perhaps taking up that hobby after all, but left confused about what it means to their banking?

The consumer might be doubting the message given their experience.

They might be thinking where is “can” when they ask if they can lower their interest rate on the mortgage, or when they ask if Commbank can better a competitors rate? The “can do” concept is contrary to the current perceived truth and I am left wondering what facts back up this “can do” claim? If there are new products and services in this regard, the campaign could be a golden opportunity to make this known? If this is a precursor to all the answers about what Commbank “can do” then it could develop nicely. Perhaps if you go in and ask you just might get a deal (…a bit like Bing Lee)?

But this particular ad is all about emotional not rational values. And perhaps this is where it misses an opportunity to “sell” in the minutes worth of poetic action. Why not do both?

Advertising should close the deal. It should engage you emotionally and entertain you, whilst convincing you rationally of the product or services it wants you to buy. It is a sales tool (sorry, but it really is). It gives you reasons to believe and then act. With a significant media spend on TV, I feel both emotional and rational messages should be in the ad to drive engagement and “sales”.

This is arguably a very unfashionable and even old-fashioned view of the art of advertising. One held by the likes of John Hegarty, Dave Trott and the like (try DT’s blog for more).

Consumers should be credited with the capacity to look at advertising and discern the sales message amongst the shine of a polished ad. This is what great advertising does – engage and sell.

I may be doing a disservice to the Commbankers who will certainly have a clever “can” direct mail out there, giving some rational reasons as to what Commbank “can do” tout de suite! This could be the entrée to a campaign about all the proof points as to why Commbank can? But such a good ad would be a great ad if it delivered a reason “why” or “how” Commbank “can” in these 60 seconds.

The current reality is that the press is full of contradictory stories on the problems in the sector and Commbank has taken a fair share of criticism over job cuts and mortgage rates, leaving consumers with a different perception of the product to that presented in the ad. and testing the credibility of the “can” promise with consumers. Consumers are suspicious of banking institutions and are lacking confidence in their motives.

This ad is wonderfully produced, full of emotional engagement, but what is it hoping to achieve without some rational reasons to believe in the bank’s products and act? Maybe the next bit of the campaign is the hard sell?

Commbank doesn’t need to build awareness, it doesn’t need to change the colour of the logo, it needs to change negative attitudes based on what consumers perceive the banks to be and give skeptical people rational reasons to move from their bank to Commbank. The hardest bit is done – it captures the attention in a positive manner, but what am I motivated to do?

I don’t think that the current mortgage rate and GFC driven negative perceptions to banking / individual banks can be altered by just the warmth of a positive, well presented, but ultimately generic “feel good” statement. This is a luxury most advertisers can’t afford and most CFO’s won’t support. Customers treat this category seriously and need compelling reasons to break up with their bank and get a better deal elsewhere. This isn’t selling cosmetics it’s selling control and care of your cash.

The excellent NAB ads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDbvAEcP_2k took the decision to be “on your side” and “break up” with those other bad banks. BUT it also had one of the lowest mortgage rates of the high street banks. Clever, creative and insightful advertising backed up by a strong product proposition.

ING got it right with a simple, well branded ad that showed the interest rate. Less likely to win awards, but more likely to win customers for who it is relevant (I want to save money), interesting (orange apes?) and motivating (the best rates).

The Saatchi and Commbank marketing team are all top players in the game. As noted, this could be the opener to a campaign full of answers for the rational side of the pitch of new products and services, all predicated with what Commbank “can” and will do for you.

They have a new set of TV ads out here…New Commbank Campaign so judge for yourself. I think the best rational support is delivered in the press ads posted later here: CommBank Press Campaign. The most recent work takes yet another direction with James Magnussen.

Ultimately I still believe that this TV creative could have been a much more effective ad if it had the rational “what we can do for you” sales message incorporated, complementing the engaging entertainment. A much bigger creative challenge, but with much greater rewards.

But hang on…What about BT?

An interestng post script to this high-profile campaign are the reports in Mumbrella and AdNews of plagiarism, even if it is from the same agencies earlier work in 1999 for BT in the UK. The similarities are striking – the original BT work was pitched as follows:

“Focusing on the idea that chief executives hate the word ’can’t’, poster sites on major routes into London will initially carry a teaser campaign reading simply ’Can’t’.

“After a few days, the teaser will be transformed into ’Can’ with paint, eggs and graffiti, above the line, ’BT. You Can.”

An interesting conversation between agency and client no doubt as it potentially takes the polish off this one, but then how many ideas are truly original and who but a few of us actually remember 1999?

Ode to Can.

There’s a four lettered word
As offensive as any
It holds back the few
Puts a stop to the many.

You can’t climb that mountain
You can’t cross the sea
You can’t become anything you want to be.
He can’t hit a century
They can’t find a cure.
She can’t think about leaving or searching for more.
Because Can’t is a word with a habit of stopping
The ebb and the flow of ideas
It keeps dropping
itself where we know in our hearts it’s not needed
And saying “don’t go” when we could have succeeded.

But those four little letters
That end with a T
They can change in an instant
When shortened to three.
We can take off the T
We can do it today
We can move forward not back
We can find our own way.

We can build we can run
We can follow the sun
We can push we can pull
We can say I’m someone
Who refuses to believe
That life can’t be better
With the removal of one
Insignificant letter.

Any good and fair work done by CommBank (plagiarism aside) has been potentially ruined by their on-line attempt at humour – a joke set in London featuring a back-pack bomb hoax. Now removed by CommBank, but widely reported. Interesting proof if it were needed of the reach and impact of some viral on-line efforts.

High Profile = High Parody

As a more lighthearted close, here is a Sportsbet parody of this more than earnest effort by Toni. Sportsbet have offered a ‘can can’ dance off to see who would host each others ad for 24 hours and donate $50,000 to charity – CBA declined on the basis that they don’t gamble with charity donations (…and this is more NAB territory!). Perhaps they might have chosen a more human answer and capitalised on this PR opportunity?

And Finally…Gloss vs Gold?

So after all is said and first posted, what is the final (final!) take on the campaign?

Fundamentally I think that this is a big idea. Nice to see.

An idea that relies on a big voice and a lot of support in all areas of the business. Also being executed well in terms of spend and ‘touch points’

It started in a esoteric, ethos sort of way, which lost it for me – a bit too much emotion without the support. It subsequently (and as of Sept) has reverted to much more traditional ‘proof point’ rational advertising. Saying exactly what Commbank can do. Not award winning, but useful delivery of attitude changing info with the emotional engagement of a can do attitude:

This is an idea with many, many facets to the campaign.

I still believe that the campaign would have been more effective in changing hearts and minds if the campaign that melded the emotional and rational messages from the start. It is always a lot to assume that people follow every twist and turn of a big campaign. However loud it shouts.

A lot of money was spent saying ‘can’ and teasing the consumer into being  interested. Despite the new sexy image of banking, I still don’t think finance is just about the gloss (the poem opener) when people are counting their gold (i.e. what is the best rate for me?).

Perhaps more might have been devoted to ‘can do what exactly’ from the opener?

And some of the best, most innovative things Commbank have done – make a Kaching payment app in the face of an amazing omission from the new iPhone, and give your iPhone an invaluable tool to look for and buy your new house.

Nice to see something different generating plenty of opinions.

Woolworth’s Everyday Rewards ad – the simple talking green pea

Video

Woolworth’s is the brand leader.

Woolworth’s prices, range and customer experience are far superior to Coles in my view as a shopper. But Coles are doing a fine job at challenging that view.

Both brands battle it out with big budget media spend. Coles have stuck to a consistent brand formula using personalities and price to great effect (…even though they are unlikely to win any creative awards). The new my5 proposition is well sold by Dawn. As Simon McDowell, Coles Marketing Director has stated in adnews: “Who are we trying to appeal to? Are we trying to appeal to 14 million bodies who shop at Coles every week, or are we trying to appeal to the advertising industry? You can guess what my answer is. We’re very clear on our brand and what it stands for. We’re very clear on our personality.” Nice to see an unapologetic marketing response.

Woolworths “the fresh food people” have a new agency and have recently embarked on a couple of pretty different campaigns – “Select” as posted earlier and this one for their equivalent of Coles “Flybuys”. Neither Woolworth’s campaign contributes directly to the core proposition of “fresh food”. This is done by Advertorial promos. Price seems to be tackled through short lead press ads.

The potential risk is that Woolworth’s looks like a challenger brand, following Coles and lacking consistency and a core proposition.

Further to which Coles are on an aggressive PR offensive as a Coles representative has said:

“Woolworths are playing catch-up again but what they have launched is a hastily pulled together program which does nothing for their customers. Their ‘extra special’ rewards program has simply taken the hundreds of promotions that they would have been running for all their customers anyway and made them exclusive to Everyday Rewards Customers. That’s why they were able to respond to my5 so quickly and it explains why they have not included any fresh items including fruit and veg, home brand milk and meat (these items are predominantly private label and so they can’t get them supplier funded)…”

Tough talk.

This ad feels like a tactical effort before the strategic tour de force we all expect from Droga who are cutting new ground in many categories with outstanding creative.

The simplicity of the my5 Coles proposition is winning consumers – 5 regular buys registered and get a discount. The Woolworth’s Everyday rewards response is actually simpler and stronger on paper, but falls short as it is pitched as a response to the other guys. It even references (and therefore credits) the competition’s proposition.

I think that the Coles guys are getting to the Woolies guys…as McDowell concluded: “We take our brand and our business seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are trying to sell and serve with personality, to make ourselves warm and approachable.” I agree, the personality that matches the target (not necessarily all of the creative community) is there. Interesting use of “warm and approachable” versus Woolworth’s Select ads.

A great marketing battle in the making and I look forward to the next salvo from Woolworth’s and Droga as the strategy comes into full swing.

There will be stories “Welcome to the Jungle” – Sydney’s Star Casino ad

Video

Rarely do you come across TV work where you are intrigued enough to really want to watch it through and see who or what it is advertising.

This is one of those rare ads – nicely shot of course and wonderfully cast ( a genuine legend in Bill Baker and a large cast at that…), with a nod perhaps to Fat Boy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” video featuring Christopher Walken? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZM1fkHQP_Pw

Heaps of watchability in repeat viewing – spotting the Ducatti in the pool, red Ferrari, Hippy, Emu line up and more.

Welcome to the Jungle – is a nice touch. Relevant to what they are selling and a nice re-imagining of the Guns n Roses original.

Good work from the Monkeys in Sydney

As an interesting post script – debate is raging in the trade press (ref. B&T) following Richard Chees’e claim of plagiarism on the music. The Monkeys have strongly denied this.

Here is his version and his Facebook page is pretty much to the point in terms of his opinion…

http://www.facebook.com/richardcheese: “Wtf. Wtf??????? Wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a commercial for some casino in Australia, and they ripped off my “Welcome To The Jungle” arrangement!!!!!!!!!!! You shonky ratbags!!! I’ll tell you right now, this shall not go unpunished. Crikey!!!”

Oak Hungry Thirsty

Great work from the Monkeys.

The insight is what kills it for me. love the product and the product doesn’t just do the job on thirst, it’s a full blown chocolate feast of a meal (I do like chocolate…).

Coining “hungry thirsty” is a great way to deliver a message added to which the straightforward, but quirky art direction is innovative and grabs some attention.

The Guinness St Patrick’s Day Round Up

It is certainly getting the views on-line, but I dont think it has the same tone and class as previous more understated efforts. Ref the classic white and black pint

The great thing about Guinness was the understated confidence in it’s humour and advertising. I can’t help looking at this and feeling it is “try-hard” and the joke is stretched by the end of it. Easy to buy the idea, but it should have been shorter and simpler as a reveal.

Pampers – gets real

Refreshing to see some reality in this sector. I like the all encompassing nature of it and the straight-forward production. To the point, relevant, interesting and motivating many to engage in the charity as well as the brand.

Emotion used in a very motivating way.

Pedigree Dogs slow-motion ad. Shot @ 1000 FPS using the Phantom camera

It’s dogs in slow-mo catching treats. What could be better.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Pedigree Dogs ad shot 1000 FPS using …“, posted with vodpod
This is a phenomenal, yet simple ad. It avoids a lot of those cliched dog running or in the kitchen shots.

Simply put, if you own a dog and buy treats, there is a good chance you really like dogs and the reaction when you give them treats.

Turn this into a wonderfully shot emotive piece of film, add a very well synched sound track and you even tempt those of us without dogs to buy the treats…

Very watchable, memorable and motivating.

“More than a Feeling” for BBH’s Barclaycard roller coaster

Barclaycard have undergone an advertising revolution and made cards fashionable (well at least the benefits in a rollercoaster world).

Following the brilliant “Waterslide” spot we see another perfect product demo. John Hegarty’s BBH do the job better than most

Add a good tune and away you go!

Nike – Human Chain

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Clever and different stuff from Nike. As always selling a message in the medium.

Client: Nike
Title: Human Chain

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland
Creative Directors: Alberto Ponte & Jeff Williams
Copywriter: Jason Bagley
Art Director: Ryan O’Rourke

New Bonds Underwear ad – Hipsters Band.

Bonds make a good ad. Previous posts have featured the skills of Rollerskating ladies in pants targeting youth (and young pre-pubescent boys in particular!)

https://sullieseverything.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/new-bonds-underwear-ad-racey-shapes/

The Campaign Palace have launched a new version for the Hipsters range, specifically targeting ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

A great (and consistent) campaign that will live on-line for some time.

Bud Light – Clothing Drive

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tool of North America Director Erich Joiner’s posts Bud Light in the latest viral video from DDB. Clothing Drive is the sequel to the Emmy award winning Swear Jar.

Sort of funny in that Americans who have watched Seinfeld sort of way.

Gatorade Replay Project

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Gatorade has taken on the sports giants at their own game.

A really interesting idea is detailed above. It gets to the honesty of sports passion in a way that many others haven’t.

The game was the 104th meeting between two of the nations biggest high school football rivals and settled their 1993 game that ended in a 7-7 tie. The Easton, Pa., vs. Phillipsburg, N.J., game has been played annually since 1906 on Thanksgiving Day, drawing crowds of more than 20,000 fans each year.

After undergoing an intensive 10-week training and conditioning program developed by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and Velocity Sports Performance, the athletes, now in their early 30s, donned their helmets, strapped on their shoulder pads and laced up their cleats to participate in a full-contact, regulation game in front of a sold out crowd just as they had 15 years earlier.

 

New Cadbury “Bubbly” ad, featuring Nena and her 99 Luftballons.

I am a significant fan of Cadbury.

Obviously eating the stuff first and foremost, but I think that their never-ending quest to “own” the color purple and to entertain us in advertising is the stuff of legend.

We all know and love the Gorilla ad featuring the Phil Collins track “in the Air Tonight”, directed by the Sony “Bravia Balls” creative director Juan Cabral of Fallon London. It is quite simply brilliant and will stand the test of time for years to come (it was made in 2007).

Publicis Mojo Melbourne have added a new campaign for Cadbury “Bubbly”.

It features the much loved “99 Luftballons” soundtrack, originally by the german singer Nena in “84 (who incidentally releases a new album this month….).

The appeal is in the fun and delivery of the ad, whilst still getting the message across. I defy anyone not to think of bubbles and purple after this one:

The Australian agency Saatchi & Saatchi, infamously re-edited the classic Fallon Gorilla ad to disastrous effect, adding an appalling John Farnham “You’re the Voice” soundtrack. It was met with absolute derision in social media and didn’t survive long. A testament to the power of the public voice on advertising.

The effect is devastating and can be seen below.

The Remix John Farnham:

And the original by Fallon featuring Phil Collins:

Very worth a mention is the new Zingolo ad from Fallon for Cadbury: Cadbury Dairy Milk – Zingolo ad (Full length – Official Version) 5 mins of music madness!

I’m leaving any mention of “eyebrows” out of the post – over 4 million hits on YouTube shows it was successful, but of more interest is the amount of on-line parodies…Lilly Allen’s being the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWEOHd9JNmk&feature=fvw



Guinness “Toast to Arthur” celebrating 250 years.

Guinness has made some great ads.

It started 250 years ago (!) and since then, we’ve seen some classic press work around the “Lovely Day for a Guinness”; “Guinness for Strength”; “Guinness Time”; “My Goodness My Guinness” and many, many more.

Added to the history is the truly iconic “Surfer” TV ad directed by Jonathan Glazer, with music by Leftfield and inspiration from Walter Crane‘s 1893 painting “Neptune’s Horses”.

So it is with much anticipation that we look forward to the ads celebrating the 250th anniversary this year.

The campaign by Saatchi and Saatchi is called “Toasts” and features an execution called “Arthur’s Day” (which is apparently the 24th September).

The ad above which toasts Arthur Guinness, the founder of the famous brewery in Dublin ,  features a chinese whispers effect, in which different groups of drinkers mishear a toast to brewery founder Arthur Guinness.

Bizarrely, another straight version of the ad, in which everyone gets Arthur’s name right, will air in some parts of the world.

Perhaps not a classic in the theme of “Surfer”, but I can already see the toast reverberating around bars….

Four’N Twenty Magic Salad Plate – a winner.

The Effie Awards honour the most significant achievement in advertising and marketing communications: effectiveness.

They shine because they look at actual effectiveness in market and are held in high regard across 39 countries that participate.

The above won Gold in the Food, Confectionary & Snacks category for Four’N Twenty pies and Clemenger BBDO in Australia.

Volume growth of over 25% and sales growth of over 36% for the range is impressive and demonstrates that creativity and continuity across the range is still key.

The full case study is excellent reading and can be seen at:

http://www.effies.com.au/attachments/ce765871-4d95-42a3-a7c6-a0d70759fe04.pdf

The Ashes Advertising

Having already posted on the merits of SBS and FOX Sports coverage (The Battle for the Ashes – but who won?), it is worth a quick mention of pre and post advertising for the series.

SBS came out with some strong stuff early on in Australia (as did the Australian cricket team in the UK….):

The Follow On in the English press however, took a clever route of looking at the original press ad that announced the death of the ashes. Nice job by Yahoo cricket:

(thanks to Adland for the above)

The original was written by Reginald Brooks under the pseudonym “Bloobs” and appeared in The Sporting Times. It read:


In Affectionate Remembrance
of
ENGLISH CRICKET,
which died at the Oval
on
29th AUGUST, 1882,
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing
friends and acquaintances
—-
R.I.P.
—-
N.B.—The body will be cremated and the
ashes taken to Australia.

Land Rover ‘montage’ by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R – But what about Olympus?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Seeing this was a touch disappointing.

It is beautifully produced, a strong creative idea, interesting and relevant to the product.

But the Olympus original was much, much better.

This ad is not so much derivative as plagiarized from the Olympus Pen viral recently produced and discussed in a post below The Olympus Pen Super Stop Motion:

There are very few truly original ideas. Olympus credited their stop motion technique to an original film entitled “A wolf loves pork”, by Taijin Takeuchi. Olympus intentionally quoted his work in their viral movie, showing full respect to his original idea.

There are over 1 million views of the Olympus work on YouTube and doubtless thousands of other sites featuring the work.

The matching similarity of the Land Rover and Olympus pieces takes the shine off the creative (despite its obvious quality) and leaves you wondering if the client knew about the “original”. Even the whistling soundtrack and fish tank idea?

Another interesting example is the new Target Colour ad from The Campaign Palace in Melbourne. It is derived from (or inspired by?) the video for “Her Morning Elegance” by Oren Lavie:

But in this case it is clearly a derivative / evolution and some would argue an improvement on the original that received over 7 million YouTube views boosted by Target’s ad.

Copy too closely as Land Rover have done and the creative community and consumers quickly notice.

Hopefully the Land Rover client was in the frame from day one….

The Battle for the Ashes – but who won?

The Battle for the Ashes is now over.

But the debate remains – who won?

Was the SBS Stuart MacGill presentation, idents, sponsors and all, better than FOX Sports with their interactive features, newspaper links, ad campaign and star staffers including Brendon Julian, Mark Waugh and Allan Border?

Of particular note was the SBS Promo for the series. Produced by Tactic, the SBS promo oozes nostalgia and emotion with the greats past and present:

Compared to FOX Sports using the latest series footage highlights, production technology and a very hip soundtrack to appeal to the new fans.

And I think that this is the difference. Cricket is going through a quiet revolution, discarding the dusty past in favour of the digital, youthful future. And not just targeting the new younger viewer, but the traditional cricket fan as more and more older users embrace the advantages of on-line and on-screen TV interactivity.

Both websites recognized the importance of the web, but FOX Sports were able to present the digital interactive features on screen during the game and through the use of digital recorders allowed playback of vital moments. This is where the future of the game and TV lies.

A great example is in a post below: Fox Sports viewers make the call on Katich – The Ashes 2009 – Fox Sports – Viewers of FOX Sports 3 bombarded the SKY UK commentary team with their “point of view” via email in Freddie Flintoff’s bowling of Katich – noting the no ball courtesy of the I.Q. Playback.

SKY Sports UK produced a fantastic series which both SBS and FOX Sports used, but the pre-show specials and interviews from Nick McArdle and Damien Flemming with Botham and Atherton live from the UK, combined with their digital interactive features, made it a winner for FOX Sports.

Also special mention to the excellent print and radio work by Three Drunk Monkeys for FOX Sports – the campaign dramatises the Ashes and what they mean to the Aussies:

A classic battle in every sense of the word and just as a new satellite launch promises more Australian Pay TV channel choices…


ESPN UK – Barclays Premier League advert – “It’s Great To Be Here”

Following the demise of SETANTA in the UK, ESPN has picked up their EPL rights and launched its first live UK sports channels, ESPN and ESPN HD.

The channels will feature 46 live Barclays Premier League (EPL) matches hosted by Ray Stubbs and Rebecca Lowe (Ex BBC Football Focus and Match of the Day).

They kicked off last weekend. With the momentum of a strong team and strong finances, I suspect that SKY will face some stiff competition from ESPN and “Stubbsie”.

The launch was driven by some strong advertising. Similar to FOX Sports in Australia (see post below), the promos featured the strong emotional connection that viewers have with their teams and the game.

This is about passion and living and breathing the beautiful game! Some great lines in there:

“Filled with pride, courage, meat and gravy…”

“I shall stand tall like a polyester beacon of hope…!”

These promos are well crafted creatively and well produced to lift the spirits of the viewer and anticipation of the season ahead.

Somewhat like a valiant cry in the midst of battle (!), the ad is full of hope and optimism. Stirring stuff and all before a ball was kicked in anger.

The ad for ESPN is voiced by Boys from the Blackstuff actor Bernard Hill and was created by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam. No surprise to see it’s a good one as these guys produce the Nike Soccer ads. (Remember the classic Nike “Park Life”…..):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l_-9mnnkqc

Lets just hope the games live up to the promise! (NUFC fan in remission…)

“30 Seconds” new promos for Comedy Channel – “Sumo” & “Martin”

Peter O’Brien, Joel Tobeck, Gyton Grantley, Stephen Curry and Jenna Lind will feature in 30 Seconds, the new scripted comedy Andrew Denton is producing for the Comedy Channel in Australia.

The show is a character study ‘based on the moral dilemmas people face, heightened by the excesses of the advertising industry and the three maintain no character in the show is based on any single person they know, but drawn from many of their real-life experiences.’

The show’s creators Tim Bullock, Justin Drape and Scott Nowell, worked together at advertising agency Saatchi&Saatchi in Sydney. The six part series will be directed by Underbelly’s Shawn Seet and the writing also includes SeaChange and Fast Forward’s Andrew Knight.

A couple of highly entertaining promos have been produced by the very on-form Three Drunk Monkeys agency.

It looks as though the advertising insiders will be poking serious fun at the inner workings of the industry.

New Fox Sports Australia Football ad.

There is a definite trend towards BIG BOLD advertising which connects to the consumer. Big productions, longer time-lengths and stirring words and music talking to consumers in their own language (ref the new VB ad posted below…).

Fox Sports in Australia have produced a new ad celebrating the great game and the fans who have been waiting through the winter Down Under. Most fans will already be EPG locked and loaded, but for those that haven’t, it is a strong and timely reminder to get behind your teams on Fox Sports.

It is a strong example of an advertiser talking to viewers in their own language – the passion and pride of sports fans. Pay TV does this particularly well as they know their consumers so well.

And for those of us supporting Newcastle United, the “Championship” season has already begun with a flattering 1-1 draw.

Note the Newcastle fan and the level of abject misery and the Manchester Utd fan revelling in the replacement of Ronaldo with Owen. Grief. But spot on…

Cadbury Boost “Roller Guru” ad back on your TV (thank you Bonds…)

I would suspect that the re-appearance of the 2008 Boost “Roller Guru” ad featuring the funk of Teddy Pendergrass’ “Only You” has something to do with the new Bonds “Racey Shapes” ad. (see the ad in the post below…)

Roller Guru is by The Furnace. Nice production. Also nice that the featured girl got some Bonds work after Boost. The skater on the right is a guy.

Johnnie Walker – The Man Who Walked Around The World.

A lot is said about brand engagement and a decreasing attention span for ads.

BBH have bucked the trend with a creative tour de force for Johnnie Walker.

“The Man Who Walked Around the World” is a six-minute piece of storytelling that features Robert Carlyle walking through the Scottish Highlands. Carlyle tells the story of the brand’s birth, growth and development.

Surprisingly you find yourself mesmerized for over 6 minutes, with a true history of a global brand. This isn’t manufactured heritage. This is the real thing and is unique to the brand. As always, a good, well told story goes a long way and Robert Carlyle adds to it all with the uncompromising delivery.

The production values are spot on (done in one take – the last one of the day at 8pm…). It engages you from many aspects – story, character and creative execution.

It may not fit the traditional format of many TV or cinema ads, but it will be remembered and registered as a quality ad for a quality product.

Great creative from the agency and a bold move by the client.

New Bonds Underwear Ad – Rollerskating “Racey Shapes”

Bonds Underwear is well known DownUnder.

They have had a traumatic PR ride as their production went off-shore, but in the face of a PR maelstrom, they have continued with high profile interesting advertising.

The latest ad is the subject of a later post:

New Bonds Hipsters Underwear ad – Band.

Sarah Murdoch has featured as have some “happy slapping” girls.

The recent ads catch the eye. One for the ladies (or pre-pubescent boys) is “Racey Shapes”:

The ad by The Campaign Palace, is reminiscent of a 70’s classic. Very Heather Graham in Boogie Nights…

It features the now much loved Bond Girls on roller skates and is another good addition to a strong campaign idea to show off pants to their best.

Proving that Bonds clearly have a sense of humour, their ad for the boys boxer still brings a smile each time I see it:

http://www.bonds.com.au/#latestAds

Before Jim Henson was famous: Wilkins Coffee

Well before the Muppets Jim Henson was in the ad game.

From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea.

The bizarre and violent ads starred the cheerful Wilkins (Kermit pre-cursor), who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy Wontkins, who didn’t. And paid the ultimate price.

The characters proved so popular that in October 1958, the company offered vinyl puppets of Wilkins and Wontkins through the mail for $1.00 and a coffee can label.

The ads were well ahead of their time. Just think of the competitors ads at this time – housewife and husband etc

These are well worth a look.

New Absolut Vodka Anthem Ad.

Absolut Vodka is a contemporary style icon.

For years they have created iconic press ads. They were also one of the first Brands to populate the virtual worlds of Second Life and appear to constantly strive to support the creative community.

Their well earned reputation is for creative excellence. All based around a tasteless colorless odorless liquid. The Brand and more specifically creative use of it and the bottle are all important.

So the launch this week by TBWA\CHIAT\DAY New York of their new ad is greatly anticipated.

A group of artists comes together in locations around the world to create art pieces that spell out the philosophy of Absolut Vodka. “Doing Things Differently Leads to Something Exceptional”

See something different in an ABSOLUT WORLD. It has it’s own Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/ABSOLUT?v=app…

It delivers on quality, but even with the Joy Division soundtrack, it seem to lack the clever surprise of their press work. As they say themselves:

“From Warhol to Gartel to Kravitz to Kanye, ABSOLUT has partnered with true creative Visionaries since 1979 to develop unique, inspired works of art”.

Once you delve into the Facebook page you appreciate the work in the film. But the frequency of fantastic special effects has desensitized the viewer to a lot of the hard work involved in producing these pieces.

Still. A great piece of film.

The Olympus Pen Super Stop Motion

Sometimes a great piece of creative pops up and uses a familiar technique to fantastic effect.

Olympus have reissued a classic – the Olympus Pen camera. It’s a funky retro-chic affair and needed some classy advertising.

The ad features a superb piece of stop motion work that hooks you line and sinker. Relevant to the product, interesting (I was gripped) and ultimately motivating (I want one…)

http://olympus.eu/penstory/

Ring of Fire

eclipse michael hill McCann

At the risk of flogging the space theme to death….

The Asian eclipse was a winner across the region.

In Australia this excellent tactical ad for Michael Hill Jewelers appeared in today’s press and is already on-line attracting attention.

Great example of less is more from McCann. The agency has some history here. Back in 1999 they ran a Bacardi ad featuring the line:

“On August 11 at 11.11am you could have 2 mins 06 secs of extra nightlife. Don’t waste them”

Clearly they like a good eclipse at McCann.

Wicked Sick BMX Ad

There is continued diablogue about the power (or otherwise) of creativity and big ideas.

Creative flashes of brilliance can certainly attract attention. The question is can they actually sell as well as win awards?

Often the brand, product or service is most at fault for not delivering a sufficiently differentiated proposition which can be leveraged through advertising and promotion. Inherently there must be something there to sell.

BBH mastered the art of advertising invariably bringing out a brand truth in their creative –  effectively producing high end product promotions. Levis UK ads all talk about a feature in the product.

To add to the debate George Patterson Y&R produced an interesting viral ad, demonstrating the effect of a good ad on an average product. The BMX that they transformed on ebay made a tidy 500% profit.

Evian Rollerskating, Breakdancing & Water Babies

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “RedBalcony > Baby Break Dance“, posted with vodpod

Much on-line banter surrounds Evian’s rollerskating babies dancing to a remix of the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight in Evian’s international ad campaign for this summer.

The campaign, by Paris-based agency BETC Euro RSCG, has already reached 6.4 Million views on YouTube showing the hipster babies performing old school rollerskating tricks to show the rejuvenating effects of mineral water.

Evian last used babies in their much discussed underwater ballet TV ad. The latest approach is to use social media to best effect.

Then as now there was a lot of comment. Somehow, the ads just capture a creepy element. Personally I like the even more quirky version above. Rather than visual weirdness they focused on a bizarre adult / kid VO. Very weird, but good visuals.

Here are the Rollerskater and Swimming babies for comparison.

Those crazy French guys:

Vegemite “Name Me” ad by JWT

The new Vegemite ad by JWT invites consumers to come up with a name for the product, a combination of Vegemite, cream cheese and another secret ingredient, which will first appear on shelves bearing the label “Name Me”. The public originally named Vegemite in 1923 giving the campaign some nice heritage.

It’s a well integrated campaign and has a good dose of Brand Honesty in that it accepts that Vegemite polarizes. I think that the UK’s Marmite campaign is an excellent execution of a similar proposition: http://www.marmite.com/

Brands that invite consumer engagement – in this instance naming – are clever in recognising the power of the increasingly dis-connected consumer who has an abundance of choice. Getting them to feel more like a stakeholder is a strong idea e.g. via naming (Smiths Crisps: http://www.smithsdousaflavour.com.au) or advertising creative (Doritos make your own ad).

But Brand beware – as in the case of Doritos understand that you get what you ask for. Doritos web-site crashed and budding creatives lost their work resulting in significant bad publicity.

The Vegemite site is simple, well branded and easy to use: http://www.vegemite.com.au

Wonderful World of Webcam

This is great work for the band Sour, directed and produced by Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura (BBH New York), Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura.

A message was sent out from the band to ask fans to volunteer for the new webcam driven music video.

The next few months were spent choreographing the performance. This was primarily done by the directors literally acting out and filming every part themselves to produce a detailed animatic, that in-turn would make it easier for their friends online to follow.

Once that was buttoned down the filming of over 80 people began. The directors wanted the action to be created from timed choreography to give it a more realistic feel and to make it more human.

In case you’re curious, the song is about discovering your own color or voice in this world. Thanks to BBH for sharing.

Great AD Archive: The Guardian Points Of View

News Ltd CEO John Hartigan has been defending the editorial value of newspapers versus the ubiquitous Blog.

It has been an interesting and protracted discussion (at least on the side of the bloggers…)

In defending newspapers, I am always looking at the UK’s Guardian as an example of an innovator. http://www.guardian.co.uk/ is again website of the year and The Guardian embraced new digital media whilst innovating in terms of the paper through sections and the Berliner smaller format adopted in 2006. Others followed.

I think of real significance is the fact that The Guardian has effectively used traditional advertising and media to promote it’s USP of rounded journalism. Most famously in the above ad “Points of View” which is still on of the most memorable ads ever made.

VB Makes a Stand for the Common Man.

Dave Trott has been speaking on his blog about NY attitude translating directly into some great Branding and Advertising.

The Australian’s have a similarly well defined attitude often referred to as “Tall Poppy Syndrome”. Simply put, it is a populist, levelling social attitude. No one is necessarily better than anyone else, be it cab driver or corporate director.

The new VB ad shows this off in all it’s glory.

With such a big production (over 1,500 cast!), each viewing brings out another hidden gems:

  • “Blokes punching above their weight”
  • “Men who’ve had their arm in a cow”
  • “Guys who peaked in high school”
  • “Meat tray winners”
  • “Blokes who’ve done the phantom”
  • “The manscapers”
  • “Guys who claim to have punched a shark”
  • “The Brewers”
  • “The miniature bat signers”

Campbell's Chunky Fully Loaded Man

Australia just ended Men’s Health Week, putting the Aussie Bloke into the news.

Aussie Blokes are often given a bad wrap. Sir Les Patterson has done his part to perpetuate the myth as the self appointed “Minister for Sport with special responsibility to keep sports rampantly heterosexual and blokey”

So against a backdrop of suppressed bloke-ness in fear of the obvious stereo-types, I’m loving the Campbell’s Chunky Can / Man advertising.

I can already see kids at school charging around singing the “Fully loaded CAAANNN” line.

Sometimes it’s better not to over think the ad and just enjoy the ride.

My only criticism is that this Australian ad isn’t supported on-line in similar fashion. I’m sure that it would attract interest from boys of all ages.


The Economist Red Wires Advertising.

The Economist has distributed it’s new ad to the Great and the Good in the advertising community – itself a clever act as it is now one of the most talked about new ads on-line.

The Economist has had a truly brilliant run of Red outdoor ads originated by David Abbot.

They are clever, insightful, hugely relevant and ultimately motivating. Mainly copy lead, they all follow the white on red format and force consideration.

There are plenty of great examples, but many consider the best to be:

the_economist_trainee


Wonderbra spoofed it:

wonderbra_economist

So a new TV ad would have to be good. This one is brilliant. In the words of the Economist:

This ad uses the image of a wire-jumper (Florent Blondeau) walking through a city on a series of red wires and the strapline “Let your mind wander” as a metaphor for the inherent pleasure in connecting different ideas, and how this is reflected in the wide-range news and analysis available in a copy of The Economist.

Despite team changes on the client and agency side, the campaign idea has survived and prospered.

Creative continuity at its very best!


Barmy Army Tunes up for the Ashes

The Ashes series between England and Australia begins next Wednesday in Cardiff.

As a Pom, I’m looking forward to it and might even see it as there appears to be a “scorcher” in England and the Barmy Army will be out in full force.

The Barmy Army has developed into a Branded Business – one look at their website shows you how far they have come.

So it isn’t a surprise to see Naked Comms in the UK launch a soundtrack to the forthcoming tour. You can hear it at:

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/917277/Naked-launches-Barmy-Army-single/

Matt Jagger, the agency’s head of entertainment, has written, recorded and produced the single, called Hey, Hey, Ricky.

Blue Square, the online betting site, and The Sun are supporting the release, which taunts Ricky Ponting, the Australia skipper, with a line in the chorus: We’re taking back the Ashes, they don’t belong to you.

All good stuff, but it has some tough competition in Barmy Army favourites such as:

The Aussies love the English

The Aussies love the English, you might find it quite strange

‘Cos we sent them all down under, with only balls and chains

And when they see the English, they always shout and scream

But when they had the chance to vote they voted for the Queen!

God save your gracious Queen

Long live your noble Queen

God save your Queen (you’re a convict)

Send her victorious

Happy and glorious

Long to reign over you

God save your Queen.

Let Battle commence!


Japanese Electric Paper Advertising

Dave Trotts excellent Blog discussed the visual impact of press ads once the copy was ignored (in his case by glancing at it upside down).

Often when viewed in a foreign language the effect can be the same – most marked for me in Japanese. The Japanese also have a healthy obsession with applied technology to help the ads stand out in a saturated market.

The above subway ad for Lancome takes this to another level in the medium of electric paper or e-paper. The product USP is a vibrating applicator brush. The e-paper  reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later, so the paper can be written and rewritten repeatedly. The effect is essentially a paper poster hanging from the ceiling of a subway train in which the image changes.

The USP communication is clear and precise with a highly relevant, interesting and motivating use of a specialist medium.

E-paper is most often seem in electronics where it is replacing LCD’s (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle), the only drawback is that it only appears in monochrome display e.g. black on white.

But a moving paper poster even in B&W is another step towards securing the attention of the ever elusive consumer.

Life Saver gets tongue action.

artwork_images_373_375102_andy-warhol

Life Savers was invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane in Cleveland – a chocolate maker who wanted a non-melter for summer. He decided on a hard candy in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle.

Since the mints looked like miniature life preservers, he called them Life Savers and registered the trademark….

The photo is a copy of an Andy Warhol silkscreen done in 1985. Little did I know (until I googled the ad) that this piece of 1970’s advertising had impacted the great Warhol.

The impact on me was profound. This ad (in it’s original form) is the first piece of advertising that I remember and still one of the best. I distinctly recall as a 7 year old living in Canada, picking up one of my parents magazines and being stunned by the copy line:

“Please do not lick this page!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I reached for the page anticipating the rush of my favourite candy only to be greeted by a wet and decidedly un-Life Saver taste.

Three key things happened.

First I was gutted that the manufacturers of this fine publication had NOT  gone to the trouble of putting the taste of Life Savers into the page. A cheap and deceitful act.

Second (and fairly quickly) it dawned on me that this was a clever piece of selling. I remember the “ah ha” moment as I quickly moved the page from tongue and glanced around to see if anyone had caught me.

Third a life long love of Life Savers developed from this seminal piece of advertising brilliance. Every trip to the States still involves the purchase of a good bundle of my favourites.

Clearly Andy saw something in it as well.

Bruno adds a bit of Sauce

Interesting to see a “spoiler” at Sydney’s Bruno premier.

I’m a huge fan of creating Brand Fame and notoriety through clever guerilla marketing and stunts. Things that force the attention of the punter for all of the right reasons – creativity, innovation, timing or often bare faced cheek (Jarvis Cocker at the Brits), these are the memorable moments that still attract comment and publicity. Of real importance is that the Brand in question fits with the stunts. Relevance can’t be ignored or the Brand will be.

Nando’s + Hot Sauce + Blonde models + Bruno doesn’t quite add up in a relevant way for me?

Top marks for timing, effort and beating the one man security gauntlet, but it’s all in the execution as they say.

And a final thought for the more cynical of us…

…the Hummer sailed through, the camera was there at the door, the security wasn’t and some fine footage did appear on You Tube? Experience suggests that too little was in the way of those “crazy” Nando guys and perhaps even Bruno (….cut to Bruno surprised look), needs a little extra brand sauce to spice things up these days?


Lost: Great Blog and family friend goes by the name of "Scamp"

last post

Having recently embarked on the business of Blogging, I was saddened to see the demise of a great example: “Scampblog”.

Published by Simon Veksner, a copywriter at BBH in London (an agency I worked at and greatly admire), the blog inspired me to have a go and get blogging.

Good luck, so long and farewell Scamp: http://www.scampblog.blogspot.com/

Michael Owen 40% OFF while stocks last.

owen5_0-1

As a long suffering NUFC fan and a “seasoned” (i.e. over 35!) marketing and ad man, I despaired when I first heard of the Owen Brand pitch via glossy brochure. Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of the “Brand” in its many and varied forms. I’ve even managed sports talent that are indeed “Brands” in their own right with a revenue stream and ego to match. Owen was as great a brand as is Ronaldo (expensive evil personified), Rooney (”once a blue always a blue”) and Shearer (the latest messiah).

But having seen NUFC dismantle itself financially, professionally, publicly in the press and on the pitch and having seen Mr. Owen’s central attacking role in this, I can’t help but see this desperate sales brochure as a final nail in his professional career. Who on earth advises footballers these days?

I heard the Stoke (yes Stoke) manager express interest despite “not receiving the brochure yet…” The very fact that Owen’s management has produced this speaks volumes. Reputations are and always will be created and ended on the pitch. The professional footballing success can then be leveraged off the pitch and has been in the case of Owen’s career at Liverpool and with England. It was well deserved at the time. He was a great player, but a poor purchase by Newcastle.

It adds insult to injury to suggest that a faded star who played a role in the demise of one of Europe’s great teams, is presented as a Brand with such current and valuable equity. Are we to expect a “cut price offer / this week only” addendum to this sales pitch? As to which business and brand is looking for this association baffles me? Air-freshners may be in with a chance…………..

Or perhaps I’m just another exhausted Toon Army faithful who is witnessing yet another bizarre chapter unfold in the very public story of the demise of a truly great Brand – Newcastle United (R.I.P.)

See you all next season at Blackpool, Scunthorpe etc.