Archive for August, 2007
He is the only person I know of in real life (I’m obviously not counting Jamie Oliver) to use the phrase “happy days” and does so with relevancy and affection
Brands need a sentiment to own, something that is meaningful and relevant
He says what hes thinking, rather than what other people want to hear
they also need to be truthful (or it’ll come back and bite ya in the end)
He has never, ever commented on my choice of clothes, hair colour, or nail polish. But he does really like my new car.
and they need to accept their customers as they are, flatter them, engage with them, but not criticise them or try to change them (actually, I’ve riffed on this point alot more here)
I’ve just got back from a day pottering around North Yorkshire in the car. Apart from flicking through the Yorkshire Post before we left, I haven’t heard or seen a single ad all day (until I logged onto Hotmail just now…).
The world did not stop turning. People were still buying stuff and deciding where to go and what to do. Yes, yes, yes, I know there was still signage everywhere and lots of built-up brand loyalties sloshing about, but still.
North Yorkshire villages tend to be full of tourists who are either a) retired or b) in a pushchair. So no-one was shouting into their blackberry (actually I couldn’t get a signal on vodafone if I’d wanted one) and no-one tried to sell me a big issue, flog double glazing, get me to sign a petition, involve me in a ‘brand experience’, cold-call me, sign me up to their loyalty programme or generally harass me.
I feel all cleansed and ready to take on the big, bad world again. Now, where did I put my mobile?
The only pic I got round to taking today – young birds on the road near Bolton Abbey. Does anyone know what kind of bird they are?
I have a little secret. I love cheesy musicals. For sing-along-in-the-car, perk-up-your-day results, you can’t beat a bit a few upbeat, cheesetastic tunes.
Theres a wealth of excellent musical material out there on stage, film and DVD at the ‘mo, from Hairspray and Dreamgirls to the wicked Avenue Q. I’m even off to see Starlight Express on tour this week – but that is purely on the grounds of a nostalgia trip, Starlight being my 1980’s junior school equivalent of Disney’s cash cow High School Musical.
Actually, has anyone else noticed just how efficiently Disney is milking the High School Musical phenomenon? Not only is every song perfectly pitched in the musical range of 12 year old girls so that they can sing along to the DVD, but there’s the sequel, the soundtrack, the stadium tour, the novel, the video game, the stage show, the ice show tour…
My ipod is a High School Musical free-zone (you have to draw the line somewhere), but surely that’s what they invented itunes for – the purchase of guilty musical pleasures…
We, the clients, promise:
- not to call any agency contact before 9am or after 5.30pm unless it really is actually properly urgent
- to ask no more than five agencies to take part in any creative pitch and to make clear at the outset the number of pitch stages involved
- to provide hot/cold drinks and (preferably chocolate) biscuits at all meetings (note: anything out of a drinks machine or served in a chipped snoopy mug does not count)
- not to schedule meetings before 10.30am or on Friday afternoons if the agency is based more than 60 miles away
- to give honest and constructive feedback on creative and to adhere to that feedback in all subsequent emails, phone calls or meetings
- to pay our bills on time
- not to expect the moon on a stick in now-minus-five-minutes
We, the agency, promise:
- not to try and sell you geo-targeted PPC or a 60 second TV ad when you really need a decent PR campaign
- to have an office in an easy to find location with adequate parking and good public transport links
- to have a non-scary receptionist
- to tell you what all the focus respondents thought, rather than what the four most easily led said
- to create work that will win awards and therefore impress your boss
- to create really effective work that will really impress your boss
- to make your life easier, not harder
Faris makes a brilliant point in a sidenote to his post When I Was Young We Made Our Own Fun or B2B Viral Marketing and a Girl Named SpiderPig. He thinks that increasingly, our brains are less like databases and more like index servers – you can access far more knowledge if you remember how / where to find it rather than the information itself.
One of the biggest compliments I ever received was by a colleague introducing me to a new starter as “this is Gemma, she knows everything“. Of course I don’t know everything, I’ve just got a fairly good idea about where to find it…
image from the directional street sign generator
At the Northern Planning Summit last Thursday night in Sheffield we ended up discussing what would you chose not to pitch for as an agency?, which encompassed wider issues like are they flogging booze/sub-prime finance/fags/politics (delete according to where you draw the line) and are they likely to turn into the client from hell?
Which made me think alot about Pitching on the drive home. I must easily spend half my time at work on New Business and it seems to me that agencies are increasingly dancing to the client’s tune and agreeing to pitch for accounts or even short-term projects where the odds are what bookmakers would euphemistically refer to as “a long shot”.
It would take a very brave agency MD to make a stand and refuse to pitch for anything, but perhaps if we were all a bit more bolshy and treated the pitch process as more of a two-way interview, we might end up only actually full-blown pitching for those accounts which we were sure that client and agency were a good match – and therefore more likely to produce a successful pitch outcome.
Has anyone else noticed just how much Matrix rip-off creative there is around at the moment? Specsavers, moneysupermarket.com and young person’s railcard are all recent culprits.
Young Person’s Railcard – taken from their website as I couldn’t get a shot of the poster as the train whizzed by
Yes, I know Matrix is practically a genre in its own right and in 2001ish I was just as guilty as anyone of trying to flog Matrix themed creative in pitches, but that was a long time ago and recent efforts just look a bit dated to me. Given Warner Bros’ litigious leanings, I’d also be surprised if the Railcard ad went unchallenged…
I’ve a little style trends prediction to make. We are now re-entering the age of the curl.
The arrival of the fourth generation GHD styler (which curls as well as straightens, ladies) has been heralded in my office by an abundance of waves, ringlets and generally tousled locks. Once a style becomes easy to achieve (just like the poker-straight Footballer’s Wives look we’re all so used to), its only a matter of time before it reaches critical mass…
I rented Crazy People last week on DVD, which features possibly the best press ad that never got made:
Thanks to coverage on the blogosphere, its been almost impossible to ignore the invasion of Sony’s giant bunnies. Event TV might have died with the advent of digital & satellite, but we appear to have entered the age of Event Advertising. Never mind simply spending a fortune on TVRs, it seems that with enough hype you can actually drive people to a campaign website before the ad has even aired.
Which I suppose is a reflection on the staying power of a great proposition and a cracking creative concept.