Saturday, March 31, 2007

Buy Now - We Know Where You Live

While we are all here talking about brands and products; people over in Asia are making real progress in the definitions of what ads can be.

Take for example a guy named Chou Cheng-bao, supposedly of a Taiwanese gang; who sent what was effectively a commercial to a local station threatening to kill a rival gang member (and they aired it).

After all the talk of what brands can learn from Osama Bin laden (I'm sorry, I forget who it was that said it), here is another example to show that the underworld is ahead of everyone in marketing.

From Weird Asian News via Ad Freak

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mortimer and Co's Famous Miracle Brand Formula

Whilst discussing Kevin Roberts' idea from the Future Marketing Summit that brands 'are now owned by the consumer'; several of us (myself, Rob Campbell etc) have concurred that was frankly rubbish, brands have always been owned by the consumer.

I do feel however that what has changed is that the customer now controls the brand, as well as owning it. Where as before the customer protested and the brand took notice (or ignored it); now the consumer has the power to change other people's opinions about it before you can even do anything about it.

I did come up with an analogy I like though:

The situation for brands is rather like that of an early 20th century travelling salesman. Whereas before he could pack up and move town; and change his sales technique before he arrived at the next place... now the people already know what he is selling and whether they are interested before he has even got on his horse.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Design Mystery No1 Solved!

Finally it has been done.
The ad pit can exclusively reveal what every graphic designer worth their salt has been wondering about for several years.

What does Ben Terrett of the Design Conspiracy actually look like?

An exclusive picture from the Future Marketing Summit!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quick Update - Tridon't

Just heard the uk tv ad for Trident chewing gum has been banned after being considered racist.
I will try and find it on my dinner to show you.

Thoughts from those who've seen it?

Here are mine:

What a bloody awful ad. I can see what it's trying to do, make a chewing gum brand into some kind of trendy renegade brand. I really do get the impression that this is a client who has absolutely no understanding of just how little their product or brand means to anyone, even their loyal customers.

I don't think it's particularly racist, but its so badly written that it makes the actor appear stupid and stereotyped by the content.

I almost don't want to show the ad because that will only give it publicity, but for your benefit (thanks to Doug) its here. I get the strong impression Trident are going to walk into the next agency office and say "id like a You Tube viral please". Because if thats not the case, then someone at their agency is suffering from major 'cliche' avoidance syndrome.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Neinsteins Theory of Advertivity

One thing that always puzzles me is why planners (and designers and creatives as far as I know) always obsess about theories and theoretical charts. Is it a good thing or are we losing track of the bigger picture?

Recently our blogosphere has seen debates on big ideas vs small ideas, prog vs punk ads and so forth. But is it not the case that there is no right answer?

I like electronica, but I know not to play it at a Slayer gig. I like heavy metal, but I know not to play it at a wedding. Why is it that we often try to fit one type of music to every event, surely the best type of solution is the one that is most relevant to the brief and client?

Its also the case that even when a theory is right, it doesnt always stay that way. Einstein's theory of relativity has been effectively challenged on many occassions. Just because Bernbach and Lever were right back in the 50's and 60's doesnt mean they are 100% right now, but it also doesnt make them wrong.


Do we theorise too much? Or are we justified to do so providing we always stay true to the needs of brands and clients? Or am I wrong too?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Future Marketing Summit Day Two - Part 6

A big update will follow with the best videos of ads shown at the summit, and also the best pictures of the event. Including some good slides!

Now my thoughts (part one…possibly)

Kevin was right to say that the power of brands is shifting to the consumer; and he is also on the right track with the idea that one media will not replace another, they will become another in a list. For example, while TV as a medium is shrinking, people might soon watch it on their mobiles or their portable media players or Freeview handhelds; and this may prevent much of the predicted reductions.

However, is what he said that revolutionary? Probably not. He seems to give us a lot of the questions with few of the answers. Idealistic thinking is all well and good, but clients don’t buy ideals. And as much as I’d like to see the end of Return on Investment as a model, I can’t see clients ever giving up on it. Because regardless of whether that return is measured in sales, opinions, brand equity or even involvement (as Kevin Roberts stated); clients are still measuring against their budgets and their spend. Investment is always investment regardless of how it is named.

One point I think will become important on the issue of entertainment and risk taking, is that now the viewing of ads is becoming more about choice and less about forced ad breaks; I believe that will are going to have to start changing as well.

Bad ads could work when people have to watch them, but when people choose what to watch, they stand less chance for success. As Russell put it, the business model for crap is disappearing.

I certainly agree with Rob Campbells comments that some of the speakers were very good at telling us what needed to be done, but not so good at telling us how it should be done.

My favourite panel was the Technology panel; and myself, Ben and Beeker agreed that the one person we would really like to see do a full talk next year is Richard Huntingdon; his introduction was great, and he is someone with a good vision of the future.

Overall I think the event was extremely informative for me. Both in terms of the state of marketing, and the future we are heading towards. It also gave me much encouragement that despite not being directly in advertising yet; my thoughts are actually on the right track. The big question is whether this is all just talk, and the real moment of change will be when the giant monolithic agencies start to genuinely move rather than just having a small office somewhere with a “Head of Digital”.

Its seems like marketers and advertisers are starting to head in the right direction, though it appears like many are still relying on their sat-nav; and we all know that can be dangerous…

Future Marketing Summit Day Two - Part 5

Next were Google and BBH to discuss the joint British Airways and Google Earth advertising.

The ads featured shots using Google earth, with cloud pricing. While the site was designed to let you view the destination, but with a cloud image with the BA price on!

One highly interesting point was on the net ads, Google intentionally asked BA to lower the Google branding and increase the BA branding on overlay ads because Google didn’t want to be associated with ads that get in the way of sites.


Lastly, was Jon Hamm, the founder of Greenroom digital.

He discussed how this is an exciting time for agencies and clients, a time to take risks, to become even more creative.

He also mentioned how media consumption is becoming more and more chaotic, and how the power of social media is still increasing.

An interesting point he gave was about the nature of ‘viral’ distribution is moving to ‘resonate’ and ‘right place’ distribution. Its not just about putting a funny video up, its about putting it in the right place and making it resonate with the public.

One good point was how measuring views is not the only important metric anymore, it’s about how many people in the core audience viewed it, what did they say, and what sort of response it got.


After all these interesting people, it was left to Douglas Broadley of Imagination to sum up. Here are his major points.

“Amazing!” – What an insight!

The gloss of Kevin Roberts words was appealing, but things are not always that glossy in real life.

The idea of owning a conversation is ridiculous…

Agencies forgot to make a plan B! Hence all the recent panic!

The continuing difficulty in finding people who can move between disciplines.

Those who are quick on their feet will succeed.

Integration should just happen, but people get in the way. Integration is not a ‘nice to have’, it has to be meaningful.

Meaning will engender greater belief, which will help engage.

We need to define what unites brands and corporate cultures.

Integration is about Integrity.

People talk when you are found not to be true to their meaning, you can no longer be dishonest, people will find out.

I think this guy knows his stuff. A good choice to sum up.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Future Marketing Summit Day Two - Part 4

Day Two continued:

Next was the Entertainment panel. Here are some of the key points:

This discussed the need for a reason for people to watch content, and the empowerment of new models of viewing.

40 thousand videos are uploaded to You Tube every single day, and 90% of it is crap. However, we have to remember that most of that 90% is not designed for everybody, its things for a small circle of friends.

Clients are starting to see the need for quality, and the need for entertainment. Though someone in the audience made a great point that sometimes content can be informative rather than entertaining.

Is engagement more important than entertainment?

There is apparently a huge difficulty in finding people who don’t think in terms of print or tv ads. Shall I wave?

Clients have to accept that control of their brands has slipped through their hands.

Another good point is how the system of peer to peer sending that drove much online/viral content is moving to a model of discussion. For example: One of the key things about You Tube is that each video has a discussion area below it, allowing debate to spark.


Next up was Matt Smith of The Viral Factory. Here are some of his key points:

The internet is now a consumer channel just as much as it is a brand channel.

The ratio of good user generated content to shit is huge.

He spoke about the issue of brands wanting “to do viral” but having no understanding of how it works. The odds are for many brands that if people do care, they care in a negative way.

One problem of asking people to do UGC is that you can end up disappointing people who (despite putting effort in) produce crap content by not using it.

Don’t stake your campaign on viral, as he rightly points out; many people expect to put a video on You Tube and have it automatically get seen by 2 million people, but it simply doesn’t work like that.

Respect creators and consumers, they gave a good example of a great Samsung viral they did, and when someone created their own version they worked with them.

Viral Factory Samsung Viral

Consumer Generated Version

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why Guerrilla Marketing isnt Dead

I must interrupt my Future Marketing Summit posts (one update left plus my views to come!) to mention a fantastic piece of Guerrilla/Ambush marketing on behalf of the Xbox 360.

As you may know, the PS3 launched yesterday in the UK; to surprisingly little enthusiasm. It sold well, but not with the mania we expected.

However, some kind people went and handed out free camping chairs to those who were waiting outside stores before they opened.

The chairs have written on the back "Shouldnt have kept you waiting", and the url

Which of course...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Future Marketing Summit Day Two - Part 3

Next up is TBWA, discussing the Nissan Qashqai work.

Enthusiasm > Pain !

Nissan wanted to rival VW Golf in terms of sales and perception, which involved needing 80% of sales coming from people who don’t normally have any association with Nissan.

Objectives: Make Qashqai a household name, create interest, build intrigue and engage for long launch period.

As TBWA rightly point out, the name is odd, yet it worked for the Nintendo Wii… it’s also harder to make puns about the word Qashqai!

They came up with a fictitious urban sport of Qashqai, with rules, ads, history, galleries etc. Not an easy task they say, but it actually became fun. The aim was to make the content the media, not about buying media.

Difficulty in tying it all together, what with being a “traditional” agency (eurgh…).

Made how to guide – rule book, including one for each country.

When people started to point out it was fake (of course..) they started to join in, such as whether things were mathematically possible.

The campaign does appear to be a good example of how big agencies can work together; with 12 involved in this case.

Results: Gave Nissan employees pride in the car, improved the profile of Nissan Europe within the company. Awareness / views / sales a lot above expectation.

Future Marketing Summit Day Two - Part 2

Mike Mathieson and the other guy whose name is not in my booklet – the founders of Cake talking about entertainment insights.

Firstly, I absolutely love the fact that Cake was names after the Cake episode of Brass Eye. They also showed some interesting examples of their work.

They talked about the Internet as a social transformer, about entertainment as an ice breaker; and about how focus is moving towards shared experiences.

They showed some good examples, including work for Motorola and Nintendo Wii (hurrah!). They seem to be very good at creating attention and press coverage gaining events… but the question for me is, how good are they outside their safety zone, which appears to be mostly music?

Future Marketing Summit Day Two

The first item of the day was a talk from Mike Bennett, Creative Director of Digit.

He spoke about the importance of moments, what happens at the point the customer meets your brand or product. Emphasising that communication is about people not technology.

Moments of interaction matter just as much as a big idea or strategy.

The battle of form and function vs the experience, with the good example of the iPod. The wheel is not the most useful way of navigating the system, but it provides a great experience.

A great point was about websites not being as lateral as people think they, most people search – find – view – and go.

Another good point is that digital is not just about the office or indoors on your pc.

He also spoke of how flawed manuals are, people don’t read them; maybe they could follow the route of video games, taking you through the product gradually.

Future Marketing Summit Day One - Part 2

The first presentation of the day was from Kevin Roberts – CEO Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide; discussing the topic of Sisomo (Sight Sound and Motion).

Here are the main points of his talk:

Retailer and consumers are now the boss, power has shifted away from the brands.

Consumers are ahead of the industry, they know what they want; the only people confused are clients, who are terrified of this new world, as they cant quantify it. But everything that has gone before is irrelevant.

TV is not going to vanish, and mediums will not replace each other, but we will live in an “and” environment, where all mediums exist side by side.

People are driven by emotion, and we need to use stories and storytelling to create ‘Love and Respect’ and ‘Loyalty Beyond Reason”.

Return on Investment no longer matters, things are now about Return on Involvement.

The world and media is changing so fast that the latest trends have come and gone before research figures them out.


The second event of the day was a discussion panel on the topic of Reality Check, featuring among others; John Shaw (Planning Director at Ogilvy UK) and Russell Davies.

The main topics here were:

Have consumers always owned the brand, with a great example about how Camra (The Campaign for Real Ale) stopped Watneys brewery from limiting the choice of beers in their pubs.

A quote from Russell on the topic of the 80/20 rule (80 percent of everything is crap): “The Business Model for Crap is Going Away”

There was a lot of talk on User Generated Content, while much of the things on there may be ‘rubbish’, they are usually all good to the circle of three or four friends who they are made for.

Are customers recognising that brands are evolving in terms of their ethics and responsibilities? The seeming disappearance of the anti-brand movement of a few years ago seems to show that. But also, many brands have started to place much more importance on ethics.


The next discussion was on Design, including Ben of the Design Conspiracy.

They spoke about how design should be important through everything, that designers often have difficulty talking and explaining things to clients, and those who can move between disciplines will be the winners of the future.

A good topic was how most agencies fail to understand how to take the feeling of ads into a 3d space, with the example of the Hersheys store in Manhattan.

Finally, a good comment; if Jonathan Ives was announced as the new design head of GM (General Motors) their shares would rocket.

Very true.


The two afternoon panels were on Technology and Delivery. The first being chaired by Richard Huntingdon, and the latter by George Bryant, head of planning at AMV BBDO.

After managing to bring old pictures of Donald Rumsfeld into the talk, and not being able to resist talking about Dirt is Good again; the panel spoke:

Future proofing brands was a major topic, especially about brands in places like myspace. How these communities have rules and etiquette, and to be accepted brands need to remember that.

Interaction by its very nature is 2 way, and brands need to remember that the viral model is not about selling. Its not the same as making a tv ad.

The time has come to abandon demographics, most people agrees that they are outdated and do not represent people in a relevant way anymore.

Also, there was the battle between the “BIG idea” vs “An ideal with lots of little ideas under it”. This topic was touched on again later…

The Delivery panel spoke again about how useless demographics now are, how they don’t show any understanding of people.

We listen, but do we understand?

Honesty is now a pre-requisite. If you are not honest you will be found out, with communication so quick and simple, you can no longer hide behind falsehoods.

People don’t trust big brands anymore. With Innocent Drinks growing as such a big rate, are they risking being seen as a big brand, and then end up facing a backlash?


There was also an interesting talk by Justin Bovington of Rivers Run Red about how brands are getting involved in virtual worlds, particularly Second Life.

Its not something I know a great deal about, but with some big clients like Vodafone and Adidas/Reebok, the online virtual world appears to be the next big thing (which sadly usually means its about to be replaced with something else).

The use of Second Life areas to encourage brand communication between brand and consumer is also a very interesting area, with some good examples, such as being able to choose the shoe colour of your avatar, then buy the shoes in real life through the virtual world.

[I will update with videos and pictures once I return home after day 2]

Im highly enjoying this event so far, please let me know what you think of the topics discussed. Is this the way marketing should be heading, and are these the right topics?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Future Marketing Summit Day One

Hi! After bashing my dads laptop (metaphorically dad, dont worry), I can finally post about todays event. I will update on the mornings events later, but here is the details of the first talk of the afternoon:

The first part of the afternoon session was with Tim Ashton – Founder of Antidote.

After taking part in the earlier design conference Tim talked about “A Fresh Perspective”. Here are some of the key points of his talk:

Choosing ideas that people want to spend time with rather than interrupting things that people are interested in. Simple big ideas are more important than ever before. This is something that has been discussed a lot on blog’s recently.

He talks about forgetting the idea of 360, bringing ideas in across channels.

Content is everything, no ideas hierarchy.

Changing the team, creative teams should mean more than just copywriting and art directing. They should embrace collaboration. Multi skilled teams, they should include a planner and a comms planner.

Bored of “headline pun” and “coincidence visual ads, everything starting to feel the same. This might cause small tremors along most teams who work on car ads. Small car with big features anyone?

Design is a crucial opportunity to differentiate. Not enough design skills in ad agencies, and probably visa-versa.

So much bad design about. (Really? I hadn’t noticed, though that may be the point…)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Microogle or Goosoft

Google, are they turning into the new Microsoft?

When I first started using google (I was the first person I know to do so) it had a wonderful brand personality (The Goooooooogle images were one great touch). It was renowned for being a great tool designed by students, which made searching so much easier.

However now I worry that they are simply turning into the next conglomorate. They produce lots of useful consumer tools, but they appear to be fleecing businesses for all they can get.

The google ad words system, whereby businesses pay to appear on search results is the big point here. Their new system has just appeared which pushes the already massive costs of using the system even higher under the guise of improving results for consumers...but it is most effective at raising costs.

Google are literally printing money with ad words, some terms make them over £10 per click; with up to 10 people advertising on that one term. Yet:

Google know a large number of their clicks come from competitors clicking terms to raise other competitors costs. But they tend to ignore it.

They allow dodgy ads on terms. Including those which quite literally steal chunks of other sites to make money. Helping consumers?

For the particular terms we use, we currently find other search engines to be upto a quarter of the cost for the same results!

Google know they have so many visitors they can keep raising costs as much as they like; but in doing so they are seriously risking their brand image. I hope they see sense soon.

[Ironic of course that Blogger is owned by google...]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Getting Excited!

I am very much looking forward to the Future Marketing Summit, as it would normally be impossible for me to attend something with so many intelligent people talking about ads/marketing/design/etc.

I asked a little while ago for ideas as to what people think the Future Marketing Summit should be talking about, and here are (most of) the answers I got:

  • "what people think about Big Ideas v a collection of little ones.

  • Whatisface was on about this in Campaign, defending the Big Idea - but most of the examples he used were brands that have a long history, back into the old days of messaging."

  • With such product parity, do people think Brand Advertising is MORE or LESS relevant in marketing today?

  • Is the future of brand growth, product led?

  • Will cause marketing become a core driver for brand differentiation/growth?

  • Is brand activation a fad or is it here to stay?

  • Why is creativity not so highly valued as media efficiency?

  • Who are the future powerbrokers of business success? [ie: The retail trade now have the power over the Coca-Cola's of the World which is radically different from past times]

  • Is communication about selling or leaving a positive impression on consumers?

  • How much has innovation got to play in brand success?

  • What is the real power of communicating on the net?

  • Will the impact of copywriting on the public change the importance of creativity in an age where we need to keep doing more to interest people...?

  • Why are their not enough bald men in advertising when there are so many shiny headed planners?
Thoughts..? (bear in mind these will probably be passed onto the organisers of the event)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mr Campbells Alter Ego?

I am an avid fan of Charlie Brookers Screenwipe, a brilliant show in which he basically reviews and slags off the tv industry in a very "you tube" format.

Its informative, witty and sometimes brilliantly offensive. This week he turned his attention to the biggest cocks in advertising, and guess what, he is spot on.

Hitting the nail on the head with the awful Kellogs ad with Ray Winstone, and of course Coke Zero.

Geez, I cant even say Coke Zero without wanting to type PRODUCT SHOT NOW!...gah.

Rob Campbell in disguise maybe?

(oh and thanks to Scamp for the link to the vid, I was struggling to find it!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Two Non-ad Updates

Just because one thing made me happy, and one pissed me off!

1. Im engaged! Yes, Ad Pit Rob is officially off the market for good! :D

2. Daily Express readers...are you not fed up with them putting Lady Diana on the cover every week despite the fact she has been dead for nearly 10 years?

Even before this enquiry, ANY excuse to stick her on the cover and they would. "Burrell latest book about Diana", "Queen says... ' here is a picture of the Queens former relative, Lady Diana' ", "William and Harry, shown here with their mum". ARGH!

I wasnt one of those people upset at her death, it was sad yes; but while hundreds of people die everyday from starvation and man made wars I think its a small event.

But seriouly people, let her rest in peace.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Negotiation by Ad

Wow. I cannot believe that noone on the blogs I read has mentioned the all out war of words that is going on between Sky and Virgin Media.

The story is that they are negotiating to keep Sky channels on Virgin services, and Sky (alledgedly) would only accept extortionate prices and have no withdrawn their channels. Sky however, say that they have offered numerous alternatives and Virgin have refused.

The amazing bit is that this war is being carried out everywhere in print ads in newspapers. This is AFTER sky put ads on Virgin's feed of their channels asking people to call Virgin and tell them how much they want the channels!I have never seen so much advertising between two companies in such a short space of time.

They are talking straight at the public, with Virgin appearing to come off slightly more positive.

I will try and photo some of the ads tonight, but just get a paper from today or (probably) tomorrow and read a battle going on before our very eyes.