Tuesday, March 31, 2009

People like stories.

Adidas recently launched House Party, a new campaign celebrating 60 years of decking the world out out in triple stripe.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, the centrepiece is a 160 second long spot shot at a (you guessed it) house party where everyone’s dressed in adidas. In amongst the beautiful plebs are celebs like David Beckahm, Missy Elliot, Katy Perry, and behind the bar shaking Martinis a very unlikely Ilie Nastase.

For a campaign that ends with the line 'Celebrate Originality', it's not a terrifically original idea. (Check out this Coke ad from the 70s; instead of Becks, they've got Brocky!) But it is a nice vehicle that uses online and offline spaces to build the idea nicely.

As well as the Big Telly execution, there's a YouTube channel packed with extra content like the invitations going out, Becks and Kevin Garnett killing time before the party and a paint fight at a Ting-Tings gig. Even a Simpsons parody. Naturally, there's a website where you can buy all the gear.

It's all hopelessly self-conscious and tries a bit too hard. But the track's infectious and there's a lazy, veging-on-the-couch kind of charm about it. Best of all, it all fits and there's a story that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. It piques the curiousity, egging you onto further exploration, unlike Smart Energy's 'Zoetrope' spot which starts with a nice positioning before undoing all its good work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Genius or accident? Cadbury Gorilla meet Johnny Farnham.

Last night, while watching the gyrating mammary parade that is 'Underbelly' my wife and I saw the Cadbury 'Gorilla' ad, local version. Instead of Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight', the popular primate twirls the sticks to Johnny Farhham's 'You're the Voice'. From it's launch in the UK in 2007, this ad has caused controversy, and the result was no different in our household. "What's that got to do with chocolate?" chocolate-loving Mrs Baker said from the sofa, "What rubbish!" The truth is, it has everything everything and nothing to do with the stuff. Chocolate is of course, all about chocolate. But it is also about joy and sharing, and this ad is nothing if not all about these two qualities. YouTube proliferates with home-made remixes (check out the Deep Purple cover), the Gorilla facebook page has more than 100,00 friends, while the old-school broadcast version is still provocative enough to generate discussion on the Baker family couch. But did it work? In the UK, sales were up after a bleak year for the company, while the campaign scooped the pool at all the creative award shows. Working in advertising agencies, we sell our clients on process and rigour, as if funding enough focus groups and territory boards was a guarantee for market success. Sometimes it does, often it doesn't. But this campaign works, just because it does. Rather than telling you what to feel about the product, it simply makes you feel it. And that's rather nice, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joy. What else do you want?

There's not enough joy in the world. Here's a little more. If I was with this phone company, I'd feel a lot better about it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The power of posters?

There's an outdoor site where they hang 24-sheet posters just around from where we work in Melbourne. It's on a busy corner, and there's room for about 5 diferent posters.
Now, due to the GFC, the outdoor advertising market is having a bit of a tough time, and the same posters, presumably on a 2-3 month buy have been up for 6 months or more.
Last week they were torn down, presumably because the bean counters frothed at the mouth about clients getting something for free.
So now, instead of a corner of five well-produced posters, there's a wall of scrappy half-torn, half-glued paper.
Now, presumably when the sales team are out there trying to sell outdoor to their cash-strapped clients, they talk of visibility and passing traffic and brand impressions.
Let's then presume that the half-convinced client then drives past this highly visible site...hmmmmm.
If you spend your life trying to convince others of the persuasive powers of outdoor, use the medium to sell itself.
If you have no paying clients, show work of good photographers or artists. Tell a joke. Start a competition to best use the vacant space. Get people talking about your product.
Anything but this.
Because when the recovery starts, you're already behind the curve.

Friday, March 6, 2009

RailCorp: dill of the week.

In case nobody noticed, the game has changed. Companies and corporations are no longer the custodians of their brands, their customers are. Marketing managers and advertising professionals don't get to decide what a brand is, and what it is not. What we get to do is divine what people will or will not permit us to be, and then be that to the best of our ability. Which makes NSW's RailCorp the dill of the week. When a bright young spark created an application to allow commuters to check on Sydney's (notoriously unreliable) timetable on their iPhones, the Bureaucrats got all medieval on his ass. Legal letters were issued, threats to sue were made. After mumbling some crap about timetables being 'copyright', the government institution then issued other threats against makers of similar applications. No doubt a shiny new TVC will be out soon extolling the virtues of the Sydney rail system, and how grateful Emerald Citysiders ought to be that 90-something percent of their services run on time. Which will only rub salt into the would of the poor viewer who's just got home an hour late. Despite what lawyers might say, marketers and corporations don't own the 'copyright' to their brand attributes. The public can withdraw it just as fast as they give it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You do not own your brand, your customers do.

For decades, brands like Bonds, Stubbies and King Gee have had a special place in the Australian heart.
From Chesty Bond to Steve Irwin, the iconic blue singlet, the front-pocketed short, the faded khaki work shirt became something close to revered.
They had managed to become part of the national identity.
Then they were bought, sold, amalgamated and floated. Local factories were closed and the manufacturing was shifted to places where labour costs were inevitably less. It all made perfect business sense, yet today people marched the streets against the 'owners' of these brands. The same people have been condemned by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader.
The CEO of the company has been pilloried in the popular press and the stockmarket has punished the company by valuing the entire Pacific Brands entity at less than one of it's mid-sized brands.
All successful brands are a mix of personal passion, happy accident and commodity. when you forget about the first two, all you're left with is the last. The consumer's gift to Pacific Brands was the ability to run campaigns like the one shown. Now, it seems, they've asked for it back.