Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Return of The SUPERHUMANS.

It's not often I want to write up about an ad that I like. Mainly because there haven't been many recently.

Of course I could bore you with my opinions on the highly anticipated Christmas ads from John Lewis (made me cry) or Sainsbury's (it's just a cat fucking up Christmas), but then I'm not sharing anything new or valuable with you.

I saw this trailer for Channel 4's 'Meet The Superhumans' - spine-tingling stuff.

(Click to watch)

You may remember the original SuperHumans ad for the 2012 Paralympics. If you haven't, here it is - an extremely powerful video that I personally find emotionally overwhelming and highly gripping.

(Click to watch)

Channel 4 are bringing back the idea for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio,

The original idea for 'Superhumans' came because the Paralympics never had as much worldwide coverage or air-time as the Olympic Games (the Para's opening ceremony had 11 million views, whereas the Olympic opening ceremony has 27 million). Channel 4 wanted to raise the profile of this undervalued franchise and show that it can rival the Olympics in terms of drama and thrills, as well as hoping to change the way people view disability along the way,

The flashback sequence from the 2012 trailer reminds us that every athlete in the Paralympics has either had their life knocked sideways by a traumatic event or has been battling the odds since they were born.
'Inside Incredible Athletes', a C4 documentary, told the stories of these disabled athletes and how they have overcome them and pushed the limits of the human body.
It showed how a blind football player uses sonar-like ability to “see” the ball and the field, how a wheelchair rugby player paralyzed to the chest compensates for diminished lung capacity by making his lungs work three times harder, and how for a swimmer with cerebral palsy, the right side of her brain controls both sides of her body to perform a perfect breaststroke.

When I lost my hearing back in 2003 I worked twice as hard to prove that I could still do everything I wanted to do. I graduated from Uni, worked many jobs, and bought my own property, all whilst coming to terms with, and grieving for, the loss of my hearing - and it hasn't been easy. I think when you go through something like that, you adapt a 'do or die' attitude. You complain less, push yourself harder, and just 'get on with it'. Disabled people are in no way secondary to those who are not disabled, which is why the Paralympics shouldn't be treated like an after-thought.

C4's print ad after the Olympic Games had finished.

Hopefully next year we will see a rise in the profile of the Paralympics and the world start to see it as equally, if not more, impressive. After C4's 2012 campaign, they conducted a study which showed fantastic results and shift in viewer's behaviour:
  • 69%* of viewers said it was the first time they had made the effort to watch the Paralympics.
  • 65%* of viewers felt Channel 4's coverage had had a favourable impact on their perceptions of people with disabilities.
  • 82%* agreed that disabled athletes were as talented as able-bodied

Will you watch it next year?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Instagram Ad Spam

There are many places I don't mind being advertised to, in fact there are many places I expect to be advertised to. Everywhere from my work, to my home, to my deathbed.

However, I don't enjoy being advertised to on Instagram. 

Instagram is a very personal app. Users are selective about who they follow, and weigh up whether they really want to commit to having certain content be part of their news-feed. Instagram is one of those rare social media sites where people are looking to discover; to search out their passions and be inspired. Users care about the content they are seeing; they will check their news-feed when they can dedicate the time to appreciate the content, and they will most likely scroll down until they reach the last photo they viewed, so as not to miss anything.

Unlike Facebook, users won't put up an album of photos, they'll choose that one special one which sums up the whole night. Unlike Twitter, they won't post every time they have a thought, they wait until it's something worth talking about. 

Now, does this sound like a place where people won't mind seeing an ad about toilet cleaner??

Basically, THERE ARE RULES. Brands can't rudely come into our news-feed with shit ads that don't look like Instagram-esque content.

Case in point (and what led me to write this post) was that this morning as I was checking my feed, longing to find out what I'd missed out on during the 8 hours I was foolishly asleep, and I saw FOUR sponsored ads.

The worst was this: 

Emirates decide to put their full-length TV ad on Instagram - a place where we only enjoy watching 15 second videos because we don't have the attention span for anything longer. 
Why have they just shoved the TV ad on Instagram instead of re-purposing it for Instagrammers?

This one was quite bad because it was just a boring ad.
Most users on Instagram use it to see content which is:
- Amusing
- Beautiful
- Creative
- Funny

Samsung - your ad ticked no boxes, therefore annoyed me.

This ad wasn't bad....

I follow 'I Fucking Love Science' on Facebook so this is appropriate targeting for me. The video wow-ed me by showing quick chemical reactions. However, when I went on the 'Science' profile, I was hoping for more fun videos like this, but there weren't, so I didn't follow. Users will often view Instagram profiles before following, just so they know what kind of content to expect. "Will you provide me with this kind of cool shit every day?" No? Then I'm not altering my follow/followers ratio for your brand.

This one was quite good actually:

You can't really go wrong with food on Instagram because, and I'm sure you're aware whether you use Instagram or not, photos of food and meals are hugely popular on the app.
This was cool because a video hand went into the photo of the profiteroles and picked one up, creating a 3D visual experience. 
Iceland are on the money with this ad because it's creative, something I haven't seen before on Instagram, seasonally relevant, tasty-looking and aesthetically pleasing (an important aspect for an app that has so many artistic users).

Murad Osmann & his wife became Instagram famous with their photo series; encompassing fashion, travel and beauty. Click here to view more.

Brands could be so much cleverer when it comes to social media. Instead of using it to blanket the same content over all channels, they should understand what consumers want from each channel, and then produce content which is relevant to users of that channel. For example, Twitter users might want to be more informed about current events, Facebook users might want to see things that is entertaining or informative... in this case, Instagram users want to see content that feels like Instagram. Brands have to stop acting like brands, and start acting like content producers; start acting like an Instagrammer.

Illy Coffee


Herschel Supply

 Brands have more data than ever available to enable them to tailor content to their consumer's passion points - the most powerful way to tap into their behaviours. Use these insights to produce meaningful content that fits with their lifestyle, bespoke for the platform you are advertising on.

That way you won't piss everyone off. (well, most people)

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Please Stop Shouting!

Consumers create much more (and often better) content for your brand than you do.

A bold statement maybe, but a quick sweep of social channels and consumers are there; using, sharing, living your brand.

Take GoPro's consumers for example:

Or perhaps Lego's

Or Nutella's...

Consumers are using brands in the most genuine, real way, every day. But I'll come back to this in a minute.

Today I attended ISBA's 'Good Brief Week' event, which was about how brands should do real-time, reactive marketing. I feel this is one of those topics I know a lot about because I actually have some common sense, and I know that a beer brand shouldn't be tweeting about the birth of the royal baby because it's got fuck all to do with them.

Jon Burkhart opened the presentation with the overrated, outdated, Oreo - Dunk In The Dark example... "Ugh, here we go". 
But no, before I was about to ram my pen into my jugular, he brought it up as a bad example of real-time marketing.

He basically said everything I feel - that it was a good example of timing, but a bad example of content because the actual brand was irrelevant to the SuperBowl, and it inspired every other brand in the world to start jumping on every topic they can, whether it has anything to do with them or not. 

Ergo, Oreo is responsible for the downfall of man.


So, back to my earlier point regarding consumers, the people you are creating this "relevant, reactive" content for....

They are already doing it. They are using your product in a way that is real-time and relevant for them. They don't need brands to come up with some strained connection to #TheOscars or #RoyalBaby, they won't care about it and they will tune you out.
You need to understand what is important to your consumer when using your product, and then use that as a starting point for what conversations you get involved in and what your opinions are. That way you will connect with them in a meaningful way on many levels.

Great example: inspiring Dulux consumers using a current topic

Consumers' digital habits and behaviours have changed, so brands have to change. We have to keep these old, shouty, widespread advertising ideas to the masses in the past. Now, it's all about a more tactical, personal approach. Ideas needs a bit more thought behind them if they are to stand out from the crowd.

Stop shouting, start personalising.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Marketing lols

Just a little bit of light writing from me on this sunny evening, as I have come across several things recently which have brought me great comical pleasure.

First off, Marks and Spencer's want to put their D in your bread.

Yes, I know I'm late to the party with this one. I blame the fact I went on holiday at the time this came out, and hadn't heard/seen it until my return.

I know a few people who've never heard the term 'The D', so perhaps M&S copywriter could be forgiven, but surely someone out of all the hands it passed through to go live had heard of the expression?

Next, Marketoonist. 

As someone who wasn't from a marketing background, I started my career very aware of how all marketers talked, acted and bullshitted in the exact same fantastic way. Despite now being fully integrated in the marketing world, I can still mentally step out and appreciate how ridiculous it can sometimes be. And how aware of life can you really be if you can't laugh at yourself?


I'll let you ponder that whilst enjoying some of my favourite cartoons by Tom Fishbourne. You can subscribe to his daily cartoons here.

And finally, my last lol of the evening. Oasis' continuing campaign of horror,

I'm not really laughing actually, more like cry/cringing.

Oasis' plan to 'connect' with their target audience by being 'authentic' and 'refreshingly honest', just comes across too forced for my liking. Their digital content is try-hard and unoriginal, see examples below, or read more about my views on it at length here.

One of the Marketoonist sketches sums up perfectly how I feel about this campaign.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Lucozade Energy: Find Your Flow

I won't go on about our new Lucozade Energy 'Find Your Flow' campaign because not only have you most likely seen it around, but you can read about it in many online articles, such as Adweek, where our new ad was hailed Ad Of The Day.

*smug faces all round*

(Click to watch)

Lucozade Energy isn't the heart-racing, sky-diving, Red Bull-twitching kind of energy - it's a more sustainable feeling of energy, The kind you need so that you can get on with all the awesome shit life throws at you. So you can still have a productive day despite the heavy night before. So you can work, play, and still have it in you to iron the shirt you'll wear tomorrow before bed. In a world where people want to be busy, where they want to get the most out of their lives, Lucozade Energy is an ally - enabling this generation of 'strivers' to find their rhythm, and keep it.

"Flow" is that feeling you get when you're doing it all, and you're doing it well.

We have some super exciting stuff to show you from our £14m campaign.

You've most likely spotted out OOH all over London since June to drive awareness of our branding...

This month we have a new burst of contextualised OOH, experiential sampling, PR and Radio ads.

And, of course, a whole host of digital activity - such as keyword-targeted tweets, new website, YouTube pre-rolls and a variety of videos for social that demonstrate flow by showing people doing mundane tasks in awesome, enjoyable ways.

(click to watch)

Maybe I'm a little biased but I really do love this campaign as I feel it not only stands out creatively, but the idea of "flow" is a very unique and strong one. 
Keep an eye out and let me know if you have any feedback - good or bad - about any part of the campaign. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Mean something

Gone are the days where you can get consumers to buy into your brand long-term just by showing them a funny ad, pulling a great PR stunt, or having your tweet go viral.

People are fast becoming more self-aware: they look after themselves better, eat clean, train dirty, prioritise, sacrifice, budget, experience, live, travel, learn... they want a full, meaningful existence.
They know what's important to them, so it's easy to block out the constant noise of brands who aren't relevant to their lifestyle. Too many brands complicate our lives and it can cause people to "shut down" in the face of too many options.

"Brits would not care if 94% of brands disappeared... and people believe only 3% of brands improve their quality of life."
- Havas Media: Meaningful Brands Index

So your brand jumps on relevant events - great! But is your brand actually relevant to consumers' lives? No? Then who gives a shit. You've risen awareness, but haven't given them a reason to buy your product forever and ever... which is the point, right?

Brands that stand out now, and the ones that have longevity, are the ones that continuously develop their products and brand; they notice the change in consumer's attitudes and needs, and adapt.

Here are several examples of brands who I think listen to consumer's lifestyle requirements.

Unilever set out its 10 year Sustainable Living plan back in 2010, which included targets such as halving its environmental footprint and making 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably sourced. Sales from their environmentally friendly brands, Ben and Jerry's and Dove, accounted for half of company's growth last year.

Special K

Special K are moving away from their usual buxom brunette in a red bikini role model, and have introduced Tess Daly to their campaigns.

By using a "normal, working mum" who balances work and home life, they hope to appeal to a more modern female audience. Evolving from their previous 'diet and restriction' point of view, they're now promoting 'eating healthy for a healthy shape'.
They are also introducing 3 new products that reflect the current trends; protein, superfoods and vitamins.


Big fan of these ads for Wholefoods who promote that eating home-grown, organic food can taste and make you feel good. A very aspirational approach, which fits well with people's increasingly holistic outlook on life.

This is what will make a brand stand out from the crowd - showing that you're listening by offering them something that fits with what they already want in life, rather than trying to convince them that they still need your old, outdated product which isn't relevant to them any more.

In the end, it comes down to earning consumers' trust. If you don't listen to them, why should they listen to you?

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Oasis: was honesty the best policy?

I first saw this ad on Wednesday.

My initial thought process went like: 'Oooh honest... Mildly amusing... Doesn't make me thirsty...Lazy... Annoying... Who is that even aimed at? Would that sell Oasis?',

I immediately sent it to marketing colleagues and ad friends to get their opinions. 

The general consensus from marketers was, 'Is that funny for the consumer? Who is the consumer? Why would they buy Oasis from that? Seems lazy.'
My ad friends were slightly more accepting; ''Honesty is a refreshing's got us talking about it so job done in terms of awareness... love it, it's different."
Typical - marketers think consumer first, advertisers think attention-grabbing first.

My main bugbear with this ad is the visual. You're trying to trigger thirst for consumers, so why would you go for a cartoon image over something like this?

Regardless of whether you would drink any of the above, you'd have to admit that showing the refreshing ice cold liquid in a condensed glass will trigger your thirst a hell of a lot more than a cartoon blob. And, even though Oasis make a joke out of it, they do ultimately have to sell the product, so they could've made it work harder for them.
RTD's (ready to drink) sales soar in the summer time, so why not make the product look as incredibly tempting as possible?

In an attempt to not be biased, I decided to ask some non-marketers and non-advertisers their opinion.
"It's okay, I wouldn't buy it. I don't drink that type of drink anyway, but it doesn't entice me - I'm not worried about their sales targets!" - f, 56
"Pretty funny and to the point, but I'm not one to buy due to an advert - more just trial and error to see what I like" - m, 29

When reading up about the campaign I found out that Oasis are trying to target teenagers, the new "centennials", "generation Z". They created this laid back, give-a-fuck, attitude to connect to this target group "because they want brands to be transparent, honest and communicate their values.".... I'm sorry, but Oasis' values aren't really coming through here. And they are forgetting that that generation are pelted with "cool ads" every day. They are savvy to it and they know your game. And they will be the quickest to jump on your brand with crushing criticism unless you can offer them something newer, faster, funnier, fresher, or that's beneficial to their lives.

To end, I thought maybe it would be best to ask someone who the ad is actually aimed at. 
Here is a quick convo I had with my 18 year old cousin - Oasis' target consumer.