Jul 14

Sunsilk Launches

Last night I went along to the New York launch party for Sunsilk shampoo (one of the brands I’m working on). It’s a well known brand for me but is just being launched in the US..and the Unilever are pulling out all the stops. The voice of the brand on all the comercials is Mario Cantone, who was the star guest at the party. There were a lot of other ‘celebrities’ but I’m obviously not up to speed on the New York social life as there was no one I recognised. Even when i was told their name. However, I’m pretty sure photos will appear, as there were plenty of press and cameras there.

The party also launched the Hairapy Guys onto the world. They’ve been pretty busy on the PR circuit and will be doing htings like appearing on the VH1 Best Week Ever tonight.

The team here have been working hard on the web stuff and the main site launches next week. In the meantime, check out Micah’s Hairapy blog, Micah being one of the HG’s. The writing gives you a good indication of what he’s like in real life..great fun.

Jun 29

Ford Bold Moves

Going one better than GM’s Fastlane Blog, Ford this week launch BoldMoves.com, tying in with their new campaign in the US. This is a reality video blog, documenting the trials and tribulations of the company as they try and find a new direction. Ford is allowing cameras into business meetings throughout the comonay and also using the site to comment on the state of the US motor industry. Launched 2 days ago, it’s already garnering plenty of comments.

Ford appear to have embraced conversation, syndication and sharing. You can embed the video in you own blog or subscribe to feeds for the videos or the blog. They are offering opposing arguments and letting disagreemtn show in the comments. But the proof in the pudding is if we see reaction to the comment and conversation that they are encouraging. All in all, a bold starting position from the company.

Jun 26

Guinness Ad wins Grand Prix

Nice to see Guinness win a coveted award at the weekend for the Noitulove commercial. This ad cost over 1million GBP to make, full of CGI and expensive filming. To see it you can go to YouTube, although a better quality version (although with an age and country check) is available on the official site. You have to go in as being from England though, as it is not available on the other versions of the site. Good to see that Carlton’s Big Ad is also up there – a firm favourite. The third one in the running for the main prize was the Sony Bravia Balls.

All three are very good ads and 2 of them have shown definitely demonstrate a wider impact than the TV commercial they are aimed at. the Big Ad demonstrated the power of great content going viral with the story of the link to the website being sent out to

Jun 22

Advertising and the new Media

Cannes Advertising Festival is taking place this week, so it’s a perfect opportunity for the various execs to pipe up about how their business is adjusting to the new world. Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, talked on Monday in the Financial Times .

The head of the UK advertising group also acknowledged the difficulty of competing against websites that destroyed business models. “How do you deal with socialistic anarchists?” he asked, referring to Craigslist, the popular, free classified advertising site that has been threatening revenues at US city newspapers. “The internet is the most socialistic force you’ve ever seen,” he added, noting that the response from some media groups had been to offer their content for free in traditional and digital form.

Not necessarily the best thing to call one of the most successful websites. Especially as he goes on to state that successful companies need to good people and changewho have been used to the quick reactions of the web. As most of these are probably extremely at home with Craigslist, far more so than the ads produced by most of WPP’s group of agencies. He thinks that agencies need to set up a separate group to manage through the changes.

Meanwhile Craig Davies, worldwide creative director of the JWT recognsies the change..”The redefinition of advertising is not being led by ad agencies. It is a consumer-driven phenomenon. There are just so many ways to say no to advertising.” (also FT, but firewalled). So he thinks that “The challenge to us is to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”

So in an attempt to do just that, JWT took over all the advertising on the Huffington post for a week. Let people watch full ads when they want, is the idea. Unfortunately part of the campaign slightly backfired..the ‘buzz marketing’ part. MaxPower has a good breakdown of what appears to be astroturfing

There a lots of companies that provide this service, sending out information and tips to blogs, message boards and other community sites. I’m not against it, as long as done openly. If the ad/game/video etc is good, it will usually be picked up, but doing it in an underhand way is old school marketing, doing it openly is closer to to the concept of markets of conversations – sending on stuff to people you know..and being honest about why you are doing it. In this case, it looked like whoever was behind the emails was not that clear..leading pretty quickly to a bad taste in the mouth of a few of the bloggers on the receiving end.

And in the spirit of disclosure, I’m currently doing some work for JWT…but nowhere near the stuff mentioned above 😉

Jun 21

Orbit gum, Snoop Dogg and Do Not Call

Updated…now I’ve put the password here! And the URL for the site is www.goodcleanfeeling.com

There’s a US campaign for Orbit Gum that involves a spokeswoman* suggesting that various characters clean up their mouths and language by using the gum. The latest version involves Snoop Dogg, beng sent to hell for using foul language in front of a bunch of schoolchildren.

A site you can happily spend a few moments on, looking at the videos (especially if a Snoop fan, with some of the behind the scenes stuff). There’s also a nice little tool – enter your (or any) number and either Snoop or one of the other characters will phone you and leave a message. In this way you can get a password to see a ‘hidden’ video with more background stuff. And the password is ‘fabulous’….but if you can take the phone call it’s fun 😉

Looking at the screen below, for all intents and purposes you are giving them your number only to make this call back to you as a one time event. They are not after your name or other identifying info. So imagine my surprise to hear at the end of the call the fact I need to press some buttons to go onto their Do Not Call list. I didn’t even know I was on the call list, there’s no indication that my number would be retained, I have not opted into anything that I could see…so why make me press 2 buttons on the phone to opt out? And do I opt out of everything – I may have wanted to be called by wrigley on another matter. This is very confusing. Looking at the privacy policy I think it was driven by the statement: “Such responses will include information on how to opt out from receiving further information or services” but it definitely needs more warning and more explanation as to why they are doing something to remove me from a list I did not believe I was being added to.


I was also surprised that there was a lack of product information…or even a link to the main product page. Instead, there’s just a flashy series of product images.

*Sometimes characters just cry out to be put into little advergames…I’d pay money to get this very annoying woman in a nice flash game I could shoot out all her nice shiny teeth and then whack her to the ground.

Jun 19

Folgers Coffee in the Morning

Folgers Coffee (something I;ve never heard of before this) have a bright and breezy ad that does make you smile first thing in the morning. Completely wacky, reminiscent of 70’s style musicals.

The associated campaign site has some nice little toys, including a Boss tracker, which requires a bunch of you from one office to download and then collaborate about where the boss is in the office, to give all advance warnings. They also have email templates with great excuses about why you are late and a wake up tool – enter your details and they will give you a wake up call in the morning – choose your sexy voice and set of compliments.

I’m guessing the campaign site has been done by a different agency to the main site…there is a severe lack of compatibility between the two, with no visual or design similarity that makes switching between them jarring. I would have at least thought that the coffee jar image could have been the same on both pages.

Jun 16

Absolut Bottle search

Absolut do it again. They continuously update their home page to new and fresh things. Their latest is a bottle hunt…finding bottle shapes on a complex graphic in a short time frame. The fastest way to find the bottles is just to random click (very quickly) all over the site and not to actually look for the bottle shapes. This way I got 58 out of the 82 instead of the measley 30 that I found by actually searching. Of course, doing this you don’t get a chance to look at the great artwork.


May 18

Kitkat Marketing in Japan and UK

Over on Alphamale (a blog normally dedicated to health issues by the look of it) is a story of how Kitkat increased their sales in Japan. A definite longview approach, building up a story of a brand over 4 years, from a small start to something that is regarded as a good luck charm.

Meanwhile, in the UK, where it is already the number one brand, there’s less subtlety in the brand offering Golden Tickets. 100 lucky (or is that unlucky) winners will have the chance to become ‘famous’ by entering the Big Brother House. Of course, as long as they pass “thorough background checks”. Catch 22 always comes to mind though – anyone who wants to go on Big Brother and have their whole life under scrutiny probably shouldn’t be stuck in one place being televised for a month. BTW, Wikipedia has a quite fascinating page showing lots of different Kitkat varieties

May 18

Spoof Ads

I consistently find Three Minds@Organic a great pointer towards cool marketing stuff on the web. This time they have linked to a great spoof of the Sony Bravia “balls bouncing downhill”, but this time with fruit. See if you can guess the brand before the tag line. And make sure you take a look round the site to see the ‘damage’ the filming caused. The ‘send to a friend’ component sends a great message asking you to sign a petition against nasty advertisement makers who traumatise innocent streets and don’t clear up after themselves.

Another good copy/spoof/parody (call it what you will) is by 118, again redoing some of W&K’s Honda ads. This time they took on the Choir Ad . The original can be found here (again on YouTube, as you can’t link direct to the ad on the Honda Civic site but have to go through Flash flashiness first).

Apr 01

Creative Challenge

Via Mit Advertsing lab, In what I assume is a tie in with the US version of The Apprentice, Chevrolet have opened a competition to make your own advertisement. In a very nice website, it allows you to combine video shots and music and text however you wish. I can’t work out the way to get to the ads online, but you obviously can…so some have been grabbed for your viewing pleasure.

Whilst many will be complimentary, funny or just plain bad, the competition has also opened the doors to those who do not agreee with big cars. There’s a series over on YouTube (for the while at least) and some more here on Eco-Geek..

These things were inevitable – they would have (at least I hoped they were) covered in all of the preparation for the campaign. The acid test will be what do Chevy do next. Leave the negative ads out there, not go chasing to have them taken down, whilst. hopefully, listen to what they are saying and learn something? Or prove that they are still, really, a command and control marketer, don’t want to listen to their customers and not really interested. I guess we’ll see next week – assuming the lawyers aren’t working the weekend 😉

Mar 31

Marketing RoI

I’ve been following the back and forth between Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. An interesting challenge – provide hard numbers about the benefits of blogging. It’s far easier with websites to understand traffic, how many people have seen it, than any of the other methods of indirect marketing (ie those that are not experiential when you actually count people), but understanding monetary value of an any marketing can be a challenge, especially when it is one part in many. Teasing out the effect of one part of marketing from another, when you are trying to change people’s perceptions, is a difficult art. So providing hard numbers for blogging, especially when it is part of the marketing and communication effort, may not be possible. Or needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I’ve developed pretty comprehensible, logical, spreadsheet based calculations for the RoI on consumer-facing, product based websites (had to follow the process, don’t you know). But I know that the accuracy was suspect – but I had numbers and a great RoI!

You may not be able to get detailed numbers, and in a lot of cases I think it is too soon to tell, but there is a definite need for some more rigorous case studies to to supplement the change stories (which is to me the greatest benefit of opening up companies) (Update: Shel’s posted more here)

PS – see Hugh’s cartoon for one take on it.

Mar 21

Mix06: Beyond Banner Advertising

Advertsing 2 post

My first panel today was entitled ‘Beyond the Banner: Advertising on the Web and where it is going’. The panel comprised:

David Jakubowski – Microsoft (Facilitator)
Jason Rapp NYT
Ron Belanger – Yahoo
Jennifer Slegg – JenStar
Jed Nahum – Microsoft Adcentre
Jeff Lanctot – Avenue A
Bant Breeen Interpublic group

The quick answer, if you don’t want to read the rest of the post, is that the panel really don’t know where digital advertising is going but have a lot of ideas.

Key points:

  • tracking needs to be sorted. Currently, there is a tolerance of emerging opportunities and the lack of tracking but this will draw to a close and a method of measuring and reporting needs to be worked out.
  • need to address accountability and assess the difference between direct response marketing and branding
  • standardising the offers from the tech companies would be nice from teh advertisers perpsective, make it easier to manage and compare campaigns consistently, but the competition between them drives innovation and can show the way
  • Behavioural targeting does help with ads, but can be viewed with suspicion. It can get a bad press, but agregating tools do help in managing campaigns. One audience member even asked for more permission based spyware to show him relevant ads (ie he was from New Zealand..so it would be good to get ads that show him bargains in Las Vegas as he is here)
  • the solutions could be software (as envisioned by the tech companies)…need to build into platforms ways to deliver target ads.
  • the advertisers have to get the right balance between advertising and content. Recently the creative agencies have been poor in creative..to attract the desentisised pople need to increase the ads that are relevant, engaging and inviting.
  • a number of the advertisers in the audience asked questions about tracking viral/Word of mouth. There are agencies that do perception and feeling measurement and the advice was to start tracking before you try and do viral marketing. But is is critical that the brand stays honest – seeding discussions is not a smart move!
  • looking to get dynamic ads in podcasting and videoblogging to really drive this space.
  • mobile devices will be big! (errr…yep) there was some discusssion about video to mobile, 2D bar codes, event ticketing etc as being..although they are only really new to US..a dive to make the phone/mobile device a bridge across other platforms.

There was nothing new in this panel at all for me, but it was interesting to see the same questions keep coming up from yesterday (localisatiojn etc)- so there is more of a need to educate and inform about what is happening here for all the advertisers.


Mar 08


In one of those co-incidences, I arrived at the airport lounge yesterday and smiled and said hello to someone I recognised. Nothing unusual in that, I’m used to seeing people all the time on the NYC flight – there was usually at least one person from Diageo on the flight. This time though it turned out to be one of the people who catch the same train as me every morning – so he looked at me very weirdly as I greeted him as though I knew him.

But this post is not about that kind of localisation, where the world is getting smaller (or is that globalisation), it’s more about the kind of localisation that puts an independently owned motorway service station at the top of a Which Poll (I can’t find a decent link to the story this morning). Many services in the UK are owned by chains, they’re dull, plastic, too expensive for what you get but Westmorland has always provided something different. Started by the landowner when the motorway was built across his land, the services foucs on providing local produce and employment for locals. People go out of their way to visit the farm shop and restaurant, it does not jsut rely on passing trade.

So here you have an occasion where staying true to initial values and focusing on excellence provides a service that consistently comes out top in polls such as this.

Mar 02


As an advertising campaign, Mastercard’s Priceless appears to strike chords and I’ve seen it replicated many times, such as the one that was circulated after London got the 2012 Olympics. Finally, Mastercard have cottoned on to this and are running a competition to get us to write the copy for the ad. Adrants have an interesting twist on it….”We have to wonder, though, how many industry creatives will anonymously go after this and then gleefully add the ad to their portfolio once it airs.”

Feb 15

Microsoft Office Stickers

Talking about Microsoft (well, sort of) they had a particularly lame attempt yesterday at marketing the new Office Suite in Waterloo Station. The station has been decked out in banners and posters and great big floor stickers with the Dinosaur campaign all over it. (It’s big in the papers as well) And to bring this home, some experiential ad agency decided that having people with big dino masks wandering round the station handing out cards full of stickers. Yes, little stickers of people with dino heads on and the various slogans. All I need the the picture book with scenes in that you just stick the stickers into.

Of course, the campaign is working in one way – I’m talking about it. But I’m thinking about why, if it is as good a product as they are trying to say, isn’t the marketing better? And I won’t get to try the features either – won’t work on the set up we have here.

Jan 25

Busk Marketing

Annie over on London Underground reports on the interface between corporates and self-impression. Underground buskers are being paid by companies to play music. The buskers are being paid a reported £40/day to play Johnny Cash songs, to support the release of the new movie Walk the Line and its associated release of albums.

There appears to be a mixed reaction from the buskers – are they compromising themselves and being a corporate schill? For some, the money is too good an opportunity; others feel they could not do it. A good marketing test, getting the songs in front of an estimated 3 million people for a cost that would be far cheaper than a set of tube posters. I think the buskers need to put their prices up!

Jan 17


Last night I went to a business networking event. Unlike some I’ve been to, where it is a ‘come along and chat’ night, this one was more structured in that there were a number of experts who provide free 30 minute sessions during the night on their specialised subject. Even though they are trying to convince you to use their services going forward, the selling was pretty light and the sessions are no obligation with some pretty good advice given out. Last night there was an emarketing expert, a Management consultant, a voice coach and a lifestyle coach.

In conversations with the attendees I spent a lot of time talking about blogging. There was a lot of interest from people who were aware of it but did not understand if and how it could help them in their business. A lot of people had websites, often because ‘they had to have them’ but were not leveraging them to drive business. One person there was getting their website rewritten, unbeknownst to them it was going to become a blog – but the word had never been mentioned, it was just being described as an easy site to update and get comments on. By the end of the evening I had a number of people to whom I need to send out a load of links. (which I can use as a post in my new blog about my new business…). I was also busy recommending Naked Conversations as a good starting point as the book is out in the UK at the end of January.

Looking for the book, I found a weird glitch. Using the search term ‘Naked Conversation’, Amazon came back and told me there was nothing that matched the term ‘naget’…I’d love to know why it does that.


Jan 03


Resolutions were on display in the canteen at lunchtime. The first day back at work found a far larger than usual number of people choosing salad for their lunch instead of any other offering. Walking into Waterstones, another favourite resolution was being encouraged – giving up smoking – with this highly visible display of half-price books to support you in giving up the easy way.


Jan 01

Business Tips

Rick Segal has posted a few business tips for 2006. I especially like this one and can so see the advantages into trying it.

Forward your phone to a responsible person.

Let’s face it, you need the personal touch of a responsible assistant but, as a start up, you can’t afford it. Simple. Forward your phone to a responsible friend. You know the one that keeps the desk neat, remembers people’s birthdays and never seems to have any fast food wrappers tossed in the back of their car. It works brilliantly and you don’t even have to tell them because, being all responsible -n- such, they will handle the calls. A live call gets a responsible person who will take a message for you after the “uh, I’m looking for Rick” stuff. A voice mail gets done with “this is, uh, a message for Rick” which, of course, gets dutifully transcribed by your responsible friend. Try to get the one not particularly tech savvy so you can blame this on the phone call company with a reasonable shot of getting away with it. As a start up, these costs savings will add up.