Archive | March, 2012

Who’s that man?

28 Mar

I’ve seen a lot of posters around town with a man running while holding a Visa card.

Maybe it would have made more sense if I had seen this ad: but I haven’t. Nor had I seen this: I have heard of Usain Bolt, but would I recognise him in the street? And let’s face it, this poster is on my street. The answer is no. He’s just another guy in a yellow vest. I can’t help feeling that Visa were so excited to get Bolt as their brand spokesman they forgot that most of the world don’t have a picture of his face in their head. If I’m right, it’s a huge wasted opportunity.

Lego ad – Seriously?

19 Mar

These ads have been doing the rounds in cyberspace:

The question is, have they been doing the rounds in German newspapers and magazines? There’s no doubt about their creativity (the titles are South Park and Simpsons). However, it smacks to me like creatives getting carried away and doing a bit of creativity on the side without Lego knowing. I mean. do Lego create ads for grown ups. Are there seriously any adults in Germany (or anywhere) who don’t know what Lego is? And does this make them buy Lego? Does this make you want to go and buy Lego for your kid? The answer, probably, is no more than you already feel like buying Lego.

Personally I fell out of love with Lego (a bit) for giving in and creating green and brown bricks. Lego’s creator, Ole Kirk Christiansen hated war and refused to create bricks in military colours. I also lost a bit of love when the bricks started being so pre-made that it required less creativity to build a house, car or rocket. Still, it’s as much loved as when I was a kid thanks largely to keeping with the zeitgeist and creating sets that match whatever is big in TV, film and popular (kid) culture.

So lets get back to Lego’s Simpsons / South Park ads. Genuine advertising? Cash spent to shoot it and cash paid to insert it by Lego? Not sure. I’m sticking with my original hunch that this is a bit of creative opportunism by a team with time on their hands and no briefs that will win them any awards this year. It’s advertising aimed at winning awards rather than shifting products, and when that is our one goal we are on a downward spiral. I’d love to be proved wrong on Lego and if I am, I will post my apology!

Facebook aint worth the money

17 Mar

As Facebook gears up to sell, it’s credentials as a top retail destination appear a little shaky. This Newsweek article spells it out.

Round up your mates – eventually

14 Mar

Now, the premise for this commercial is that us blokes are terrible at organising a day out. Are we? Says who? Says Guinness. Anyway, the result of this planning insight is here.

As ads go, it’s not bad. I’ve seen sheepdog ads before, and I’ve seen ads where people are given animal characteristics (this was a rip off from an original Big Train sketch) but that’s not my problem with this commercial. It’s clearly a ‘straight to Youtube’ number and thankfully, the views are positive(ish) – 1 and a half million clicks isn’t bad, unless you compare it to an ad in the middle of Corrie which might grab you 6 million. Still, it’s more viral than most and will have saved Guinness a wedge on media spend. The downside of its online presence is that online ads don’t have time restrictions. The director’s cut can go on and on, or in this case, on. I get the gag. I get it really really early on in the ad. I then have to sit through another two minutes of the gag being milked. The resolution is obvious. I see it coming a mile off. There is no surprise after the ‘surprise’ that a dog is rounding up beer drinkers. It’s a nice ad but as a Guinness ads go, not a patch on Surfer. Sometimes, being quick and clever is the best way to win.

A nice simple poster

13 Mar

I saw this a while back and liked it so much I took a snap of it. OK, so it won’t win any awards and could have been written twenty years ago but it’s quick, simple, obvious and I know what it’s advertising. Proof that keeping it simple is often the best answer.

People slag you off on your own website – what’s the BIG IDEA?

7 Mar

Gave a look at the Facebook page for Frijj milkshakes. Now, I need to remind myself here of the basics of advertising:

1- tell people what your product is

2- tell people what your product does

3- tell people why they should be interested in this

This very basic set of guidelines should work across all media: social, digital and traditional. The bit of the Frijj Facebook page I’d like you to look at is the post that asks us, the fans of Frijj to complete the sentence ‘A Frijj a day keeps the…’ Now lets look at some of the 370+responses:

…lactose intolerant people jealous.

…teeth rotten

…higher chance of a heart attack!!! Yay!

…flab on your gut

…Dentists employed

…Calories comin

These are just a sample from the first 30 or so comments I read. So, given that this is an advert for Frijj, and that someone no doubt is being paid to moderate the milkshake’s online presence, I am left with this question – how is a list of negative comments about your brand in the public domain good advertising? My only answer must be that their openness to criticism might make some people like them more. My gut feeling is that the Frijj Facebook page is yet another weak, lazy attempt by a brand to do something for free without the requisite creative power to say anything of any worth or interest to the people who might be interested in trying them out. What do they think of people slagging them off on their own Facebook page? Honestly? I doubt they even realise it’s happening. Long live digital!




A good ad!

6 Mar

It’s easy to knock ads – lets face it, there are enough woeful ones out there that deserve a good kicking. Every now and again it’s good to relish something lovely. Take this recent ad for the Guardian newspaper:


I like it because it takes a story which everybody knows (the Three Little Pigs) and retells it from various angles, suggesting that the Guardian takes an all round view of news stories. The ad is 100% about the Guardian. I love the art direction and I love the writing. My only gripe is that they could have found better or more convincing actors / VO’s. The black guy outside the court is so wooden they could pulp him to make their paper…

Falling Man

4 Mar

Does anyone else find this image on a New York skyscraper disconcerting?

Sticking up a poster on two ‘twin’ towers with an image of a falling man, close to Ground Zero? Now, either these schmucks wanted the publicity – this snap appeared in a UK newspaper – or they were just too dumb to make the connection between their image and the iconic ‘falling man’ of 911. But the people behind the design are New Yorkers, so they must get it and just thought that getting some extra mileage by linking to a sensationalist would be ‘neat’. A spokesperson for the TV channel, AMC, who are airing the show in the US says ‘The image used in the campaign is intended to serve as a metaphor for what is happening in Don Draper’s fictional life and in no way references actual events.’ So, using this logic, the fact that we are talking about it in the context of a terrorist assault in which over 2000 people died (in New York) makes it one of the advertising gaffes of the year.

Paypal Lies

2 Mar

I got an email from PayPal this morning. The email invited me to ‘grow your business with tips on social media, web analytics and more’. I read on and was told:

“Social Media sites such as blogs and social networks allow people to form connections with other users and brands and share content such as messages, news, video and photos.”

Part of which I agree with. I use Facebook and Twitter to follow friends and people whose opinions I am interested in. But brands? Did PayPal just tell me that I can form connections with brands? Why would I do that? I don’t admire brands. I’m not friends with them. I fill my shopping trolley with them, then eat them. That’s my relationship with most of them. The email continues:

“Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years and are some of the most talked about destinations on the web.” I cannot argue about this. But let’s read on:

“Social media offers an opportunity to connect and interact with your customers, promote your brand and drive traffic to your website.” Do PayPal  assume I’ll just believe that this is going to help me because they tell me it will? Do they genuinely believe that Facebook and Twitter can help increase my sales? Have they got ANY proof of this? Can they cite any company whose fortunes have been greatly blessed by their presence on Facebook or Twitter? Because until they do, the only thing they are selling me is lies.

KFC forgets it makes chicken

1 Mar

I haven’t posted for a while. Maybe I haven’t been angry enough. Anger is good, it’s what has always fuelled me to do the best work I can do. Anyway, I’m in Australia at the moment and saw this:

It’s a commercial for a company specialising in fried chicken but which has got so sidetracked by the wonder of social media that it has forgotten to say A SINGLE THING about its product. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I love the internet. Here I am using it to tell people what I think, but KFC don’t own or run a social media/web company, they have shops selling fried chicken. The ad brings to life the idea of ‘wouldn’t it be great if you could need all your FB friends face to face, at once’. The ad lasts around a minute and the product (KFC, not Facebook) takes a back seat as the stuff everyone eats when they get together. Not because they’ve chosen to eat it but because KFC organised the whole shindig. Either KFC feel they have nothing good to say about their food or they believe there is nothing new to say and that, as everyone knows all there is to know about them, they can waste time and money on throwing a party for 100 people and then showing the party to the 20million Australians who weren’t invited. All in all, an expensive TV commercial for Facebook, paid for by KFC. The idiots.