Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Protest and Survive

If, like me, you were unlucky enough to go to school in the 1980s, you'll probably also be familiar with 'Protect and Survive'. I was introduced to it during Modern Studies class in high school and I'm pretty certain that the only reason they showed it to us was to give us nightmares and remind us that our lives as we knew them, in 80s Cold War Britain, could end at any given moment in a fiery inferno.

'Protect and Survive' was a series of twenty different Public Information Films which the government produced to show us what to do in the event of a nuclear war. Unfortunately, all of the advice is worse than useless and the only thing that soon becomes clear is that there are no good ways to completely protect yourself and that your odds of survival are miniscule at best. Thankfully, they never did show the films on TV, probably for fear that it'd cause civil unrest, tinned food famine and mass suicides.

Anyway, whilst doing a little internet research into the subject this week, I came across this:

At first view it's somewhat hilarious! The often disturbing cartoony animation of the Protect and Survive films sits askew with the upbeat soundtrack of Fred Astaire giving us a jolly rendition of "Putting on the Ritz". The fact that the images seem to dance in time with the music makes the whole thing all the more comic and fun!

But as the film progresses, the comedy gets blacker and you soon realise it's communicating an altogether serious message. The happy-go-lucky music begins to fade out and eventually the only soundtrack which remains is the wind of a nuclear winter. After all that jollity, it seems they're protesting about the government's plans to replace the country's trident nuclear missiles.

Of course, what you've just witnessed is a very clever piece of viral marketing. It seems the approach is, "make them laugh then make them think." And, in my opinion, it works incredibly well.

I know today's post is all a bit grim but there's a reason to love marketing hidden in there nevertheless. With the help of some inspired marketing communication, you can start to strike a chord with people who ordinarily would have no interest in what it is you're advocating. In fact, what happens is you begin to resonate with people in ways *they* never thought possible, changing their attitudes and their ideals in the process.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Now YOU can share the love!

Hopefully, we've already given you some good reasons to love marketing that you hadn't thought of before. We've got plenty more to share with you over the next few weeks but, in the meantime, we want you to get your thinking caps on and tell us why YOU love marketing.

To take part, all you have to do is visit our web site. You can reach the "share the love" submission form by clicking
here. We'll take the best submissions and use them to compile a free booklet which we'll publish later in the year. Don't forget to tell us your name, since we'll be publishing it alongside your submission!

Love from everyone at AME Marketing xx


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Guerilla Warfare

As the world of TV and print advertising become over more saturated the use of guerrilla marketing appears to be on the increase. Unusual and attention-grabbing, the campaigns are often run with a much smaller budget than traditional campaigns; however often manage to achieve much greater coverage ironically.

Allstate Insurance in America carried out one such stunt recently, where a car was dangled over the edge of a tower block in Chicago and underneath was the company’s ad asking “Are you in good hands?” Apparently the company also backed this up with an advert where they filmed a car actually falling out of the tower block into the sea. The ad was then shown on TV, online and stills of the stunt also ran in the press. The only problem is perhaps that those on the ground could not appreciate it fully as they would have been unable to see the company’s logo on the board, however, effective nonetheless given the coverage received. Devised by Leo Burnett, Chicago, it seems the objective was indeed achieved – attention grabbed (Picture from Ad Goodness).

Another campaign that I particularly liked which was executed on this side of the pond a few months ago by Carlsberg, where they dropped “litter” around the streets of London, to the tune of £5000. £10 and £20 notes were placed around the streets with a removable sticker with the latest execution of “would probably be the best [insert whatever] in the world.” I have to agree with this one, definitely the best litter.

So, the next reason to love marketing that I’ve extrapolated from today’s examples? Marketing can be carried out almost anywhere and is constantly evolving. It’s not just about selling, it’s often also about entertaining and as more and more guerrilla campaigns surface who knows what will be thrown up next. And, it might just make you a little bit richer...

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Mary, Queen of Marketing

Thanks to the wonderful invention that is the PVR, over the past two weekends I've been indulging in a little retail marketing therapy. Mary Queen of Shops is the BBC2 series during which celebrated retail clever-clogs Mary Portas takes four down-in-the-dumps boutiques, gives them a proper shake by their shabby lapels and transforms them into bustling fashion emporiums.

"I'm Mary," narrates the show's star consultant at the beginning of each episode. "What I don't know about shops isn't worth knowing." With this in mind, I must admit I wasn't too sure how I'd get on with Mary. I know that some business owners don't take too kindly to consultants who are too quick to profess their superior intellect and my first instinct was that I'd dislike her know-it-all attitude.

The big surprise then was that I instantly fell in love with her no-nonsense but caring approach. Sure, she's met with the typical brick walls - no belief in the marketing function, zero budgets, marketing myopia, etc. - but she excels at overcoming them by communicating her unwavering belief in what she knows is right. What she might be saying is, "it's my way or the highway," but she also manages to convince her clients that she only has their best interests at heart. It's a powerful motivator.

Whilst I wouldn't dare belittle her achievements in the fashion retail industry (after all, her reputation in the sector speaks for itself), I'd argue that what Mary really knows about is marketing. In the two episodes I've seen so far, what's common is that the retailers are missing a proper understanding of their customer needs. Indeed, without a clear and resolute focus on customers and their unique tastes and habits, these businesses have dangerously lost their way in the jungle that is the fashion market. As Mary teaches them, all they need to do to turn their businesses around is obtain some insider information about what makes their customers tick, then aggressively deliver exactly that.

And it works. With some clever market segmentation - customers are described as "Disciples of Beckham" and "The Forever 40s", for example - some real insights into what makes these segments unique and some inspired marketing communication, these boutiques see sudden and often dramatic turnarounds in their fortunes.

The truth is that what Mary is teaching them isn't rocket science. But she's brilliantly showing us all how marketing can take a tired old business and transform it into a powerful, dynamic and ultimately more profitable one. Need a reason to love marketing? Personally, I can't think of a better one.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Stick 'em up!

So, today I’m going a little off topic. I’m still sticking [just realised the clever pun here for what's about to come] with reasons to love marketing, but it’s not so much the campaigns themselves, but more the media that I’m loving today and one type of media in particular – Moo products, especially their new stickers.

And, strictly speaking, the stickers are not a commercial advertising medium, although they often get used for that purpose, but they are also for the general public, to market any photos they have to anyone they wish. And that’s exactly why I love them.

I love to send my friends cards or presents that are a little out of the ordinary and it’s great to see the look on people’s faces when they receive something they truly know you’ve put a lot of thought into. And Moo stickers (or their minicards, or notecards) can all help you do that.

And there you have reason to love marketing number six: Marketing isn’t just for businesses, it’s for people too – to share their favourite moments with friends and bring a little joy into theirs’, and other’s lives.

However, if you are a business, Moo’s products have a multitude of uses for your company as well. Their minicards can be used as unusual business cards, their notecards can be used for direct mail and their stickers can be used for… hell, who knows, it’s Friday afternoon and I’m out of ideas for the week, but I’m sure you could come up with something.

The main reason I love them, and it seems to be a common theme in why I love marketing, again, it gives me a sense of nostalgia, taking me back to when I had sticker albums to fill up as a kid. But now, those stickers will be my own personal pictures and instead of getting my digital photos as prints, I can make them into stickers to stick straight into my photo sticker album – how cool is that! OK, so I’m getting a little over-excited now, but you get the idea.

Shipping during July is free for the stickers, so get in now and order a load from your photos (which can be uploaded from a number of sites, see website for details). They even come in their own stickerbook!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peace man!

Seems we’re not the only one’s who want to have a summer of love this year. But while we’re focusing our love on marketing, Lucky Brand in America is reviving the 60’s and focusing their love instead on flower power (with their brand taking centre stage of course).

Sending a 1949 Flxble bus cross country across the USA, they have their own blog, a
‘Daily Denim Diary’ reporting on the journey. The party hasn’t stopped since the bus set off with the band ‘The Hysterics’ playing live sets in many of the locations as it goes along. Press from all around the US have picked up on the campaign as well as much of the online community, giving Lucky Brand the type of exposure they would have been hoping for.

Fair enough, the campaign was born to shamelessly plug some jeans, but at the same time, it’s a nice idea and what better time of year to send a party bus round the country than in the summer. And, from the coverage it’s received it seems that it is spreading some love and happiness as well as brand awareness.

Those old enough to remember the 60s are given a trip down memory lane and those who weren’t there the first time get a little taste of the decade (through rose-tinted glasses of course).

I’ve already said that a good reason to love marketing is that it lets you spread a little love, and this is another case in point, so what other reason can I wrangle out of today’s example? Well, I think today’s reason (which will be no. 5 for those of you counting) is that sometimes, just sometimes, marketing can brighten up your day when stuck in a traffic jam. In fact, it also happened to me a few weeks ago when a van for a club called Boho in Glasgow’s West End passed us in the car (see the back end of it’s hedge-covered van below

N.B. Next reason won’t be as obscure – promise!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A red, red rose

Taking the idea from Neil Perkins, who took the idea from Creative Think - you “Take your favourite words, your favourite blogs, and give ‘em some some link love.” So, given it was the summer of love and taking inspiration from the words Neil used, I though I would use one of my favourite poems, from the wonderful Robert Burns (that’s where some of you who went to school in Scotland may begin to switch off after those years of Burns recitals, but, I love this poem and won a prize for reciting it [that’s where those of you who know me personally will keel over with shock – me winning a prize for singing]).

So, here’s some of the poem, and some of my favourite blogs, in no particular order:

"O my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
My love like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry."

And so on to the fourth reason to love marketing – blogs allow you to spread a little love to the others in your industry as well as your customers.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Entering cartoon world

Reason to love marketing number 2: It lets you enter into another world, even if just for a couple of minutes. How do I work that one out – well, case in point, the promotion for the new Simpsons movie.

There can’t be many people who don’t like the Simpsons, even if you are not a huge fan, you will have likely watched the odd episode. And, no doubt you will have laughed at and/or identified with one of the characters at one point or another. The very fact it has been going the number of years it has is testament to its popularity.

And, apart from the fact that I am eagerly anticipating the film, I am loving the prmotion for it, it really is marketing at its best. My two favourite elements – making your own Simpsons avatar and turning 7-Elevens into Kwik E Marts. The
7-Eleven website is even getting on the act too.

Unfortunately, there are no 7-Elevens in Scotland (at least I haven’t come across one), but I probably spent a good portion of my time in Hong Kong in them, I know it’s sad, but I love them. And, turning them into Kwik E Marts is a work of genius. I’m only disappointed that I can’t experience it myself. But I can, however, make myself into a Simpsons character – so, here you go - Bressy:

Granted, I’m not five years old and don’t have hair as full and fabulous as that, but I am a short-ass and my neighbour thinks I’m a secret goth, so I thought I'd add a little skull and crossbones – I do however like colour too much, and a variety of music, to be a real goth.

Graham’s got in on the act too – here’s his avatar:

So, if you want some Simpsons fun too, visit the movie website here. Which leads me onto the third reason to love marketing – it provides you with a fun way to waste a little time when you’re bored!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Buttercup Test

The Summer of Love has started, so Graham tells me, but looking out the window this afternoon, I’m not so sure. Still, inside the fluorescent light is shining, there are some lovely, freshly painted blue walls and of course – a lot of love – for Marketing!

To continue with these themes of summer and love then, I came across the new advert for Anchor butter on
Brand Republic and it really brought a smile to my face.

Anchor is repositioning itself as a free-range product and as such is backing this with a £3 million TV campaign. The TV ad features the old classic buttercup test, where a buttercup is placed under your chin to see whether you like butter or not. The ad starts with a young girl picking up a buttercup to do the test, as it progresses the buttercup is passed from one person to another until it is given to the object of one man’s affections on a bus. You can watch the execution below. It’s an idea that seems so obvious I’m surprised no one has done it before.

The buttercup test is one of those things you forget all about (especially if you don’t have any young children in your life) and the advert manages to take you right back to when you were little. Which, of course, is exactly what it is trying to do, play on your emotions, while highlighting their new position. But, I like it. It tugs on the old heartstrings giving a sense of nostalgia, but it’s done in a simple, gentle way.

So, here’s your first reason to love marketing – it resurrects long forgotten memories that can bring a smile to your face.

And this smiley face is off to find a buttercup to test myself out with.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Welcome to the summer of love

AME Marketing has just launched its summer campaign for 2007.

We want you to fall in love with marketing this summer. Why? Well the truth is marketing isn't very popular. Yet, when done right, it brings you wonderful customer insights, helps you gain a competitive edge, dramatically boosts your sales, nurtures long lasting customer relationships and gives you the power to resonate with people in ways you never thought possible. When you put it that way, what's not to love?

Look out for us over the coming weeks. You'll spot us on our web site, in the local press, in your mailbox and right here on our blog. We'll be giving you plenty of reasons why, whatever you do this summer, it should be your summer of love!

Love yourself. Love your customers. Love marketing!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Glasgow 2014

The final phase of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid web site went live this month. The previous site was intended to offer information about the bid, but its prime objective was to foster support from people around Scotland for the bid. Having now reached around 1¾ million supporters, that objective has certainly been met. The new site's main objective is now to communicate more information about the bid itself and provides more technical information about venues and logistics. But you can still add your support to the bid, of course.

I really hope that Glasgow manages to get the Games in 2014, and obviously I'm not alone. The decision will be made in Sri Lanka on 9th November 2007 and there will be lots of people throughout Scotland crossing their fingers on that day.

For those of you who have never been to Glasgow, it's a wonderful city, full of culture and things to do, whatever your preferences. For those of you who have possibly been and did not like it, give it another try – the sun does shine sometimes and the more you look, the more you'll find to do while you're there. And for those of you who have been and love it as much as we do, please go and show your support for the bid, if you haven't done so already.

My only worry would be that with London having been awarded the Olympic Games for 2012 it may lessen our chances of securing the Commonwealth Games a little, but I hope it doesn't. Scotland has its own, unique identity, quite separate from England and London itself, as does Glasgow. The new 'Glasgow: Scotland with style' reflects the city's cosmopolitan feel nowadays, but the old strapline still holds true as well, 'Glasgow’s miles better.' It's a friendly and welcoming city and takes influence not only from its own people but from other countries and cultures also.

Have a look at the new website
here, and lend your support to the bid. Apart from the positive impact it will have during the games, the creation of the athletes’ village will regenerate Dalmarnock in the East End of Glasgow, with the houses being made available for sale or socially rented housing afterwards. Having staged over sixty international events in the city over the last ten years, Glasgow has shown it has the capability for holding large events. The inhabitants just need to show that we have passion too – which we have done already, but the more support the better.

And, you'll find the branding isn't just aimed at children, but adults as well, so you will be in no danger of having an epileptic fit when you go to show your support.

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