I hadn’t heard of Google’s project Re:Brief yet and came across the full version documentary that was released a couple of days ago. Cheers to Ben for the link. I watched it this afternoon, here are some thoughts about it. For info, this video is a project initiated by Google to bring several advertising people who created iconic ads out of retirement and bring them on with young teams with the intention to use their experience and insights for new digital media advertising. The video director is Doug Pray who also created the excellent Art & Copy documentary.
kThe four original ads and their art directors and copywriters are:
Harvey Gabor – Coca Cola ‘Hilltop’ or I’d like to buy the world a Coke song
Amil Gargano – Volvo ‘Drive It like you Hate It’
Howie Cohen & Bob Pasqualina – Alka Seltzer ‘I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing’
Paula Green – Avis ‘We Try Harder’ their copy platform and brand positioning
It’s apparently a bit old, but I hadn’t seen this ad and loved it, it appealed to my French side ;o)
This new Greenpeace ad has been brought to my attention today, probably one of the weirdest I’ve seen… All in all strange, even more that I watched it without the sound the first time and missed the punch line – but a bit funny as well. What do you think?
I haven’t written anything in over 10 days so I decided to organise a quick sum up of interesting things happened or that I’ve seen over that time, in no particular order:
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2. I went to the Tate Modern this week and saw the giant crack on the floor over the whole length of the Turbine Hall – the real name for it being Shibboleth (which sounds much better) created by Columbian artist Doris Salcedo. It’s definitely impressive and I liked it, though I must admit that without the explanation of the intention behind the art piece I wouldn’t have understood it. I think it’s really powerful, worth having a look at walking the length of the Hall, pondering Salcedo’s message and intention.
In breaking open the floor of the museum, Salcedo is exposing a fracture in modernity itself. Her work encourages us to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, and without self-deception.
(From the Tate Modern’s website).
3. New televisual experiences! (sad but true) I checked out new TV shows that came out recently in the US and discovered Chuck. It’s really funny, good action scenes and doesn’t take itself seriously, all in all a good surprise. I also started watching Dexter, deeply disturbing but looks like a really good show, I’ll keep watching.
Otherwise new seasons for Prison Break and Heroes, I’ve only watched Prison Break so far (keeping Heroes for Christmas). I really love the show, how they manage to keep the characters in serously deep sh** and keep the tension alive and kicking from one episode to the other is awesome.
4. I saw the latest Burger King advertising campaign, really interesting but once again a reminder that the relationship between the American people and their fastfood is slightly frightening. You can view the video from the official Whopper Freakout website, or directly below:
5. Greenpeace has launched a new online campaign I really liked called Clash of the Consoles. The site informs us through the voices of 3 iconic characters from the 3 major console manufacturers (Microsoft’s Master Chief, Nintendo’s Mario, and Sony’s Kratos) of the damages caused by games consoles on the environment and compares each company’s efforts (or lack thereof) on toxic use, toxic policies, recycling, and energy use.
6. One of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, has announced this week that he has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s. Here is the open letter he wrote on Paul Kidby’s Discworld News:
I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early
onset Alzheimer’s, which lay behind this year’s phantom “stroke”.
We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I
expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet :o)
PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as ‘I am not dead’. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think – it’s too soon to tell. I know it’s a very human thing to say “Is there anything I can do”, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.
7. Of course, quite some time has been dedicated to my job search, I had some really good interviews and I should hopefully have some more detailed news to give about this next week.
You might have guessed I love ice cream, and Ben & Jerry’s are definitely my favourite. I’m reading Ben & Jerry’s Double Dip at the moment and I really recommend it if you’re interested in looking into how they built their business and what it means to be a values led business. It has a lot of accounts of their personal experience and the experience of a lot of other people (Ben & Jerry’s employees, customers, business partners, etc.) really interesting and easy to read as well.
I love the fact that Ben & Jerry’s are authentic. I can really get that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are two guys just like me or anyone else. Their commitment to make a great product, please their customers, make a difference in the world with their business, and have fun along the way is really inspiring. I could keep going on about it but I’ll probably be paraphrasing the book more than anything right now, so better if you read it.
In their last campaign for them in the UK, Fallon managed to cram all this information in their spot, released last summer (viewable on the Fallon website with the work they did on other good campaigns for Ben & Jerry’s, I haven’t found a video of it on Youtube).
I checked a couple of other ads and I really liked the campaign done in the US (I think it was last year realised by Laika/HOUSE. The premise for these series of short ads are a funny visual representation of the names of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavours. I think they’re fun and pretty clever:
Add-on: I actually just saw this video presenting Ben & Jerry’s from Ecobiz which is interesting.
I didn’t realise it was almost a week since my last post… I actually did such a great job of advertising Nintendo to myself that I was just compelled to clean the dust off my GameCube and start playing Metroid Prime, which I had bought and never played…
Anyways, let’s talk about the little bits of gold given that’s what “Doritos” means. I’ll have to watch myself and be careful not to go on a huge snack eating binge after this.
I’m a complete sucker for crisps, particularly corn crisps and these little triangles come first on my list, they crunch and taste great. It’s also a family thing: I have 3 siblings and whenever we meet, you can sure there’ll be a bag of them not far… Beyond that, I’ve looked into what they’ve been doing lately on the communication side and found out one of the most amazing campaigns they launched last year in the US, called “Crash the Superbowl”. As everyone knows, the Superbowl is the most watched event on TV in the US, about 90 million Americans tune it to it every year, it’s the most expensive time slots for advertising and unofficially became a competition for the best ads as well.
Last year, Doritos decided to give the power to its consumers with this new campaign. Starting online, they built a cool looking 3d website called”Snack Strong Productions” that looks like a kind of Universal Studios Theme Park. Anyone could upload their own Doritos ad, the videos were viewable online and people were invited to vote for their favourite one. The winning video of the competition would be broacasted during the 2007 SuperBowl. I think it’s a brilliant idea, I don’t think anyone has done such a thing before and it anchors digital as a backbone for an integrated campaign that truly interacts with the brand’s consumers – it’s all going T shaped as they say… I have to find out more about how successful the campaign was, but I know there was over 1100 applicants for the competition where they weren’t expecting to have more than 200, and here’s the winner:
According to USA Today, the ad was voted 4th best out of the 62 adds shown during the Superbowl, and this is the first time Frito-Lay makes it into the Top 5. User generated content rules it seems… The campaign also won a Gold Media Lion at Cannes this year. You can read about the winners success on their blog: The Doritos Story. And now Youtube is featuring hundred’s of videos of other applicants, that many Doritos ads being viewd by thousands of people, here are the 5 finalists and some comments from the Doritos marketing department:
With the success of the previous campaign, Dorits decided to renew the Crash the Superbowl campaign this year, this time with music – I fail to see the connection between music and Doritos, at least at first thought, but I guess if it works, why not. You can read a USA Today article about it here.
I think the x-13D flavour experiment campaign produced by Doritos this year was very interesting as well. They released a new bag of crips under the mysterious X-13D flavour, more expensive than the others and invited consumers to guss which flavour it was as part of a competition. (it turned out to be “Cheeseburger”). I think the idea was brilliant as well and I wonder how well it sold. I saw some videos on Youtube of people trying it and saying there were disappointed, but I guess it’s still buzz and more word of mouth for Doritos. In any case, I’m really happy my favourite brand of crips is embracing interactivity with consumers in an original and engaging way. Here’s a post about it on Brand Autopsy.
I didn’t find much about what they were doing on the advertising side in the UK, but I did find out that Doritos was the 4th fastest rising brand this year in the top 100 grocery goods in the UK with a growth of 18% and making into the 91st position. (from “The UK’s most valuable grocery brands” on www.intangiblebusiness.com).
To finish, I think it would be nice to see Doritos do more things of a socially oriented intention. That said, I have found they participate in one venture that I think is pretty cool. They sponsor a site called “Do Something” Anyone can submit a project they are commited to realising and they can win a grant to realise it check it out.
I’ll always remember the first time I saw “Super Mario Bros.” played on the NES console. I was eight years old and visiting friends of my parents with my father and elder brother in Long Island, NY. I was fascinated, it was clearly the best thing ever and I needed to have one for myself – the strange and mysterious name of Nintendo stuck to my mind as being the best, most fun and technologically advanced games. I knew about and had played the hand held Donkey Kong game (you know, the orange split screen one where Mario made his debut as “jump man”) but I hadn’t associated that with Nintendo yet, the NES is where it started for me and a lot of other people.
Nintendo is the oldest existing video game company and console manufacturer, in fact the company was created in 1889, they started by making playing cards and started making video games end of the 70’s after hiring the people that are at the heart of Nintendo’s success: Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Nintendogs, etc.). Nintendo is Japan’s third most valuable listed company with a market value of over $85 billion.
During the NES and Super NES generations, Nintendo’s communication was mostly based on the fact that they were the hottest things in town. Their slogan until 1992 was “Now you’re playing with power!”. This might bring back some memories (and just the haircuts are worth it!):
And this is probably one of the cheesiest ads I’ve ever seen, for “The Legend of Zelda” apparently it says it was banned, I’ll have to look into it:
They kept the same style of message at the beginning of the Super NES times:
Nintendo was also the first video games company following the 1983 games crash to introduce a “seal of quality” which was mostly a marketing strategy to reassure consumers that the games sold were well made and would be suitable for the entire family. Thinking about it now, it actually doesn’t mean that much (they’ve now changed it) but it worked for me as a kid, I remember I looked out for the seal, and that definitely meant it was quality for me! It closely associated the words and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same for a lot of people. Simply put: Nintendo = Quality. Of course, their products generally reflect this quality, otherwise they wouldn’t have had a lasting effect.
Nintendo dominated the home console market with the NES (60M units sold vs Sega MS 13M) and Super NES (49M units sold vs Sega MD 29M), until the release of Sony‘s Playstation. Nintendo had created a strong family and child oriented image, and Sony positioned the Playstation for a more mature market and marketed the console as a necessary element of a living room HiFi system alongside the TV. In that time, Nintendo stayed behind in the “console war”, though still making profitable products and leading in the handheld console market.
Now I think that what’s happening right in the console market and Nintendo’s choices are fascinating. Rather than trying to make a bigger and better console, they started looking at the way games were played, started looking at the vast amount of the population that doesn’t play video games rather than trying to win back market shares from the relatively small portion of people that does. The trend had already began with the release of the handheld Nintendo DS and is now continued with the Wii, released a year ago. With the Wii Nintendo has concentrated on the experience of playing and creating fun games accessible to everyone.
I think the $200M advertising campaign to launch the Wii is brilliant, with the slogan “Wii would like to play”, simple and to the point, to me watching the ad is infectious, I just want to go play! Portraying a wide variety of people tells us anyone can enjoy the wii, of any age or background. I think the major and impressive shift for the video game industry in the campaign is that the focus of the advertising is on the people playing, and not the technology anymore. (I’m making a uninformed assertion here, I’ll have to research this more, but it feels right)
Have you created a Mii? I don’t ave the console (yet) but I went to see some friends who have it and they created my “Mii” the experience was exactly that, it was really fun!
All right it’s a long post, but I’m close to being done. This one is hilarious, it’s a spoof on the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads:
The Financial Times announced in September this year that the Wii had outsold the Xbox 360, which came out a year previous, and is far outselling the Playstation 3 as well. And with the release of Super Mario Galaxy, widely acclaimed as one of the best video game ever made (and in some cases the best) it looks like the Wii is this Christmas’s console of choice. I know that when I saw the new Mario ad, just a few seconds were enough for me to definitely want one, I don’t even play video games any more but I’ll make an exception for this one – just need to get a job first!
I went to see James Thiérrée’s new show at Sadlers Wells (Au Revoir Parapluie) yesterday evening, it was really beautiful. Unfortunately it’s only on until tomorrow, but if you don’t have plans tonight or tomorrow it’s definitely worth it and there are probably some tickets left. I didn’t know of him before last night (my flatmate teaches circus skills, which is how I heard about the show in the first place) and learned he was Charlie Chaplin’s grandson.
Beautifully choreographed show, subtle, sweet and some very funny parts. I really enjoyed it and thought it was inspired, it was also the perfect time to get out of the house and forget about my job search for a bit. Remember his name for next year if you can’t make this time.
Slightly different topic, though in the same evening and relating circus to advertising, my flatmate showed me the “Effortless” Brylcreem ad, which I hadn’t seen. The actor is a friend or acquaintance of my his and a really good juggler. I think all the tricks he manages in one take are brilliant, a good ad, I wonder how well it worked:
There’s also the making-of for the people interested in how all the tricks are done, which is pretty cool too:
I’ve almost finished reading Truth, Lies and Advertising, the must read for anyone wanting to get into planning. I’m loving it and I’m glad it’s confirming everything I thought planning was and a lot more!
Jon Steel talks quite a lot about the pitfalls you can get into when conducting research whether it be qualitative or quantitative. Completely in context with my reading the book, I just had a call for a marketing research which was pretty funny. This lady starts talking (I had a hard time understanding her accent) and tells me she is conducting a marketing survey about cars. I’m quite happy to comply and she starts with her in-depth questionnaire. I found out later in the conversation that the survey was for Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz.
Now here’s the thing you want to know about me: I don’t have a driver’s license, I don’t know how to drive, I don’t have a car, I’m not very interested in cars and the last thing on my mind is buying one. So I’m usually pretty oblivious to car advertising, unless there’s something stunning about it.
Not once did they ask me whether I have a car or not. I would have thought that to be the first question to ask… At the very end, she asked what car I had and she didn’t have an option for “none” on her multiple choice answers! They just assumed I have a car. I don’t think I’m very representative of the group of people they would want to advertise to, but anyway they have my raving about wanting to buy Porsches, Isuzu Rodeos, Nissan Pathfinders (I said I was in the middle of reading the book, that’s the first that came in mind!) – while being able to cite numerous car brands but not having seen a single ad about cars in the last 4 weeks, I only remembered BMW sponsoring ted.com talks.
A lot of the questions were about which car ads I remembered within the last 4 weeks. That’s pretty difficult to remember all of a sudden, out of context. That just shows again how important it is to be asking relevant questions…