Friday, June 30, 2006

Being thoughtful..

Well, i've had a fun week. The Wireless festival was great (I was at the front for DJ Shadow - I highly recommend seeing him live), as was my time in London.

I promised a question in the last post, and here it is, from a real planner no less:

"The most powerful brands are now made by consumers: Discuss"

I'm a bit knackered at the moment, so no thoughts yet, but will try and nail down some thoughts about it in the next few days.

I'm also very interested to hear what others think.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Travelling far and wide..

Hello all. Just a quick post to say I won't be posting for another week - i'm in Yorkshire at the moment, going to the Wireless Festival on the 24th. Massive Attack + DJ Shadow, a winning combination.

Then i'm back down to London till Friday, so if you wish to contact me, give me a bell (the phone number's on my cv).

I've got a question from Gordon McLean, a planner at DLKW, to pose to my wider audience when I return; it will hopefully return this blog to its original purpose - to chinwag about comms.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blogs - Narcissistic or something more than that?

Firstly, an apology - I had all kinds of high and mighty intentions for this blog, but it's becoming more irrelevant by the day. Ah well - at least I had a disclaimer just off the main title.

Paul Colman's blog opened up a discussion about blogs which I felt worthy of a comment on. Further comments on it can be found here.

Are blogs inherently narcissistic? Does this matter? Where did I leave my car keys?

Well, the short version of this post is yes, not really, and next to the kettle, you berk.

The slightly longer version; I think the debate about blogs is a valid one. Everyone who starts one does want their opinion heard - it's inevitable that by publishing one, you'll come in for these allegations.

Whether this matters is entirely down to the content. Sure, I may post self-indulgent stuff from time to time; I may even post about Stoke City if the mood takes me (though i've had enough of poorly played football after watching last night's game).

Keeping it on a vague topic (in my case, some points about the advertising industry and peculiar brand things) is important.

I think a real danger is people commenting on things they know bugger all about; personally, I have to fight a very difficult battle when writing about ads/doing ad analysis because I have no clue as to whether the client compromised the creative vision or the ad needed to fulfill a certain criteria before being accepted.

I'm on the outside looking in (hell, I want a job in the industry) and as a result, I need to be careful. I think i'll adopt the Russell Davies approach - comment on stuff I really like/find interesting, rather than randomly slating campaigns.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

England's Performance:


Hedgehogs are great..

They eat bugs, have spines, and pinch cat food. Observe:

It didn't take my blogging long to veer wildly off topic. Normal service will be resumed shortly (right after England Sweden).

Another new blog discovery..

After reading a little more of Russell Davies's blog (the grand-daddy of all planning blogs), i've found another really good blog: 'Creative Generalist'.

The guy who presides over it, Steve Hardy, has lots of interesting things to say. I particularly like the Beatles analogy about how to manage creative thought.

Our Lord Saviour?

The title of the post may seem a little peculiar, but read this (unfortunately you have to subscribe for the whole thing).

If you can't be bothered to click the link, essentially, W&K have made an ad for Nike which features on the second largest billboard on the country (the M4 flyover in West London). Fine, you might think.

However; this particular billboard features Rooney (like the picture above) with his arms outstretched. To quote Brand Republic: " Nike dismisses claims that the poster, created by agency Wieden & Kennedy, plays on the crucifixion. Nike said: "It's not intended to have religious connotations".

Whilst I consider Rooney as central to England's chances, do I view him as messianic? Of course not.

That Nike should even have to make that statement is saddening; seemingly, it doesn't matter what you do, people will find offence.

EDIT: Because i'm RSS illiterate at this point, I didn't notice other blogs about it. Go here for the W&K blog about it and here for a planning perspective on it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Winning the advertising world cup..

Like the Superbowl, adland's World Cup efforts have been carefully scrutinised by many sites. Rob Mortimer's analysis is an interesting one on the topic, but there are a few ads missing which I rate:

Saatchi & Saatchi's 'Old Lions' is a natural extension of the 'Carlsberg don't.../probably' positioning. It is especially notable for the interactivity of the spot - being able to press the red button to view a full length version of the spot is a great move, especially in such an inspired shoot - the players looked as if they were having a great time.

That kind of chemistry is infectious and, i'm sure, really aided the execution. Another notable point is the microsite - it's absolutely brilliant. Click the picture below to see it:

Mother's 'Goal!' spot for Coca-Cola really communicates the passion which the football fan feels, something which the rest of the World Cup ads ignored, for one reason or another. It's also probably the most original execution out of all of the ads, with the claymation esque figures detailing the pure joy that football can bring.

The above link is for the full 45 second execution; it's great.

To quote Alan Partridge... "back of the net".

Simple things breed simple minds. Or not.

Northern Planner has written an excellent post about choice.

What really stands out is this thinking: "People have to make their own decisions on things like pensions and mortgages like never before. They have never been given so much choice, yet the quality of information to let them make a decision isn't there. So they make bad decisions quick, or just put it off."

I completely agree; I think it applies to Web 2.0 stuff as well. While it's nice to know what other people recommend, I want someone to explain it to me. I can read and immerse myself in as much information as possible, but without someone who I trust to help me make the decision, it is often an ill-informed one.

I think what i'm trying to say is that people are crying out for experts like never before. Those who exude confidence and knowledge of their subject. Think Russell Davies on planning, Seth Godin on marketing or Alan Greenspan on the economy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A new find..

Whilst looking on the net for some footage for the prior post, I stumbled across a very insightful and well written site - David Reviews.

Check it out. I like the editorials a great deal.

A different kind of plagiarism..

After reading Campaign, a thought crossed my mind; there has been a lot of discussion about plagiarism('Has Adland run out of original ideas?'). Now, obviously, as more ideas and agencies emerge, there is bound to be a fair deal of overlap. You can't stop that.

However, what prompted this post can be rectified - the importance of getting casting right.

The guy in the picture on the right is from an ad for VW's Passat. Watch it here. Recognise him?

This actor has been in Barclays' recent ads as well, as well as one other ad (for Orange, I believe, but I couldn't track it down - it aired about 2/3 months ago). I remembered him because of his unique eyebrows.

Using the same actor for 3 wholly different products isn't plagiarism, but it does seem careless and puts forward the case for agencies to be very careful for who they use in their executions.

Of course, he could just have done those three ads in very close proximity to each other and there was no chance for any of the agencies to pull any of the spots. So I could be barking entirely up the wrong tree.

However, in an era where more and more brands want to stand out and forge a unique brand identity, it's crucial to get this right.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Don't mess with HTML code..

I am not this man (happily)

Doh - note the bar out of place on the right. And, because i'm a nonce, I can't fix it.

Time for a blogger 'help me!' email methinks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

And then there were two..

Check it out; more Orangey work, this time from Fallon:

A little more explanation about this spot can be found here.

Akin to the previous execution, the spot feels understated and thoughtful. I still stand by my claims about Orange's positioning; I think it's in danger of flying over the heads of some, being a little vague. I will be interested to see what future spots bring.

Oddly enough, it reminds me of the prior campaign Fallon have done for ('if you don't ask, you don't get').

Their clients seem to have realised that the best way to produce effective work is not to shout about it - understated work appears to be their signature at the moment.

I'm very pleased about this client shift; personally, I stand by Jeremy Bullmore's assertation that a great deal of advertising work mistakes the consumer as being passive when they aren't.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More Mobile mumblings - is 3 the magic number?

Writing the post below made me consider the other major mobile phone brands.

O2: 'See what you can do'.

T Mobile: 'For a better world for you'.

Orange: 'The Future's Bright'.

It is clear that most mobile phone brands are positioning themselves as being wholly for the individual.

Fair point you may say - they are mobile phone brands, after all. But I believe that all of these endlines risk falling into the trap of being either overly vague or too pushy. Well, I think 3's recent work overcomes these potential pitfalls, partly because it appears to have two brand positionings.

Though i'm no great fan of the original '3' work, the positioning of the brand as being simultaneously collective (We like....) and individual ('Welcome to our Network'), along with the recent executions ('Ribbon Talk'/that new bubbles one) seem to suggest that the network is a somewhat more welcoming and quirky place to be than the others.

What do you think?

Picking it up again....some Orangey thoughts..

Well, i've had a busy month. Been traipsing down to London a few times on ad related things (a few bouts of work experience), and as such, this blog has been slightly neglected.

So my resolution, now that I have a bit more spare time, is to learn how to use this new fangled blog technology. Seems reasonably straightforward, but I tend to be one of those people who is endlessly fascinated by new technology, only to be disheartened when I discover how difficult it is to sort out.

Anyway, now for a bit of this new technology. Some Youtube footage.. ahem:

So this then (assuming it works)... what do you think about Marcel's new Orange ad? I like the execution a great deal; understated, elegant, and with a brilliant track. The only slight criticism i'd make (and this is true of a lot of mobile phone providers) is that the positioning seems a little ubiquitous (see above).

As it is alluding to Orange's takeover of Wanadoo, and subsequent 'one package' of phone/internet access (a la Talk Talk, but not free - yet), I think it gives the brand a unified voice; far more so than those odd usage options; the racoon/squirrel/duck billed platypus (with the latter being for those who used their phone as a paperweight).

I imagine Fallon were very keen for the work to be out as soon as it could have been, to help correctly reposition the brand.
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