Out of nowhere I ran again across this small section of Rory Sutherland’s „Life lessons from an ad man“ talk at TEDGlobal 2009. I had forgotten how interesting and brilliant, filled to the brim with awesome it was. If you like this small section, you will enjoy all the highly recommended 17 minutes.
Sometimes there are moments that make me realize why I started to work in direct marketing. A few days ago I went to an optician to have my glasses repaired.
I handed them the glasses, they checked customer data and I was told to come back some days later to pick up the repaired item. Not even five minutes passed after leaving the store I received this short text message (translated and paraphrased):
Exclusively for YOU in April!
FREE spectacle frame (max. €99,90)
with your purchase of new glasses
at your XYZXY store until 04/30/2010.
This short text message = voucher
Clearly, turning in my spectacles for repair had triggered the text message. If my glasses hadn’t been a sad little backup set, I probably would have turned back checked out the glasses at their shop.
Dutch Design studio STUDIO SMACK has created this video to demonstrate „the immense scale of the visual bombardment“ we encounter every day. Sure, in theory we have all heard the numbers of the many thousands of messages we encounter everyday, but what does it mean? In the video, all texts, logos, ads competing for our attention are highlighted white, everything else is black.
That’s quite some clutter to break through and to paraphrase PSFK, it makes you think how visible advertising really is. (btw, the video is Creative Commons licensed, very useful for presentations)
The Lurpak campaign by Wieden+Kennedy, London is one of my favourite recent advertising campaigns. I like the insight and strategy behind it and how they were translated into marvellous ads (with long copy). The rhythm, images and focus on what good you can make with Lurpak (instead of promising some super-healthy proposition) are a pleasing contrast to the usual screaming of advertising.
Yesterday evening a new series of print and television ads went on air: „Saturday is Breakfast Day“ (via the W+K London blog).
Inspire people to make Saturday a breakfast day. The brilliant copy and images are mouthwatering and inspiring. Again, the focus is on something you can make WITH Lurpak instead of some obscure promise what Lurpak does for you. Improve your Saturday, enjoy a wonderful breakfast, add Lurpak. Brilliant.
I believe this resonates with many people in general (breakfast people like my wife or non-breakfast people like me) and Britain’s situation in particular.
It is hardly a coincidence that this piece appeared in today’s Times. Camilla Cavendish makes observations about the British and food that could very well be in the brief for the Lurpak campaign:
Most of us are confused. […] We balk at paying for raw ingredients, but readily cough up for extortionate ready meals. We spend hours watching TV chefs but apparently only 13 minutes on average making a meal – down from one hour in 1980.
and the last paragraph, where she recalls Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, drawing the contrast
between Britain’s “pornographic” onslaught of recipes and TV chefs, and the “act of true love” that he believes is making food from traditional, local ingredients.
Imagine that commercial.
Google has published Google Zeitgeist 2008 this week. This yearly summary of the year’s most popular searches at Google. So what is interesting here?
The results for the most popular searches in Austria are odd: youtube, orf, ebay, hotmail, wikipedia, herold… Not just Austria, all over the world people seem to mix up address bar and the search field.
This implies a few things: first, this seems to be a basic design flaw in internet browsers. Of course, the address bar is commonly placed on top, but for most people attention is drawn to the all important input field in the center of the start page. (Or, if I recall correctly, in Internet Explorer people’s inputs in the address bar are redirected to a search engine when no website is found)
Whatever the cause one can’t help but notice, secondly, people (the significant majority) are nowhere near internet-savvy. In some countries more, in some countries less. Really successful in the web business are the people who really acknowledge and exploit this fact: hackers, phishers and spammers. On the legal end of the spectrum, most internet advertising and market seems to just talk and connect to the experienced internet user segment.
Thirdly: Why bother printing your web-address on ads? Or, if you are internet service like check24.de or monster.at: Why bother confusing your clients with adresses? What has to stick is the brand name, and then you have to make sure you own the search results when it is entered.
And lastly, it probably pays to buy yourself into the searches for names of your competitors. Say someone wants to get to eBay, googles eBay and as first result gets the paid ad for Ricardo.at, an Austrian auctioning site. Admittedly, eBay know their stuff too well, but for most other brands you can position yourself right in front of your competition’s gates.
While Austria is preparing itself for yet another election filled with xenophobic campaigning, I stumble across this at Mark Earls‘ Herd Blog:
Channel 4 does a little online/interactive/online campaign that tries to give people a differentiated look at Islam and muslims. The idea itself is simple: they are looking for 500 Osamas around the world to tell who they are, what they do and what they like.
This is great. It involves people. Makes them do something. As Mark points out it is a textbook sample for a modern campaign. But more important, this campaign lets muslims portray themselves, instead of being portrayed by hatemongers on soapboxes.
Austria could use some similar campaign these days. We need more human faces and the realization that we have more in common than what separates us in to break through the label of „non-integration-willing foreigners“ (bad translation of a bad term) and whatever that may suggest. But that would be an entirely different post.
They still need around 400, so if your name is Osama, or you know an Osama, join in.
I ran into this the other day: Kevin Proudfoot talks Intimacy It is just a short list/summary which I found to be a pretty a good reminder of the golden rules of establishing meaningful communication with consumers. I believe there is no way around them:
- Let the person know you’re thinking about them. Consider the user.
- Talk directly to them. Eye level.
- Enable and encourage them to be themselves. Let people reflect themselves.( (i.e. customized Nikes)
- Avoid schizophrenia. Find one voice.
- DO. NOT. LIE. Reminder: It’s the age of the internet, if you are not honest, it will resurface as certain as a celebrity sex tape.
What will be the implications for the Dove campaign should it really be the case that their images were heavily retouched? Other than disastrous? I mean, doing EXACTLY the opposite of what you claim to do. What were they thinking?
This does not mean I am fully convinced by the story, but the damage is already done because the Ogilvy PR person was not quick enough to say „WTF?! Who is this guy?“. „We have to check..“ sounds more like “ I am not sure what to answer. Please stand by till I have made up the proper lie.“ This is a symptom of an inconsistent story and in an interrogation room Dove would now be screwed.
I remember this story of an retiring politician (as incredible as it sounds, I think that was the case): he was praised by colleagues and the press that he never forgot a name, a commitment, a discussion or a face. When asked how he archieved that, he answered: „Oh. That was easy. I never told a lie.“
It is true. If you find an honest tone and message, communication will be easy. You will know what to do, what to say and you (or your press spokesperson) won’t have to remember all the lies you told.
This was good. I have not seen a planning process in a team like this in action. I had exchanged mails with George prior to the workshop and he had mentioned that this was rather about „strategy being about ideas that are stimulated and confirmed by research rather than strategy being something that emerges from research“. I get what he meant with stimulation.
It really was about laying out as many potential routes as possible before deciding where to go. Getting ideas for brand values, ideas for consumer values, ideas for consumer insights, ideas for propositions and spot the route through that multitude that hums best. The hardest part about the process is probably turning off your filter that keeps trying to cut away things.
I believe this can be exciting with smaller clients and companies to produce a useful platform for communication in a day or two. It takes an experienced planner to facilitate the process, keep it running and spot the nuggets. And trigger lateral thinking.
Another nice aspect of the seminar was meeting some of the few Account Planners in Austria. I can now safely assume that there are no more than 20 people that have Account Planner or Strategic Planner as their job title. And all sit in the network agencies lik TBWA, DraftFCB, Ogilvy, BBDO et.al. or work as independent consultants.
The bad news of this: the job situation is pretty dim. The good news: there is potential for Account Planning here and especially for the agencies who embrace it.
First day of the Account Planning Tools Workshop with George Shepherd in Vienna. The few times an opportunity for training comes up in Austria, I have to be there. Even if I pay the whole thing myself.
George, who worked with Y&R, the Leigh Agency and Red Spider, is introducing us to his Account Planning Toolkit, a blueprint and set of templates for a planning process. A lot of hands on work in groups, with a lot of brainstorming and thinking. With his templates I found you can move the results to promising routes without limiting the broadness of ideas. So far, I find this especially useful for teams that have to bring up results in a very short time.
I assume that whole thing works a whole lot better in the real world compared to five advertising people in a hotel lounge, when the client is involved and the agency has done the homework.
The LeMeridien is pretty chic, the room with the name „Eternal Black“ not as dark as it’s name. Just the typical hotel conference room. No photos, yet. Hopefully, I will get around to post some tomorrow.
This week started with a pleasant surprise:
Rob Campbell posted Paul Colman’s reviews on the presentations for the assignment on Extra gum. After short disappointment because I wasn’t able to identify my presentation from the feedback (see whole story here) it turns out the winning presentation is my entry.
To sum this up in short: Extra is the everything else gum of Wrigley’s. The brand is spread out to appeal to everybody, and also the vehicle for new products. My recommendation was to define Extra by leaving innovation to a new brand, and putting focus on Extra as functional gum that aids concentration, focus etc.
Personally, I knew that this would taken two more slides, but ten was the limit. I REALLY would love to see Assignment „I“: „Mental Hygiene“ is perfect, sums up my positioning thoughts much better. In fact, I would love to see all the other presentations. It was always great to see where all the other minds went.
BIG Thanks to Paul and Rob for taking the time to a look at the work.
But, alas, back to work. The new assignment is up already online.
Hm, I can’t help it, but I still have a suspicion that there has been an error and Paul Colman will ask me to return my price.