Friday, November 30, 2007

Print and presentations

Two things caught my eye today on today’s trip round the blogosphere. First up a print ad from Audi which is so simple, yet so clever. I’m amazed it’s not been used many times before, however I suspect it’s one of those ideas that people would probably think someone must surely have done before. Interested to see whether a few more will pop up after this one mind you...

The second thing to get my attention was a presentation from The New York Times. Not your usual Powerpoint effort, the style of the presentation seems very apt considering the subject matter. Instead of detracting from what is being said, the voice-over and powerful images help to add to what is already a powerful story anyway. You'll find the presentation here.

Two great examples of how to get print and presentations right.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Inspiring logo?

So, apparently Edinburgh's "Inspiring Capital" slogan, logo and brand is set to be shelved within the coming months, less than three years after it was unveiled. Shortage of political support on the new city council, concerns about the lack of impact the image has had and problems with funding are all posing this threat its future.

Before its unveiling, around 18 months of research reportedly went into the launch of this Edinburgh brand. The finished logo was said to represent the city's "sense of energy" as well as famous images such as the Forth Bridge, the Festival fireworks and Arthur's Seat. While the aim of the brand was to persuade people to visit, live, work and study in the city.

And at a cost of £800,000, with a further £120,000 being ploughed into the project since its debut in 2005, the logo and brand should really have delivered. So, what went wrong?

Well, in my opinion at least, inspiring it is not. Looking at the logo, images of the Forth Bridge and fireworks are no more conjured up than they would be by looking at a bunch of other squiggly lines. In fact, the image makes me think more of the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. But quite apart from all that, even more telling is the fact that this is the first time I’ve even seen the logo – when it has been out for three years now. As a Scot within travelling distance of Edinburgh for day trips, etc., surely I am actually in one of their target groups. So the question remains, why have I not seen this logo or even heard anything about ‘Inspiring Capital’?

Perhaps the fault lies with the logo itself. Perhaps hiring a London agency to create a logo for Edinburgh was a bad idea; perhaps they should have used some of the local talent, people who have a real insight into Edinburgh and all it has to offer. Perhaps the fault lies in the marketing surrounding the logo and the brand in general. Or, perhaps the fault lies in all these things and more. But with issues such as school closures, overspends in the budgets of a number of council departments, and demand for investment in the likes the Commonwealth Pool and the King's Theatre in Edinburgh, it may very well be the case that the brand is buried as quietly as it appears to have been unveiled.

The other question of course is, will anyone even notice?

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

How much attention are we really giving what is on our screens?

Research conducted in the US by Burst Media has found that more than eight in ten internet users also do some offline activity while they are online. And topping the list of other activities, with three out of five internet users doing it? - Watching the television. I have to admit that this is something I do at home on a regular basis, and I know I’m not the only one.

After television, the next most popular offline activity to multi-task with was found to be job-related activities (with 33% doing this), then reading a book (31.1%), reading a magazine or newspaper (29.7%) and talking on a mobile phone (23.6%). Again, I can put my hands up to doing most of these, although I haven’t read a book at the same time since my uni days and I would usually only read something else at the same time if I was working on something, but it has been done.

What does all this mean for marketers who are using the internet as a primary channel in their campaigns though? Well, as Debra Williamson, senior analyst at e-marketer remarks, we should "Keep in mind that many of these activities are not representative of true multitasking", indeed "It's one thing to go online with the radio playing in the background, but it's all but impossible to read text on a Web page and in a newspaper at the same time. Consumers are switching focus, rather than multitasking." "Still, anytime your attention is divided, your ability to recall and comprehend ad messages is impacted."

So what can marketers do then to combat this lack of attention from those reading their messages online? The advice it seems is to tackle your target market from more than one angle, using different types of media. As Ms Williamson points out, "TV and the Internet have long been multitasking buddies," and so "It makes sense to create ad messages that resonate across media."

Although the data collected was from US online users, I would hazard a guess that the same type of data would be found here in the UK if online users were polled. And aside from these results having an impact on those using the internet as their primary channel of communication, it also has an impact on those using other channels such as newspapers, television, etc, as it also means that while they are engaged in viewing/reading those messages they are also turning their attention elsewhere at the same time.

I concede that this research isn’t actually telling us anything we don’t already know, but it’s always good to be reminded that your customers are going to have other messages vying for their attention at the same time, whether you are marketing to consumers or businesses. Because at the end of the day, ultimately you are marketing to human beings, who will have more to do with their day than sit down and digest the message you wish to send them.

So, lesson to be learned? Make your marketing as good as it can be and use more than one channel to put your message across. Otherwise it’ll get lost in the clutter of everyday life... Now, did your attention hold out this far?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Find your future you...

I always like finding campaigns that allow you to have a little fun in your lunch break and that’s exactly what I just did on the ‘Find Your Future You’ website from Svedka vodka.

Why have a ‘future you’ website you might wonder, well, it’s based around the company’s claim / tagline that Svedka is “Voted #1 Vodka of 2033”, quite a random year to pick, but at least they have 26 years to try to live up to it. And both the ‘future you’ website and the official company website are suitably futuristic and entertaining so the company has started their campaign in the right direction.

Given that it’s only available in the US I very much doubt i’ll be buying a bottle any time soon though, but otherwise i would have been tempted to try it, if only to reward their brightening up of my lunch hour. I picked the ‘No Sunscreen You’ for my future self, not that I don’t use it, but I preferred that to being a down-and-out.

Meet My Future You - Find Your Own Future You

Have a go yourself here, and, if you’re making a trip to the US in the near future, maybe pick up a bottle on your way home. And, if you like, also feel free to drop one into the office here afterwards... It is coming up to Christmas after all.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Another idea for Christmas...

For those of you looking for a present for the less marketing inclined, but still want to give a present that could make a difference this Christmas, Oxfam may well have the answer (Can you tell I started my Christmas shopping this week?).

Just came across their great new ad for ‘Oxfam unwrapped’ on Talent Imitates, which put a little smile on my face on a dark winter afternoon.

So, how does it work? Well, instead of giving your loved ones useless presents they neither like nor want, you can choose a gift from Oxfam Unwrapped, from a variety of price ranges, your loved one will receive a gift card and fridge magnet and Oxfam will use the donation you’ve made on their behalf to help in the fight against poverty. Not a new concept I know, but their use of humour instead of near emotional blackmail puts a whole new spin on it and really makes the campaign stand apart.

OK, so this sort of present isn’t for everyone, but it does give an idea for that someone you know who seems to have everything, especially if that everything includes a big heart.

And if you want a few more laughs, you can see the out-takes from the advert below. Have a good weekend!

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The Green Marketing Manifesto

I know that we’ll be too late by now to get one of the free books up for grabs by linking to ‘The Green Marketing Manifesto’, but I wanted to do it anyway.

The book, written by John Grant from the Greenormal blog, looks at green marketing (funnily enough) and how to organise your green marketing effectively. A good few examples are also thrown in for good measure, from a variety of companies, who are already making real headway in this area (one of which being Marks & Spencer, who you should remember have made leaps in bounds in one store in particular this year).

When it comes down to it though, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of green marketing or just pay lip service to it, but when it comes to actually implementing real changes and maintaining them it’s a completely different story. And the hardest step is often where to even start – then after you have, where to go next. But with a book like this which gives clear and practical advice on how to ‘go green’ properly and sustain this effort permanently, it makes the whole process that little bit easier.

At only £14.99 in many good book shops or £11.49 from Amazon, it will make the perfect stocking filler for the marketer / businessperson in your life (or just as a cheeky wee present for yourself). Very nice.

P.S. I also like the wee bit at the bottom of the cover asking buyers not to put the book in a plastic bag – nice touch. I definitely wouldn’t be putting it in a plastic bag – or an ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ bag for that matter!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Congratulations Glasgow!

Glasgow has been chosen to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games it was announced today, winning by 47 votes to 24.

Great news for the city and its surounding areas!

So once again, well done Glasgow! Here's looking forward to 2014...

For further, immediate reactions on the announcement, click here, here, here and here (Can you tell I'm pleased?)

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It’s nearly here...

Months after it was launched in the US, the iPhone finally hits the UK tonight at 6.02 pm (just got there that it’s because it’s being sold by O2 – very clever). Eagerly anticipated, the queues are forming outside Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse shops – the only outlets where the phones are available – up and down the country as we speak. All to be one of the first in the UK to own the phone.

But what is all the fuss about? At the price of £269 for the handset and then the minimum contract of £35 per month over an 18 month period, before customers have even begun to use their phones they are pledging at least £899 to Apple for the privilege. That’s an awful lot just for a phone. Even if it is all-singing, all-dancing. And, if the US is anything to go by, although reviews of the phone have been glowing, many customers were left feeling extremely hard done to when the price was dropped substantially for the handset only a few months after its launch. I wonder if the same will happen here?

Yet as I say all this I know myself that if someone I know gets one and I have the chance to have a play around on it, I’ll want one instantly. Damn Apple and their fancy gadgets - sucked in every time!

You can find coverage of the growing queue outside the Apple store in Glasgow here. And, should you, by some fluke, have managed to miss the coverage of this new ‘superphone’, you’ll find a video here of all the wonderful things it can do – practically everything except wash your dirty dishes!

Quite sad as it is however, I’m finding it all quite exciting. It’s times like this I know I’m definitely in the right line of work...

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

A world of meat

Another advert today, this time in print. As with yesterday’s ad, there is a cleverness about this campaign and on first glance it looks pretty nice. But then you take a closer look and you realise that it isn’t advertising sweets or icing or something of the like. No, it’s advertising meat.

Now, I’m not a vegetarian and I love my meat, especially the type of meat featured in the Negroni ads, but instead of enticing me to go and buy the meat, this ad makes me shiver. There’s something sweet (quite literally) about scenes made out of candy, but scenes made out of meat? As Tim Seidel on bad banana blog comments, “...who lives in those little houses? Little meat people? A crazed butcher?”

Maybe it’s the fact that many meat eaters, like myself, are actually hypocrites who don’t like to think about the fact that they are really eating an animal, I don’t know. But the scene showing a river of what looks like Parma ham particularly just makes me think of a river of blood – not an image that is going to help me forget what I am actually chomping into used to be alive. It’s enough to turn someone vegetarian.

I do feel a bit sorry for those who worked on the ad however. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it and all in all it’s well done. But whoever thought up this concept is either a hardened meat eater or is just plain crazy.

By all means make an ad that elicits real emotion in your target audience, but I would say that making them feel uneasy and sick won’t help you to sell your product to them...


Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Well Halloween is out of the way, so that means it must be time for the Christmas campaigns to start in ernest, right? And so, John Lewis began their Christmas campaign on November 5th, their largest to date, with their ad break ‘Shadows’.

Featuring a team of people arranging John Lewis products in an empty room in front of a spotlight, the objects slowly build to form the shadow of an elegant woman and her dog. I really like it when advertising is clever like this. It makes you wonder, ‘How did they work out what to use to make the shadow?’ and ‘How did they work out where to place the objects?’

What I like even more about it, especially at this time of year, is the fact that it is not overtly Christmassy; I really can’t handle too many Santas and tons of snow when I’ve not even begun to start buying gifts. This advert instead acts as a gentle reminder instead of throwing Christmas down your throat. Which for me is perfect.

And I’m not proclaiming the advert to be the best thing I’ve ever seen, but I do like it and I think you will too.

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