Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Strategy is key!

Jeremy Bullmore: In praise of Antinomies from JWT on Vimeo.

Really interesting and relevant presentation by Jeremy Bullmore. There have been quite a few campaigns of late that been very creative but lack any real groundbraking strategy, the best ads are those that manage to happily marry the two. I am a big believer in the notion that design without strategy creates art and design with strategy produces results. From my experience I have learnt that the answer almost always lies in the research. It is the research that supplies the invaluable nuggets of information that inspire and allow the creative solutions to blossom.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The sun is shining!

I can only apologise for the lack of posts over the last week, sunshine is very scarce in Wales as I'm sure you've heard and I simply had to make the most of it...

If ever you find yourself near Gower in South Wales I do recommend that you visit a beach called three cliffs in Pennard (see above), bit of a walk but certainly worth it.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bad media fit.

Being the advertising geek that I am I couldn't help noticing the Big Yellow Storage panel ads whilst watching the England v France match today (very well played by the way). I found this choice of medium to be a bit of a strange and ineffective choice for Big Yellow Storage. I just don't see how the brand and the service that they offer fit with the placement. I'm confident that not many of the rugby goers would have been in the frame of mind where they were open to comms from a storage company. Its such a specific service, surely their money would have been better spent targeting audiences in an environment where they are likely to be more responsive e.g. the ideal home show.

This reminds me of a Rory Sutherland talk I attended where he spoke at length about the importance of context. Identifying when to target someone is just as crucial as identifying who it is your talking to. Your communications will surely be more effective if your talking to someone when they actually care about what your saying.

Personally I think that to profit from mediums such as rugby and football panels you need to be a big, strong and well established brand such as O2, Nike or Coca Cola. The fans are there to watch the sport, they're not really going to take in any complex messages. With a brand such as O2 you can simply have the logo and campaign line and that is enough for them to have a significant presence during the match, I just don't think this applies to a brand such as Big Yellow Storage.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) starting to reach its full potetnial?

Personally, I've always considered SEM to be the somewhat unglamorous side of digital advertising (thats not saying that I do not recognise its value and potential), however, it seems to be gaining more and more media attention recently, and I've definitely noticed an increase in specialist search agencies and positions available within search marketing based roles. The fact that we are amidst a gloomy recession coupled with the relatively cheap cost of running an effective search based strategy has undoubtedly influenced SEM's popularity.

I can see now that I may have been a little naive in classing SEM as being completely 'un-creative', yes there is an absence of any real creative content, however, I believe that the true challenge lies in thinking creatively in order to boost search engine optimisation (SEO).

The recent attention also seems to have people thinking about how this medium can progress and develop. Yahoo Search have launched 'rich ads' in search which allows brands to include video and image ads within paid search results. This development also opens the door to creative content which is surely a good thing?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

All things small and wonderful...

What is it about miniature versions of things that is so fascinating?! It could be anything, a mini envelope, a mini umberella... its nothing new, these are objects that we encounter in everyday life on a daily basis, but make them tiny and hey presto, endless amusement! I love Slinkachu's 'little people - a tiny street art project', ( I bought the book and my smile just seemed to grow and grow as I turned each page until it progressed into an impressive ear to ear grin (everyone on the tube was trying to sneak a peek!)

Friday, 6 March 2009

The new Skittles website has caused uproar in the social media community over the past week. They have transformed their website into a sort of social hub, trying to encourage consumers to interact with the brand and its content in their digital 'comfort zones'. The 'hub' encorporates all of the most influential social media frameworks; Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and Wikipedia.

Its difficult to determine whether this was a good or bad move for Skittles. The site has generated a massive buzz but on the whole the sentiment is pretty negative. Ordinarily I would say that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about but I'm not so sure if this is the case with social media.

Having Twitter as their homepage backlashed somewhat with people tweeting things such as 'are skittles making paedophiles obese?' So instead they now have facebook as the homepage and Twitter can be found under chatter.

The whole issue begs the question, 'are brands welcome in digital social spaces?' One of the main appeals of social networking is the fact it is all user-generated content, a supposedly corporate free environment , however, with the massive influence that social media has had on our lives it is inevitable that brands want to tap into this consumer goldmine.

The thing is brands need to tread very carefully with how they approach entering the social media world; those seen to be stumbling around ignorantly will surely get their asses kicked!

I think the key is to keep your communication personal as this is a crucial element for social networking sites. Take Twitter for example, brands who have reaped any sort of benefit from this are those with real people at the other end... e.g. Scott from Ford or liveguy from Vodafone.

Social media = scalable intimacy

Mike Troiano has some really interesting views on social media, I recommend you check out his blog (

In his manifesto he writes how Social media is not about CPM. It is about investing in relationships that create more measurable economic value than they cost. It is about engaging with the individual people who collectively decide whether to buy or not buy your product, like it or dislike it, recommend it or trash it, share it or ignore it.

If this is true then social media undoubtedly calls for more open, honest and socially responsible companies. A brands actions/behaviour dictates its success. Brand ethics and values need to be filtered effectively throughout the company in order to generate a consistent brand image for the consumer.

Basically, social media has given consumers a voice, and if you treat your customers badly then prepare yourself for the consequences.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Creatives grow better in the South West...Proper job!

This video has made my day...absolutely bloody brilliant!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Most loved and most hated ad of the week

Most Loved...

What a great ad! Okay, creative content is not exactly revolutionary (although great choice of soundtrack!) but the sheer power that the brand will have exerted if they actually managed to get consumers to follow their advert across three TV channels is phenomenal. I am guessing that they will have found a way to track ratings on the channels in question to ascertain the effectiveness of the ads...I can't wait to see the results.

If this series of ads does prove to be a success it will have achieved something truly great. Never before have I seen a TV ad where consumers/viewers can actively engage and participate. Something that all advertisers are striving for is to get their consumers actively engaging with the brand and seeking out communications rather than blocking them out, however this is ordinarily only possible with the Internet.

I do hope that others don't jump on the 'synchronised' bandwagon as the whole notion of following an advert across channels will surely lose its appeal pretty quickly.

Most hated...

To say that I hate these ads would be the wrong choice of words...I actually really love the art direction and copy, but what exactly is the strategy here? And do we really believe that these pretty posters are going to have any impact on how people drive their cars? I think not.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!

...or happy Saint David's day to those of you that don't understand Welsh!

I felt it my duty to post something on my country's patron saint, however due to serious levels of sleepyness as a result of a friends birthday last night, I will keep this short and sweet!

So, for the most of us ('us' being fellow Welsh countrymen and women) the day consists of donning our daffodils (girls) and leeks (boys), eating Cawl (Welsh national dish), singing a song or two, and more than likely drinking a beer or two (ironically, something which Dewi Sant would have frowned heavily upon!)

For those of you interested in the history I suggest you visit I recommend a goosey gander at the national costume, something which caused me much discomfort as a child!

Thats as much as my brain can currently withstand I'm afraid, so I must bid you farewell and a very happy St Davids day of course!