Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don´t sell bank accounts as if they were Mars bars!

Giving away money seems to be the new trendy marketing method for banks. Suncorp bank just released a campaign offering every new customer 50 bucks:

And in the Us, ING Direct allures teenagers with ipods and cash.

The big banks usually sell by default; getting customers who picks the same bank as their parents or the bank that gives them great service. At least that´s how the big 4 market themselves. Can a few extra dollar make people switch? Is our bank chosen with our brain or our heart?

I believe people can make a slight move to another bank account provider based on the chance of winning an ipod, but will they stay? Research suggests that we do not really trust what is for free; we don´t value what is too easily given to us. Just compare with the dating market where playing hard to get makes you more attractive in the eyes of a lover...

Unless the banks also build a strong brand value, delivering more than dollars, offering an emotional value as well, they will see people coming and going, receiving the incentive, but soon going back to their old bank.

Institutions like banks can´t simply be marketed in the same way as a chocolate bar. Deep seeded fears and feelings need to be considered and thoroughly researched and understood.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Will women ever be able to have a decent media career? Or is the party over when you want a life as well?

Today I´ll publish a piece directly from AdNews, because it needs to be read. It´s about how male the culture is in advertising/media and should be seen as a sign of how unhealthy this industry can be...
These are my opinions on the topic, when reporting from the gender discussion at Cannes Lion:
"OPINION: I struggle to see myself in a senior role, says female exec
29 Aug 2011
I've received lots of emails and phone calls from female media executives following Friday's opinion piece 'A Question of Gender'.

Here's one response from a female media executive in her early 20s, who allowed me to publish the note she sent me, but wishes to remain anonymous.

Firstly, I must point out that I have some inspiring male colleagues who offer guidance and encouragement, so I wouldn’t consider myself a 'male-basher'. But, I was fascinated when the
AdNews Power 50 list came out. As a young(ish) female working media agency side, I struggle to envision myself working at a very senior level, as I have limited role models to emulate and seek advice from.

Additionally, the expectation that ‘the client always comes first’ infers that by taking time out from your role for maternity leave or child care, means that you are not prioritising the needs of your clients, therefore performing at a less committed level. AdNews touched on the
boozy, long-hours culture prevalent in some businesses, and I would completely agree this is a barrier to women.

I've lost count of the number of times myself and other female colleagues have felt excluded at events and team bonding opportunities because we are physically unable to ingest the same amount of alcohol as our male counterparts. It's ridiculous. Yet, across the board in both Sydney and Melbourne there are more female media planners and campaign executives than males in the same positions.

The anecdotes mentioned in the “Question of Gender” article seem endless – being asked if a sick leave request is for ‘women problems’, the offensive language in the industry where ‘c**ts’ seems to be an acceptable form of insult, the assumptions that when a male and female walk into a meeting, the male must be the more senior member of staff.

These issues are of course not limited to this industry, but seem to be more established and tolerated. I’ve worked with many hard-working male colleagues, and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that one gender works harder than the other.

But when I look around my current and previous offices, and see so many females in middle to low ranked positions, and only a few females in senior roles (all child-free), I wonder why I have chosen to work in an industry that might talk the talk, but not follow through with visible change.

From a middle management perspective, what can I do to change this imbalance? Keep working 70-hour weeks in service to my clients until I want to take time off to start a family – working this job on a part-time basis is practically impossible. How can I honestly tell my female junior execs that they can reach any position they want when to do so would require a decision that should never be laid on the table, but sadly is; career or family.

Over the coming years, there will be a bottle-neck of talent coming through for senior positions. I’ll be interested to see what happens when a number of females are up for a limited amount of positions that don’t facilitate an adequate work/life balance. Surely the result can only be talent exiting the industry?

The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous

Have something to say? Send us your comments using the form below or contact the writer at"

The opinion piece Darren Davidson wrote last week:
This is actually not unique to the media/advertising industry, but I´ve seen the same need of high commitment levels in the political world and in church. If you are not in full on, devoting every part of your life to the group, you are seen as not truly "one of us". Most of my old buddies from politics who now run Sweden have been drinking together since we were all in our early teens. They married each other, socialise with each other and work with each other. That´s how success is gained - show that you´re loyal and you´ll be trusted and protected.
The same goes for the ad world. Hence, I speak to women who tell me they can´t go to the gym after work because they need to be at the office when the big bosses come back from their trip to the pub at 8 pm and want a meeting. Sigh.
But who cares? Are the big bosses thinking "can the women stop whinging and start fitting in"?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Interactive billboards - bring play into the grey

In the time when all we want is to play (I mean, look at the economy, there is a reason why the western world is going under...), interactive outdoors billboards are excellent when brands wish to entertain their audience. In the midst of the grey day filled with routines and often-walked-trails we love a little surprise! It´s like a Christmas moment - a tiny piece of childhood in a grown up world. A mini colourful playground in the greyscale life.

Find 10 great examples of Mashable, and check this from Cadbury:

Our need for pleasure is hugely important. Food, water and a shelter and even self development - sure, it counts - but joy might be our absolutely highest need. In research, rats who had the choice between food and stimulation of the pleasure centre in the brain starved to death (happy I guess). Babies who are not touched will sadly die too. Recognition, attention and love is many times more important than those basic stuff Maslow spoke about.

Entertain your customers, make them laugh, and you have turned them into your best friends!

More about joy as a human need:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Location based marketing about to BOOM! Get on the train, brands! (if that´s where they check in... lol)

Location based marketing (through Facebook Places or Foursquare) has great potential! Pyramid Research estimates that the worldwide market for location ads will reach $6.2 billion by 2015, growing 35% from 2010.
A new Us study shows consumers under age 35 are particularly willing to share location in exchange for value.
Q2 2011 data from mobile Wi-Fi hotspot provider JiWire indicates that 53% of all mobile Wi-Fi users are willing to share their location to receive more relevant content. Younger consumers are particularly responsive to location-based programs—60% of 25- to 34-year olds and 58% of those under 25 are willing share location.
A Nielsen study showed that consumers under 35 are less concerned with privacy when using location services than older consumers. Half of 25- to 34-year-olds told Nielsen that they are concerned about privacy when using location-based services, compared to 61% of consumers older than 45.
29 % in the JiWire study said a deal was the most important piece of brand information for them if they were within 1 mile of the retail location, compared to 24% who said the same 10 miles away. Respondents also listed customer reviews, directions and product information as location-related content of interest.
Thanks to for the data!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Frances Bean Cobain - the new IT girl beyond IT girls - which brand will grab her first?

From Rollingstone: "It was bound to happen: her DNA demanded it. Frances Bean Cobain, who turns 19 today, has traversed the path of other rock star progeny to become a bona fide muse to the fashion world. The scion of 90s music icons Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, she already is one of music history's most famous heirs apparent, and is both the literal and symbolic daughter of grunge. As Cobain turns 19, and the music, fashion, and lifestyle era she was born of turns 20 next month, a new wave of interest surrounds both these personal and musical milestones.
Be it coincidence or fate, Cobain has formally arrived as major part of the cultural dialogue. As confirmation, two of the most admired photographers in fashion ostensibly presaged (and ratified) the occasion this month: both Hedi Slimane and Rocky Schenck have released private (yet instantly publicized) shoots of the girl as she comes of age, leading the image-making industry to happily declare her its latest sensation. But what does fashion really want from Miss Cobain — and what does she want from fashion, if anything?

It's crucial to remember that Cobain is not your typical Generation Y navel gazer. Though Courtney Love runs a Tumblr that curates her daily wardrobe escapades and initiates Twitter flame wars, her daughter chooses to maintain a low profile, living life largely off the digital grid. She eschews the spotlight, rarely accepting interviews, and only occasionally crosses the media's radar with a well-timed appearance or personal creative project. Last year, she curated an art installation called "Scumfuck" that was a clandestine affair but succeeded on its own terms. Resultantly, a flicker of interest flared in the darker corners of the fashion blogosphere. But a breakout moment was yet to be made.

The big bang arrived roughly two weeks ago, when Slimane, whose aggressively sultry and stark fashion portraits are firmly upheld as some of the industry's most iconic, revealed shots from a private session with Cobain. In the photos, Bean appears alternately contemplative, moody, and restless, but always alluring. She naturally emanates the devil-may-care insouciance that fashion editorialists chase down by spending thousands on clothes, styling, makeup, hair, and smoke and mirror context enhancers. The whole visual event seemed almost too serendipitous: synchronized with a summer high on 90s revivalism, it was hard to believe this was an expressive high fashion moment free of a luxury brand's imposing influence, but here it was. Here she was. Totally unfettered.

Predicably, the fashion community erupted in a fury of intrigue and wonder usually reserved for particular Paris Fashion Week shows.

"I think everyone's jaws dropped," Amina Akhtar, fashion director of tells Rolling Stone. "There's no denying how absolutely stunning she is. We all remember her growing up, and now she's come out into her own as this sexy, beautiful woman. But what really struck me was that she came across as strong, confident, and really herself. That's why she's having this moment. "

British fashion designer Hannah Marshall, whose dark and disciplined womenswear has been worn by Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, Alison Mosshart, and Alison Goldfrapp, was similarly captivated by Slimane's portraiture. "I didn't actually realize it was her," she says.  "I was just absolutely mesmerized by this raven-haired, pale skinned girl, and these eyes that hold a story untold."

Yes, it's easy to mythologize Bean as a proverbial poetess, to project inherited ideals upon her, as fashion is already wont to do. As Akhtar points out:  “There's certainly a bit of nostalgia when it comes to Frances Bean. I mean, who doesn't remember the early nineties and where they were when they found out about Kurt?”

Indeed, our nostalgia is accompanied by a pang of wistfulness: despite Bean's inherited fame, we can't help but recall the tragedies that contextualize it. Her childhood was unfair (her father killed himself, her mother was a drug addict): there are few worthier pugilists in the making. To see her rise to the pedestal on which we placed her entails a certain vicarious joy.

Or maybe some like what her story represents in a less charitable, more sensationalist sense. After all, as Elle fashion editor Britt Aboutaleb puts it: "Fashion loves a good shock."

She admits that Bean's famous lineage has always piqued the style community's interest.  "It’s hard to overstate the industry’s love of Bean’s parents and the influence their styles had on everyone from couture designers to regular kids who don’t even realize they’re paying attention to fashion.” She adds: "To see their progeny all grown up and covered with tattoos is a big moment."

Though Kurt and Courtney's status as the patron saints of grunge can be regarded as a primarily American obsession, Bean's personal appeal transcends the geography of her roots. DANSK features editor Susanne Madsen, who is based in London and Copenhagen, agrees: "This is the daughter of the man who pretty much invented grunge, and the woman who was — and still is — synonymous with a mash-up of grunge, kinderwhore and riot grrrl. Frances Bean is the living morph of the two of them – as far as fashion and music royalty goes, it doesn’t get much bigger than her."

Bean's appeal may be more universal than her parents' – in fact a new, freshly publicized set of portraits by Rocky Schenck showcasing Frances Bean as a silver screen-worthy goddess are distinctly un-grungy in their styling. Yet, the context still haunts; Schenck was a favorite photographer of Cobain's father. The general timing of the girl's de facto fashion debut is impossible to ignore. Fond memories of "grunge," and the 90s as a whole, are on everyone's minds again, especially as Nirvana's Nevermind turns 20 next month, and as flannel, Doc Martens, ripped clothing, plaid skirts, and other gritty 120 Minutes era-specific totems populate the front windows of retailers once more. As Aboutaleb quips, "I suppose if anyone needed more proof of the 90s revival, this’ll do the trick."

But in order to be relevant, Cobain's appeal must also speak specifically to and of her own era. To fashion in 2011, the muse-in-the-making holds the unrivaled ability to represent the perfect distillation of past, present, and future.  "Now, when grunge is having a major revival, Frances has adopted a dark grunge look that not only embodies her parents’ fashion legacy, but also the fashion zeitgeist." explains Madsen.

It's this imperative synthesis of traits — her freedom to publicly reinvoke a stormy past while living fully in her own present — that allows her to symbolize something more poignant than a conventional transient "It Girl." That said, her inimitability would surely make her a hot commodity to any luxury brand. But will she capitalize upon the opportunities her recent press will clearly invite?

“I think it would take a really smart brand to snatch her up. The fit would have to be beyond perfect." Akhtar opines. "Right now, Frances can do anything she wants — all eyes are on her. " It isn't hard to imagine her embodying the essence of a rock-friendly label like Rick Owens or Alexander Wang, or, of course, Marc Jacobs, whose personal narrative in grunge's visual legacy would make for a compelling union.

But, perhaps, instead of becoming any brand's formal ambassador, she'll come to represent an ideal. Lyz Olko, co-founder of New York City based grunge-tinged label Obesity + Speed, sees her as the embodiment of a generational shift in aesthetics. "I think Frances could be a force in the fashion world because of her individuality — or at least I hope so." she says. "The fascinating thing about this generation of kids is how you can see they are not wearing something directly off the runway even though they have the resources to. They refuse to wear designer pieces in the obvious way without adding their own personal twist."

For Bean, those "twists" are split between personal style statements and genetics: her scrawl of tattoos, foreboding eyebrows, and inky eye makeup are her own aesthetic declarations. Her haunted, icy stare? Her unmistakeable biology, no more, no less.

As The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden aptly concludes: "It's her lineage that attracts your gaze and her self-possession that holds it." 

Inevitably, fashion will attempt to mine that sacred equation for inspiration for years to come, dissecting, mimicking, and eventually rendering what remains purely inimitable into something procurable."

Isn´t it funny how much a photoshoot can transform your image... This is an old photo of the same chick, and of course she is cute, but it´s not really the muse vibe you get, huh...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is there such thing as a "BIG" idea? Brilliant thinking from Mark Pollard

One of the buzz words today is "the big idea"; it´s sprinkled over most briefs and agency presos. But what is it really???I once had a boss who always talked about "we need to come up with that BIG idea" - but I always wondered what she meant? Is a "big idea" an idea that suits the target group - or an atom bomb that no-body will miss? Is it something cool that will win a Cannes Lion or an insight that can lead to loads of little ideas through the years? Is it good because it´s "big"? I sometimes felt we got stuck searching for something we could not really define.

Today I got a refreshing newsletter on the topic from "Life.Then Strategy" where Mark Pollard writes:

"The debate about big ideas versus small ideas is dumb. It’s Fox News narrative re-framing applied to advertising. It’s a dubious act of political rhetoric that I’ve seen mostly deployed by digital agencies to make older agencies look their age; often the older agencies oblige. I’m tired of hearing it, and I’m tired of it nearly getting in the way of coming up with good stuff.

Do you know why it sometimes works?

Because the comparison is not about big ideas versus small ideas. It’s actually about a whole bunch of digital executional stuff versus a TV script.

In reality, there are only ideas and ‘some thoughts I’ve had’. There is only original thought and unoriginal thought. There are only ideas that work and ideas that don’t.

What’s an idea anyway?

Next time you hear someone use the big vs small idea rhetoric, nod politely then ask them what they think an idea is – preferably in front of the audience for whom the rhetoric was intended.

For an industry selling knowledge and thinking, I’m often amazed at how undeveloped our own understanding of what we do is – what a strategy is, what an insight is, what an idea is. Sure, plenty of people have trademarked frameworks and sound-bites that sound smart but when you ask them to not just define one of the basic words our industry operates by but to also give you an example of something they’ve done that brings it to life, often the definition that sounded smart doesn’t have a smart example to live through.

As a fan boy of Edward de Bono, the man who coined the phrase ‘lateral thinking’, I do appreciate his ideas on ideas. The easiest way to understand lateral thinking is to start with linear thinking. Linear thinking takes a topic and breaks it into its natural attributes – it follows one line of thinking (hence, linear).

Let’s take tennis. Tennis – tennis ball – tennis racquet – tennis court – Wimbledon – grass – Nadal – ball boys. And so on.

And let’s now throw in ballet. Ballet – ballerina – men in tights – Nutcracker – classical music.

Lateral thinking simply moves across the lines – from one side to the other – with the output being an idea, a novel concept.

Perhaps we should create a tennis ballet? What about a new tennis serve called the Nutcracker? What about men playing tennis in tights – perhaps it would help them jump higher? What about a classical music tennis tournament?

You could throw in another random topic like gorillas and crisscross all day, pushing out new ideas left, right and center.

Now, they wouldn’t all be good – as I’ve demonstrated – but they’d actually be ideas.

So, this is the definition of creativity that I’ve latched onto because I find it to be the most practical and least steeped in mystique: it’s the bringing together of things that don’t normally exist together in a way that makes better, more useful sense. An idea is the output of this act.

Feel free to disagree with me (or de Bono) on this but I keep coming back to this definition and find it useful.
For more on what ideas exist in the advertising world, read How to explain an idea.

How do you size up an idea?

So, if an idea is a novel concept that has brought things together in a way that hasn’t existed before and that is useful, how can one idea be bigger or smaller than the other?

Is it because the idea crisscrossed more attributes from more disconnected topics? Is a tennis ballet a smaller idea than a tennis tournament where we dress gorillas up like ballerinas and the tennis players have to ride the gorillas throughout the entire match while classical music plays?

Is it because a big idea is more useful than a small idea? To more people or to a few people? Was Facebook a big idea when it started or did it become one? Is it actually an idea based on the definition above?

This brings us to impact. Is an idea big or small based on the impact it has? Measured by what?

Is it sized based on the scale of the problem it solves? Is a small solution a big idea if the problem it was trying to address was massive?

Does a big idea costs more than a small idea? Is an idea big if it’s on TV and small if it isn’t?

Is it all of the above, some of the above or something else altogether?

In years past, I have absolutely used the phrase ‘big idea’ (“We need a big idea”) but am trying to put the phrase to bed. I believe it gets used mostly to prevent the speaker from having to say what she actually means: “I want some new, unexpected thinking – not just another TV script… although, yes, we’ll have to do TV – I just don’t want you to only think about that.”

If you want to know what makes an idea big or small, you’d be best asking the people who use this divisive bit of inception for their own definition. I don’t find it useful so I won’t even hazard a guess.

What the idea size debate is really about

OK. So, to the people employing this anti-phallic word war feeling high on their sense of iconoclasm, I agree with you. I need you to know that. Well, I agree with what you’re really saying.

And what you’re really saying is: “It’s time we got beyond thinking about making one TV spot that runs for months, possibly years, and create stuff frequently that keeps people aware, interested and buying from our clients.”

Simple. Who couldn’t agree with that? Do what works more often in a world where things change all the time.

So, where do we start?

I believe that planning in the creative industries is an act of creativity. I believe ideas (as defined above) should be in the strategy from the get-go.

Too often, planners appear part-client, part-account person – putting in obvious words, insights that are post-rationalized to make the committee they report back to feel good about their business. I don’t believe this is planning; it’s head-hours burning.

If you were working on the brand Baby Bjorn (baby carriers) and noticed, as I have first hand, how the world treats men who wears babies better (grandmas give you compliments, air stewards slip you free things they’re not supposed to, cafes give you bonus banana bread, people let you cut in line), how baby-carrying is the man’s job in many (not all) relationships and how many do it with pride reserved for very few things in their lives, how women physically respond to a baby-carrying man, if you’d read research about a certain type of male ape that carries its young around to show the other male apes they’re not worth messing with, and then tried to mesh these sorts of insights into brand or product truths, out will pop ideas. In the strategy.
So, if the man is either the buyer or researcher of Baby Bjorn, perhaps the brand decides to create a content-driven community and utility to help men extract extra benefits from the world – the inside track on new-dad perks: which companies ‘put out’, what you can get and how to make the plays.

Do you think someone could write an interesting TV ad off this? Do you think you could come up with witty video content at least once a month with this? What about a daily tweet? What about a weekly blog post? An event? A book? An app?

In the 5 minutes I’ve been thinking about this example, my answer to all of those questions is, ‘yes’. Again, I’m not saying the example is any good (I’m trying to have fun with it), but for the exercise, let’s now throw it into the big-idea-versus-small-idea debate.

Is the big idea in the strategy – to position Baby Bjorn as a new dad’s perk magnet (12 months of trick or treat every day)? What if the TV ad followed a man doing this around the world for 12 months to see what would happen? What if it was interesting enough to turn into a documentary? What if that documentary was then broken down into 10 really interesting 2-minute highlights? What if a community of men sharing their own perk-getting tips was built around the documentary? What if the community came together to literally trick-or-treat the world with their babies on – but for a charity in Africa (perhaps to collect school supplies)?
Which one of these ideas is big and which one of these ideas is small?

Exactly. Wrong question. We should simply be asking, is any of this any good?

Why you shouldn’t limit your ideas

Firstly, if you’re a planner and you’re not putting ideas into strategies, I really don’t understand what your role as a planner in an agency is. If you’re just doing research, then call it so. If you’re really helping the marketing team with marketing plans, call it. If you’d have taken the above example and asked your teams to focus on how safe Baby Bjorn is or how well designed it is and left it at that then I don’t believe you’re doing planning. Thing is, that sort of planning seems to be the majority of our industry. I believe the role is supposed to be about the un-obvious made poetic and compelling.

Secondly, ideas (big and small) should be riddled into everything. A new twist, a new turn can be added to all executional elements – every TV spot, every blog headline, every re-Tweet.

Finally, you’d rarely ask for one idea from the creative process so why just put one idea into it? The more I do this job, the less I believe in the purity of one strategy: execution makes strategy live or die. Yes, there are planning books all over the place that are written with incredible hindsight, making the planner look sage-like, all-knowing. But I believe it’s simplistic to think there’s only one useful insight for a brand, that only one strategy can work. More rapid and earlier exploration of multiple strategies and creative ideas together is something worth exploring.


The big idea versus small idea debate is not worth having. It’s hung around for a few years now but I truly hope it disappears so we can focus on the power of great thinking – and making it happen as often as possible."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tech fatigue - are we really abandoning the net?

"Users from across the globe are abandoning the social networking site as similar pages, such as Twitter, become more popular. Around 100,000 of Britain's 30 million members deactivated their accounts last month. There was also a drop of around 6million Facebook fans in the US, 1.5million in Canada and more than 100,000 users in both Russia and Norway."

This a little old news, presented in June this year, but still relevant. People are dumping Facebook and moving on... to other sites? To real life? We don´t really know yet, and there are still 600 million users on FB, so you won´t feel lonely in a while...

But the word "tech fatigue" is popping up everywhere. Many are a little restless and try other pages, other afraid of not being safe and others find what they were looking for and go back to their blood and flesh friends.

A Uk study by a team researchers from the University of Cambridge for BT suggests technology fatigue is setting in, with one in three people feeling the need to escape messaging and social network services.
38% of 10-18 year olds reported they feel overwhelmed by the mass of communications, and 34% in the 25 to 34 year bracket. Of the 1,269 people surveyed, 65% said they still prefer one-to-one conversations to online communication, and 42% are actively trying to cut their use of social networks. A further 20% say they are cutting back on text messaging, and 19% e-mails.
58% of families surveyed said their lives would be better for switching off all communications technology for set periods, and 36% of parents claim technology disrupts family life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Should you give it away? Free or not for free? Let them work for it!

A few years ago Amazon started offering free shipping of orders over a certain amount. This worked well – people bought more – except for in France, where there was no increase in sales. Instead of offering free shipping on orders, the French division priced the shipping one franc. When they changed to free, there was a dramatic sales increase.
Some pieces of research tells us that fee attracts customers - but other studies say that if you are for free, you are not considered valuable, and that people for example think that costly wine tastes better. What to do? Give free samples or not? Throw a sale or keep prices high?
I guess it depends on the product. You can attract people to try something that is expensive by offering a free trial, if you keep it limited. The best thing is to ask for something in return. As for the Amazon example, they are not simply giving stuff away - the condition is that you buy something in the shop! 
When working with sampling, why not ask the receiver for a signature on a petition or for a tweet? I love the "pay with a tweet" idea.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roller Disco - just another way to capture Gen Y for a sec

Reported from this morning is the rebirth of Roller Disco!! A rink has opened in NYC and off we go!

Ah well, it´s got nothing to do with Japanese fashion really, but it gives the clothes chain supporting a bit of wackiness - and isn´t that what we are all searching for these days...? All marketers having to do with Gen Y are searching for the most wicked, twisted, oddball thing to do.  It will make the brand a little neon in the world of grey. It will make the young and restless look at their way - at least for a second.

Excerpt from Trendcentral:

"High Line Rink: Uniqlo has an impressive track record with innovative marketing efforts, but its latest one may be its most notable to date. The Japanese retailer has opened a seasonal roller rink, complemented by a pop-up shop housed in glowing cubes, at the High Line’s ‘The Lot’ (the former home of FriendsWithYou’s Rainbow City art installation) in NYC. Although the 8,000 square foot open air rink does not offer the satisfying soundscape of polyurethane wheels rattling across wooden slats as heard at the indoor rinks of the ’70s, some things remain the same—including old-school skate rentals (no Rollerblades), theme nights, and DJs spinning anthemic pop hits of the moment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Audio-sprays - awesome way to instant message the consumer

I love going through the shortlisted Cannes Lion projects and soak up great thinking from people all over the world. Mega inspiring, and it always gives you case studies to use in briefs and pitches, to explain why your suggested projects will attract customers.
This is one about how to make people buy fair-trade bananas (and not just SAY they will do it...)
Get shoppers to choose All Good fair-trade bananas while at the supermarket.
Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation:
We worked to the insight that the decision to buy fair-trade products is one made by our conscience. With this in mind we thought, “What if we could be that inner voice?” Using a new audio-spotlight device that could target one person at a time, our idea was born and the brief was cracked. The clients loved the idea, we hired the audio-spotlight device, wrote and recorded our “conscience” message and set up in the supermarket. Then, we pressed play and the promotion ran 24 hours a day for two weeks. A sale on the bananas ran alongside the campaign.
Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service:
Fair-trade is something we hear more and more about in New Zealand, but it’s not something we tend to think about while at the supermarket. So, we decided to talk to consumers on the path to purchase – while they’re making their decision whether to buy fair-trade, or not. The audio-spotlight’s unique “in your head” directional sound, allowed us to get shoppers thinking in a completely relevant and surprising way, in an already cluttered ad space. By engaging at the very point of decision, we had the power to change their minds on the spot and choose in our client’s favour.
Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results:
The promotion was a huge success for the brand, and over the two-week campaign period, sales increased by 130%. Within just 2 days of the promotion launching, All Good bananas sold out at the supermarket and excess stock had to be brought in. This was a first for the brand, proving we should never underestimate the power of suggestion.

Promo & Activation Lions
Type of Entry:
Use of Promo & Activation
Best Temporary In-Store Displays in a Promotional Campaign
Entrant Company:
Sales Promotion/Advertising Agency:
Creative Credits

Damon O'Leary
Executive Creative Director
Matt Williams
Copy Writer
Freddie Coltart
Art Director
Richard Loseby
Group Head

A link to all the promo work from this year:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to market to judgmental (=insecure) mums

Yesterday there was a segment on morning TV about "How mothers judge" that revealed the nature of parenthood today. OMG, what an infected area to be in; being a mum is not just about caring for your kids, it´s about being accepted in the community as well. This is an American study but the results are most likely relevant for Australia, Sweden and other countries as well.

This is what upsets mums about other mums:
  • Her kid is a brat 66.4%
  • She breast-feeds her 3-year-old 42.6%
  • She has an overweight child 36.9%
  • She gives her child junk food 34%
  • She lets her kid watch tv/play video games too much 31.8%
  • She allows her kid to share her bed 23%
  • She works too much 19.7%
  • She didn´t try to breast-feed 18.1%
Only 12.6% replied "I don´t judge other mums – what they do with their kids isn´t my business"

What does this mean to brands?
1. You need to consider how emotional every purchase for kids is. It´s not about the product or service - it´s whethere it makes the parent feel good or not. This is why they will also talk loudly about their well researched things, if you have convinced them it will impress others.
2. Motherhood is not an issue for uneducated housewives. The typical mum is well educated and may see her children as "projects", hence be very opinionated and savvy, informed and cynical. She is smart so don´t annoy her with simple sales messages.
3. They seem very confident,  so don´t try to speak to them from above. They judge others but will most likely not want to be judged. Most people who are critical are so because they are judgemental towards themselves (projection in psychological terms...), so don´t awaken their fear of making mistakes!! Flatter them.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Social media experts still need to understand People

Foursquare has over 10 million users world wide (April, 2011) and numbers are growing. It´s become increasingly popular to check in, using either Foursquare or Facebook Places. Telling people where you are is a way of also telling the world you live a full interesting life and have friends in real life too - not just online.

We live and breathe our technical devices. We sleep just next to them, bring them with us everywhere and get a religious tone of voice when saying things like "Getting an iphone changed my life". Social media is reshaping our lives. But probably not as much as we think.

I´m old enough to remember the days when we did not have mobile phones. I remember the Pager. And I remember being stunned when writing my first email (in uni, to a boy I had a crush on), suddenly having the ability to write to someone who then would receive it immediately! In the old days you sent a letter and it arrived a day or two later - but with emails you could communicate in an instant. Wow!

But we need to remember it is just technical changes. Big ideas still follow the same rules. We still write embarrassing things - and even if a love letter reaches the One in seconds rather than days, it still contains the same agony, longing and pathetic emotional outbursts as in old days. Even if we now can tell the world we are currently having dinner with a couple of friends at Ravesis in Bondi Beach, the same need of acceptance, status and love are involved as was in ancient times. The brain stays the same. The human psychology follows the same rules. People are still people.

What social media can help brands achieve is getting a closer relationship with the market. When we have a chat with the brand one on one on our smartphone, we are not distracted by what other people think of us, which means we can act out of what we think or feel rather than what society and culture tells us. We can get the feeling that the brand thinks of ME specifically.

In most advertising it´s not like that. Brands speak to everyone at the train station who sees the same print campaign, and you know that all the other people in the movie theatre are watching the same commercial messages. You don´t get the intimate bond that you can perceive getting when it´s "just you and the brand" through the phone.

Mobile marketing is like one-on-one sessions compared to going to a seminar. Or at least it could be, if brands used it that way.

Just having a Facebook site or a YouTube campaign is not enough to make things "go viral" and connect in a way that leads to sales. There is more to it than that. Behind every great social media campaign lays a great insight about the psyche and life of the target.

Don´t get blinded by the technology. The insight needs to be in the centre of your thinking. “Social media experts” are useless if they don´t understand people.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Steal ideas! Like Sorbents Daffodil Day campaign

I love this campaign from Sorbent, encouraging people to upload their own version of Katrina and the Waves "Walking on Sunshine". For every version the company will give ten bucks to the cancer charity Daffodil Day. Check it out:

It involves loads of people, spreads a positive message and increases happiness since singing that song will for sure make most people smile (I´m not talking about those who need to listen... hehe). The more we move, sing and act as if we are happy, the happier we become.

It´s one of those campaigns that are really inspiring, that makes you think "hmm, which one of my clients can do something similar?". Lots of brands are using YouTube to engage people, so it´s nothing new, perhaps the opposite, but be aware of that most campaigns featured in ad media never reach the actual consumer, so even if YOU are bored of the Old Spice dude, you can still hear people on the bus saying they just found this ad...

Copy great ideas. To steal is to compliment.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strategic planners use too big words - swap macro for micro and use the Sandwich model for success

During the last month I´ve attended four weddings here in Sweden where I have been hanging out for a couple of months. It makes me think of Love. About what brings people together.

Three Drunk Monkeys just released an ad for the underwear brand Rio, in which they point out the fact that we rarely speak about our underwear in public; that we treat the topic with secrecy. In the video a bride holds a wedding speech announcing that she fell for her husband´s designer undies. Ssssh... No, we don´t usually tell people those things :)

There is a useful insight in this TVC.

I´m not saying us women choose our men based on their Bonds or Calvin Kleins, but it´s important to be aware of the importance of these micro movements in life.

In our wedding wows we will talk about "his sense of humour", "his generosity" or "his positive attitude" - but what is that beyond the big words? Under the surface packed with fancy words, it´s the micro moments that matter. Tiny pieces of life where we connect with a human being and Something happens.

Yes, let me reveal: a girl can choose a boy based on what covers his xxxx... Dirty, clean, boxer, tight, colour... They are micro clues on who he is, his values and energy. They give away subtle signals that we may not even notice, but that leads us in the arms of one dude instead of another.

In marketing, these subconscious things matter more than those big words used in focus groups or quantitative studies, which is why the role of a strategist needs to be more "between the lines" than boxed in like they usually are in Australia when the planner spends hours figuring out the perfect sentences to write in the creative brief that they solemnly hand over to the creatives. I´ve heard many tell me that a brief with brand values, insights etc should be so clear that the strategist could go on holiday and the rest of the crew would still "get it".

Hmm. Not sure I "get it".

I believe in working in a "sandwichy" way, mixing all parts of the process, moving the job back and forth, up and down between people and members of the hierarchy. When you collaborate you bring in the ideas early on, and you prepare the creatives for the depth and insights - everyone get involved and responsible. When you on the other hand have strict lines between the departments you risk being ran by egos who want to do their own thing, no matter the reality (research, marketing rules etc). You risk missing useful information on the way. You risk missing the micro clues. You risk living by the big words.

In online dating everyone say they want a person who has a sense of humour. But what IS "a sense of humour"? Doesn´t everyone have it, but with different people - you laugh with one person but not with the next? It´s one of those mysterious things you can´t describe or produce. It´s got to be real.

A creative brief is most times too much like a profile on - vague, open for the reader´s interpretation and easy to misunderstand.

But LOVE is magical. To really find it, you need to look for the micro gestures. The undies of life.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Banks could build brands in recession by truly caring

The economy is in chaos; people speak about a second recession; my savings are shrinking and we are all starting to worry again. Damn!
It´s a wake up call for the deaf... We have been over consuming for a long time now, and refused to act mature and responsible. Instead, we´ve been spending, spending, spending like mad.
Just look at this:  
- Household debt in Australia grew twice as fast as the value of household assets over the last 18 years. The ratio of household debt to assets has doubled from 9% to 19%. (ABS)
- Only 33 % of 31-36 year old Australians have started to prepare for retirement. In the US, 68 % of 31-36 year olds say they have already started preparing.
How do we get out of it all...? Is there a cure for stupidity? Can people who have learned to live on their credit card ever get used to restrictions again? In a world where the "buy me" messages are hypnotising us into poverty, it´s a cultural issue that need to be solved on a level above the individual. We might stress and press people into sticking to a budget, but I think we need to realise they are drug addicts - addicted to shopping - and as in every case of addiction the brain is not in charge of their decisions. I guess the government, charity organisation like the UN could take responsibility for creating a healthy culture. I also believe banks and insurance companies can be useful in guiding people into a new life style.
Today, banks love to arrange little courses where we can learn more about money, but the problem is not lack of information. The economic situation the world is in right now is caused by a virus that needs to be healed not by one on their own, but on a broader scale.
It´s an opportunity for banks to do something real, something different, and really change the way things work. Save the world :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Power of Megan Gale - why pretty faces build brands

Great news were presented in BandT this morning: "L’Oréal Paris has unveiled Megan Gale as the brand’s new face and ambassador." Yay!

Gale - who was partly replaced by the younger Miranda Kerr to be the face of David Jones a few years ago - is really one of my favourites. Beautiful, intelligent and she seems like a chick you just want to hang out with. When DJ ditched her for the blank looking Kerr I was shocked. But there is justice... Now, at 35 years of age, Megan Gale is stronger and hotter than ever! I smiled when reading this:

"Announced last night, the move will see Gale join the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Claudia Schiffer as a representative of the global skincare, haircare and cosmetic brand.

L’Oréal said that Gale, who has her own swimwear range and is an ambassador for the Red Cross, was selected for her entrepreneurial and philanthropic qualities in addition to her profile as a model.

Mark O’Keefe, general manager L’Oréal Paris said: “We are extremely excited to announce our new partnership with the beautiful and multi-talented Megan Gale. We are honoured to welcome her to our amazing L’Oréal Paris ‘dream team’ that represents, in all its diversity, the true beauty of today’s modern woman.”

Full article:

In branding, does it matter who is the Face? Does a brand need to have a Face? I believe it´s smart to personalise your brand and make the rational benefits more real, to connect with people, beacause the part of our brain that handles decision making and feelings does not understand words. The limbic system is instead run by sensations - smell, taste, memories, looks - which is why a massive brochure with words will only be a justification for the emotional decision, and never really influence the decision in itself. The brain will believe that what it sees is the Truth, but doubt and analyse what is told in words. We react with emotions on pictures, but with logic on words.

Read more about this in for example Emotionomics by Dan Hill. Watch him on video here:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Romance and business - same rules apply. Just listen to Simon Sinek...

What separates the best from the rest? According to Simon Sinek it´s those who know their "why" who are winners.

In the language of romance I usually say you need to know yourself first, before you start looking for a partner. When you know what drives you, what your passions are, what you are proud of and what your purpose is, you are stronger and more confident as a human - ready to find the person who mirrors you.

We tend to be drawn to people who are like us. If you feel rubbish, you attract those who 1. feel rubbish too, and 2. think that you are rubbish. Our relationships mirror our soul. Which is why true LOVE - whether from a romantic partner or a business partner - always start from within.

TED talk from 2009 by Simon Sinek:

Check out his site too:

In this blog post I write about the 4 types of strategic planners, of which the management consulant types will love Simon Sinek :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 The Espandrille is back

The latest newsletter from predicts a fashion trend:

Soludos: The son of a diplomat and a fashion model, Soludos founder Nick Brown grew up as a globetrotter. During childhood summers in Spain (when he first spotted espadrilles), his European style sensibility was born. Once transplanted to the U.S., he was surprised to learn that espadrilles were not the affordable, accessible basics he’d known them to be in Europe. So, last year he launched Soludos, an espadrille brand that’s become a key ingredient in the summer uniforms of fashion insiders. In addition to its primary collection of Mediterranean-inspired solids and stripes, the line’s new collaboration with Opening Ceremony sees the rope soles paired with bold floral and ikat prints.