Thursday, April 30, 2009

MINI's page takeover

I've only taken a screengrab of this so worth clicking here to see it live. It's a page takeover - look at the Mini ad at top of screen and take it from there. It's not bad. Playful fun.

Found via AdsoftheWorld

Insightful press ad about toast

I like this. I love my toast. And hate when butter is too hard and breaks it up. Nice.

Found via AdsoftheWorld

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We need more of this.

A friend send me a link to this.

"The most hopeful sound on earth" is what Neil Finn, of Crowded House, called this group of 10-year old kids from a school in New York. Mr. B, their music teacher, uses youtube and their blog as an effort to "promote the benefits of keeping the arts an integral part of the school curriculum".

I think this is inspiring stuff and another good example of how all our free tools like youtube and blogs can shine a global light on amazing, yet local, stories.

Fair play to Mr. B

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do 'curiosity' style headlines work in direct marketing?

This arrived in the mail the other week.

Clearly they are hoping I'll be intrigued enough to open the envelope and see what it is all about. I was. But then again, I look at ads way too much. But for your (normal) busy person - does this work?

John Caples in his classic 'Tested Advertising Methods' cautioned that curiosity-style headlines in ads are risky. People don't care enough. Anybody have evidence suggesting otherwise?

This DM piece is for a charity. Given most non-profits don't have buckets of spare cash hanging around, I'd hate to think they are blowing budgets on risky communication strategies.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Do brand conversations really exist?

Found this via The Ad Contrarian. Takes a slightly different view to most of what we hear or read online. Not sure I agree fully but always refreshing to hear different views.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More strong outdoor: Dove

This Dove ad is another example that follows the principles of good outdoor execution: Single image. Simple message. Clearly this is just one execution from a very famous campaign. However, it would still make sense if you were not aware of previous ads - comprehension is strong. The contrast between the girl and background is strong. Lots of white space. And the product shot increases comprehension and helps branding.

The headline is relatively short and easy to read, although font size may be a bit small for outdoor.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Performance Management in practice

Anybody that has studied Southwest Airlines will know that devising a strategy can be easier than executing one. Many airlines have tried to copy Southwest. Few have succeeded. Southwest know how to execute.

I realise this piece may look like a deviation from my general posts about marketing communications. But getting high performance marketing is a team effort. You need highly motivated, talented and hard working people to deliver on any marketing strategy. It requires leadership and management.

I posted last week about performance reviews. These are critical to executing strategy. The most difficult part of performance reviews is getting the objectives right at the beginning of the year. In fairness, getting them right takes a bit of time and usually a few drafts.

I wanted to show the the process I use.

The starting place is clarifying what exactly you want done and how well you want it done. One way to figure this out is to ask yourself what would you do if it were you doing the work yourself. And to what standard would you do the work. When you know what you want, next step is to figure out an objective way to measure this performance. Involve your team member. Get very specific and agree (1) the output itself (2) how it will be measured (3) when this will be measured and (4) by who.

I'll use a typical 'Direct Marketing Exec' role as an example.

Let's say it is January and one of your team members manages your direct marketing activity. Let's assume you need 100 sales each month to hit targets. Assume also that you know from experience that your direct marketing activity needs to generate 250 sales leads each month to create these 100 sales. Finally, let's assume that you know you need to target 5,000 people each month to generate 250 leads.

Objectives for the Direct Marketing Exec might be something like this:
  1. His overall objective is 100 sale a month. Often the big objectives are not fully under the control of the individual. He may be relying on the sales team to close the sales. This is why it makes sense to have a few other sub-objectives which would be fully under the individual's control. I believe it is important to include the overall objective though, as this the real output objective the business wants.
  2. A sub-objective might be to get the actual campaign out, by a specific date each month, targeting 5,000 people.
  3. Another sub-objective for him might be to drive up response rates to 7% by 31st March. So currently, 250 leads from 5,000 people is a 5% response. To meet this objective, he would need to generate 350 leads from 5,000 by 31st March.
  4. Another sub-objective might be to drive down the cost-per-piece. So if it currently costs €3,000 to target 5,000 people, the cost-per-piece is €0.60. His objective might be to drive the cost down to €2000 per 5,000 people, costing just €0.40 per piece.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Classic outdoor ad: Hello Boys

Last week I scribbled down some principles I use when working on outdoor ads. And said I'd point to some examples that follow them.

'Hello Boys' is now famous for apparently causing traffic accidents back in 1994. Clearly it got attention.

And it follows the principles. Single image. Of a person (that you'd notice). Strong contrast in colour between image and background. Short headline. Easy to read. Well branded. Simple message. And loads of space.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We do love the asterisks*

I read this online and couldn't resist sharing it. We marketers do love the asterisks*

*I'm no stranger to the asterisk. I can relate to the struggle of trying to summarise an offer, that requires lots of terms and conditions, into a headline. This offer seems pretty good. But the headline still feels wrong.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More nice outdoor: Corona

Corona do strong outdoor advertising. By consistently using relaxing beach scenes and the lime, I'm told they get comparably higher recall than many competitors despite lower budgets.

This ad follows most of the good outdoor principles: Simple message. Strong branding. One visual - while strictly it is not a single image (3 bottles, not one), it is probably fair to say they form one visual, as they are grouped together. Short headline. And humour.

Executionally, the minor amends I'd do is
  1. Try and give the ad more blue sky. To do this, I'd either cut back on some of the tree leaves or cut back on the excessive space given to the wood table at the bottom of the image and pull everything down a bit. This would allow for more blue sky.
  2. With more blue sky available, I'd make the "greedy" headline bigger.
  3. And I'd see if I could get more contrast between the white headline font and the light blue sky behind it. Perhaps a slightly darker blue around the headline.
They are minor changes though. It's a good ad.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Probably the best new bottle in the world

I was just talking this week with colleagues about Carlsberg's 'Probably' campaign. Their more recent "there's always option C" - is fine, but I thought 'Probably' could have gone on forever. Their 'Carlsberg don't do litter' was up there among the finest ambient campaigns I've ever seen here.

Above is an outdoor special from Carlsberg. You can see it is actually made of bottles.

Thanks Fran from Made in Hollywood for sending on.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flutter - the new twitter

Flutter - the new twitter. Mockumentary on flutter, the latest in "nano-blogging". Nice.

Cheers Jonnie for sending on.

Interview with Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO

Interview with Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO.

Found via the Communities Dominate Brands blog.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Economist use SMS to drive offline sales

The Economist, in India, have been using mobile marketing to drive sales. They send snippets of articles every day - letting their audience know the full story is available online or in local newsstands. It seems to be working. See full case study here.

Found via

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The performance-review is not for rating how your team did

Image courtesy of apfelbaum

For many years, my daily work activity and my yearly performance-review were unrelated. I saw the performance-review as a task that needed to be completed for HR once or twice a year. A bit of paperwork.

Don't get me wrong. I've had good managers who were genuinely interested in me, my work and my progress. And I worked hard. I had some objectives at the beginning of the year. But these objectives did not drive my performance. They sat in a drawer or were saved in a folder somewhere on my computer. And I'd go scrambling looking for them the day before my review.

As would my managers I suspect.

This disconnect between what I did every day and my how my performance was rated and reviewed is not unusual. James Kilts, Jack Welsh and Larry Bossidy have all written about this at the companies they ran. Many individuals and their managers see the performance-review as an awkward chore to get out of the way, so they can all go back to the real work.

This is a mistake. The performance-review is not there to rate how the individuals on your team did. It is there to drive the performance you need now. The rating of the individual is just one aspect.

This difference seems subtle - but is critical. It is not a task to complete once or twice a year. It is a method of regularly monitoring an individual's progress. So you can both agree what bits need more focus or less focus. If you had a sales target, you wouldn't wait till November to look at the figures and decide what areas need more work. This is no different.

Which is why I believe in monthly performance reviews. Yep, formal performance-reviews every month where you both review objectives against agreed measures.

This allows the manager and individual to (1) discuss the previous month's performance, (2) understand what is working well and what needs more work (3) agree what will be done about the poorer performing areas and finally (4) let the individual know officially what their performance or rating has been for the month.

I've written before about the link between strategy and execution. Reviewing performance regularly is critical to execution. Monthly reviews are not difficult. They do require some prep work but I think it is worth it. The hard bit is putting the right measures in place. I'll write a post about this another time.


Monday, April 6, 2009

More brilliant outdoor: Nike

I've been searching around for examples of good outdoor ads to show they follow the principles I wrote about recently.

Nike's World Cup ad for England follow these principles: Single visual. Visual is a person. Singular simple message. Comprehension is immediate. Strong contrast between image and background. The creative itself is the headline so no additional copy needed - very smart. It is also well branded and has loads of space (yes, white), allowing it to breath.

This image is visually arresting. It has the additional recall-benefit of having a celebrity in the ad. Celebs in ads can sometimes be a bad thing. We remember the ad but sometimes forget the product or message. But not here. Rooney is the product. He represents the England team. And of course he visually becomes both the England flag and the passion of English football fans.

This is pure genius. I'm very jealous.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baker in London tweets on fresh bread

Interesting twitter stuff by agency Poke for a baker in London. They've connected up the bakery to twitter so followers get a tweet whenever bread or croissants are freshly baked. More here.

Anybody heard if any restaurants are using twitter yet to fill tables at discounts?

Found via Helge

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How contactable is your leadership?

Conor wrote a insightful post a couple of days ago titled "How contactable is your leadership?"

Do the company leaders and managers hide behind walls of customer service reps? And make sure their contact details cannot be found on their website? The reality is many CEOs are probably very keen to hear what their customers say, but don't have the systems in place to personally deal with complaints, suggestions etc.

This will change. The CEOs that change first will benefit. Those that follow later will not, as it will be expected. So, CEOs -put your mobile number or email address on your homepage.

Conor found a company doing this (or something similar).

Direct Marketing Tips for Fundraisers

Useful Direct Marketing tips presented recently by Damian from Ask Direct. His emphasis is on fundraising for non-profits. Lots of tried and tested techniques here - as well as good old fashioned commonsense (which isn't too common of course).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Example of good outdoor: Gulp

I like 'open happiness' as an idea. Simple. Similar to their 'coke side of life' idea but I think I read somewhere they prefer this as it has a more obvious link to the product.

This execution is a good example of a brand that uses the outdoor principles I wrote about earlier this week. Single image. Strong colour contrast between the image and background. Short headline. Better still, the headline is part of the creative. Strongly branded. Simple message.

And lots of white space.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

JD Quench

Have to say. I like this ad.

No it didn't make me drink Sprite, but neither has the 'eyebrow dance' ad increased my consumption of Cadbury's chocolate. But it does keep the Sprite brand top of mind, and in fairness, they haven't deviated away from their thirst quench message.