Saturday, November 29, 2008

City maps filtered by mood

Found, via Ana Andjelic, an interesting take on city maps.

Instead of the typical stuff you see on all city maps, Andy and his collaborators have broken out maps by how you might be feeling on any given day. So you can view things to do in New York if you are feeling energetic. Or broke. Or romantic. Or hungover. I found a bar that serves happy hour pints for $3.

Not sure if there is anything like this for Dublin or any other Irish city?

Ana's blog is worth a visit if you're a marketer.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I would not believe this if it were not recorded.

I've written a few times about companies building their brand reputation through TV advertising while messing up elsewhere. And to be honest, it is easy to mess up. But I would not believe this if it were not recorded.

Surely this is case study material for any company with a customer retention team.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

John Lewis Chistmas ad

This made me look up when it came on TV. They do a fine job demonstrating why we go shopping this time of year, and helping us with this. And of course, the music track makes it .

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Disguise yourself as a customer...and go to jail

Ever tempted to give your own products a 5-star review or write a fake blog post - disguised as a customer?


Clearly it is a stupid thing to do. Dishonest (not like us marketers). And potentially damaging for your brand. But it will also soon be illegal. You could find yourself facing criminal charges. New regulations are clamping down on fake reviews on the likes of Amazon or TripAdvisor, as well as many others. This is great news and very welcomed. More info here.

Found via Justin Mason. Image via adland

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to recognise fraud

Russell Davies noted that this online bank notice is obviously fraudulent. Why? Because it feels like it was written by a real human. Banks don't tend to write like humans, unfortunately.

Although do. They have a nice tone.

Honda Post-it ad

Copy on the post-it says "If you are going to buy another car, let us remind you a couple of things". Nice idea, although not sure about the execution. I guess the car has lots of good stuff, but I'm still no wiser to what they are.

Via Dark Roasted Blend

Nice outdoor creative.

Found via Wall Street Fighter

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bruce Lee plays table tennis with nunchucks.

My chinese is a little rusty, so I'm not sure what the link between the phone company, Bruce Lee and table tennis, but I liked the ad.

Found via Break

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Barclaycard Waterslide Spoof

Not bad at all. You can see the original ad here and also a link to the making of it in the comments.

I'd seen the spoof on a couple of blogs last week, and had planned to share here. But more interestingly (to me anyway), I was then contacted by Unruly Media, asking if I'd like to share this on a commercial basis. They are a viral video seeding specialist, seeding this on behalf of Specsavers. Essentially I'd get paid for each UK visitor that watches it here.

I checked Unruly Media out and I'm impressed with their progressive and transparent code of ethics. They don't ask me to say I like a video or anything else.

Not sure what you think, but this might be a viable way for bloggers to make a few quid, without putting ads on their site. If the content is something I'd be already interested in sharing or talking about, and I'm not compromised in what I can say, then this might be a good thing?

I'm not against putting ads on blogs, but the 12 cents I'd make a month is probably not worth it just yet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hitler tries to make money blogging

Via Wall Street Fighter

But can great advertising be a substitute for a great product?

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: eco advertising)

I wondered recently if it is possible to build a brand using advertising alone. I'm not sure. One reader suggested that it is possible, but it takes time and is expensive.

But can great advertising be a substitute for a great product? Can average products be successful if their communications are world class? In the long term? I don't actually know. What about this powerful ad for Nike? Not suggesting they are average at all but are Nike runners better than Asics or New Balance? If they are all the same, (and if design is the same) does it come down to better communications or distribution to drive brand affinity?

What about bottled water?

David Taylor blogs at length accusing marketers of focusing too much on the 'sizzle' and not the 'sausage'. He wrote a book last year titled "Never mind the sizzle. Where's the sausage? Branding based on substance. Not spin."

Hamel and Prahalad cite Porsche's dramatic US sales decline in the early 1990s as an example of this. Porsche were living off their famous brand name but were not investing in their cars. Their sales bombed from over 30,000 cars in 1986 to under 4,000 in 1993.

John Grant predicted the demise of image advertising in his 2003 book - 'After Image'. He pointed to examples of brands whose premium advertising no longer worked. For example, Inbev positioned their Stella Artois as 'Reassuringly Expensive', using very visual european cinematic advertising. The reality was it was brewed in northern England and was known widely as 'wife beater'. See 'Where did it all go wrong with the beer they call wife beater?'

In his book, Meatball Sundae, Seth Godin makes the point that 'big ideas' worked when advertising was in charge. But he believes advertising is no longer in charge.

I found this presentation (via Helge Tenno) on an interesting blog called This is really good and worth flicking through more than once. Some nice examples here of where the product is the marketing.

Tom makes an interesting point that remarkable products use advertising as a window display, while unremarkable products use advertising as a smokescreen. Take Apple for example. Their iphone ads are demonstrations - done very stylishly.

Back to Nike for a moment. Clearly their Nikeplus is a perfect example of where the marketing is the product - and is in the product. I've used it and it really is good stuff.

And true to Tom's point, their 'I'm addicted' tv ad for Nike Plus, while truly stunning, is quite transparent and simple.

Monday, November 17, 2008

UCD feels archaic compared to Harvard

Harvard Business Publishing have an impressive online presence.

Although their navigation is a bit confusing (new design on the way), their site is jammed with content from top thinkers, authors and academics. And they are using everything from blogs, podcasts to twitter. They even have a YouTube channel, featuring short videos from top academics such as Michael Porter, Joseph Bower (featured above) and John Kotter.

Makes perfect sense of course, since content is their business - everything from their Harvard Business Review, their book store, their training courses and Harvard Business School.

UCD's online presence feels archaic compared to it, although I see they do provide some audio content called UCDscholarcast.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Don't you want me baby" - remember this?

Remember this ad? Just shows how famous these lyrics were.

I read on Wikipedia that The Human League were not particularly happy having their music associated with an ad - especially not one for a Fiat Punto.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The world doesn't need any more websites

Video via commoncraft.

A friend of mine (Una, I use this term very loosely), mentioned this evening that her consultant friend was planning to put a website together.


For the most part, websites are relics. They are static, inflexible, costly and clunky. They represent a time when the internet was still one-way. Websites were useful when your intention was to put up all your information and leave it untouched for the next six months.

Today, your online presence is about content. People come back to read (or see) what you are doing. To see what you are saying. Even to see what your visitors are saying.

So - dump the idea of building a website. Start a blog. Add videos. Allow readers to comment. Link to others with similar or different views. Make it interesting. Keep it updated. You can be up and running with your blog in under 20 minutes.

And it costs nothing except your time.

Tim Brown on Creativity and Play.

Tim Brown, CEO of the famous design agency Ideo, talks about creativity and play - and the powerful relationship between them. His hospital example (around the 22nd minute mark) is particularly insightful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When you want to show you're angry.

I learned many years ago never to write in caps. They are difficult to read. But you have to admit - nothing works better in an email when you want to show a colleague that they just PISSED YOU OFF.

Great inspiration poster. Thanks Emer for this.

Over 1m people have watched this suicide jumper video.

Over 1m people have watched this suicide jumper video.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zappos - a shining example to us all.

I wrote a while ago about how we could learn from Southwest Airlines, and their dedication to customer service. I was most struck by their use of twitter as a customer service tool.

Another company that is active in this area is Zappos - "a service company that happens to sell" stuff like clothes, shoes etc.

Zappos is really interesting. And is a shining example to us all. They really do look after their customers, as they know this makes good business sense.

I found this presentation on Dave Knox's blog. Dave is a brand manager at Procter & Gamble. His blog is worth a regular visit.

The Do Lectures

I recently read the business bestseller 'The 4-hour working week' by Timothy Ferris. I confess, I sped read it, skimming through the chapters. Given Timothy's philosophy, I reckoned he wouldn't mind - as long as I had bought it. Some bits were good. Some not so. But I liked him. In particular, I liked how he talked about his failures.

The above video is thought-provoking, and not just a plug for his book.

Even if Mr Ferris is not your thing, it is worth poping over to the The Do Lectures. They've gathered a handful of speakers in one place, under the theme of inspiring us to do something. You'll get to see John Grant and Russell Davies, among others.

Found via If this is a bog, then what's Christmas?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If only more interviews ended up this way.

I know it's over now but if you haven't watched this, do. It all comes together 45 seconds into the interview.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Have to admit. I like this ad.

Have to admit. I like this ad. Mostly because of the music.

The music is Neopolitan Dreams by Lisa Mitchell. Only problem I have with it is I kept forgetting what actual brand the ad was for. Although I'm probably not who they had in mind when making the ad.

The actual ad reminds of this surreal, award winning Adidas ad - Whenever I Wake Up

Thursday, November 6, 2008

24 of Greg Verdino's best posts

I subscribe to Greg Verdino's blog about marketing, media and trends. He has very kindly picked 24 posts from his past two years of blogging and collated into one PDF.

Pop over to his blog to download.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is advertising enough to build a brand these days?

Is advertising enough to build a brand these days?

Intuitively this feels like a stupid question. Surely the answer is no, right? Today, brands are complex. Each interaction we have with the brand leaves an impression on us. Yes, their advertising is important, but our relationship with brands is a lot more two-way than before. If we're not happy, we can contact the brand. We can even contact the CEO if we please and we expect a response.

I remarked recently about Aer Lingus on why they would spend a load of cash on a TV ad to make us like them more, if their communication on their website gives us a different message.

But it would be wrong to completely dismiss advertising. When done well, it can do wonders.

I don't know how good Godfather's Pizza actually is compared to, say, 4-star pizza. But I have a higher perception of it. They feel like a higher quality outfit to me. I don't order in pizza much so my perception of Godfather's Pizza is based almost entirely on the brand image they have carefully crafted through their TV advertising. Their 'We know where you live' theme is very clever and their agency Bloom manage to be very creative even when constrained to 10-second stings like above.

And in fact, my perception may be inaccurate.

A friend of mine recently called the offices of both Godfather's and 4-star pizza - and found 4-star to be much better organised. She was surprised. We both were. She expected the opposite. She thought Godfather's would be the more professional place. Why? Because they look high quality. Their advertising has built their brand.


  1. Even in this age of conversation, advertising can still play a critical role in building perceptions of a brand.

  2. However, I suspect this depends on how much interaction you are expected to have with the brand. How many FMCG brand managers will you call in a year about their products?

  3. But regardless of what you can do with advertising, you can probably do so much more if you pro-actively manage the other brand touchpoints. The Godfather's Pizza website feels cheap compared to their TV advertising. Shame. They could learn from marketing's poster child - Innocent Drinks. They are pure FMCG yet they bring their brand into their packaging, their tone of voice, their website, their 'Banana' customer phoneline, their 'Fruit Towers' offices, their blog, their grass vans and their email marketing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This caught my attention...

This caught my attention. The copy says "Graffiti and your next stop could be jail".

Found via Adland

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Future of Brands - by top UK blogger + strategist

Just read an insightful thesis from Faris, a top UK blogger and strategist from Naked Communications.

"The Future of Brands: I believe children are our future" is good reading. Faris builds on some thinking by Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture. I read this book last year, and it is definitely worth a read. I'll do another post on this later, as some of the examples he writes about are impressive.

Faris takes the idea of 'Transmedia Narratives' and outlines a new model for communication planning - 'Transmedia Planning'. This is interesting stuff and could well become a new model of communication planning. It has already been picked up by Campaign magazine, numerous bloggers and Mr Jenkins himself has commented on it.

Download it from here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight

Ad found via Futurelab

New York Magazine recently listed this as one of Madison Avenue's most memorable ads.

The ad is outstanding....but the thinking and strategy that underpinned their advertising is better still.

When they launched in 1971, FedEx's original strategy was to be 'better and cheaper' than its competitors, focusing on heavy packages. But they couldn't compete against Emery Air Freight, a larger competitor. So they shifted their strategy to fight not on price, convenience or package size.

Instead they shifted the battlefield terrain and competed on speed.

This came to life, executed flawlessly with their "When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight". In addition, they focused on business men, instead of mailroom clerks. And they followed one of the most important rules in strategy - they decided where not to compete. They dropped their other '3-day delivery' service, as it didn't fit with their strategy.

Speed as a strategy worked beautifully for a long time. But then the environment changed. Most packages that needed to be delivered overnight were actually office documents - and everybody now had email.

FedEx had to move their battlefield terrain again. Speed alone was no longer a point of differentiation. I believe they started to compete on value-added services like package-tracking and high security delivery.

If you're interested in competitive strategy, check out these two great books here and here.