Sunday 31 August 2008

The business of football

Please indulge me for a few moments while I put my grumpy old man hat on.

OK...Deep breath....

As a kid I grew up in a so called new town just outside of Liverpool.

Not the Liverpool near Sydney. The real one on Merseyside.

Up until the time my parents emigrated to South Africa I was a Saturday afternoon regular on the terraces of Anfield.

The golden age of English football.

My memories of the likes of Keegan & Toshack, my neighbour Steve Heighway and King Kenny Dalglish will stay with me forever.

That was a time when Liverpool ruled the world.

A time before money, a great deal of money, changed football forever.

Now this is not some old bloke's ramble about the good old days.

This is a rant about the dumb shit football club marketers try to foist on young kids under the guise of being a true fan.

I'm talking about things like a very expensive must have 'new' shirt every season.

Not just one shirt mind, but a shirt for home games, one for away games, one for the FA Cup and of course one for the Champions League.

And just when you think you've bought enough branded club merchandise up pops a splash page on the Liverpool website trying to convince you to put an animated Liverpool character on your mobile.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of football club stuff on my mobile. I actually have a couple of classic football videos on my iPhone.

Note the word video.

Yes I have real players performing superhuman footballing feats. Not stupid little 3d animations that don't even look like the footballers they're supposed to be.

Of course if they gave away the 3d animations I wouldn't be writing this.

But they don't.

They're just another marketing exercise designed to squeeze money out of the pockets of young fans.

Now I could be barking up the wrong tree here, but wouldn't it be better if the football club gave away mobile phone animations, You'll Never Walk Alone ringtones etc?

Rewarding the loyalty of fans rather than exploiting it.

Now there's an idea.

Saturday 30 August 2008

ESPN makes a splash

Tip of the hat to Age for alerting me to this cracking ad from W&K New York.

What makes this ad even more impressive is the fact that ESPN wasn't even showing the Olympics.

Making it a very nice bit of ambush marketing. Especially given the TM heavy nature of the modern day Olympics.

As an aside I wonder if the copywriter was a fan of the TV show Friends?

My kids have loads of Friends dvds and the titles of every show always include the term 'The one'.

Of course it could just be coincidence!

Click pic for a better look.

Storm clouds ahead


Friday 29 August 2008

Bloody banner ads

According to the marketing consulltancy P3 the average banner ad is responsible for a whopping 7.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide every week.

Now I know that banners are annoying but I didn't think they were that bad!

The P3 figure takes into consideration cables, servers, LANs, WANs and all sorts of other internet backbones.

Given how much damage banners are seemingly doing to the environment, I'm almost tempted to start clicking on a few.

But then again....

Thursday 28 August 2008

Is school keeping up?

My son Max is due to hand in his school project tomorrow.

He nominated Ian Curtis from the band Joy Division as the person he would research for his project.

I don't know about you but that's not the sort of thing I would have done for a project at primary school.

Obscure yet very influential band with a singer who committed suicide.

The kid's only 11.

Regardless of the topic the biggest surprise for me was how he did his project.

When we were kids we spent time in the library. Max did most of his research on his computer at the kitchen table.

He sourced additional material from a BBC documentary that had been downloaded using Bit-torrent.

When his sister, who is 4 years older than him, did her project at the same age, she produced a poster with pictures and printouts stuck to it.

Not so for Max. He made a short film and burned it as a DVD!

His movie used classic documentary techniques like panning and zooming on still pictures to give a sense of energy and movement.

He even incorporated some footage found on YouTube.

I am writing this post not because I think he's special, but because I'm wondering whether or not our schools are keeping pace with kids like Max.

And I'm not just talking about his movie making abilities. I'm talking about how the internet has changed they way we research.

Googling is something we as adults do on a regular basis.

Why would someone who's grown up as a Googler want to go to the library to find information?

And how can an academic system staffed and run by people who grew up with books and libraries understand these kids. These 'digital natives' as Rupert Murdoch called them?

At the end of his project he not only listed his sources, he also listed the software used to produce his film.

As Bob Dylan once said, many years ago, the times they are a changing.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Excellent advice

Buy one here.

Crop circles R us

Looking to do something a bit different outdoors?

How 'bout a bloody great crop circle?

Too hard - you're probably thinking.

No so say the good folks from Circlemakers, whose clients include the likes of Microsoft, Nike, BP and rather bizarrely Greenpeace.

Who'd have thought there'd be a company specialising in flattening fields of wheat for money?

Definitely not me that's for sure.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Who saw this coming?

It was surely an opportunity too good to resist.

Unless of course you’re looking to alienate all those people who’ve gotten onboard the Obama bandwagon.

I kinda like this campaign myself, but I also worries me.

A lot.

Apart from the ad above here’s another of the ideas that is yet to run:

McCain goes to war over oil.

This ad is to highlight the fact that McCain doesn’t use trans fatty oils.

Funny. Clever. But perhaps a bit too clever me thinks.

As I said upfront, the McCain opportunity was just waiting for someone to do it.

I just can't help wondering how smart an idea it was to actually take the opportunity.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Banksy does Cadbury

Friday 22 August 2008

The ultimate prize


Who wouldn't want the chance to win a Dell laptop personally signed by Michael Dell?

Actually I don't know the answer to that question, but I suspect it's a lot less than the number of people who'd like to win a MacBook signed by Steve Jobs.

That's not Mac bias speaking.

That's Steve Jobs is a celebrity and Michael Dell is, well, Michael Dell.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Droga Gold?

This is the first TV spot from the much hyped Droga 5 in Sydney.

It's for Aussie beer brand VB Gold.

So what do you think?

Another one bites the dust

When I first came to Australia many years ago there was a Safeway supermarket near where I lived.

So I shopped there.

When I got married my wife and I shopped at the local Safeway.

Now we're middle aged parents and we still do our weekly shop at Safeway.

To be honest it's more through convenience than any kind of brand loyalty, but I've been shopping at Safeway ever since I came to Melbourne.

Not any more.

Parent company Woolworths has just announced it is killing off the Safeway brand and rebadging all its stores to Woolworths.

Another local brand disappearing in the name of globalisation and homogeny.

Be interesting to see if it has any effect on sales.

Dubya on global warming

Thanx to Dan.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Please make it go away

This is a special request to everyone out there in the Blogosphere.

If you have one of those Snap Shot things on your site please turn it off.

I'm sure someone out there finds it useful. But I don't.

In fact I find it highly annoying.

As I scroll or mouse over a page the content is obscured by silly post-it note sized pop ups.

Then when I move my mouse to make the pop up go away another pop up pops up!

Try as I might I really can't see the point of Snap Shot.

Here's a bright idea

Our client Origin is Australia's #1 green energy provider.

Since I started working with them I'm always on the lookout for interesting green or energy saving ideas.

This bus stop for Osram by Saatchi in Cape Town is really clever I think.

So good you have to wonder why no one has done it before.

Although when you see the bus stop with the light turned off you can possibly understand why.

It definitely looks less than inviting.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Free publicity

Andy Warhol's prediction of everyone having fifteen minutes of fame has come true.

Except it's probably more like fifteen seconds than fifteen minutes.

Especially in the internet age.

So to the sad little person who chose to hide behind anonymity and question my integrity with the following comment - enjoy your fifteen seconds!

"Do you actually work somewhere or just spend your day writing useless information. I bet you're another of those self important advertising guys who never really made it!"

Monday 18 August 2008

Just what I always wanted

I am constantly amazed by how tightly targeted the ads on Facebook are. How could they possibly know that I have always secretly coveted a website with an online ordering system similar to the one used by both Pizza Hut and Dominos?

Sunday 17 August 2008


I finally got around to watching the Helvetica movie the other day.

Ever since I can't help noticing interesting type.

Which is probably why I'm really keen on this designed in Japan numeric lamp.

You can buy one from here.

Saturday 16 August 2008

Intellectuals & ordinary folk

Someone sent me a link to a letter to the editor of the New York Times.

It's from a guy who appeared in a TV spot for the iPhone.

In his letter Elliot Riebman wrote;

"During the filming, I spoke with the director of the ad about the iPhone’s effect on human interaction and the philosophical implications of its technology on modern culture."

He didn't stop there;

"We discussed what the iPhone revealed about mankind’s narcissistic tendencies and the vital importance of human connection in today’s world of electronic communication."

He then went on to say;

"Of course, all this amounted to wasted time, and Apple used a 30-second-long, mildly amusing story I told about avoiding a dinner faux pas."

I wonder why they did that?

Interrupting TV shows is bad enough.

Doing it with pseudo intellectuals babbling on about 'mankind's narcissistic tendencies' would have me reaching for the remote faster than you can say iPhone.

In fact, I actually have an iPhone. I queued up at 6.30am on a very cold winter's morning to buy it.

And guess what?

In all the time I've owned it I've never once pondered the 'iPhone's effect on human interaction and the philosophical implications of its technology'.

Perhaps I should.

Then again I did download the totally pointless but bloody good fun Carling iPint app.

Friday 15 August 2008

Little Gordon

If there's one name that has dominated Australian TV this year it's Gordon Ramsey.

He seems to be single handedly keeping the Nine network on air these days.

Me thinks it's time Little Gordon got his own show too.

Great work by Rebel Virals.

Ad spend in social media

eMarketer estimates that advertisers will spend $1.4 billion on social network advertising this year.

This figure takes into account all forms of social network advertising including search and banner ads as well as widgets and apps.

I wonder if that $1.4 billion might be better spent on getting people to engage and interact with brands rather than simply placing ads on Facebook and MySpace pages?

Then again, if brands were smart enough to do that, where would the social networking sites get their income from?

Thursday 14 August 2008

Brand DNA goes mobile

Like most people who get an iPhone I've fallen in love with mobile web access.

So I've set up a version of this site optimised for mobile browsing.

I was a bit sceptical at first, but it's actually pretty good.

If you'd like to access the the mobile version of DNA on your phone the url is:

Alternatively you can simply click the Mobile button in at the top of the right hand column.

Thanx to Neil for getting me mobile.

Nice work Nike

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I've never owned anything by Nike.

Nothing personal, it's just that I grew up in the golden age of Adidas and Puma.

What I do love about Nike though is their marketing.

Their new mobile promotion is a great case in point.

Take a photo of something cool 'n colourful on your phone camera then send the pix to Nike.

They then take the two predominant colours from your photo to create a picture of a pair of customised classic Nikes.

And closing the loop quite nicely, you then get the chance to go online and buy your shoes.

Never trust anyone over 90!

Only thing missing from this little beauty is footage of Bill Clinton jamming along on his sax.

Then again, perhaps the combination of Clinton and Cream may have been just a bit too much for the team from Just For Men.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Headline of the week

Where do you go with a headline like that?

Stating the bleedin' obvious I'd have thought.

Perhaps the wallpaper manufacturers of the world should get together and start sending out spam emails.

Never did the Viagra and Ciallis people any harm. Did it?

Starbucks - Who needs them?

Can't beat a clever piece of topical advertising.

This is a cracker for Dare iced coffee by the team at BMY in Sydney.

Sadly I don't think it's true. But a good ad none the less.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Honesty in advertising

Over the last couple of weeks our agency has been busy entering work into a couple of big award shows.

It takes literally days to get together all the samples and printouts, mount them onto boards, set up microsites to host digital work and, of course, write the entries.

Today I found this wonderful awards anecdote over on Dave Trott's blog. It really brightened up my day!

"The most honest awards I’ve heard of was when Ian Hutton, an Irishman himself, chaired the Kinsale awards.

He stood up to address the jury, prior to judging.

Everyone expected the usual pompous chairman’s address on maintaining high standards, creative excellence, etc.

Ian simply said, 'Right, you all know the rules: vote for your mates.'

And sat down."

Excellent product demonstration

A product demonstration is one of the oldest tecniques in advertising.

This outdoor ad by Publicis Frankfurt has to be one of the best examples I've seen in a while.

Monday 11 August 2008

Oh George!?

I'm a fan of George Clooney. Love how he has maintained his credibility over the years.

But somehow I can't help wondering if this Martini ad was a good idea. It's not like he needs the money, now is it?

Sunday 10 August 2008

A thousand words


Saturday 9 August 2008

Advice for pitch winners

My computer at the agency got sick recently and went off to the Mac doctor. I finally got it back last week. A whole lot healthier but minus all my internet bookmarks.

So over the last couple of days I've been rediscovering blogs I haven't been to in while as I update all my missing bookmarks.

One of them was Yonder Ponder, where James recently shared this lovely piece of advice on celebrating a pitch win.

"Here are a few tips for celebrating the good news:

Search out the folks that presented (in person) and shake their hands. Look them in the eye. Congratulate them as you might congratulate someone who has just had a baby, gotten married, survived crucial surgery.

The copy-all 'great job everyone' email is spam. The handshake on a different floor of the building is something we like to call 'a little extra effort'. People remember your handshake. And remember that you know who they are (even if you didn't know who they were until right then.)

Drink-buying is a good idea. Asking to see the work is a great idea. Asking to work on the business is an outstanding idea.

Take credit humbly and graciously. And spread it around.And savor it because it's not an every-day thing. Even for the good guys."

Friday 8 August 2008

A soft spot for Wrangler

I'm not sure what to make of the much hyped Wrangler campaign by Fred & Fariq.

What I do know though is I love the Wrangler logo.

Always have.

Even though I haven't owned a pair of Wranglers since I was about seventeen I still have an emotional connection to their logo.

Guess that makes it a Lovemark. At least for me anyway.

It's almost ready

The sequel to last year's highly successful social marketing collaborative book is currently being edited by Drew and Gavin.

My fellow contributor David Armano has just posted his first draft of the cover design.

For news on where the book's at and when it will go on sale click here.

Thursday 7 August 2008

You can't be serious

JWT in the UK are celebrating the 40th birthday of the introduction of planning into the ad business.

As part of their celebrations they had an event with talks from several of the best known names in planning.

You can see videos of the speeches here.

Of course you can't have a planning get together without a blog and one has been set up for the event.

The blog is heavily JWT branded. It also states that it is copyright JWT 2008.

So why oh why does it carry the following disclaimer?

"The Opinions Expressed Herein Are My Own Personal Opinions And Do Not Represent My Employer's View In Anyway."

What a cop out!

This is a JWT blog.
It carries JWT branding.
It is for an event organised by JWT.

Just who is JWT's employer?
And who cares what they think anyway?

The idea is just the beginning

I gave a presentation to a group of wannabe creatives last night.

All of them seemed keen and excited about our business and the opportunities it offers.

Before I fired up the powerpoint I got each of them to tell me a bit about themselves and why they wanted to get into the business.

Almost every one of them said that they wanted the chance to be creative at work.

I told them, as I tell every young person I mentor, that having ideas is often the easy part and that actually getting an idea produced is where the real skill lies.

When they asked me what they needed to do to help make their ideas happen, I told them they needed to get in front of the client as often as they could. And that this would help them to build a level of trust.

This afternoon I came across this quote from the always quotable David Ogilvy.

"In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Is two better than one?

For the last couple of days I've been working on a campaign promoting a combined gas and electricity offer.

We've tried all sorts of 'things that are better together' approaches.

It's been a bit of a struggle to be honest.

If only we were in India. We could just put a couple of hot chicks in the ad - job done!

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Ideal Xmas gift

I saw a pair of these scissors the other day.

Now I'm sure they're a great idea, but who can be bothered?

Unless of course they market them with the tagline hours of fun for all the family.

Flat pack mobile phones

Ikea in the UK has joined forces with T-Mobile to offer a mobile phone service to members of its loyalty program.

Rumours that people signing up for the Ikea mobile phone plan will have to assemble the phone themselves using a double sided allen key have yet to be confirmed.

Monday 4 August 2008

What's the product?

Call me a typical copywriter, but I reckon you can't beat a classic long copy ad.

This ad by for LG by Y&R Toronto looks like one. It even reads pretty well.

But what's it for?

Double click the ad to enlarge and have a read for yourself.

I'm pretty sure you won't have the faintest idea what it's for either.

To find out click here. Be prepared to be disappointed though.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Walk like a man

The latest Mr T Snickers ad has caused quite a fuss in the UK.

Seems the wowsers have struck again and this dumb but fun ad has been banned.

It's been yanked off YouTube too.

Apparently a few sensitive souls weren't happy about Mr T telling them to run like a man.

Given I can't post the YouTube video I thought I'd give you a link to the next best thing:

Drag superstar Divine and her cover of the Franki Valli tune Walk Like a Man.

Saturday 2 August 2008

Digging through the digital racks

Who would of thought a record company would have finally seen the possibilities of the long tail?

After letting Apple single handedly create the digital music market, one of the the ancient empire's biggest names has hit back.

But rather than trying to knock off the iTunes Store, they've gone for the potential of the niche.

Which is a pretty smart and, let's face it, completely unexpected move by a music major.

Universal has just launched Lost Tunes. A digital music store where fans can uncover and download dusty gems and overlooked old tunes.

It's the online equivalent of digging through the racks at a second hand vinyl emporium.

An idea so good, I think, you have to wonder why no one has done it before.

I do hope this venture succeeds. There's certainly a market for it.

Although given most serious music fans already track down old vinyl and other rarities via blogs and Rapidshare, I can't help wondering if it may well be too late to get these people to break their habits.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday 1 August 2008

Thought for Friday

"To date, social-media marketing is usually a failed concept because brands engage in practices that are alienating to users, and do not provide useful services to them.

If you’re not providing content, ensure that you are providing a useful service. Social media helps people manage their social lives. It enables them to do something they are already interested in. It gives them the tools to allow for this."

Scott Goodson - Strawberryfrog