Tag Archives: advertising

Beer Brand Eats Own Young!

I’m not going to pretend that I know the exact thought process behind this, but from what I see here it looks like the beer parents of one brand are eating their own young.

In this case, the parent is XXXX Gold, a grand old staple of the Aussie beer fraternity.  The young is a new brand on the market in XXXX Summer Bright, Lion Nathan’s Cerveza-styled entry to the market.

Lion Nathan launched XXXX Summer Bright nationally earlier this month with a campaign that included outdoor (having been tested in several Australian geographical markets over the past year).

Here’s the Summer Bright campaign…..

Summer Bright 2010 outdoor

And here’s one of at least 5 billboards I saw yesterday on a cross-town trip.

XXXGold 2010 outdoor

The creative executions are vaguely similar but it’s the media choice (outdoor) which is the factor proving my headline most strongly.
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No Elvis impersonators

no elvis impersonators
I have only one creative rule: no Elvis impersonators.

I was presented with a creative idea using Elvis impersonators once.  It wasn’t pretty.

Some Elvis impersonators pay genuine homage to The King, but in general most of them are parasites, profiting from his brand or at best, making fun of a great artist during a period in which he was truly troubled (in fact I view Elvis impersonators in much the same way as politicians in that they probably get into it for the right reasons but eventually lose sight of why, though now I’m really off the track).

Other than that one rule, all ideas are game on as far as I’m concerned because creative daring is essential for breaking free from the clutter to get your story told and heard.
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I’m on a horse…

Old Spice’s Man Your Man Could Smell Like won big at Cannes and must surely go down as one of the best ads ever made.  Russel Howcroft was right when, on a recent Gruen Transfer episode he said that it was an entirely new idea and that’s why it was so good.

Here’s that winning ad, along with another in the series in case you thought the first was too good to be repeated.

Apart from being an original idea, the reasons these ads are so good is hard to pin down, which in-itself is part of their appeal (the ability to analyse something is harder when it makes you smile as broadly as these do).  The fact that it’s a one-shot ad, the unexpectedness of what happens during that 30-second piece of film, the surprising climax, the writing (which is brilliant) or the perfectly-cast, strategically-intrinsic talent (and his perfect delivery of a sharp, idea-rich script) are all elements that combine together to deliver advertising gold.

That the idea works to engage fans, position the brand and spread awareness like a grass-fire is without question and so whether it works to sell the product will be measured by how much, not if.

One insight is in how Old Spice have continued with a brand campaign that started years ago, maintaining core elements and refreshing it beautifully with the new Man your Man could smell like campaign.  It proves that it’s possible to refresh a brand and in fact make it even stronger without de-stabilising its position by tearing away at its heart.

Take a look at this ad from a few years ago (again, one of a series), which includes – among other things – the now almost certainly recognisable whistle (triggering memory), along with the unexpectedness and surprise of the current campaign.

On the current ads alone, I’m certain that this strategy would’ve been a raging success and besides, how do you follow up on something so good?

Well it seems they have and the other great insight is in how the campaign has been followed up, extended and strengthened so that now, not only are fans who saw the ad still talking about it, they’re now engaging with the brand via an equally well executed digital strategy.

The Man your Man could smell like is, although brilliantly personified by Isaiah Mustafa, a character.  He’s a creation born of the creative idea and while not the brand is the perfect charcterisation of a) the man your man could smell like and b) the man you could be like if using Old Spice.

That hasn’t stopped Old Spice putting The Man on Twitter and Facebook though, linking through to a YouTube channel and having him post video responses to questions he posed by followers.

The responses, predictably, are written and delivered with the same sharpness as the ads. The idea that The Man is waiting in front of a HD digicam, waiting for tweets and wall posts so he can record a response is a temptation too big to ignore for many of the fans. The level of interactivity going on here is unbelievable (as I write, the Twitter account has almost 30,000 followers in a day and a thousand of those were added just now) and each one of these interactions makes the brand more memorable.

Brands often fail on delivering promises.  If The Man’s promise is anything to go by then Old Spice are true because there’s an ever-growing number of video responses stacking up, all personally addressed to the questioner by The Man.

Before this latest tactic I was wondering if it was unreasonable to think that Old Spice might be objectifying men with The Man ads, given the current debate over the objectification of women in advertising.

For the record, I never thought they did (and wouldn’t have cared anyway) though now I am certain that this strategy should go down in the casebook of how to do integrated marketing, truly engage with your fans and get it right.

Go here and start picking up tips @OldSpice.

Foxes, grubs and other dirty words

What’s going through the ASB doesn’t normally get my attention too much (unless it’s because of their stuffed-shirt insistence on using the word “advertisement”, which I hate, or it’s because I’m the one in their sights).  One particular case did though, because I drove underneath it pretty much every day and I was sure that it’d make it to the big table in the ASB’s complaints room.

I’m referring to Fernwood Fitness Centres (you know, those gyms that’ve reversed sexual discrimination and don’t let blokes in, which is actually a fantastic innovation and great target marketing) and their use of the word ‘fox’ in their most recent ad campaign.  The complaints were dismissed.  I reckon they were fortunate to get off.  The ASB’s mood of the day must’ve been with them.  You can download the determination and the reasons why here.

A not insignificant part of the campaign was an outdoor billboard with the simple, giant headline “Join For Fox Sake” and this was my first exposure to the campaign as I drove under it (and second, third and subsequently many more).

When my kids saw it the first time, they read it out loud and giggled.  Every other time they saw it they giggled again.  They got the vibe.  I think that’s a fairly revealing fact about the intended reaction to the creative.  Funny thing though, they couldn’t tell you who the company was, even after many trips and giggling fits under that billboard.

Because I’m in the game of marketing & communications, people often ask me if I think an ad is any good.  I usually answer those questions with other questions (because I might think it’s good, but if I’m not the desired audience….).  In this case, to the standard “what do you think” question, most of the responses weren’t particularly positive.  More than a few thought it was a bit too crude and suggestive especially to be hanging over a main road, adjacent to a school.  Several likened it to the long-running “Do It Longer” ads.

As an aside, on that I disagree and refuse to draw any comparison between this campaign by Fernwood and the controversy-courting trash out of the Advanced Medical Institute.  The AMI are little more than charlatans, enticing great wads of cash out of vulnerable gents who may actually have serious medical & emotional problems that should be discussed with a real doctor.  Their campaigns are designed to get every man and his dog talking about it, either way, in the hope that the brand sticks.  Negative publicity isn’t always good publicity though (but that’s another topic).  In contrast, I reckon Fernwood offers real value to its consumers and in that sense, the distinctions couldn’t be clearer.

A summary of the arguments Fernwood gave in their response to complaints include that the ‘fox’ word was used in other contexts as part of a broader campaign, was clearly written and that print media only and not audio was used because “confusion could arise” when hearing the line spoken.  Personally I don’t think there’d have been any confusion at all…..

“Join” was the first campaign line I saw, on the aforementioned billboard.  That was replaced a couple of months later with another one (I can’t recall which).  In their response, Fernwood don’t detail whether their other lines were concurrent in different media.  Because I’m not the desired audiences I didn’t see the other lines, which included “My Mum’s A Fox” and “Unlock Your Inner Fox”.  Those are good, strong campaign lines and here’s my point.

“Join for fox sake” is a grubby innuendo in the context it ran.  Using double-meanings to boost cut-through and recall is a right strategy but it has to be matched with the right media placement.  There would’ve been no confusion as to the intent in the creative presentation.  Everyone would’ve gotten it and the attention it would attract.  They knew exactly what was going on.   Fernwood are right, however in their response when they say that they don’t believe the word fox is strong or obscene.  It isn’t, when you’re talking about foxes.  But in the context of this ad, it is.  Where they got it wrong is with the media plan.

Am I a prude?  Don’t think so.  It’s not the creative; it’s the media, and the placement in which the grubby line ran (or good, depending on what you think; you can be the judge of whether the media planning for this was intended).  Billboards are hard to hide from the pubic eye, of all ages.  The best way to get the full range of reactions to an ad is to put it in front of everyone.

Whether through creative or media, you might be tempted to get a few laughs, thinking that using a few grubs, foxes and dirt makes your message stick for longer.  Normally it doesn’t.  The greatest ad campaigns ever written didn’t.

You’re above that and don’t need those laughs anyway.  Sure, on one level advertising is entertainment designed to invoke a response.  On another level though it’s part of, reflects and drives (in many ways) our social economy.  Yes, I believe advertising is more important than most people working in advertising do.

Did the campaign work?  I don’t know what the objectives were but I guess if my kids’ reactions are anything to go by maybe it did.  But Fernwood had some other strong campaign lines that suited the media more and played well on the theme.  They didn’t need the other laughs.  They’re above that and you should be too.