Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Words from the Don

"Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing is okay. You are okay."

Monday, 28 January 2013

A bit of E-Lite comedy

I saw an ad at the weekend that I love.

Dancing baby + Gangnam Style = My attention

What an unexpected and poignant turn.  “What are you missing?” I’m sure many smokers have felt this way – when they have to pop out for a quick smoke and miss a part of a film, a hilarious conversation, or in this case, something far more important. I like how the slogan fits perfectly with the comical exaggeration, but also has a far more evocative meaning; what else will you miss apart from your grandchild’s first steps if you keep smoking? Your grandchild’s future?

E-Lites are an electronic cigarette. They look like cigs, they taste like cigs, but actually have no tar, tobacco or carbon monoxide. You can legally smoke them indoors or at work without effecting or harming anyone around you. It just has a bit of nicotine in it, similar to a patch or gum – the perfect way to ween yourself off and makes giving up smoking a hell of a lot easier. For the first cigarette ad since 1965, McCann Birmingham did a great job.

I think this will definitely strike up motivation to quit, especially with older people who will appreciate the longevity of their life. And in comparison to momentous occasions like your child’s first steps, smoking seems pretty futile.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pussy is for women

So, I was driving around the one-way system the other day and nearly crashed my car when I saw this Times Square-sized poster lit up like a Christmas tree -

'Pussy: The drink's pure, it's your mind that's the problem'

Oh, is it my mind that is dirty? Because I'm pretty sure the tagline is what made it into a sexual innuendo, so it automatically makes it more shocking to see 'Pussy' so boldly emblazoned. I doubt I'd have thought anything dirty if there were a picture of a cat or the suggestive name wasn't so central to the ad. It feels like a bunch of horny teenage boys made this ad, guffawing and high-fiving over the fact they got away with putting a naughty word in public and making people say it when ordering a drink.
Well, that's how it kind of started out...

Pussy founder, Jonnie Shearer, created the brand at college and says he got his inspiration for the name from Richard Branson's 'Virgin' brand and, as he was trying to launch it, all his mates thought he was an idiot. Beattie McGuinness Bungay came up with the tagline and yes, it probably has the most difficult name to advertise, but it's like they knew it would be a tough product to market so they just admitted defeat and just went down the 'sex sells' route. So, does it sell?

In 2012, half a million cans were sold every month and I'm sure sales have risen. The brand is actually doing well and is sold in Tesco and Selfridges. I'm not surprised it's been successful; there are probably many teenage boys and young men buying the drink for the novelty value - a mainly male audience. That's what you thought too, right? Well, I was a bit confused when I read this quote from Shearer -

'Around 60% of our customers are women, typically in their thirties or older. Male-dominated, aggressive, extreme sports, cliff-diving ads just won't appeal to them. And it's a really great selling point with the multiples: Pussy appeals to a customer that doesn't usually buy energy drinks. We're 100% natural, very feminine, something new.'

'60% women'? 'Very feminine'? EH?!

Sorry let's just look at the ad again -

I was actually on the verge of saying they had created a successful ad for men, but that is directed at women? I am not slating this because of any personal feminist views I may have about it, but from a normal person's point of view... is that the right way to target your main consumer? I have done a quick ask-around and all the girls say that this ad wouldn't make them want to buy the drink. So well done, you have our attention - but does it make us like you? Not particularly. Not only that, but with other tag lines on their website such as...

“Looking for Pussy? To find out which bars, venues and stores stock Pussy near you, call us on 020 7348 9870.”

...they are over-doing the whole double entendre to the point where it's getting a bit uncomfortable.

Their biggest competitor, Red Bull, has millions to spend on their ads and Pussy can't afford such 'flashy campaigns', but next time I'd like to see something with a bit more... effort?
Try harder next time.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Ad Success: Is it all just a matter of good timing?

I don’t know who first came up with the phrase, ‘Timing is Everything’, but it’s a damn good phrase. You can relate it to pretty much everything in life; especially if your job is in PR, stand up comedy, cooking or, as I have just realised, advertising.

An ice cold drink ad in the summer, a pizza ad when you’re hungover, a double glazing ad in October, or a Thomas Cook ad on payday… all these coincidental timings are crucial to the success of an advert and the sale of a product. If ads are lucky, they will pop up at the right time when the audience is in the mood to watch them and be affected by them. But if you have a product that can be placed in the right spot, at the right time, then you should take advantage of that.

Here is my personal example. The other day at 7.45am I was at my bus stop en route to work - it was Monday, it was raining, and it was cold. For those who don’t know me, I hate the cold more than world famine or war or crocs. I was miserable and wanted to die. Then a bus stopped on the opposite side of the road with this large advert:

At that moment, this Timberland coat looked like the Holy Grail. ‘A log cabin with sleeves and a hood’ - Oh, how I’d love to wear something that felt like I was wearing a log cabin! The tagline is not particularly hilarious and the picture is no clever accompaniment to the tagline, but I understood that the jacket is bloody warm and on that icy morning, that’s only what mattered. Now we are all battling with snow, I’m sure they will see a rise in sales of this jacket if those ads are still driving around.

Intelligent ad placement is something that can really boost your sales, so put your burger ad opposite a nightclub, air your charity ad on the last Friday of the month, and advertise your renovation business outside an estate agents. Don’t leave it to chance when you can make timing your bitch and can avoid unfortunate situations that drive your audience away such as these poorly placed ads: