Saturday, July 30, 2011

When we think of the ten commands we do not cheat

Human behaviour is so fascinating. For example, in a study about cheating, people who did a test where they had the chance to cheat if they chose to - did not cheat at all if they had been asked to think of the ten commands before doing the test.

Just by switching on a memory of goodness, of God and positive messages, we behave different.

In another study some students were offered a drink (SoBe Adrenaline Rush, a drink that promises to “elevate your game” and impart “superior functionality”). Half the students paid full price. The other half paid 1/3 of the original price.

It turned out that the students who drank the higher-priced beverage reported less fatigue than those who had bought the discounted drink. When paying more it was like they were more committed. They had invested in the product and sort of had to justify that by experiencing what was promised.
When working with marketing we constantly need to consider these quirky ways of the human psyche. Nothing is black and white. Cause and effect are not clear and logical; no, people base their decisions on rules beyond the "rational".
More studies in the fabulous book "Predictably irrational" by Dan Ariely. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The ultimate search engine - he he - clever copy makes me happy

I just love clever copy, when worlds collide - or borrow words and expressions from one another, like this campaign for Grand Cherokee.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Are sexist ads good? Should strategists change or conserve the world?

A milk ad campaign has been withdrawn since it´s been accused of being "sexist". Apparently it´s not ok to talk about PMS and in a funny way show how this affects boyfriends and husbands around the world.

I am most times the first to attack sexist ad - both because they are inefficient in reaching the heart of the market, and because they create a culture that reduces people to Genders, robbing them of their potential to be Individuals. I was a libertarian feminist debater for many years in Sweden and have written books (for the think-thank Timbro) and tons of articles about how we are all responsible for the way we interpret "women and men", "femininity and masculinity". The society judges people based on gender, and it´s up to us all to be careful about this, to be respectful and give everyone freedom to become anything - not just be pushed into a box.

I understand most art directors, copy writers or marketing directors don´t give a damn about this. Marketers won´t change the world - and they´re not supposed to. That little girls grow up to become "pink" and boys are limited to become strong and tough because "media" is shaping them that way, is not adland´s problem. Agencies earn their money from analysing, understanding and following the culture. The more they listen to trends, movements and the deep needs of the customers, the more successful they will be. If we as strategists try to be Martin Luther Kings or some kind of politicians we are not doing our job. If we go against what "works" to do what´s "right" we use our client´s cash to fight for our own values, and that is not ok.

It doesn´t mean we are bad. If you don´t agree with what "Works" - just Man up and say no to the account, or convince the client that they should do "Right" and perhaps encourage others to do so as well; that they should use their position as strong brands to improve the state of the world, spread more love and increase the level of freedom or comfort for people. Create peace on earth. Release little girls or boys from the gender chains.

I wonder if the problem is that you can´t have both freedom and comfort. Freedom sounds lovely - but it´s also connected with loads of responsibility - something many many many try to avoid. Most people want to have a sense of freedom - as IF they could choose what drinks to drink, what schampoo to use or what jeans to wear - but they still wish to be guided into doing what everyone else is doing. Politicians traditionally talk a lot about freedom, perhaps thinking this is what people really want. But I´m not sure about that.

What we as marketers play with is most times instead people´s need of comfort. We know that most people want to be happy, and are afraid of sticking out, making the wrong decisions, becoming outcast (= not be loved). Hence a good strategy is most likely one that leads to ads that explore things like gender roles. Ads that are a little sexist. Ads that do not change the world, but conserve it.

So am I pro or against sexist ads? Neither. Balance, harmony, consideration. Grey zones are King. Just be aware. Know who you are. Make enlightened decisions.

Read all about the milk ad in AdNews:

What do you think? Am I wrong, right, insane or on to something... ? :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

There are 4 types of strategic planners - who are you?

Nielsen’s Women of Tomorrow Report, which surveyed 6,500 women across 21 nations found that females in developed countries:
- plan spending additional money earned on vacations, groceries and paying off credit cards and debts.
- feel that it is a man’s responsibility to look into purchases like homes, cars and personal electronics, though a joint decision was preferred.
- follow brands more so than men, making the social networking tool relevant for discounts, deals and coupons.
- are much more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates into and improves their day-to-day lives.
- rank personal recommendations from friends and family the most influential and trusted source of information, with consumer reviews coming in second.

- prefer TV to get information about new products. The results found that coming a close second was word-of-mouth.


I´m not sure if this is any revolutionary data really... It is sure interesting to look at different target groups and measure their footsteps, but when it´s "women from 21 developed countries" I get a little spooked. Can data from such a massive group of individuals be useful in any way? Or is it just a way to make an idea look better, more solid?

This brings me into another topic - sorry for jumping around, following my thought impulses, but this is after all a blog and not an essay for uni :) Anyway...

Marketers are obsessed with data and statistics, and it´s like we all have a need to understand, grasp the Truth and be finally enlighted. The problem is though, that when it comes to people, there is no Truth. We are a bunch of happiness pursuing, insecure, strange and mysterious creatures. Predictable, but not in a predictable way.

I´ve interviewed strategists from various agencies in different countries, and I´ve attended several conferences (I´m new in strategy and is doing a speed course :) and understood there are 4 types of strategic planners out there:

1. The number addicts
2. The psychics
3. The scientists
4. The management consultants

1. The number addicts love Roy Morgan data, surveys, Nielsen reports and percentages. Any data that can "prove" the case are seen as gems, and used as Facts - smoothly leading to an idea.
2. The psychics take a holistic view of the marketing process, sensing and feeling the insights, putting different facts and research together, without a logic explanation, more trusting their gut feel.
3. The scientists love Malcolm Gladwell and neuroscientfic studies, and they explain human behaviour and the target group out of brain research and what professors are telling them about irrationality.
4. The management consultants are business minded, and think strategy is more about changing the core of the company than coming up with marketing strategy. They love boxes and models.

It looks like the tradition is to be a Nr 1 - and especially media agencies seem to love for example radian6´s graphs and comfortable numbers, since they are used to the clear facts they normally get on ratings and readership. The scientists are the curious book worms. The psychics are the super lazy, or the old experienced people who have done this so many times it´s in their blood, or sensitive feminine thinkers.

I´ve noticed that the management consultants are the hot crowd at the moment, probably because all agency types are competing and there are no clear work descriptions for a "media agency" or a "social media agency"; when everyone wish to be lead agency and have Power, they all wish to be close to the CEO, influencing and steering. If you do, your ideas will become reality, and you will feel really great about yourself - I guess.

So what is the prediction? Will all strategists from now on come from McKinsey? Maybe. The brand agencies are really stepping up, feeling that the ad people are superficial and shallow, and when blending creativity and cool with seriousity and business mindfulness, you get an impressive source.

The psychics will always be the natural talents who are born to do strategy, but who might forget to back up their feelings with proper data, and so will find it hard to get a voice in the board room. When they learn to work smarter, they are the ones brands wish to have around. They are the ones who impress.

All the others use a system, and logic can never explain success. But marketing is an art, and there is a difference between those who learn to paint, and those who are Artists.

I believe adschools will need to start teaching economics and business soon. I believe the battle between agencies has just begun. I believe the anxious usage of data, science and business models will always cover up the thinking of those who are just good, but that the ones who can see the pattern emerging from it all in combination are the ones who are GREAT. (Good is the enemy of great, after all...)

Who are you?

Are there other types of planners?

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wear designer clothes and get a pay raise

This fascinating article was published Mar 31st 2011 in The Economist. It showes how valuable brands can be in signalling who a person is and what she is "worth".

"Rob Nelissen and Marijn Meijers of Tilburg University in the Netherlands examined people’s reactions to experimental stooges who were wearing clothes made by Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, two well-known brands that sell what they are pleased to refer to as designer clothing. As the two researchers show in a paper about to be published in Evolution and Human Behavior, such clothes do bring the benefits promised: co-operation from others, job recommendations and even the ability to collect more money when soliciting for charity. But they work only when the origin of the clothes in question is obvious.

In the first experiment, volunteers were shown pictures of a man wearing a polo shirt. The photo was digitally altered to include no logo, a designer logo (Lacoste or Hilfiger) or a logo generally regarded as non-luxury, Slazenger. When the designer logo appeared, the man in the picture was rated as of higher status (3.5 for Lacoste and 3.47 for Hilfiger, on a five-point scale, compared with 2.91 for no logo and 2.84 for Slazenger), and wealthier (3.4 and 3.94 versus 2.78 and 2.8, respectively).

To see if this perception had an effect on actual behaviour, the researchers did a number of other experiments. For instance, one of their female assistants asked people in a shopping mall to stop and answer survey questions. One day she wore a sweater with a designer logo; the next, an identical sweater with no logo. Some 52% of people agreed to take the survey when faced with the Tommy Hilfiger label, compared with only 13% who saw no logo.

In another experiment, volunteers watched one of two videos of the same man being interviewed for a job. In one, his shirt had a logo; in the other, it did not. The logo led observers to rate the man as more suitable for the job, and even earned him a 9% higher salary recommendation.

Charitable impulses were affected, too. When two of the team’s women went collecting for charity on four consecutive evenings, switching between designer and non-designer shirts, they found that wearing shirts with logos brought in nearly twice as much—an average per answered door of 34 euro cents (48 American ones) compared with 19 euro cents when logo-less. It seems, then, that labels count. The question is, why?

The answer, Dr Nelissen and Dr Meijers suspect, is the same as why the peacock with the best tail gets all the girls. People react to designer labels as signals of underlying quality. Only the best can afford them. To test that idea, they checked how people responded to a logo they knew had cost the wearer nothing. To do this, they asked their volunteers to play a social-dilemma game, in which both sides can benefit from co-operating, but only at the risk of being taken advantage of.

Each volunteer was given €2 in 10 cent coins and told he (or she) could transfer as much as desired to an unseen partner, and that any amount transferred would be doubled. If both partners transferred all of their money, each would end up with €4. But because there was no guarantee that the unseen partner would give back any money at all, players tended to hedge their bets, and transfer only some money.

When shown a picture of their purported partner wearing a designer shirt, volunteers transferred 36% more than when the same person was shown with no logo (95 cents, as opposed to 70 cents). But when told that the partner was wearing a shirt given by the experimenters, the logo had no effect on transfers. The shirt no longer represented an honest signal.

This study confirms a wider phenomenon. A work of art’s value, for example, can change radically, depending on who is believed to have created it, even though the artwork itself is unchanged. And people will willingly buy counterfeit goods, knowing they are knock-offs, if they bear the right label. What is interesting is that the label is so persuasive. In the case of the peacock, the tail works precisely because it cannot be faked. An unhealthy bird’s feathers will never sparkle. But humans often fail to see beyond the superficial. For humans, then, the status-assessment mechanism is going wrong.

Presumably what is happening is that a mechanism which evolved to assess biology cannot easily cope with artefacts. If the only thing you have to assess is the quality of a tail, evolution will tend to make you quite good at it. Artefacts, though, are so variable that mental shortcuts are likely to be involved. If everyone agrees something has high status, then it does. But that agreement often transfers the status from the thing to the label. Maybe a further million years or so of evolution will eliminate this failing. In the meantime, marketers can open another bottle of champagne."
The full article:

The magic of the "Like" button

Just a lovely little video about why the Like button is so popular (by Elephant Cairo, showed at Cannes Lion 2011)

I LIKE the Like button - it gives a feeling of encouraging people without being in their face, letting them know I care without bothering them with mammoth emails about it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simple but effective campaign: A giant rubber duck - smiles guaranteed (showcased at Cannes Lion 2011

The Independent agencies were showing some great work at Cannes Lion 2011. One cute project created by Special Group in Auckland is The Rubber Duck, an event/BTL campaign/ad for a radio channel. To attain a lot of attention for little money, and still be truthful to the brand value, the agency decided to create a massive rubber duck and let it float around the harbour for a week. Result: Lots of interest, media coverage and social media flow. And smiles...

Another film from the same radio channel:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lower stress and increase testosterone if you want your brand to be a winner

Testosterone is a great hormone to have around if you wish to win, be successful at work and focus hard. But if your body is full of the stress hormone cortisol, a high level of testosterone is not that good after all, writes Newsweek (July 18 2011).

To balance your cortisol and testosterone, you could according to professors at Colombia University, eat whole grains and cut out coffee to lower the stress hormones, and take vitamin B to raise testosterone.

A winner is most times calm and dominant, so even if you are passionate, reduce the jumping around and speaking in 300 km per hour. Enter a "power pose" and go for the pitch.

The same principles should work for the relationship between brands and customers as well. The brain relates to things as it relates to people; the same psychological rules can be applied. Which would mean that strong brands that ooze dominance and calm are winners. The once nervously jumping around trying to grap our attention are not... Calm signals confidence.

I haven´t seen any research on it, but if you at least wish to win the pitch, skip the coffee and sugar, eat your multigrain toast for brekkie, exersise, and speak slowly. Other tips from Internet:

"Take anti-stress supplements like B vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc, and antioxidants like vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, grape seed extract, and Co Q 10. Adaptogen herbs like ginseng, astragalus, eleuthero, schizandra, rhodiola and ashwagandha help the body cope with the side effects of stress and rebalance the metabolism. These supplement and herbs will not only lower cortisol levels but they will also help you decrease the effects of stress on the body by boosting the immune system."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reviewing your account again? Stop it. What´s needed is client leadership.

From time to time accounts are up for review. In the world of advertising, media, pr and marketing there is constantly a restless movement: brands fiddeling from  agency to agency, from campaign to campaign; people getting jobs, losing jobs, getting jobs, losing jobs.

Clients like to test new waters and want to prove their value by making a difference - especially if the person in charge is new at the job... But does it help?

Not if the client makes the review and then takes a nap, expecting the agencies to see good work...

It worries me that most times it doesn´t matter who the media agency is if the client is not strong enough to lead the process with 5-6 agencies involved and make them blend and do great work as a team. Too many times there is an unhealthy power struggle happening between the agencies, between the strategists, between the account directors and so on. It´s an insane and naive fight about assets, influence and power, and only a strong hand can create some professional vibes in the sand-pit. Any marketing director who believes that the agencies work for their best, must wake up. You can do a mammoth job to review your accounts and during a period listen to agency bosses wooing you, flattering you, but if you sign the papers and then leave the room, the cat-fight will unfortunately start... Swapping to a new media agency will not do miracles. Your leadership will.

When marketing directors are a part of the everyday process and push the agencies - creative, digital, media, pr, strategy, btl etcetera etcetera - to cooperate, they can truly buld a brand. When the client encourages that everyone works together, instead of meeting at a tissue session competing against one another, there is hope.

Today there are no clear boundaries and rules about who is doing what. Media agencies don´t just buy space in tv programs; they want to do strategy, content and creative work as well. BTL want to do ATL. Ad agencies wish to act like media agencies and get a chunk of the money from commissions when placing their work. Everyone wants to wear a social media suit of course, and they all want to "own" the "big idea", be the one who is close to the business and get the client´s ear. It´s like a bunch of un loved children, fighting for their mum´s attention. See me. See me. No MEEEE!

It is natural in times when competition is hard and the Us economy is about to crash, creating yet another wave of insecurity in the world. We all wish to survive and get more work. Lots of attention seeking egos (yeah, I like to influence too, that´s why we are all in this industry...) are eager to do great work and to have resources to do so. As a client you can´t blame the system to work in the way that is natural. But you can steer the ship.

I wish to come in from the side and change things on a general level, but it´s a toxic culture which can not be transformed in seconds. I´ve met one wonderful agency that works from the heart, and will start working with them properly very soon, so there are exceptions... But a single healthy agency can´t make a difference. I do believe clients need to be braver, stronger and more based in reality. Clients: Don´t listen to the smooth talk during the review period - it doesn´t matter how lovely they sound if the mix between agencies is in disharmony. Show us who´s the boss :) Wake up!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

NAB jumps on the new candid camera trend with "Incorrect change" campaign

I have spotted a new little trend in advertising/marketing - the candid camera!

The latest is NAB´s "Incorrect change" campaign, where Australians are given 5 dollar too much back after buying a coffee, and almost everyone of them give the money back! Aussies are an honest bunch, is the conclusion.

Aaaaah, such a terrific campaign; NAB has done it again! After several wins in Cannes 2011 with their breaking up campaign they are now further claiming the brand space of being on OUR side (without a smiling bank woman in sight). They make Aussies proud of themselves, it creates a community spirit and a feeling of being on the winning team. By boosting our egos the agency touch a soft spot in our heart. Well done Clemenger BBDO Melbourne! More about it on Campaign Brief´s site. Look at this:

A similar study on honesty and re-paying:

Another example of hidden camera tricks is the campaign from Huawei, where they surprise people with phones on the street. Check it out, it´s hilarious:

So why are hidden cameras so fun? Well, in a totally directed world where everyone are photoshopped on Facebook, perectly rehersed on YouTube and just UNREAL, we wish to see honesty. Honest reactions, responses, faces and emotions. It´s unpredictable and very close to our heart. We will see more of this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beautiful ad from Bahrain one example from TED´s new Ads Worth Spreading

The TED community has collected the best ads. It´s a wonderful way to showcase ads that are worthy watching, as art, entertainment and emotion spurrers.

One of the ads is "Infinity", made by FP7/BAH (an advertising agency based in Bahrain). Created for Batelco Group provides telecoms services to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Sit back an enjoy the beauty. It´s longer than 30 seconds but I promise you an experience, not an ad...

Does this kind of ad sell telecom? It doesn´t show a lot of phones, connections, people talking, smarthphoning or anything. Still... it gives you a feeling that the brand is creative, intelligent and fresh. You know that you will get the new, exciting and trendy if you join the ride.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dog owners last longer in bed than cat owners? An app for condom usage

The health care organisation in Stockholm is trying a social media game to encourage the Swedes to use condoms. Around the city, Stockholms Läns Landsting (responsible for the local government´s hospitals etc), gives out free condoms wrapped in a box telling people to use their app "Liggprofilen" which means something like "Sex style profile". People are supposed to bring the smartphone to bed (or wherever they fancy sleeping with someone) and then record rythm, sound and time, and post the result for everyone to see. On the website you can follow how people "do it" and compare dog owners with cat owners, guys who wear sneakers with girls who live in Southern suburbs.

Which takes us back to the headline of this blog post: Those who have a dog have sex on average 4 minutes and 11 seconds, while those who own a cat only do it for 1 minute and 25 seconds. But... if you own a goldfish you won´t even last for a minute.

Allright, the statistics might not be reliable... but it´s at least a little interesting and different, and aren´t we living in a culture constantly looking for novelty? People can´t simply live, they seem to also need to record, measure and analyse every step on the way. Brands can attract them by sending a little game or a contest or a magic trick their way. Entertain, surprise, shock, make them giggle, and you have won their hearts. Help them escape from the real world for a while and they will love you for it.

It is not for everyone though. Some people are restless, constantly seeking attention and change - they get a physical kick out of getting an sms! Some people are happy with silence and feel more stress than relief from getting email in their smartphones. Some don´t mind sharing their darkest secrets with everyone, others get offended by a simple question. It´s all in our DNA and a marketer should have a plan for both types of consumers.

When it comes to usage of condoms I believe "Liggprofilen" is a great idea built on a brilliant strategy. The type of people who tend to "forget" to use condoms, and who are more likely to have one night stands or cheat, are those who can´t sit still and get easily bored - especially of doctors or nurses or any authorities telling them what to do. They will protest if you lecture, yawn if you inform and do the opposite if you push. But if you play with them, on their terms, by giving them a puzzle, or as in the case of the Swedish sex profile app, you can get closer.

Agency Ester Stockholm who has won several prizes for the campaigns for Kondom08.

All this made me remember an old post of mine, about a man who married his dog. Ehum.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The customer shops at first sight - but who is "the customer"?

A new report from MediaMind shows that people are approximately 30 percent more likely to act after seeing an ad the first time than they are when they’ve been exposed to it more frequently (research on financial ads). Users will make up their mind within the first few seconds of seeing it - and it will take more than just blasting repeats of the ad to change their mind.

Read article in Marketing Magazine:

Is this true? Yeah, most likely. It´s after all research, isn´t it? :) Well, I do believe in the power of the first glance, but it is still important to repeat a message, and even if we are quick to judge, the follow up encounters with the brand are still valuable. In a cluttered world of too much information, where the poor brain find it hard to keep up with it all, we are eager to sort and organise and find ways to handle the overload. One way is to make a quick decision and stick to it. Another way is to constantly worry, and end up with nothing.

I don´t think us marketers will ever understand this process without understanding psychological profiling. There is no Answer based on statistical curves. Men usually shop directly, while ladies shop in circles. Dopamine high people shop everything, quickly, while those driven by estrogen are careful and considerate in their movements. Those who grew up poor might look for bargains and trust no one, while those who had a comfortable childhood are happy to spend.

There is no Answer. Just like the economic scientists have had to accept that we are not "rational" and the liberal politicians have had to accept that people don´t make perfect choices if they have freedom to choose, marketers have to look beyond the type of data presented by MediaMind. You need a strategy that welcomes all, and not just an average robot human. That person does not exist.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Banks don´t understand our relationship with money - why we choose shoes instead of super

Australia is the "no worries" nation, constantly smiling, unconcerned about those things that we in Europe find hugely Important. When I´m back in Sweden I am stunned by how people care about things - world politics, relationships or the weather. They frown, are serious and want to deep talk through everything.

I used to be the same... Debating politics, being angry and focused on the Problems. Now - living in the sunny country - I´ve realised that I don´t have to care so much; the culture rubs off on me, making me "irresponsible" in European eyes, but "happy" in mine...

It is great that Aussies are light hearted. But the Problem (see... I´m concerned again!! Lol) is that when it comes to things like saving and retirement planning, Australians are in trouble.

A fresh Roy Morgan report shows that over 7.5 mllion Australians with superannuation have not started planning for retirement - including 1 million in the 50-64 age group. The survey showed that around 40% of those with superannuation had used a financial planner, with this rising to 59% in the pre-retirement age group (aged 50-64).

I have in my research I found tons of similar statistics, and here are some:

- Australia is the 4th most optimistic country in the world.
- 89% of Australians say they are not likely to have an accident in the next 20 years.
- 80% say they were not likely to suffer a serious illness in the next 20 years.
- Working Australians are least able in the world to estimate their retirement incomes.
- Only 33 % of 31-36 year olds have started to prepare for retirement, compared with 68% in the US. 
- Almost one third of Australians admit to never reviewing their retirement plans and only 25 % said they annually review their retirement plans.
- Throughout the 1980s, the average Australian household owed less than $50 in debt for every $100 in income. Since 1995, that figure has more than tripled to almost $160 in debt for every $100 of income.
So... Aussies living day by day... 
The problem is that those who could help us get on track refuse to understand us. When I worked with strategy for a bank I was met with the attitude: "people don´t know enough about money, so all we need to do is teach them". Uuuuh... It´s not exactly that easy. You can hardly say it´s a lack of Information that leads people to waste their income on shoes instead of super.
When viewing the issue closer - by talking to people in an honest way - you find complex feelings, steering them to poverty. For example, most people carry guilt when it comes to money. We are all tempted by the sales, and we know we are not supposed to, so when shopping another bag of goodies we do our best to suppress the grown up voice inside, telling us we should save, not spend.
This is why so many avoid financial planners and Information who will increase the feeling of guilt, telling us we have been BAD. This is why so many go to mum for advice instead. This is why so many shun the banks.
Banks can be intimidating, just like the besser-wisser personal trainers or nutritionists. Aaah, don´t we all know that we should eat well, train heaps and put cash aside? We know. But we still carry those extra kilos.
The challenge for banks, governments and financial institutions is to respect people´s fears and imperfections, and be gentle. Understand that what we lack is not about the practical, but about the mysterious sensations in our hearts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Human power warms up offices in Sweden

If I wasn´t in love with Bondi Beach and Australia I would definitely live in Stockholm. Sweden is trendy, creative and I´d be happy working with the amazing agencies here! Great thinkers, nice people, good values and an open, flat and unpretentious culture.

One cool Swedish project:

"Wouldn't it be cool if simply by walking around, you could generate enough heat to warm an office tower. Turns out thats exactly what the people at Jernhusen thought when they started to design their green building certification for the remodelling of Stockholm's Central Station. Jernhusen is going to use the body heat of the commuters moving around the Stockholm Central Station to heat the office tower above. Apparently the stations ventilations system include heat exchanges that will convert all the excess warmth from the commuter area into hot water. The hot water is then pumped to a nearby building where supposedly it reduces energy costs by as much as 25%."

Another cool project:

Garbergs - one of the very top agencies here in Sweden - was set out to sell electricity, perhaps not the most exciting product, but to create a brand, as in getting a personality, stand for something and connect with people, they decided to run an art competition based on the electricity boxes that are spread around Stockholm. People got to send in their suggestions, and encourage their friends to vote for them to be the winners - the ones who got chosen to see their art work in this unusual exhibition. The contest engaged artists and supporters, creating interest for the brand in a new way. Brilliant!

Oh, how I I love quirky ideas, interesting ways to reach people and kick-ass ideas. Respect... Any more projects you wish to share?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Below the Line Above the Line - Time to turn it upside down

I love ads, but I also have this secret crush on below-the-line marketing. It´s the not as fancy part of the marketing puzzle, but a part that will soon get more shine. The above-the-line snobbism is as far from today´s reality as Man Men. We move from monologue to dialogue, from hierarchies to flat structures, from arrogance to respect - we´ve heard about this for years now... Traditional advertising has experienced competition from social media, but what is social media if not below the line? It´s down there, with the people, not observing from above - instead interacting and hanging out.

When reading BandT, Mumbrella and Campaign Brief I´m met by the same news in all of their daily newsletters. Reading the same stories on people, and TVC`s I sometimes yawn; it is such an ancient - and anxious - way to look at marketing. It´s reporting from the little bubble - far from the world marketing managers and CEO´s operate in. They wish to sell, not shine.

And when it comes to selling, below the line is the future. That´s where the creativity grows, where people are approached as people, and not "target audiences", as humans, not "market".

When stepping away from the 30 seconds thinking, you can use direct mail, sales promotions, flyers, samples, social media, competitions, seminars, in store promotion, events, web TV, PR... There is no end, just beginnings of relationships with people.

What do you think? Is it time for BTL to step out in the spotlight? :)

This is how the lovely crowd at

"The different disciplines that fall ‘below the line’ continue to evolve. However, they all involve one common element: getting people to act. To change their behaviour, engage with a brand, sample a product, to subscribe, interact, reappraise, be educated, incentivised, rewarded – and ultimately, to buy.
Every brief is unique, and we constantly find ourselves in the position of forging unique combinations of services to answer them. Never the same day twice, a big part of why we love what we do."

I love this little cool example: "To celebrate Sony’s commitment to offsetting carbon emissions caused by their corporate travel, they created a living breathing grass car and parked it around various public locations in Sydney, Australia."

From Wikipedia about ATL and BTL:

"The term (BTL) comes from top business managers and involves the way in which Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s biggest advertising clients, was charged for its media in the 1950s and 1960s. Advertising agencies made commission from booking media (Television, cinema, radio, press, out-of-home and magazines). As below the line had no media involvement there was no commission to be made for the advertising agencies. The accountants thus labeled the different mediums ATL and BTL depending on where it would sit in the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts (ATL where they made a profit and BTL where they did not) Since then, models have changed and clients are no longer charged for their media in that way.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Marketing trend: Brands presented as people

Tracy Harber from Google recently wrote an excellent piece on Adnews´ NGen blog about how brands are turning their brands into humans in order to connect with... humans :) I think it´s an interesting concept; brands are becoming like family members (read the blog post on how our brain actually believes brands are like family) and we interact with them, identify ourselves through them and live with them as if they were best friends. A part of our life. A part of us. 
This branding trend is moving the marketing world away from logos to the people behind it, from surface to content, from looks to personality. I bet it will change the way a brand finds its way into a person´s heart. We all know what happens when we drop the obsession with a hot body and start searching for the one with the good sense of humour - when we stop searching flings and start looking for LOVE...

Some examples from Tracy´s blog post:

- Expedia is launching a new global brand campaign with the tagline ‘People Shaped Travel’. According to tnooz, the idea behind the campaign is to show potential and existing customers the human side of the company. Whilst its competitors use the age-old imagery such as beaches and palm trees, this campaign uses members of staff that work for Expedia to highlight the unique benefits of booking through the online travel agent. This could be the edge that Expedia requires to take the lead from, a strong force in the Online Travel Aggregator domain.

- The recent logo change of ANZ bank was said to ‘humanise’ the brand by giving the design properties that made it look more like a human character with its arms outstretched. This ‘humanisation’ cost ANZ an initial $15 million, and coincided with the trend of banks repositioning themselves in order to ward off negative public sentiment during the global financial crisis. Their new tagline ‘We live in your world’, served to reinforce the human side of the bank. Despite criticism of the new brand, six months later, ANZ posted a 36 per cent rise in first half profit and most recently revealed a 23% increase in underlying profit for the six months leading up to March 2011 compared with the previous corresponding period.

- Apple personified their product in human form as a younger, trendier and laid-back guy, with direct comparison to the PC who was personified as old, out-of-date, and out-of-touch.

- AAMI, an insurance company that has featured a young girl in its logo and all its branding since 1976, has become a highly respected Australian firm. They updated the face of their logo five years ago to find someone fresh who ‘conveyed a friendly, approachable and credible presence – the same attributes we want customers to associate with the AAMI brand’.

- BankWest launched a campaign two years ago which saw animated characters with real voices talking about what makes them happy, which effectively positioned the bank as empathetic to the human needs.

Leo Burnett presented similar thoughts at the Cannes Lion festival (unfortunately the book was tooooo heavy to fit in my bag) Their theory was that we need to go from "speaking consumer" to "speaking human"; marketers have to start talking to people as people, and not some mysterious "market". True!

I think it´s fabulous that focus shifts from the product to the user, from the brand to the people, from what you wish to say to what they will listen to. It means the marketing and advertising community is starting to truly respect people, and by doing so they can build long term relationships.

What do you think?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The mini man purse huge trend for men in Stockholm Summer 2011

This is the man purse  (some call it murse) - the very latest trend for men in Sweden. It´s around every cool guy´s neck, carried at the hottest bars. Sure, it looks like the kind of bag anxious German tourists carry under their shirt, but it is now a statement for the male Swedish Fashionistin Summer 2011. It´s an iphone bag that has been turned into a holder of money, phone, subway card, keys... One place to get them:  And talking about iphone "bags", check this out (see further down). Really weird way to use your smart phone handsfree!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trendcentral: Africa in Style

This is one of the latest newsletters from It´s all about Africa now...


Authentic tribal design is being exported to a global audience

It’s no secret that Morocco has become the vacation destination of 2011, yet global interest in Africa extends well beyond its northernmost country. On the heels of the African music trend is a design movement that’s sourcing style from across the world’s second largest continent.

Afia: On a trip to Ghana, designer Meghan Sebold became so enraptured with the handmade textiles of West Africa that she decided to start a sustainable fashion label using them. The result is Afia, an “urban indigenous” women’s apparel line that pairs the aforementioned fabrics with modern, trend-forward silhouettes (high-waisted shorts, rompers, fanny packs). The patterns are made in Chicago, New York and West Africa, and the textiles are sourced and hand sewn by the Dzidefo Women’s Co-op in Ghana. The company is a proud proponent of fair wage labor, handcrafted goods and international collaboration, giving shoppers incentive to opt for authenticity over inferior imitations.

Friday, July 1, 2011

An emotional sofa - IKEA is a winner

This ad recently won an award in Australia. Since it´s Swedish I need to post a note about it... But I also like that the copy is about the emotional value of a couch rather than simply about the product.

Agency: Three Drunk Monkeys
Client: Ikea
Creative Director: Jay Gelardi
Art Director: Becky Alperstein          
Copywriter: Henry Kember