Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Exciting new media. Same old laws.


If AdNotes were a child it would be starting school next year. Or put another way, we have just turned five. (Gifts gratefully accepted by AdNotes’ Dad, Tony)

In 60 issues of AdNotes, I’ve never given legal advice … until now.

But, as often happens, several related events enter my radar space at around the same time and I am compelled to glue them together to make a point.

Those several things are in order:

1. A video uploaded to YouTube by ad agency Leo Burnett, showing an internal creative exercise, had to be quickly taken down because it used music without permission or payment.

Shouldn’t a traditional agency know about music copyright?

2. Online media publication, Mumbrella reported that, “ “Ideas agency” Tongue, which recently rebranded from Ikon spin-off New Dialogue, has been forced to pay $22,000 to the communications regulator and make a legally enforceable undertaking about its future conduct after arranging for spam mobile messages to be sent on behalf of client Coca Cola.”

Shouldn’t a digital agency know about spam?

3. An article by Julian Lee, marketing editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, quotes Mathew Liu of YouTube as saying, “We hope that over time our advertisers will blur the lines between advertising and editorial.”

Didn’t John Laws and Alan Jones get into hot water over this?

Julien goes on to quote Freehills Legal firm partner Sue Gilchrist. “Advertisiers are going to have to be very careful in this space, as the fact that they have planted an ad and it is not made apparent [to viewers], in itself, could be seen as a contravention of the Trade Practices Act.”

That means that even viral films (created as marketing) that are not ‘addy’ enough may be in breach of the code!
So while the digital sphere is incredibly exciting for marketers and their suppliers, it cannot remain a legal cowboy town forever.

The basics still apply.
- Music (or images) used publicly must be paid for.
- You can’t spam.
- An ad has to obviously be an ad.

Kids creating mashups may get away with it. But don’t think the old rules don’t apply in cyberspace, especially if you represent a large company.

PS. Some further spam advice:
http://blog.publicisdigital.com.au/2009/11/16/3-golden-rules-of-smsmms-marketing/

AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Friday, November 6, 2009

A matter of Trust


An exercise that ends with more than three quarters of your consumers calling you a liar is probably not good business. The votes are in on the Vegemite iSnack incident, suggesting that democracy and marketing might not always mix.

Never before has an Australian brand been subjected so thoroughly to the will of the people. And possibly, never again will a marketer throw his or her brand (and career) so carelessly to the mob for appraisal.

You know the story but lets look quickly at the numbers.

48,000 suggested names were entered into the ‘give this stuff a name‘ contest. The winner, iSnack 2.0 lasted 4 days before being dumped by Kraft.

30,357 people then responded to a short list of alternative names. 10,928 agreed on an OK alternative, CheesyBite. But nearly as many disliked ALL the choices offered.

So the cheesy vegemitey substance now has a name that a substantial minority don’t hate.But a stat that really shook me was found by a crowd called BCM. Their online survey of 1250 people found that 77% thought the whole iSnack thing was a “carefully crafted media stunt”. Most TV, radio, print and online media commentators seemed to agree.

This, despite Kraft spokesman, Simon Talbot claiming, “At no point in time has the new Vegemite name been about initiating a media publicity stunt…The new name has simply not resonated with Australians. Particularly the modern technical aspects associated with it.”

Have Australian consumers become so used to stunt marketing that they now see hoaxes and tricks where none exist? Do they expect the custodians of trusted brands to mess with their heads as a way of selling product?

A stuff-up is one thing. God knows, we all make mistakes. But to essentially be called liars by three quarters of your consumers is incredibly concerning, I would have thought.

Kraft’s good-natured naming experiment has highlighted a very worrying development. And that’s that our consumers no longer trust us. They are not only prepared for trickery and sleight of hand, they expect it.

Marketers, creatives, account service and channel planners will have to think differently in the future. We will have to factor in the possibility of very public consumer backlash and distrust to any communication we create from now on.

AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Monday, October 5, 2009

iSnack 2.0 - Fiasco or clever marketing ploy?


Does 'iSnack 2.0' ring a warning bell for marketers, about the pitfalls of consumer engagement?

I think it does, so I wrote a piece exclusively for Crikey.

Pop over there for the full catastrophe.

http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/10/05/is-isnack-2-0-a-marketing-success/

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not more ideas!


- I recently discovered a firm that will, if supplied with a brief, provide a client with 100 ideas … overnight! They use Twitter to contact hundreds of ‘ideas people’ internationally.

- Creative agencies now provide media ideas as well as creative ideas. Media agencies now provide creative ideas as well as media ideas.

- Large supermarket retailers have in-house creative departments that can provide ideas and advertising for their supplier’s brands, rather than the other way around.

Marketers have more access to ideas than ever before. Everyone now seems to be providing ideas. As a creative person I’ve been raised to believe that the more ideas on the table the better.

But now I’m beginning to wonder.

Take Nandos Chicken. They’ve tried every bizarre idea you can think of. They had a stripping Mother wearing a Nandos Nicotine patch on TV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxsjhREHH3M&feature=related

They’ve created a radio ‘satire’ of Clare Werbeloff, the Chk Chk Boom girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ-pt95BNZU&feature=related

They’ve even got into the latest craze of creating a disruptive PR stunt, that disrupted the king of disruptive PR stunts: Sacha Baron Cohen’s, Bruno.

(The raw footage has been removed from YouTube but you can see some of the news coverage at the following link)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIUlpkPKGvA

Some are funnier than others - I quite like the stripping Mum spot for some reason. But what story do they tell? What problem do they solve? What brand image do they build? What, as a consumer, am I supposed to think of the brand?

I honestly can’t tell. In Nandos I see dozens of random ideas and not a single brand message.

Possible taglines like, “We’re a little bit different”, “Unexpectedly delicious chicken” or even “We’re not for everyone” would tie the zaniness together. But we don’t get any help at all.

A visit to the website makes you think your dealing with a different brand altogether. It shows a low tech, hand drawn, food focussed, ethnic style brand. Nothing like the TV, radio and PR communication. I’m even more confused now!

http://www.nandos.com.au/

Many other brands are excitedly experimenting with channels, executions and ideas. Which is fantastic … as long as each piece of communication supports and builds on a consistent brand message. The beer people are particularly good at experimentation without losing sight of the message and target consumer.

When consumers are forced to re-evaluate a brand every time they see a new piece of communication, they just don’t bother.

Potential consumers of Nandos know the brand exists, and sells chicken. But they have no idea what it stands for and therefore why they should consider it.

When it comes to brand communication, dozens of random ideas won’t help you, one correct one will.


AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au orTonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

History of the Australian Web

If you have 30 seconds check out this wonderful site. One of the best graphic interpretations of boring old numbers I've seen in years.

http://avant.interactionconsortium.com/australian_internet/#

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Marketing tips from your local butcher


What do cuts of meat and advertising have in common? Quite a lot these days.

A few weeks ago I was treated to a roast ‘shoulder of lamb’. I’ve never had the cut before. My host explained that it was inexpensive and pretty fatty. Fresh from the supermarket, the shoulder of lamb didn’t look that appetising. The trick, I was told, was to cook it for a long time, tenderising the meat and allowing it to roast in it’s own juices.

The result? Absolutely delicious!

Then I heard a cafĂ© owner on the radio saying that he was using much more ‘shoulder of lamb’, and his customers loved it.
Why my sudden interest in Butchery and what does it have to do with advertising, you may ask?

The global financial crisis may or may not have blown over. (I’m old enough to believe that wars and recessions seldom ‘end by Christmas’)

In fact financial crises have always affected marketing and advertising in the same way. Clients cut budgets, advertising agencies and other creative suppliers cut staff. This is what has happened in all past recessions.

The difference this time round is that there are a lot fewer staff to fire. All creative suppliers are already cut to the bone.

Most large TV commercial production houses, photographers, designers, digital developers: in fact any creative supplier will be struggling. Several production houses and agencies have already closed.

So, you’re a marketer and the order has come in from head office to cut costs and grow sales. (Huh?) Your big creative suppliers just can’t do it any cheaper. What can you do?

The answer is meat. Scotch fillet makes a great meal, but it’s expensive. Shoulder of lamb makes a great meal, you just need to know about it and cook it properly.

It’s the same creatively. Let me give a recent example.

I took a TV script and a decent budget to a ‘Hot’ production company. These people had a big reputation for shooting well known TV commercials. They had an amazing office, cool people … and a crazy quote. Their ‘ballpark’ estimate was double my stated budget. Their overheads meant that their costs had a certain ‘floor’ that they couldn’t go below.

Luckily I had also approached a very experienced director who had left his production company and was working from ‘no fixed address’. I didn’t care. We could meet anywhere. I didn’t need a boardroom and a receptionist, I needed great talent at a good price.

He and his producer did everything by laptop and mobile. They had no fixed overheads. They hired suppliers as needed. They did the job on budget (which is half the price of the Hot Shop), they were keen and helpful AND the result was first class!

Steak or shoulder of lamb? It depends on your budget and your knowledge.


AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mama Mia - Here's the news

A bit of a random thought today. I work out in a gym about three mornings a week. They have a dozen or so TV monitors playing various shows. You can plug in your headset and listen to one channel like a normal person. Or like me, you can look at them all at once and try to figure out what's going on. I can now lip read the Family Guy cartoon quite well.

But something hit me this morning after months of silent viewing. The news in Italian is filmed differently to any news show I've ever seen. It's shot wider so the news reader is smaller in frame. BUT unlike all other countries' news you can see their hands!

These men and women lean and wave and flap like there's no tomorrow. It's great. And quite personal as well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Masterchef: Not a show, more a huge piece of research.

A giant piece of real research into the Australian character has just been completed. You can access it for free. If you watched the final of Masterchef Australia last night, you took part in the study.

Australians have put down the tea towel and wandered into the TV room in record numbers.

It’s been said that Masterchef has captured the spirit of the times (or zeitgeist for the show-offs): that we’re staying in and learning how to cook again.

Maybe so, and that’s nice, but the show has also handed a gold plated gift to all Australian marketers and agencies. What the producers of Masterchef have done brilliantly is turn ‘likeability’ into an art form. They have spent millions supplying advertisers with a picture of the perfect consumer.

Let me explain.

The original gang of contenders were no random bunch of kitchen wannabes. Each had the potential to be Australia’s most loved person. The producers selected a cross section of middle Australia. Young, middle aged, pretty, average looking, Asian, even black.

Then they made them jump through culinary hoops as we grew to know and like them. The contest was not really about cooking, it was about who had the grit to pick themselves up after a near loss, dust off the flour and come back fighting the next day.

Gradually contestants were eliminated until a group small enough for us to remember their names remained.

Up until then Masterchef looked like any TV contest show (albeit a much friendlier one). ‘May the best cook win’ and all that.
But suddenly 3 eliminated contestants were given a second chance and brought back! Back came pretty blonde Justine. Back came pretty Asian Po. Back came gentle black Tom.

Justine was fairly good but Po and Tom were bit hit and miss when it came to cooking. Could it have been that the punters just liked this trio? Were they too good for the ratings for Masterchef to let them go?

The game continued. Tom left. The ratings climbed.

When Justine left the judges cried! Now that’s taking your ratings seriously!

Finally Po, slightly overweight Julie, and zany, hat wearing Chris were left.

Again if viewers thought this was just a cooking competition Chris’ departure answered that. He had been a strong performer throughout. His dishes were for the most part original, tasty and well presented. But had his confidence started to become cocky-ness? Had Australia fallen out of love with him?

Chris was astonished when Julie’s incomplete, unfinished, mess of a meal beat his unusual but professional offering. If Chris had won, as he should have, the final night could well have had a smaller audience than it did.

But as it turned out, over 4 million Australians (a fifth of the nation) stopped to see if Julie would beat Po. She did.
And now we know the kinds of women Australia loves at this moment.

Po is attractive, creative, experimental, hard working, organised, gutsy, determined, and ready to laugh.
Julie is middle class, a little overweight, obsessed with her family, a bit messy, brave, undaunted, focussed physically tough, and good humoured.

Australian marketing community, meet your ideal consumer. 4 million Aussies say so.


AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What can copywriters learn from Thomas Jefferson?


All American school children know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration of independence in 1776.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” This most famous quote demonstrates Jefferson’s genius as a writer and an original thinker.

Or does it?

I hate to disappoint American school children and students of history, but Jefferson was not the sole genius behind the writing the declaration, and ‘self-evident truths’ was borrowed from another document altogether.

Admittedly Jefferson wrote the initial draft. But it was heavily amended by the rest of the committee he was part of, and then vigorously debated in full congress.

Jefferson’s original document was mercilessly altered. It lost about a quarter of his original text and 146 new words were added. Like most writers, Jefferson felt his work had been significantly weakened by the help of others.

And the ‘pursuit of happiness’ passage? That was very close to the Virginia Declaration of Independence written some time earlier by a George Mason. With a few changes it was appropriated by Jefferson.

Do these inconvenient truths lessen the power of the declaration? Or do they make Jefferson any less of a brilliant man? Not at all.

But they do bust the myth of the lone genius. And they highlight a few key realities in writing compelling copy of any kind.

1) Jefferson and his colleagues were aiming for clarity, rather than sounding important. In a time when sentences could run for pages they remained brief and to the point.

2) The project was owned by Jefferson but he had help. It was neither an orphan raised by a committee nor was it the sole preserve of one man.

3) Jefferson felt free to borrow ideas that worked for his cause -“all men are created equal”. He and his colleagues felt no need to reinvent wheels when it came to capturing a vital sentiment.

So, if one of the best-known documents in history had to be drastically edited by two committees and used recycled material, then maybe our advertising and communication copy can stand some scrutiny too.

And maybe we copywriters should consider constructive criticism a moment longer, before we automatically reject it.


AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Brand Advertising Vs Tactical Advertising - Why Not Both?


At a recent marketing summit Adam Ferrier, from media agency Naked, made an interesting comment.
He said ‘many brands are like gooey blobs made up of values and personality – but with very little reason to believe at it’s core.’ He questions the trendy idea that a brand should be loved by its consumers. But he’s right to question this received wisdom.

Affection for a brand is all very well, but pragmatic Australians need a ‘reason why’ before they will part with their cash. It can be an emotional reason, and often is, but there still needs to be one.

Recently there has been a ‘separation of communication’ especially on TV. This separation dictates that as a marketer you must decide if your commercial is to be ‘Brand’ or ‘Tactical’.

I would argue that every TVC should contain both elements to different degrees. And by pulling apart these two vital ingredients marketers get TV advertising that is less effective and more expensive than it needs to be.

Current ‘Brand’ advertising is typically big, bold, and expensive. It makes consumers feel good about the brand. But it ultimately doesn’t offer any tangible reason to try or continue using the brand.

Why?

Brand advertising doesn’t have to be bigger than Ben Hur. Consumers don’t need mini-movies to be reminded that their choice is correct, or that they need to make a change.

At the other end of the spectrum is ‘Tactical’ advertising. For some reason, a lot of rational communication has become mass-produced. Cookie cutter format advertising, where a woman rattles off a list product supports, while standing in front of a shelf full of packs, now passes for Tactical advertising. These formats are very ‘samey’ and completely ignore other communications the brand is doing.

Here’s a crazy idea! Why not create TV advertising that balances both ‘Brand’ AND ‘Tactical’?
Think of ‘Louie the fly’ for Mortein.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQjiHJF796w&feature=related

The Louie character provides an un-stealable brand property for Mortein. Every viewing builds the brand. Yet a Louie commercial is not expensive. And tactically, every Louie ad can still present facts, such as new formulations, fragrances, pack changes etc.

It’s interesting that Louie was invented before many of us were born: before a TVC had to be either Brand or Tactical and in a time where loving a can of fly-spray would have been seen as kind of weird.


If you have a creative advertising problem call Tony Richardson on (02) 9929 0588 or visit Tony Richardson Advertising or TacticalTV.com.au

You are welcome to reprint any AdNotes article on your website and in your e-newsletters for FREE. All I ask is that you attribute me, Tony Richardson and include a link to http://www.TonyRichardson.com.au

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pitch Pitch Pitch


When even the guys who make a dollar out of organising pitches say they are fatally flawed, it might be time for a change.

A recent AdNews article got me thinking again about pitches. Most agency types hate them. But an increasing number of marketers are realising that pitching, as a process is slow, ineffective and ultimately very expensive.

You may seem to be getting free submissions from creative agencies when they pitch, but you are not.

Let’s say every large agency is spending, 10% of their time and resources on pitching. They can only pay for this by charging existing clients. It’s not as though they have other income streams.

So every client they have is paying an extra 10% just to cover the cost of pitching. That’s right. You are paying your agency to chase other work. And if they win and it conflicts with your category, you may be dumped as well!

It’s nuts!

Unfortunately most of the alternatives suggested by the ‘Pitch Doctors’ seem like variations on the theme of, ‘tell me again how we would work together’. Workshops and ‘getting to know you’ sessions are becoming more popular.

Either way, the personal charm of senior agency management makes or breaks the deal. Then management steps a side and a bunch of strangers actually does the work.

Is there a better way? Yes.

An incredibly effective way to test real working relationships is to simply work together. The client chooses an agency they’ve heard good things about and briefs a single real life project. Then they get to see how the real, behind the scenes, agency works.

Do the creatives get narky when asked for changes? Is the finished art full of typos? Does the agency hire quality suppliers? Are the contact people 12 years old? Does the agency rely on a conveyer belt of freelancers?

These are questions that will actually affect the clients business. And they are questions that are impossible to answer at a pitch or its modern variation, the workshop.

When the project is over the client can give more work to the agency. Or if the reality has turned out to be less than inspiring they can try a new one.

The client will save a lot of time, a lot of money and they’ll build up a very strong knowledge of who really performs.


AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crazy or what?

I did a crazy thing this month. I sent out a short survey to a number of clients and ex-clients asking for brutal honesty.

And I got it.

I deliberately targeted a few who had fired me. Most people were very complimentary. But a small number mentioned the same issue that bugged them. I was unaware of this issue and will now do everything to fix it.

This made me wonder how huge brands, particularly services, could benefit by asking, “What one thing could we do better?” Imagine what a Bank could learn if it asked this simple question. And imagine how its brand image would be improved just by the act of asking.

If this becomes a marketing fad of the future, remember you heard it here first.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Advertising will survive. Not so sure about agencies though.

I was having a chat with a couple of tennis dads on Saturday. One of them, John Bird, is an experienced Ad industry guy. He summed up the position of ad agencies (as distinct from the ad industry as a whole) quite well I thought.
“20 years ago an ad agency made 17% on a client’s media billings. Today they make an average of 3%.”
Or put another way, ad agencies are making a fifth of what they used to, for doing the same work. This can’t last!
The structure of the industry will have to change. It’s only a matter of time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hug an agency person

Gruen’s back. This show reminds me that there are some pretty smart people in the advertising industry. The Gruen Transfer brings a sense of pride and professionalism to an industry whose morale is very low. In fact, next time you have an agency meeting, why not give one of the ad people a hug and say ‘thankyou’. Tell them Tony said it was OK.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/gruentransfer/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Digital Discoveries (or is that Interactive Interpretation?)


If you are sick of being abused for not 'getting' the digital space, I suggest visiting this page. Simon Van Wyk has a spray at ad agencies, clients, media folk, the digital industry and ad agencies again.
It suddenly hit me that digital is like a booming goldrush town: theres money and opportunity everywhere but no one is really sure where. People are digging holes that either collapse on them or yield fortunes. Its a fun ride but there is no certainty. There isnt even an industry as such!

After reading this article I felt quite relived that my knowledge was a bit muddled. It turns out that even the experts disagree, sometimes violently.

http://mumbrella.com.au/2009/03/16/guest-posting-interactive-agencies-need-to-stop-being-digital-agencies/



AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's a mumbrella?

If you find the daily email from B&T as tedious as I do you may be interested in a new marketing news service. Mumbrella aims to cover ‘Everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella’. Run by former B&T editor Tim Burrows, I find it be informative, interesting and very current. Well worth subscribing in my opinion. Check it out.
http://mumbrella.com.au

My dinner with Juliette


I had dinner with French actress Juliette Binoche last night. She made some very interesting remarks on creativity.

(OK … I was the guest of a TV exec. friend, at a fund-raising dinner where Ms Binoche spoke and dined. We never actually conversed.)

Best known as an Academy Award-winning actor, Juliette Binoche, has taught herself to dance and is travelling the world with dancer Akram Khan doing a very physical and emotional performance.

In an after show interview Binoche talked about risk. She said that all creativity requires risk, otherwise you just stood still.
As an actor she could easily have made a complete fool of herself attempting to dance. But she didn’t. The performance was extraordinary. The risk paid off.

This reminded me that in marketing communications we too need to take risks in order to reap greater rewards. A risk in our industry could be as simple as not copying what the competition are doing – I’ve mentioned before how most automotive ads look the same.

Another risk might be to commission original music rather than buying an existing track. Maybe next time you are judging a piece of creative work, it would be worth asking, where is the risk? Could it work better with a little more risk taking? Will a small risk give me the jump on my competition?

Here’s an example of a risk that I believe pays off big time. And it’s for an automotive brand!

The agency and marketing department of Skoda Cars could have taken the no-risk approach and just said ‘quality for less’ like all their competitors. They would have been on brief. And most consumers would have forgotten them instantly.

Instead they took a risk and cast a clown! I repeat ‘a clown’. Personally, I’ll never forget this ad … ever. How many of us can say that our last ad will stay with consumers for life?

video

AdNotes is brought to you by Tony Richardson Advertising and our branded product, TacticalTV - absolutely free! (You are welcome to pass AdNotes on to your friends and colleagues.) We are specialists in creating and producing Tactical TV, Print, Design and Radio advertising. We believe that clever cost solutions are a big part of clever creative advertising. Maybe that’s why some of the biggest marketers in the world have used our small agency! To find out more visit TacticalTV.com.au or TonyRichardson.com.au or leave comments and view back issues at our blog adnotes-tony.blogspot.com Or call us on (02) 9929 0588

Private Label Winning Battle of Brands.

I stumbled over this interesting article from the states: Private Label Winning Battle of Brands.
Quote: "We're pumping out the morphine of deal, deal, deal. And we need to be talking value."
Good reading for FMCG folk.

http://adage.com/article?article_id=134791

Let's talk

Thanks for the emails. I had a lively discussion with reader Bob Bridger about media placement (I never let my lack of expertise get in the way of a good opinion). By all means, email me, but if you want the rest of the world to see your comments, feel free to go through this blog thingy.

I still get notified immediately and reply ASAP, but everyone else can join in too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to turn bad viral press into good viral press.

OK. Naked has demonstrated how NOT to handle 'a viral campaign/PR stunt/journalists in general'. The final bullet in the foot was when they released an ad 'exposing' the journalists they had fooled! This is not a joke. I wish it was.

http://mumbrella.com.au/2009/02/06/naked-publishes-names-of-the-journalists-it-hoaxed/#more-2142


But for an example of how to get it so right I attach another link. It shows how the world's greatest PR men, Sir Richard Branson, handles bad viral press. Using humour he turns it into good press.

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/laughing-my-head-off-branson-on-that-complaint-letter-20090211-84eg.html

I was going to write that Branson is a genius. He's not really. He just presents himself and his brand as being normal, considerate, and having a sense of humour and proportion. We can all learn a lot from him.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jacket fiasco update

STOP PRESS

Just today Naked released research findings on the effects of their campaign
(All comments about 'protesting too much' to be sent to Mr Shakespeare).

I'll let you read the full SMH story. http://www.businessday.com.au/business/fake-heidi-a-real-success-agency-20090128-7ryb.html

But one figure caught my eye. Naked and Witchery maintain that the campaign has been a roaring success with the consumer, with "only a quarter saying they had lost respect for the brand".

Pardon?

25% of consumers losing respect for your brand is a good thing? If Witchery gave me the account I bet I could lose the respect of only 10% of consumers. Spare me!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The jacket that blew up in the client's face


How would you like your brand name mentioned on most TV news programs and News Papers across the country for several days in a row? How would you like your brand to be discussed at BBQs on Australia day? And how would you like all this coverage without spending a cent on expensive TV media placement?

A Marketing Director’s dream come true, right? Well in the case of Witchery the dream that started out so wonderfully soon turned into a rather messy marketing nightmare: the one where you go to work with no pants on.

Rather than loosing his pants, a male Cinderella leaves his jacket behind. A pretty young woman, Heidi, in an impossibly neat almost art directed bedroom, posts a YouTube search for her man.

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=zQybOsM-7Qw&feature=relate

It’s a great idea based not only on a human truth but a fairy tale that is burnt into most English speakers minds. Brilliant.

But there’s an evil stepmother waiting in the wings of this story.

The various journalists, who had been ‘seeded’ with the story, understandably had some questions. (You didn’t think that viral campaigns went viral without lots of help, did you?)

They soon found Heidi, real name Lilly, who claimed the story was 100% authentic. They found that jacket was a Witchery one and that Lilly/Heidi had modelled for Witchery in the past. They then found Witchery’s Agency, Naked, who present themselves as anything but an Ad Agency, but are in fact ... an Ad Agency. Senior Naked executives claimed a surprising ignorance of the whole affair.

The story completely unravelled in a few short days.

THEN another YouTube video was released allowing Heidi/Lilly to confess all on behalf of her employers … and to do a little retail spruiking while she was at it.

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=lciYV9Fks-o&feature=related

Adam Ferrier is planning partner at Naked and he is quoted in B&T as saying, “We are very pleased with the start to the campaign – it has got people talking. No one I have spoken to has felt deceived. Everyone seems to be outraged, but they are not upset about it personally. It’s a playful campaign that creates a sense of intrigue. The word deception implies an element of harm. This campaign hasn’t harmed anyone, not even close.”

In 1974 then President Nixon is reported to have said, “It’s the lie that gets you.” That is, wrong actions are often forgiven, but deception just makes things worse.

I believe that is what’s happened here.

I’m sure (or I hope) there was a plan to eventually come clean and roll into the next stage of the campaign. But the fakery seems to have been tumbled much earlier than hoped. The agency and client seem to have variously panicked, hidden, taken a holiday, been untruthful, told us that being untruthful is OK if no one is harmed, and created a ‘come clean’ video after being sprung! At best they were off message. At worst they created an utter shambles.
What can we learn here? Several things.

- Consumers do not like being lied to, even if they are not being harmed. This campaign has variously been described in the non-advertising press as a hoax, a scam and a fraud.

- Too many industry players are disconnected from the real world. If Ferrier really knows no one who felt deceived, he needs to get out more. The builders, accountants, IT people, HR people, and teachers that I discussed this with feel VERY deceived.

- Any publicity is NOT good publicity. Naked has damaged Witchery’s brand image. Naked doesn’t look too smart either.

- Clients need to remember that Viral Campaigns are NOT free TV campaigns. They are 90% PR and 10% creative/production. Such a high level of PR means a loss of some control.

- Viral campaigns need to be planned EVEN MORE than traditional media. Undesirable outcomes as well as the desired one, need to be considered and prepared for. In this case a great idea has blown up in the faces of all concerned mainly because they had no plan for the direction it took.

After this brief but exciting part of the Witchery campaign I feel like we’ve all learned a lot about the still new channel of Viral + YouTube.

Will consumers and clients ever trust Witchery or Naked again? That I’m not so sure of.


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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Are you paying too much for creative work?


Strong creative communications and advertising ideas are immensely valuable marketing tools. But what are they worth? How do you know that you are paying a fair price for something as ephemeral as an idea?

Let’s go to my kitchen to find out.

My kitchen mixer (or tap or faucet) had died and begun to leak all over the place. So I bought a new mixer and started the job of removing the old one. It soon became clear that the old mixer was held in by a single rusted bolt that didn’t want to budge. The job was a bit beyond me so I called a plumbing company.

He arrived, took a quick look and flipped open the price book. My eyes nearly fell out of their sockets when I saw the figure of $508. This is to install a kitchen mixer that I had already bought, mind you. The guy was an employee and the price was not negotiable.

I politely said, ‘No thanks, I’ll get a friend to help me get it sorted somehow.’
The plumber then offered to do the job for the company hourly rate: the hourly rate being $250. You may not be too surprised to hear that this was still too rich for my blood.

As I thanked him and showed him the door, the plumber then offered to do the job for $100 cash. Now he was talking sense! ‘You bet’, I replied. $100 is about what I had expected before he came.

The new mixer was installed in 10 minutes.

How does this relate to creative pricing?

Here’s how. Each of the prices quoted to me came with a bundle of advantages.

- The original $508 was fixed and known. This is very similar to paying a communications agency a monthly retainer. The costs are high but you know where you stand upfront. This method is good if you haven’t got a clue about what’s involved in the job.

- The hourly rate of $250 was half the fixed price. The risk I took was that the job would drag on. This is the same risk a marketer takes when they pay an agency by the hour. Where does it end? Is there any benefit in the supplier working quickly?

- The final figure of $100 was what I had in mind from the start. In the same way a marketer who states a price as part of their brief seldom gets cost blowouts.

But the really important parallel between my kitchen and your marketing communications is this:
The very same job can cost you up to 500% more!

- It will cost you more if you are unaware of the process. Acquaint yourself with the costs of similar jobs done in the past.

- It will cost you more if you want all the bells and whistles. Agencies with nice furniture, water views, free lunches, lots of staff: who pays for all this stuff? You.

- It will cost you more if you don’t set a realistic budget as part of the brief. Good creative suppliers will work to your stated budget.

So by following the tips above, you’ll get what you want for the cost you want.

Now, I’m going to have a chat to my kids about a future career in plumbing.