Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do you form your opinions or does your routine do it for you?

How many of us vary our media consumption?

If you are a Marie Claire reader do you ever pick up The Deal?
If you watch Sunrise do you ever give SBS a go?
If you are a 2Day listener, do you ever switch to 2GB?

The reason I ask this is because I consider myself a pretty 'standard' media consumer. I'd be one of those people that lies squarely in the midddle of the bell curve when it comes to average media consumption and last night I recognised a massive problem with this.

My boyfriend Matt, is a night driver so he listens to a lot of night radio. He is also disloyal when it comes to his media consumption. He just acts as a bit of a sponge and consumes as much as possible from varied sources which results in him being able to participate in any conversation with a well informed point of view (this is incredibly frustrating for me).

Last night he made me sit in front of the computer and listen to an interview that Alan Jones had conducted yesterday morning. It was with an academic expert who talked about climate change and offered a completely different point of view (backed with research) than what I have heard through all of the media that I consume.

It highlighted how ignorant and easily influenced I am by what I hear/read in my 'routine' consumption. Its actually quite scary.

I wonder if we, as media advisors should be varying our routine a bit more. Maybe its somthing along the lines of '>Tim & Brad's 30 things in 30 days project to help us be better aware of whats happening around us and what other people are being influenced by.

Content isn't king - I agree.

I came across this blog post this morning and love it.

It speaks to the saying that "content is king".

This blogger argues that in fact content is not king, conversation is. I tend to agree.

The purpose of making good content is to spark conversation which is a much more valueable and influential connection than a one-to-many piece of broadcast content.

Its a bit chicken, before the egg but the end result should always be about sparking talkability because it drives ROI through the roof and also has the greatest impact on changing behaviour.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I love those crazy Japanese marketers; excellent example of experiential proof



This is amazing.


This campaign by Nikon was just highlighted as campaign of the week by CMD Global
It is for the launch of the world's first camera with a built in projector.


Nikon "wanted a high profile campaign to promote the technology" and this execution definitly delivers on that.


The camera's built-in projector allows you to project images on your camera onto any nearby surface.


The brand recruited the Helicopter Boyz, a popular Japanese pop duo to promote the launch. They strapped a heap of these cameras to the boys then had them dance in front of a screen whilst the images were projecting. Watch the video here to get the full picture.


What I love about this campaign is the use of the technology that they are actually promoting to communicate the product benefits.


The execution creates a memorbale experience for the consumer as well as solid proof that the product delivers on its promise.

I LOVE this xxx


Monday, October 19, 2009

Consumer Generated Product

How awesome is this technology?

Adidas and Reebok have both run campaigns that allowed consumers to design their own 'kicks' but here is a company based wholly on Consumer Generated Product.

You go to the website, design your own shoe and choose from many different combinations of materials to embellish them. VERY COOL.

What I love is that the site takes Consumer Genrated Content one step further and allows people to actually make their product.

The functionality that I think is missing at the moment, is the ability to post your designs elsewhere. I think it would help generate traffic to the site and also get people to start buying other people's designs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sometimes media hurts

I'm a bit of a fan of the media competition (as regular readers would know).

I think that over and above the valuable work experience I gain from participating, the subject/challenge is usually a social cause that allows me to expand my knowledge about parts of society that I would usually be blind to.

Currently I am working on a piece to submit to APG Planning Idol.

The brief asks me to 'address' youth homelessness.

When I receive a brief from a client I typically immerse myself in the subject to try and gain an understanding of the world it operates in prior to coming up with a communications campaign that can solve some sort of problem. Needless to say, this is exactly what I've done with the APG Idol brief.

But.... it hurts.

One of the reasons I spent 12 months working as an Australian Youth Ambassador in Samoa was to give back. To do something a bit more altruistic than spend my rich client's money. This is also one of the reasons I enjoy answering competition briefs and giving my ideas away for free but for some reason, this brief is taking its toll.

I'm not clear why dealing with this issue is worse than having dealt with World Hunger or homelessness in general, but it is.

I think the underlying question I'm battling with at the moment is how I continue to 'help' without it wearing me down, because once I'm worn down, I'm of no help to anybody.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brave clients = great campaigns



Who's seen the Toohey's Extra Dry (TED) 5Seeds campaign?

If you haven't and you drink alcohol on occasion then you must have been living under a rock.

They started with a facebook page.

Then launched a treasure hunt.

Now they're talking to the masses on TV, outdoor and radio and by prompting intrigue through a film-style ad have pushed people to YouTube for a 'choose your own adventure' journey.

I'm assuming that the agency were briefed on creating intrigue about this product to prompt trial and I think they're doing that job very well, although I do wonder if the ATL creative is too polarising to shift product.

Another interesting aspect of this campaign, is that they are one of the first Australian brands to replace a micro-site URL with a Facebook page. I applaud the client for a) being forward thinking enough to let the campaign have a life of its own and b) for behaving cost efficiently in a digital world where unique time-lasting assets are no longer a necessity.

p.s. has anybody tried one of these drinks?

Reassessing focus



Here is a really cool execution that would work well for a health based campaign.

Thefuntheory.com is an initiative from Volkswagon based on the belief that "the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do".
I agree.

A lot of the time when we answer briefs we get too wound up in the category that the brand operates in and as such, clouded by their industry norms.
This execution is a really good example of a solution devised by focusing on the problem.
I'm making assumptions here, but I believe the creators would have arrived at this by starting from a macro viewpoint of the consumer rather than a more refined brand standpoint.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mark Fennell V TV Station idents - a nice piece of Australian TV nostalgia

Thanks to my friend Rosey for pointing me to this nice review on TV station promos.

I love it.


Social media measurement... for FREE

Here is a very cool tool.

If your social media expert is too busy to help you out or, if your client is too poor to pay for buzzmetrics or radian6 dazzle them with a quick run on Social Mention.

It is a very simple tool that allows you to type in a brand name and search in real time across a range of social media for where it has been mentioned.

This is what they say about themselves:

Social Mention is a social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.

It allows you to easily track what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 80+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.

Social Mention currently provides a point-in-time social media search and analysis service, daily social media alerts, and a third-party API.

Of course, being free the tool does have some limitations. The first time I used it, it worked pretty quickly but since has seemed a little slow. Also, currently you can only search 'universally' not by region.

This said, I still think it useful for showing clients the volume of chatter that is occurring about their brand and also to track trends on specific subjects.

OMG: a conversation starter!

Last week I read the review of this ad on Campaign Brief but for whatever reason, I didn't watch it. Last night after a long day at work I sat down to watch a bit of TV before heading to bed, and was pleasantly suprised viewing it.

I caught it about 4 seconds in, which meant I missed the "Hey Jesus" voicover at the start but was engaged for the remaining 26 seconds by of the playful music and pace at which the images were flashing up on screen.

The visuals made me somewhat nostaligic for the first days of the school year when I would lovingly collage my new folder with snippets of pop-culture that inspired me.

I do wonder though if this ad is a case of over promising, under delivering. I find it very hard to believe that if I actually followed through on what the ad is asking me to do and search for more about Jesus, that I would be met with the upbeat, youthful environ that the ad portrays.

Irresepective, I do believe that in an era where Jesus equals Madonna's latests squeeze, the well rounded campaign (I've seen grassroots activity EVERYWHERE) does a good job of getting people to reconsider faith and the things that are important in life.

Even if it doesn't succeed in getting people to reinvent their beliefs, it is a nice conversation starter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Incomplete Ad

Here is a really cool print execution for the Uruguay Lynx equivelant, Axe.


As you can see, the ad appeared in print with white squares over the girl's 'naughty bits'. The aesthetics of the ad make it eye-catching enough to engage the reader to search for why it appears the way it does.

Upon searching the reader finds copy pointing the reader to text AXE to 2345 after 9 pm. After doing so the reader recieves a bounceback with an image to be placed over the existing ad. This completes the experience.

It is a really simple but smart way to intrigue the reader and create an experience memorable enough to share.

Pimp by colour




This is a really cool tool that allows you to search for images based on colour.
You click the colour on the left-hand panel and it searches flickr for matching images. You can add colours for combination images.
Simple but smart.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being grateful

I started today feeling glum.

Not for any reason in particular but just very close to snapping for no reason at all.

Its now the end of the day and i have thought of a list of things for which I'm grateful.

  1. I'm grateful for having found the ying to my yang.
  2. I'm grateful that I don't have to compete in the dating world with the lithe, eagerly fashionable, young things that surround me.
  3. I'm grateful that I am working in a job that allows for both brilliance & balance.
  4. I am grateful that I have never been & never will be dumped via some form of digital technology.
  5. I am grateful that despite having gone through my fair share the lonliness, hurt & false bravado of a break-up it will never haunt me again.
  6. I am grateful for the 3pm smile that I brought to the face of a stressed co-worker upon delivery of some free Gelatissimo.
  7. I am grateful to the guy who gave me his copy of Cleo because I missed out.
  8. I'm grateful that I don't have a squeakily annoying voice or a booming aggressive one.
  9. I'm grateful that the sun stayed up long enough for me to leave work in the light.
  10. I'm grateful for being able to share these thoughts.

I obviously have a bit of a theme going on here and I think it is about growing up.

As much as it still pains me to think of all the lonley & sad times I had during my teens & early 20's maybe all the self-help books are right - you can't truly appreciate how good things are until you've experienced the bad.

I just want to put it out there & thank the universe for bringing me Matt & also for helping me to see the wood from the trees.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Thinking = Smart Thinking





I love it when brands take advantage of topical issues.



We all saw Veet do it perfectly when President Bush was voted out of the hot seat in America but here is an example of a relatively 'boring' brand taking advantage of today's hot-topic, Kanye West's outburst at the MTV VMAs. It demonstrates how a brand can easily inject contextual relevance into a pre-planned media placement.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Multi-purpose toilet paper



I saw this on the Today Show this morning (which I now can't find online so you have to go by my written description) and found it both funny and interesting.

Apparently yesterday, due to its unique date 09.09.09, was a popular day for people to get married. I wasn't aware of this fact but someone at an Israeli toilet paper company was.
They commissioned local designers to make a series of wedding gowns from toilet paper.

As a topical stunt, I like this idea and am assuming that since it made the news in Australia, the client would be happy with the results but still, I wonder what the campaign was trying to communicate; strength? absorbancy? softness?

Maybe it was just to create awareness of the brand (locally I hope, as I can't actually can't find what brand it was for anywhere).
Either way, I'm impressed with the designs and the spectacle the promotion has created!

DWC: view as to how we mere mortals operate in your digital world

When the girls from DWC asked me to speak tonight I was initially daunted by the prospect.

I wondered why a group of digital experts would want to hear from someone who is less than an expert in the digital space.

But as I started to think about digital and how it affects my life I realised that perhaps what I had to offer you tonight, was a view as to how we mere mortals, operate in your digital world.

So for the next 10 minutes or so I’m going to offer my opinion on digital media wrapped up in the best experience of my career to date – winning a gold media lion in Cannes.

So first, a bit about me.

I started working in media in 2003. At the time I was studying International Communications at Macquarie Uni and had an overly ambitious boyfriend with both a medical and law degree earning the big bucks at Clayton Utz. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that the relationship was a tad too competitive and I entered into full time study and full time work to prove a point more than anything else.

Irrespective of how it began, I soon found that it was the right decision. Entry level positions in media are less than underwhelming in their scope and at best mundane in their job description. But what this completely packed year did, teach me good time management skills and how to multitask.

I stayed in my first job for 3 and a half years before realising that as a 25 year old, 50 hour working weeks and a $40K salary was not only unhealthy but somewhat of an insult so I packed up and headed to Europe backpacking.

When the year was up I applied for a position as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development in Samoa. This position was described as a role that encouraged the sharing of skills between young professionals and local counterparts. The reality was it was incredibly tough.

At the end of the year I returned to Australia and joined bellamyhayden as a strategist. The people, particularly the women, who I met whilst working at bellamyhayden are some of the most influential and inspirational people in my working life. They constantly strive to be better than their best, are steady in their approach to work and above all are strong.

I now work at Universal McCann and am tasked with driving strategy at every stage of the communications process both within the agency and for a broad range of clients.

I am NOT a digital specialist but digital is part of everything I do. In fact this is the first key subject I want to address tonight; that in the communications industry, digital is all too often used as a noun rather than as an adjective.

Despite digital technologies proliferating almost every aspect of our lives, marketing and advertising people alike insist on referring to online communications as digital. Personally, I disagree with this use of the word. In fact, I see it as an insult to the opportunities that digital technology avails.

Digital technologies have unarguably changed the way we live our lives both as communications professionals and as consumers. I suggest that we would be hard pressed to find any person in the developed world who is not touched by a digital technology in some way or another each day.
What has been difficult for the communications industry is the speed at which digital technologies and thus online communications have progressed and availed themselves to consumers.

The result has been an array of specialist agencies employed to prop-up those ‘traditional’ agencies overwhelmed by advances in the online space.

This would be fine if digital was contained to online activity, but its not. We now have digital TV, digital radio, digital outdoor, digital mobile handsets… the list goes on. The point is that the necessary separation of online from offline during the nineties means that very few people are now geared up to deal with true cross platform campaigns that harness the power of digital both on and offline.

This is not to say that the work being produced at the moment is not fantastic, far from it, but unless communications professionals start to see digital as an adjective rather than a noun, moving forward they are likely to miss digital opportunities in offline media.

So, this is where my role as a strategist becomes important. I serve to bridge the gap between specialist online agencies and traditional agencies whilst trying to ensure everyone is across digital developments in both on and offline. But what complicates my job is the speed factor.

A good idea is no good to anyone if the competition executes it first and this is the problem with the speed of innovation in the digital world.

Speed to market and speed of response have become powerful competitive advantages for agencies and clients alike and for the person that links all of this together – the strategist – the ability to make quick but educated decisions has never been more important. As such we’ve started to see a trend towards fast strategy.

Richard Huntington who writes the blog adliterate put this well when he said;
“The days of the stereotypical strategist are over. The business world has little time for the desperately bright, painfully academic, socially inept and ponderous planner.”

And this became abundantly clear to me when I recently competed in the Young Lions competition in Cannes.

For those who aren’t aware, the Young Lions competition is part of the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. The festival celebrates the best creative work from around the globe and fittingly, the Young Lions competition is designed to unearth young, yet creative minds.

After being selected via a rigorous and competitive process in their home nation, pairs from each country are briefed by a charity to solve a communications problem. The teams are then given 24 hours to respond to the brief with less than ten slides in a maximum of five minutes.

There were three firm and fast things I took from this process and that I think are essential for effective fast strategy;
1- Play to your strengths
2- A big idea can come from anywhere
3- The best solution is a brave solution

Playing to your strengths is exactly what it sounds like and is something that creative teams have been doing for years in their art director/copywriter relationship.

Fast work requires confidence in your abilities and a very candid approach to working in a team. There is no room for egos and the ability to let go and trust your colleagues is essential.

For the Young Lions competition I was partnered with someone who had less than half of my professional experience, who had never actually written a strategy but who had a creative mind, natural charisma and artistic ability. With such a short amount of time to construct and sell in a strategy we had to concentrate on what we were individually good at. So I acted out the business role while Tristan was the trustworthy guy next door. It worked well for us and ensured I didn’t have to worry about Tristan skipping key structural elements and Tristan didn’t have to worry about me presenting an ugly slide.

The next major learning I took from Cannes was that a big idea can come from anywhere. This notion was mentioned in almost every seminar that I attended in Cannes but it was mentioned in the context of working collaboratively with all of a client’s rostered agencies.

However in responding to our 24 hour brief what I discovered was that we communications folk, often become so engrossed in research and theoretical information that when answering a brief we forget to look to the people who have the greatest insights – the consumers.

Our winning idea in Cannes was actually inspired by my boyfriend. An admittedly artistically and musically talented person, but still, a bus driver who has never worked in the communications industry.

As a strategist I have been guilty of overcomplicating ‘big ideas’ but having to deliver a response in 24 hours forces you to be decisive and have clarity in your thinking as there is no alternative. I am also a firm believer that if the strategy is too complex for the communications professionals to understand then it will almost certainly be misinterpretated by the consumer. So entering into a fast strategy situation with an open mind is key to success.

The third key learning from my Cannes experience was that the best communications solutions are brave. This doesn’t necessarily mean employing the latest technology or bucking the trends in your category but it means pushing the boundaries.

So when we were briefed by the World Food Programme to raise enough awareness and funds to feed 59 million hungry people by 2015 we didn’t want to present a solution that encompassed new technology just because we could. We wanted the idea to push the boundaries and to write the execution itself.

We looked for a real insight that made us feel slightly uncomfortable and from there put an idea in front of the client that was so big that in a real life situation many clients would have shied away from it.

What we learned was that bravely standing by your idea and truly believing that it is the best solution shines through during the sell. It wasn’t about supporting our idea with reams of numbers or theory and it wasn’t about second guessing ourselves to deliver what the client wants to hear. It was about putting our best thinking forward even if it initially seemed too big to handle.

So in keeping with the purpose of tonight’s launch to start to shape the DWC community I would ask you to bear in mind my opinions and experiences from a non-online perspective. Consider digital as an adjective and how it may travel across all consumer touch points, consider the death of the stereotypical strategist and consider how fast strategy might benefit your business.

Thank you for your time tonight and please contact me to continue the conversation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Solutions beyond communications

I have recently been fighting the strategist's battle of getting 'traditional' media people to realise the potential of communications channels, outside of the stock standard TV, Radio, Press ilk.

In the past, this resistance was somewhat warranted given media commission was the primary revenue stream for agencies, but more and more we are trading on the strength of our ideas and how well they solve a problem. In fact, my job solely relies on this. So it was nice to come across this tidbit whilst reading Feeding Kat.

"So, Mos Def is launching his new record The Ecstatic on a t-shirt - album cover on front, track list on back, and a hang tag with URL and unique code to download the tracks."

It demonstrates the creative thought process that the music industry have been forced into given the rise of 'free' content and a generation who expect, rather insist, content be free.

I would argue that instead of waiting to be forced into creative thinking, adopting a channel neutral, commercially orientated approach to communications would secure your relationship with a client moving forward. So rather than present an idea that simply solves a problem (ie a 5% increase in awareness YOY) why not present a solution that delivers over and above the communications objectives and stretches into other parts of the client's business?

Many would argue that this isn't the role of the media agency but with a trend toward greater transparency and joint ventures amongst traditional advertisers perhaps down the track, if they can't add value over and above 'manpower', the media agency will become unnecessary and advertisers will just bring the smart thinkers in house.

How to avoid this? A channel neutral apporoach that thinks beyond communications goals towards commercial benefit for the client.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CityGT & 40 foot driving

I just came across this very cool project by JWT Melbourne.

They've created a mobile app called CityGT that launched yesterday in Federation Square. Basically you download the app then head to Fed Square where you can play it on the 40 foot big screen.

The app has been launched to educated teens about the dangers of using a mobile phone when driving. It is "the only driving game you play on the street! Play CityGT on your iPhone or watch it become a virtual steering wheel as you connect and play on the bigscreen at Melbourne's Federation Square! Generate points with precision driving while taking in the massive 3D architecture of the CityGT metropolis."

I love the simplicity of this project. It is on the mark with this audience and in their engagement with the communication, creates a specatcle for the peripheral audience.

I would have liked to have seen a greater link to mainstream PR though particularly given the timeliness of the launch with the story Driven to Distraction run by 60 Minutes last night.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Video in print

I love this new innovation coming out of the US. It gives a new lease of life to those corny 'singing' cards that you've probably received from your grandma at some point in time.

The technology allows you to imbed a wafer-thin video screen into a magazine or insert. With a screen roughly two inches wide, the inserts will use technology similar to the sound-recorders placed within greeting cards and will automatically start to play when the magazine is opened. Controls on a FPC then allow you to skip to certain sections or interact with the video.

Pepsi and CBS in America have been employed to laucnh the innovation in Entertainment Weekly (which has a distribution of over 1.8 million (not all copies will include the video player).

http://bit.ly/1AqvdA

Experiential proof for advocating advocacy

I have long been an advocate of employing influencers both on and offline to help promote your cause.

Typically I am recommending the use of influencers for my client's commercial needs but I have also seen successful use of influencers for less commercially orientated purposes.

This morning on my way to work I was checking Twitter on my phone and couldn't understand why overnight I had picked up 30 new followers. These aren't followers of the spam-esque type but people who are interested in the same things as me and also who I've never had previous contact with. It struck me as a bit strange until I sat down at my computer and had a better look at why this had happened.

It appears that my friend Mark Pollard had tweeted about my recent blog post.

Not only is this flattering as Mark is someone that I admire but it is also experiential proof that my advocacy for employing influencers is warranted. Mark is obviously an influencer in the communications strategy space and due to his promotion of my blog, my profile in the same circle has suddenly risen.

Now I need to think like I do for my clients and understand how best to harness this opportunity!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Abolish the Penny: a communications strategy for the WFP

I've had lots of people ask me about our Gold winning response to the 24hr brief in Cannes. Here is the transcript, enjoy.

Challenge
Raising enough awareness and funds to feed 59 million people is no mean feat. In fact, with $500,000 it is near impossible.

A traditional media solution is a) not affordable and b) not the answer. We are operating in an extremely cluttered sector. One that has exponentially grown since the mid nineties so much so, that compassion fatigue has swept amongst our target audience.

As such, in driving awareness and funding, our real challenge is not to shout louder than our competitors but to breathe new life into a tired cause.

As sad as this is, compassion fatigue has led to a desentisation of the world hunger crisis. Whilst advertising with malnourished, sad, sub-Saharan children was once so shocking it drove people to change channels, it is now part and parcel of our media consumption.

The opportunity for us is to reframe our communications and make world hunger relevant to people in the developed world. We need to reframe our communications because people whose daily lives are being affected by the global financial crisis are going to be harder to appeal to than ever.

This leads to our key strategic insight that:
People (especially families) don’t have money to spare but everyone has spare change…. Spare change that they can’t even use.

We’re not talking about the 5 or 6 euro in your pocket, we’re talking about the jar of 1 cent coins you have on your kitchen bench.

Due to the widespread economic downturn, acute monetary awareness has become a pastime for many people. It has led to a diminished consumer confidence and as such a downturn in spending and a trend towards ‘nesting’.

People have gone back to basics and are looking after themselves first and foremost. They don’t have enough money to make large contributions to the greater good.

Further, coupled with rising inflation rates, there has been a devaluing of currency in most developed nations. Indeed, even prior the GFC, the smallest unit of currency in many nations was practically worthless.

The US hold onto their pennies, Australia still has five cent coins and the British are stowing away their pence – but what’s the point? You can’t actually buy anything with this money. In fact our youth have never known a life where they could spend their small change on anything. It goes to waste accumulating in jars and dishes around the world never to be used – until now.

Strategy
We intend to create a movement to abolish the penny.

We will take something that is essentially useless scrap metal and turn it into something of real value. Food for the hungry.

Using the Fill the Cup creative concept we will rally excitement amongst schools and in turn communities to ‘fill a cup’ with their useless coins to benefit those who need it most.

Once again, we’re not talking about the 5 or 6 euro in your pocket, we’re talking about the jar of 1 cent coins you have on your kitchen bench. The ones that you can’t use for anything.

The strategy is simple – we actually want to abolish the lowest value coin in a currency. Rid people of the annoying copper collecting dust, alleviate retailers from hours of counting and give the coins a purpose in life, to feed the hungry.

Kids are best positioned to understand why we would abolish these coins. In their lifetime they’ve known no use for them. As such schools will act as the heartbeat of the campaign. They will be used as a point from which to disseminate information and the point at which we’ll collect the coins.

Execution
The strategy will span one year and will be single-minded about abolishing the penny to ‘fill a cup’. It will come to life across three phases (1. seeding, 2. spreading the word, 3. maintaining groundswell) allowing us to inject new news at each point so to generate awareness via PR and chatter. Our budget will be allocated primarily to the hard costs associated with the collection of money.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A hardworking TVC



I first saw this ad a few weeks ago and flagged it to blog about... unfortunately time got away from me and its not so new anymore.  Nevertheless, my thoughts about it are still relevant.

As a Communications Strategist I am often briefed on developing campaigns that will cut-through the clutter.  I am always slightly amused when tasked with this objective, as almost every brief I have ever addressed has asked for cut-through.  How can I keep recommending tactics to cut-through when everybody's doing it?  This issue of cut-through is what struck me about the Daylesford "Live a double life" campaign.  It completes its task very well.

What I like about the ad is that the sheer nature of it makes you stop and pay attention.  I actually thought I had missed the start of a movie when I saw it come on.  

It is well shot; and may be easily mistaken for a movie. This is a nice relief for the viewer overwhelmed by the plethora of TVC's that pound them over the head with a message about 50% off and an extra fries with the purchase of every bbq chicken wing.

It is well cast; with the use of a celebrity that people know, but don't know too well.  Isabelle Lucas purveys a sense of intrigue that could not be achieved by using an overexposed sportsperson who may hold similar brand values as the product but leave little to the imagination when it comes to their personality.

It has an original soundtrack; that is haunting to the point of recognition.  Its originality creates an immediate link with the visual content and thus allows for non-visual extensions of the ad.

It is provocative; which means the advertiser is reaping a whole heap of free promotion through organic word-of mouth activity.  When people like the ad r not, it is doing a good job of putting little-known Daylesford on the map. 

"Lead a double life" is a great example of how TV can still be used to grab the attention of a mass audience.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Digital as an adjective NOT as a noun

I read an interesting article today by Nigel Walley, MD of UK media strategy consultancy, Decipher. His article focuses on advancements in digital technologies that have expanded advertiser's capabilities in many 'traditional' media channels.

He argues that many media agencies have turned the word digital into a noun rather than allowing it to remain as it was originally intended, as an adjective. I think he makes a good point.
Digital technologies have pervaded almost every aspect of our lives and certainly EVERY traditional media channel so referring to online activity as digital is a disservice to the capabilities of our industry.

As consumers become more and more used to receiving content tailored to their needs, their expectations around how they interact with this chosen content increase and it is digital technologies that will allow advertisers to rise to these expectations.

I would argue that whilst it may seem scary recommending a little-used digital feature to a client, it is a disservice not to because if we don't recommend it, one of their pro-active consumers will.

Check out Nigel Walley's article here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

History of the Australian web



A group of clever digital types have put together this interactive
timline that shows the history of the web. It shows trends that can
be cut different ways according to time spent with site, visitors
to sites etc etc.

Check it out here.

Fiat planter boxes??


This is a really cool execution by Fiat in Milan.


It has been positioned as an art exhibition to show 'two elements always vying for urban space, as a symbol of a new way of living"'.

Personally, I think it would be a really interesting way to demonstrate a brand's sustainable thinking. Perhaps it would have had more consumer appeal if they had have used actual, old Fiat shells.

Either way - a nice idea.

Relief & the three things we learnt

This post is somewhat belated but was a piece that I wrote on behalf of Tristan & myself for News Limited. It recounts our experience competing in the Cannes International Advertising Festival.

Sitting waiting to be presented with the award that made years of ticking confirmations worth it and all we could think was “PLEASE, don’t let us trip over whilst walking on stage....”

Retrospect is a funny thing. As we look back to competing in the Cannes Young Media Lions competition we can’t remember all that much. It was such an overwhelming experience that the months of preparation, events in Cannes and whirlwind of emotions have blurred into one very messy memory.

When we were announced the winners of the international competition, for a split second in time we became minor celebrities. And during this time we were repeatedly asked how we felt about winning. As mundane as it sounds, the answer was relieved.

Relief for many reasons.

We had been given the opportunity to represent our company, our youthful peers and above all, the Australian media industry. A big responsibility and one that if performed well, would have positive ramifications for all involved. Whilst our trusted advisors assured us that having won the Australian leg of the race was an achievement in itself, for us, it wasn’t enough. We had been presented with this rare opportunity and we weren’t going to let it pass without giving winning our best shot.
35 hours of travelling, seven hours in a hotel room, a dodgy pizza and three hours sleep down, we sat at breakfast barely speaking. In fact, from the outside we must have looked like a couple amidst a lover’s tiff characterised by silence, poor appetite and enormous dark circles under the eyes. Far from a lovers tiff, we simply hadn’t cracked our idea in response to the passionate brief the World Food Program had delivered us the night before. We were clutching at straws trying to turn some mediocre ideas into something we’d be proud to present to the internationally esteemed judging panel, 24hours later.

Little did we know but we were about to learn one of our most important lessons from the Cannes experience - a BIG idea can come from anywhere.

Sitting in the foyer of our hotel we discussed our frustrations with our very patient other halves. Lauren’s boyfriend was ranting about the uselessness of one cent coins and light bulbs went off. We had our idea.

In the current economic climate people don’t have money to spare, but everyone has spare change. Spare change that they can’t even use. We would propose to abolish the penny and give the lowest unit of currency in each developed nation a real value, by redirecting the funds from jars and dishes on top of people’s fridges to those who need it most via the World Food Program.

Armed with an idea big enough to do the brief justice, we split up. Lauren to concentrate on what she was good at - constructing the argument, and Tristan to produce the presentation that would aid us to cut through the other 24 big ideas in the competition. This method of working was something we learnt during the previous round of competition in Australia – play to your strengths and trust your partner.

Having put our best thinking on the table, roaming Cannes for nine hours waiting for a decision to be made, then following the announcement, hurriedly making calls back home, at 7pm sharp on Tuesday 23rd June we found ourselves seated close to the front of the famous Debussy Theatre in the Palais des Festival amid advertising celebrity. It was here, as we sat with a sense of relief that we learned our third most important lesson from Cannes. Good advertising is brave advertising. It is about challenging the norms and putting out-of-the box ideas in front of the client, even if it means the less easy road to success.

So, what did we feel when we won the 56th International Advertising Festival Media Gold Young Lion? A sense of comfort that we’d done a good job. A sense of happiness that the long hours and hard work in our short careers had begun to pay off. A sense of excitement that our futures would be underpinned by this early success.

Relief.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nice work Nissan

So we've heard alot about brands jumping on the Twitter bandwagon but other than ispylevis I haven't seen any campaigns by which I've been wowoed.

This however, is a nice concept from Nissan.

Its a site that profiles your 'Twitter' personality. Check it out.


The reason it works is because it is not obviously branded. I clicked on the link because one of the people I follow said it was cool and then before I knew it, I had been profiled & tweeted it on for all of my followers to see!

Its a nice way to leverage a social platform that is relatively new to the masses.

A literal interpretation

This is very cool.

A new plugin that allows you to update your facebook/twitter status upside down. It is a very simple and clever way to get attention.

From a comms perspective is demonstrates that a literal interpretation of a brief can very well, work.



Check it out here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My friend Nic

My friend Nic is the best.  

I have oft described my boyfriend Matt as akin to alcohol.  He's a social lubricant.  Put him into any situation and he makes it better.  He has this way of making people feel special and he gives every person his full attention when he is speaking to them.  It is an incredible thing to watch.
And, it amazes me that only today, have I realised that Nic is very similar.

She is absolutely gorgeous so attracts people irrespective of her personality but then when she opens her mouth she is so entertaining that you can help but love her.  She organises these outings with all of her friends irrespective of which part of her life they come from and she manages to engage everyone and make sure they have a great time whilst she does too.  She always looks polished without spending a fortune.  She's there to listen when you need it and she is REALLY good at calling just to catch up whenever the time is right.  

I just wanted to out there that I have two of the most naturally amazing people in my life and that I don't appreciate them enough.

Neither of them read this blog but I need the world to know that people this amazing DO exist and that somehow I've struck the jackpot in having two of them in my life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In a creative rutt? Unplug your mind...

I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a creative rutt over the last week or so. I've just finished working on two briefs that were almost identical and now I'm working two other briefs that are.... lets just say.... challenging. The problem is I can't come up with a cracker of an idea.

I keep thinking back to times when the creative juices have flowed easily but these moments are difficult to recreate.

It seems I'm not the only one who gets stuck. I came across this article on Fuel Your Creativity and it makes sense.

The crux of the article is in its final paragraph:

The bottom line is, you are blocked and you need to undergo a mental reset. Your brain needs to decompress and get refreshed by whatever means works for you. You cannot force the flow, but with a little help from your friends, you can find a way to get it back in motion once more! Just unplug your mind?or you could just always go and have a movement!

Check it out as a start and let me know what gets your creative juices flowing.... I'm thinking I'll makeover my desk today!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Addictive advertising

Check out this banner from Pringles. So simple yet so smart. Once you click you can't stop. It is a perfect interepretation of their tagline. The only real challenge is getting people to make the first click but once they have, then they're hooked.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get the basics right first.... my Real Insurance experience continued

I'm not sure how many of you read my rant about Real Insurance a few days ago but I thought I'd update you on an interesting development.

Shock horror: I recieved a response... via my blog!

I find this interesting for a number of reasons;
1. They are reactive.... but only when the threat extends beyond the loss of an individual consumer
2. They responded.... but only in the public sphere (I am still to recieve a response to my three most recent emails but I must admit, my partner did recieve a phone call)
3. I have connections with a number of people who work at Real Insurance's media agency and have a sneaking suspicion that the action has been a result of their prompting

I am really happy that it seems that finally someone has taken an interest in sorting out this drama but it does raise a few questions for me from a communications perspective.

It was only after my ordeal entered the public space that I started to recieve a seminiance of customer service. In fact, I had even emailed customer service on two previous occassions to alert them of the problems I was having and didn't even recieve an automated response let alone a 'human' response.

So where does this leave other people who are insured by Real Insurance but don't have a blog, facebook account, LinkdIn profile or Twitter account by which to express their disdain? And what happens to those people who don't have the right connections in the right places (albeit digital connections) who can bring problems to the attention of those who may rectify them?

I think this is a perfect example of a company geared up with a smart marketing team who are making themselves present in all the right places (perhaps even with a listening strategy in place) but who don't have the established resources to follow up with the promises that their 'social personality' implies.

It is also a good exmaple of where the marketing team should take a step back and consider that the best marketing solution is not always an advertising or media solution. Surely, the social media budget wold have been better spent on employing people who can actually deliver the service they promise?

In this age of authenticity, it is a major oversight that a company would enter the social space without ensuring they can deliver on their promise and in my opinion a greater crime than not joining the conversation in the first place.

Pop a Soother at your next rave

I came across this campaign yesterday and was little disturbed by it.

It is a pop-up concert series that appears to be a collaboration between Nova & Soothers.

Now, I understand that Soothers must be trying to appeal to a younger audience and that they've found a need amongst this target for the product BUT, I also think there is a disconnect between the product and the space they are playing in.

I feel like Soothers are taking too big a leap of faith in jumping into the music space. My opinion on brands employing music as a communications territory and then social media as a comms channel is that they need to do it properley or they shouldn't do it at all. It feels like a stretch to be putting a brand that is all about coughs & colds into a youth oriented space.

I would actually argue that this will diminish the brands credibility as a medicated lozenger and their appeal amongst the younger generation will be as a confectionary not as a solution to sore throats.

This of course depends on whether or not they hit some decent numbers. At the moment, they've only got 92 friends on MySpace.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Creativity: Rad to the Power of Sick



I saw this showcased when we were in Cannes.

Basically a couple of creatives from Y&R decided to get creative in their description of a BMX listed on ebay. The results speak for themselves with the bike achieving 5 times its original price upon re-sale. Imagine how much the client would love you if you could drive 500% incremental growth on an existing product?!

It is a nice case study to reinforce Henry's statement last week that we need to be brave with our clients. It demonstrates that no matter how small the brief, how boring the product/topic may be, creativity rules in the end.

Customer service - a forgotten art



If you've had a conversation with me over the last six weeks it is likely that you will know that I have been struggling to deal with Real Insurance following an accident where my car was written off.

The circumstances are quite unbelievable. My boyfriend was stopped at a red light when another two cars were involved in a collision which spun out and involved our car to cause over $10K worth of damage. The result: 15 days of car hire (for which Real Insurance have reimbursed only 10 days), ongoing physiotherapy, a car that has been repaired but now deemed unsafe to drive because the repairs are so dodgy and six weeks of battling with Real Insurance to get any straight answers.... let me tell you, its not priceless.

Now, poor customer service has always been a pet hate of mine. Like many of us, I worked in retail whilst at school and uni and quickly learnt that the nicer you are to people the more favourable the response. So its got me wondering, why wouldn't the "real" people at Real Insurance also have learnt this?

I found this article about a country band whose instruments were damaged during a United Airlines flight. After battling to get any straight answers from the ailrine (much like me with Real Insurance), they posted a video that went viral. What most of the comments demonstrate is that this one incidence of bad service has now resulted in a huge number of people (over 3 million) who now have negative sentiments toward United Airlines and thus, are less likely to travel with them. Check it out here.

Now, my question to all of you - what can I do to achieve the following:
- Get Real Insurance to call me back or answer my emails
- Get Real Insurance to reimburse me for the out-of-pocket expense I've incurred
- Prevent anyone else from going through what I've had to go through

I need an executable idea that will cost me nothing and will damage this company's opportunity to put anyone else through the same traumatic experience. Obviously a video of my rant on YouTube isn't going to work!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yes we Cannes!

The last few days have been some of the most intense in my career to date.

We arrived in Cannes on Saturday afternoon after 30 hours of travelling. Needless to say we were pretty tired. After a small mishap with Matt & Ara's share room (mishap = 1 bed) we ventured off to the old town for dinner.

On Sunday afternoon we were briefed for our Young Lions Media competition. Caroline Hurford from the United Nations World Food Programme delivered the brief, which was to use the current "Fill The Cup" creative concept to drive awareness of the WFP and to raise money to help feed 59 million hungry people throughout the world.

Caroline's delivery of the brief was amazing. It was so passionate and inspiring that we left the room with an ambition over and above winning the competition but to deliver something that would truly help the client achieve their goals.

Answering the brief wasn't easy. We spent six hours generating ideas, researching the client and crafting a core thought.... only to go to bed unsatisfied and stressed. We woke up early and over breakfast hardly spoke. The atmosphere was one of greyness. While we had a decent, very safe idea ready to work up, we knew that it wasn't a winner.

We wandered downstairs and met Matt & Ara. As we were discussing our dilemma, Matt started ranting on about how much he hates five cent coins. His diatribe led us to our Big Idea.
We realised that given the tough economic times people don't have spare money to give to charities but everyone does have spare change. Not change that you might use for the parking meter or Coke machine but change so small it is practically worthless. It sits in a jar on the top of your fridge collecting dust - it has no purpose.

So the strategy: Abolish the Penny. It was all about people forming a movement to eradicate the smallest unit of currency in their country and donate it to the WFP.



We were really proud of our idea. We knew it was strong but we also knew that there was tough competition in our category.

After presenting at 9.30am we had to wait six and a half hours for the announcement of the winner. As we waited we were told that the judges were still deliberating which delayed the announcement by an hour and a half. It was incredibly nerve wracking.

When we were finally let into the screening room for the announcement, Bronze (USA) and Silver (Belarus) were announced. As Bonnie (one of the judges) started to describe the winning strategy I knew it was ours but hearing her officially announce it was amazing.



As we made our way to the front of the room we felt like celebrities. We were pounced on by journalists and had around ten cameras shoved in our faces. It was just incredible.

Following the 'hollywood style' mayhem we raced back to our hotel and quickly got ready for the presentation. Matt & Ara were snuck in the back door and were able to share our special moment with us. Everything just fell into place.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I had complete strangers approaching me to say how proud they were and happy for us. Dave Droga (of Droga 5) said he wanted me to come and work for him. Henry, my CEO was bursting with pride and presented us with a nice stimulus package. It was just completely overwhelming.

When I finally sat down at 3am my body involuntarily shutdown. I couldn't keep my eyes open which signalled it was time for bed.

A night's rest didn't do much to make this amazing experience anymore real though. I am still trying to come to terms with what this all means and can't wait to get home and share it with everyone..... well not get home too quick!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Twitterexia

When you are traveling for 30+ hours you have a lot of time to think.  Now I've done this long-distance, moisture sucking, patience deteriorating kind of trip before but I've never noticed a very unique thing that occurred to me this time around.


I came down with a bout of twitterexia.  I found myself observing my surroundings and feeling distraught by the fact that from 30,000 miles high, I couldn't micro-blog about it.  It made me realise that twitter has filled a gap in my life that I didn't even realise I had - it makes me feel like I'm being heard.


What I mean by this is that of the modest 100 or so people following me, while they may or may not consistently read my tweets and therein pay varying levels of attention to them, I do feel like I have a voice.  And moreover, a voice that can say whatever it wants with the buffer of 'real life' distance staying in tact.


For instance, on the KL to Amsterdam leg of my trip Cannes, I was sat next to a women whom I now hold anything but fond memories of.  She invaded my space for some 12 hours, huffed & puffed everytime I needed to scoot past her and did not let me use the shared armrest once!  Small grievances I admit but on a 12 hour flight, grievances that became increasingly irritating.


So there I was thinking about all the things one may implement to make their long haul trip more enjoyable (assuming they're like me and the business class option is out of reach).  The problem with arriving at such genius mid flight was that I couldn't easily share my ideas.  I kept whispering into my boyfriend's ear but with real fear that initial said woman would hear what I was saying and sock me one.   It was also annoying for my boyfriend because as my tired brain spewed out more words of wisdom, I kept interrupting what he was doing.


The beauty of twitter is that you can expel your thoughts in real-time and receive instant gratification for 'getting them off your chest' but people can choose to digest them in their time.


I don't remember the first time I felt naked without my mobile phone but this new feeling of nakedness sans-twitter will be memorable (if only for the fact that I'm blogging about it) and it opens up a whole new list of questions about the application - what is correct twitter ettiquette?  Should I log all of my missed tweets at once or will this needlessly clog up my followers' feeds... but then what about the fact that they've missed out on my tweets for the last 24hrs?  So much confusion and so few rules to guide me along the way.    

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twikini in my eye!

At Christmas my beautiful boyfriend Matt gave me a HTC-Touch Pro windows mobile. Unfortunately, I am crap at using it. I spend ages seraching for cool apps and I don't understand why I can't find them more easily.

About 3 weeks ago I downloaded Twikini. It is a very user friendly Twitter application that sits exactly where I want it on my phone and looks just like the desktop twitter interface that I am used to.

I loved using it... then the trial expired. Since then, I have been searching for a replacement and haven't been able to find anything that I like as much. I jumped back on to the twikini site and found an option that made the app even more appealing..... the ability to access it for free if I blogged about it - very cool.

A sign of the times

If you haven't seen the coverage of the Iran elections then you've either been under a rock or working too late to see the news.

Over night, something evry interesting happened. The US Government asked Twitter to move sechedulled maintenance so as to not interrupt real-time coverage of the election. Given that many journalists and media outlets have been banned from the nation, international news bureaus are now turning to social media tools to keep the rest of the world informed on the events.

This is a clear sign of the times. Full credit to the US Government for recognising the value of social media and its applications outside of 'social networking'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Anybody looking for a living, breathing billboard?


This is a really cool execution that could work for many brands.

It is a year long fundraising project for the Akanksha Foundation where a girl had pledged to wear the same dress for 365 days. Whilst raising funds for her chosen charity, she is dually promoting sustainable fashion.

Here?s how it works: There are 7 identical dresses, one for each day of the week. Every day she will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accouterments, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies.

The opportunities for brands are inumerable.

FMCG - over 12 months fabric will be subjected to wear and tear. What if a washing powder sponsored her to demonstrate their clothing preservation abilities?

Fashion - the subject is looking for accessories, other clothing items, shoes, and inspiration to 'dress up' the dress. Donations are accepted. What if she was used as a model to launch a new season's range?

Technology - she's blogging, tweeting and flickering. Why not jump on board as a service provider and give her free access or the technology to be social?

I think this concept is brilliant and I'll be interested to see if anybody does jump on her bandwagon and exploit the endless possibilities that she as a living, breathing billboard (complete with CSR initiative) has to offer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Netizens with a God complex

A few days ago I posted a blog about netizens positioning themselves as god.  Then just this morning, I came across an article about "Search &(Destroy) Engines".  It is really scary.

The article talks about what I was discussing a few days ago - the broader public taking justice into their own hands.  Whilst there are references in the article to some entirely immoral, unethical and frankly inhumane acts that, in retribution, have suffered at the hands (or clicks??) of the global society, I still have an issue with justifying this new millenium version of lynch mobs.

My issue is not with justice being brought to these people.  Their actions are inexcusable and they deserve to be punished.  However, punishment decided by and brought about via the masses reeks of uncontrollable hysteria.  

Unlike the lynch mobs of yesteryear, the result of this cyber-retaliation is not necessarily death.  That is, by the hands of others.  I would argue that public retaliation on these individuals will drive them to take their own lives and this brings me back to my original point - who died and made the netizens God?

I am all for the borderless society that the Internet affords us but I am now wondering who should be controlling the uncontrolled?  And further, is it the instant fame or notoriety that motivates people to do the unspeakable and then post videos online? 
 
As you can tell I'm somewhat baffled by this trend and I don't know what the answer is.  What I do know is that the future is clearer in the rearview mirror and we should be looking back to the 18th Century to see where this current bout of God-complexes is going to lead us. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Smashingly Simple

This is a really cool literal interpretation of a brand.

It is for the launch of a new video game, Red Faction, in which smashing things with a sledgehammer accounts for a vast majority of the fun to be had.

The agency took this and literally interpretated it by placing a car full of the game and a sledgehammer on the street then let nature take its course.

Goes to show that simple works.

Check it out here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Do unto others...

People who have "public" jobs must expect that their personal lives will be thrust into the limelight at some point. Whether this is right or wrong is not to be contested (at least without a bottle of wine and a chairman to oversee proceedings). We must just accept that it is a fact of life in this new borderless world we live in.

What I do think is interesting is the effect it seems to be having on higher moral ground. The fact that people think they have permission to persecute those that they, in their personal opinion, consider to have done something wrong.

This week we've seen a couple of cases of people taking advantage of their media nouce for personal gain.
1. Gordon Ramsey V Tracey Grimshaw
2. Woman's Day V Therese Rein

Now everyone has a different opinion on both cases. What I think is most interesting is the third party that has entered into this battle. The blogger.

Today Crickey posted a blog challenging people to "out" Woman's Day editor Fiona Connelly.

By posting this blog, Crickey have basically given their readers permission to right a wrong... well in their opinion anyway.

Who died and made Crikey God?

Why should they be the ones controlling retribution for Therese Rein? And, didn't anybody stop and think that this blog and its associated sites have political undertones that could benefit from a glowing report from Ms Rein's influential hubby?

When bloggers start to assume positions as moral gatekeepers, who reigns (pardons the pun) them back in? Is this, like the private turning public, just a fact of life or are we seeing the fourth estate actaully rear its head and take a position of marshall law?

Personally, I think it's really scary. That someone (an influential blogger at that) would persecute someone else for just doing their job seems a bit archaic to me. Grow up and do unto others is my opinion....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Borrowed credibility gone too far

I was away sick yesterday which meant that between bouts of coughing and the consumption of antibiotics as big as horse tranquilisers, I dozed in front of the TV for most of the day.

This also meant I was privy to a lot of daytime advertising.... and I observed something interesting.

We are all familiar with Brand Power and Zoot Review. These 'endorsement' style interstitials have been around for a long time and have proven quite successful for many FMCG brands. What I noticed yesterday thoguh is that the Australian Women's Weekly now broadcast similar ads on not just Nine, but also Channel 7 and Ten. In fact with only one ad in between, I saw an AWW endorsed spot followed by an Infocus Segment (Ch7's version) and both of these were within the New Idea program.

This posed a few questions for me:
1. Were the drugs making me dellusional? (a quick referral to the EPG proved no)
2. Why were SMG Red and Ten allowing AWW to endorse products on their channels? Are they desperate for ad revenue?
3. Don't the traffic team notice that such clashes exist and that clients may not be happy about it?
4. What does this mean for the credibility of the 'endorsed' interstitial? Will their cut-through diminish? Will their trustworthiness decline?

It all seems a bit odd to me. The beauty of borrowed credibility is that it is usually somewhat exclusive. What I saw yesterday was a slap in the face for both advertisers and consumers. The endorsement seemed obviously paid for and entirely fake given the proximity to similar ads.

Whilst in the past I have been an advocate of this style of ad for my clients after yesterday's experience, I won't be recommending 'endorsed' interstitials for my clients anytime soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

iSpyLevis being even smarter

A few weeks ago I blogged about the iSpyLevis campaign currently running on Twitter. I just wanted to update my opinions on this campaign.

It is brilliant.

The comms team are capitalizing on the fact that their follower base has multiplied by 400% in a matter of weeks and that people are going to great lengths to interract with the brand.

Their latest Tweet: iSpyLevis: PEOPLE! We've got 501 followers. Follower number 568 will get a pair of 568® SKINNYS IN RESIN SEALED. Tell your friends! Demonstrates how they are taking this campaign even further. I guarntee that they are hitting all client objectives.

I am still trying my hardest to get a pair (after securing a pair for my friend last week). The 'game' is completely addictive. I can only hope that I can produce a piece of similar brilliance for one of my clients!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yes he can

President Obama is rewriting the rules for marketing. The brand that he has built himself is solid, approachable and desireable.

Yes, he is lucky to be so attractive. Yes, he has his communication skills down pat and Yes, he has an army of staff behind him to help him reach great heights. The truly admirable thing that he does however, is reach out to people and make it easy for them to join a conversation with him.

Let's be clear, it is unlikely that Barrack is the one responding to tweets, facebook messages, myspace posts or emails but, the image he porjects is one of accessibility. He makes people feel like he is within their reach and that he will act upon their suggestions. He listens to what people want to hear and then tells them what they want to hear.

So with all of this in mind, it is unsurprising that the speech he will deliver on bridging the gap between the U.S. and the Muslim world in Cairo will be accesible via all of his previous touchpoints but also via SMS.

What this means is that he has even further broken down the barriers between himself and the wider world. He is making himself available to not only American voters but global citizens who may or may not be living in nations with restrictions on the information they can access.

President Obama should be applauded for his brand building efforts and his consistency. If other brands operated in a similar fashion to him - remained on-strategy and single minded about their image - I would argue that they could feel more confident about entering a conversation with consumers and as such would have greater success in winning over consumers and building brand loyalty.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sex still sells

Sometimes it feels like the world is moving really quickly.

In the media-sphere it is difficult to keep up with the latest advancements and to think of ways they will fit into your client's marketing plans, particualrly when many clients are still addicted to TV and think that tweet is a sound that birds make.

One trend that I have noticed lately though, is that no matter what the medium, sex still sells.

Check out this Tweet from earlier today:


The goodsex hashtag is currently trending #1.

I find this really interesting because just last week, hashtag 3words (aftre sex) was incredibly popular.

If i were in the business of selling sex, safe sex or sex-related products (ie condoms, lubricant.. let your imagination run wild) I would be harnessing the information coming from these tags.

Given the popularity of these two organic tags, as a sex brand, why wouldn't you initiate a new trending topic equally as topical but backed by your brand? It would generate a significant amount of online chatter and also serve as a rich source of information for NPD.

So perhaps this can work for other brands too or even just as a source of ideas for us to take to clients. By tracking trends on social networks that are related to our brands we can beat the client to the next idea and even start to predict the outcomes of qual research.

Now the next challenge, who do we conivince others to believe in the power of this?

Monday, June 1, 2009

And because of that came my steepest learning curve since the age of 0-3....



Upon joining bellamyhayden I had no idea how much I was about to learn. I was surrounded by brilliant people, in a hardworking office and seemed to learn by osmosis.

It confirmed to me that it actually didn't matter where I worked because it was the calibre of people that I surrounded myself with that would impact the qaulity of my output.

During my time at bellamyhayden I made lifelong friends, won my first media award and was inspired to never do less than my best.

It was at this point in my life that UM approached me with an interesting job offer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And becasue of that... iSpyLevis being VERY smart



So a group of us at bh have just had the BEST brand experience thanks to Levis.

The brand has "released hundreds of pairs of Levis on the streets of key cities across Australia & New Zealand. If you think you see someone wearing a pair ask them "Are they Levis?". If you get it right, they'll drop their pants & give them to you on the spot."

This is such a smart strategy. It taps into our voeuyeristic nature and harnesses the power of follow on twitter (literally) in a fun and rewarding way.

I have been following @iSpyLevis for the last few days and have become totally addicted. When their profile started to show some life after lunch today I was determined to find the jeans on the street.

I tweeted with the guy and an hour later he was posting pics of his location right outside our office! Chris ran downstairs to meet him and 5 minutes later is the proud owner of a pair of GUYS 568® SKINNYS IN RESIN SEALED.

This concept would work well for many products and is allowing Levis to have very rich consumer interaction as well as promote their style range.

Here's to me finding the female over the next few days!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is discrimination relative?

We've just had a debate here at work that has really angered me.

It started because somebody sent an email around the agency asking about our opinions on the 'Chk chk boom' news report.

For the record, my opinion is as follows;

There are some commonalities in all media stories that get traction with young girls as the face of the story – the girls are all hot.

Other examples in history -

1995 when
Anna Wood died of taking ecstasy
2006 LonleyGirl15 work for the New York Times
2009 Heidi and
The Man in the Jacket

The only reason this has taken off is that Claire is good looking. Sure she’s made some semi-racist comments, exposed the real exploits of young girls to worried parents across the nation and epitomized the ‘bogan’ but who has she really offended? AND, I also think that in general fat/skinny wogs have probably made enough cat-calls at her (ala “hey baby wanna root”) to justify her colloquial description of them.

I would argue that the people who are kicking up a stink - the middle-upper class white people - have taken offence to the ‘fat wog/skinny wog’ statements because they don’t want the world’s impression of Australia to be Claire.

Moral of the story is we have a winning formula – innocence + pretty girl = immediate publicity.


There was a bit of backlash to my opinion from an English guy. He insinuated that all Australian's are racist and that it is the fault of our media.

So this got me thinking - are Australian's racist or is it simply a question of relativity?

I, being half Maltese, have been called a wog many a time and take no offense to it. In fact, I am quite proud of my heritage. Even public opinion says that wog is not always a racist term. On top of this when you look at some of our pop-culture - Fat Pizza, Wog Boy - you realize that even the 'wogs' themselves embrace this stereotype.

So here I am left feeling insulted that this English guy has called Australian's discriminatory and I think, "We don't have a naked girl on page 3 of our national tabloid...." and if we did, there would be uproar. But in the UK, there is no hesitation to sell The Sun (with naked page 3 girl) to dirty men, kids or women who may all be subjected to an overt act of discrimination.

So my conclusion - discrimination is relative and if you can't adapt or take on the nuances of the place in which you are living then choose somewhere else where you can.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Primped on target









I love this concept from PRIMPED.

The smart girls over at 'the go-to in how-to in beauty' website are turning the tried & tested 'gift with purchase' subscription driver into a very useful tool to;

1. Drive quality user-generated-content
2. Recruit new employees
3. Refresh their site with relevant opinions & perspectives without actually having to pay people to do it

Overall, they are empowering their most engaged users to contribute to their site over & above regular commentary. It is an appealing promotion for their current users but also a great opportunity for brands to road-test their products and get rich consumer feedback.

This concept has been in place for a long time, driven by agencies such as The Soup and T-Garage's Vibe Village. The difference here is that audience are already engaged, they're well defined and they are motivated to share their opinions because they know they'll be heard (as the site is a source of beauty information not just an aggregator of opinions from panel based triallists).

If I represented a beauty client, I'd be on the phone to Ms Foster to strike a deal before my competitor beat me to it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A brand that should know better



I received this eDM yesterday which in itself is not unusual. What I do find interesting is that for a "bank" that has built itself online, their digital communication was somewhat lacking.

The purpose of the eDM was to recruit me to save more money, under the guise of extra rewards. This is all well and good but they didn't make it very easy for me.

I had skimmed over the eDM (who actually reads ALL the words anymore - communication via 160 characters would have been more effective) then proceeded to click, and click, and click (you get it...) until I re-read the eDM and realised I had to copy & paste the URL into my browser.

Seriously, how old school is that? I would suggest that if the eDM allowed the recipient to click-thru, recruitment levels would have been greater and over and above this the consumer experience would have vastly improved.

Why do brands still make these errors? Surely an online brand like this has enough experience to know better? Or perhaps I'm just not privy to the reasons why you wouldn't enable the eDM with click-thru technology.... Please enlighten me if you have an insight into this.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The medium is the message




Play Pictionary for Austism is a nice creative way to draw attention to a problem.

This execution is a great example of how the medium may be used as the message.

I love that they've truly understood the problems associated with Austism then challenged potential donors to experience the problem themselves (albeit it via a fun spin).

http://www.drawtism.com.au/

Is guilt the strongest of emotions?

The global financial crisis has hit me of late. I look at my bank account and see red. It is not due to superfluous spending or a pay reduction, it just seems that life has become more expensive.

I, unlike many others am not in dire straits BUT I am still being forced to think about how I spend my money.

So this morning I stole my boyfriend's spare change to catch the bus and, I stole his $10 to buy my train ticket. Then when I got off the train I ran into Bill.

Bill is a Big Issue vendor who I have started a relationship with. It has been going on for about a year now and he always brightens my day. This morning however, I was compelled by guilt rather than goodwill to buy a magazine from him even though I couldn't afford it. As a result, I blamed him a little bit. He was still chripy & bright to me but I had lost some of the regular sparkle that I greet him with.

It is sad that I was driven by guilt to buy his magazine and am now wallowing in guilt for not taking the time to converse with him about his weekend.

So how do I tackle this guilt & how do I use it for a positive outcome? Suggestions will be readily accepted.