IKEA Baby Whisperer screaming TV ad

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English: Logo of Ikea.

This is a funny ad, particularly for all the parents out there.

But it also continues in the IKEA tradition of delivering the simple proposition of low prices and decent quality (value).

It is a rare example of an arresting bit of creative that gets your attention and ensures that you remember the advertising message.

Nice work by The Monkeys.

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:

Kleenex Gripples toilet roll TV ad – dog sniffs bums

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We now firmly understand that a labrador puppy is the spokes-dog for toilet paper.

Usually he sprukes soft, strong and very, very long. And because he is soft and cuddly, we naturally assume that the product has similar qualities. We don’t often question if these are the properties that make it the best toilet paper, probably because it’s not something we choose to debate and discuss.

So it’s interesting to see Kleenex apply this more direct approach to the category.

Basically, does your bum smell?

After the initial shock of being confronted by such a direct accusation, we can consider what the ad is trying to do.

The cute puppy, is now less interested in playing with toilet rolls and is more interested in being a dog and smelling bums. Those that use Kleenex pass the test. Those that don’t get a yelp of terror from our cute character assassin.

Kleenex have made one concession to our potential embarrassment by making up a new word for textured toilet paper – gripples. To me it sounds a bit like a grade of sandpaper and perhaps not as cumfy as it is meant to. They are trading off this imaginative invention:

Here is what the company says in a press release from Kimberly-Clark:

“While a little edgier than previous Kleenex Cottonelle brand campaigns, the aim is to attract more premium brand switchers, who represent 60% of the market, by communicating the strength of Kleenex Cottonelle as well as the softness it’s renowned for.”

Marketing manager for Kleenex Cottonelle brand, Michelle Rossier said:

‘People use personal care products to feel clean and fresh all day, however they don’t connect this feeling to the toilet tissue they buy. The new campaign positions Kleenex Cottonelle brand as the toilet tissue that provides you with a superior level of clean.”

On the one hand (pun intended) this is a very different move in the category. It will get noticed.

On the other, do people want to be confronted by such a direct message?

My view is that it works to build awareness, but NOT brand engagement amongst the mass market. It has the cute credentials of the puppy to defuse a very direct commentary on hygiene and might perhaps, through the innovative invention of gripples, combine enough rational reasons with the emotion of our previously polite puppy to put this brand at the top of the shopping list. But that is a big “might” in the mass market shopping aisle.

Whilst it is great to see some difference in one of those tricky categories, I think this is missing the true insight on real consumer attitudes and the client has been sold “difference” against “effectiveness”.

The association to a dog sniffing a bum (and what we mean here is poo!) is at odds with what consumers want from the category – i.e. discretion and effectiveness without the overt reference to usage. No one wants to badge themselves in this category!

Just like the Care Free “Vagina” ad, the literal use of contentious words and actions becomes gratuitous and actually isn’t big or clever from a creative point of view. Very few brands successfully shock us into the sell – despite a creative belief that the notoriety of contentious / confronting ads will increase appeal.

As a footnote, I understand that there has been an immediate sales impact on Kleenex. And not a good one. Bummer.

 

K-Swiss Kenny Powers MFCEO – Vimeo winner

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This won an award for advertising in the recent Vimeo awards which brought it to broader attention after it’s launch last year.

It’s not often that you see a brand take such a left turn in it’s promotional thinking

K-Swiss the American footwear brand, has won recognition for the Kenny Powers campaign spun off the fictional character’s appearance in the HBO series Eastbound and Down.

The MFCEO campaign won K-Swiss Client of the Year at the One Show Awards, along with three Gold Pencils for Non-Broadcast/Online, Branded Content/Online Integrated Branding/Consumer Campaign as well as Vimeo recognition.

Danny McBride appears as Kenny Powers, the CEO in an online campaign. The campaign included billboards in Times Square and Venice Beach, a campaign micro-site, New York City subway posters and a 1-888 number where callers could call and hear an inspirational message from Powers.

One of the more interesting and risky brand initiatives that has propelled K-Swiss upwards in the “cool” charts…and very unusual for American advertising.

The Blades launch is quite something (there might be some strong language in this one…!).

It’s an interesting question – what is acceptable in advertising? This keeps winning awards and the ex Adidas marketing chief who commissioned it is supplying sales figures to say it works. Humour is often subjective, but this was a proven character from HBO’s Eastbound and Down and using Kenny was less of a risk than it might appear.

It certainly forces a reappraisal of the brand and this association will stick for a while, not that the company is moving away from it, more ads are in production with Kenny.

One things for sure, these ads make a statement – irreverent and without apology, differentiating the product from everything else on the shelf (and in the store!). That’s why I like it. Bold and brave, but hopefully not foolhardy – time will tell.

K-Swiss are committed and are on a roll.

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

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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.

Dawn French does Curtis Stone for Coles…

This is a nice fresh addition to the campaign…what I really like is that you can imagine Mrs (or Mr.!) shopper really liking this. A bit of a slap and tickle laugh…much more of the target’s sense of humor and therefore more memorable and motivating.

I hope this develops into more executions and Coles challenger status could be moving into a leadership position in the battle of aisles advertising?

Dawn is receiving a good deal of negative feedback from the industry suggesting that a local star could have done the job? I’m sure that they could, but this is written with Dawn French in mind and she does a great job. I think it adds to the perceived status of Coles to grab a bigger star and one that works so well versus the target.