Archive for May, 2010
M&S launch a new national press campaign by RKCR/Y&R this weekend, which has apparently been ‘designed to communicate that M&S is committed to women of all shapes and sizes’.
There’s just one tiny problem – the model’s bra doesn’t really fit her properly. M&S’s own website says:
At the bottom of the page, there was this great example of online media placement:
I’m not exactly what you’d call a football fan but I’m sort of looking forward to the Big Event that is the 2010 World Cup – but only in order to see what brands do to reach out to people like me who really can’t get excited about 11 men (is it eleven?) running up and down a field for ages chasing a ball.
Non-stop chick flicks on Film4 during matches? Guaranteed football-free sections of the newspaper? Dining discounts if you book your table for kick off time? A facebook support group for World Cup Widows?
All this Football fever reminds me of my previous employer, whose MD was football mad and in the name of PR turfed out his office and installed a set of goalposts (World Cup, Japan, 2002), built a beach in the office café (Euro 2004, Portugal, we were getting sand out of the carpets for weeks afterwards) and a German boozer in the boardroom (World Cup, Germany, 2006).
The beach stunt certainly provided me with some stand out memories, like when two national TV news crews ended up having a massive row on the stairs about whose turn it was to film where, having to hide in a corner to avoid being interviewed and thus revealing my total apathy towards the whole thing and the ‘all users’ email that went round asking if any of the girls would be photographed in a bikini on the ‘beach’ for A Major Tabloid. Amazingly, there were no takers…
I don’t know if this is a worldwide phenomenon, but a bit of sunshine seems to make us Brits ridiculously happy.
I worked my way through ten telephone interviews on Friday with middle aged, middle class ladies and they were, to a woman, full of optimism and the Joys of Summer.
Who knows what the election result might have been if the mini heatwave had hit a few weeks earlier?
One of the guys I work with was pulling together a quick ‘what’s on people’s minds right now’ presentation on Friday and it was mostly doom and gloom – we can’t merrily fly off all over the world at the drop of a hat anymore because we get Ash Clouded, the new government is a bit of a work-in-progress and the economy is still in the doldrums. But he concluded that the sun is shining!, so really, things could be a lot worse.
I feel like a bit of a failure for not celebrating this by having a BBQ this weekend, but judging by the stripped bare state of the shelves of my local convenience store, I was possibly the only person in the country NOT busy burning sausages on Saturday evening…
So the London 2012 Olympic mascots were unveiled yesterday to, it has to be said, a less than entirely enthusiastic worldwide reception.
My personal issue is that (at least in their current form) Wenlock and Mandeville feel very generic, like they could be representing any one of the recent Beijing, Athens, Sydney or Atlanta Olympics. They just aren’t very…British, despite the whole London-taxi-light-on-their-heads thing.
Although perhaps a tad OTT, the Union Jack makeovers that have appeared on the London 2012 website today are a bit of an improvement:
update 13/02/2012 - it looks like LOCOG are making a big thing out of customising your own Wenlock and Mandeville and interacting with them (they even have an official song…). But on the upside, this is a sweet little animation.
I’ve been working in regional marketing agencies for 12 years this Summer and I’ve written before about what I see as the positives of Life Outside London, but I thought it was probably worth mentioning some of the not so brilliant bits as well:
- Your face, body, children, house, pet, car and all your personal possessions will be fair game for low budget photo shoot appropriation purposes. To be honest, Big Budget Photo Shoots are the exception, rather than the norm, even in the bigger agencies Up North.
- There’s a bit of a Northern agency sensibility about not spending a penny more than you absolutely have to. Good news if you’re a client, bad news for agency staff’s travel budgets, salary reviews and when the dodgy office carpet really needs replacing.
- You can’t just ‘drop in’ to an evening APG or IPA event as it would involve a several hundred mile, five hour round trip.
- London based agencies and/or clients may make comments in meetings like “oh Leeds, isn’t that near Scotland?” or ask why you don’t have a heavy Northern accent (both true stories, sadly).
- Your cunning plan to do your ‘Northern’ focus groups near the office (and home) will be scuppered by all the London research agencies who see Leeds as the Big Northern City with the shortest train journey from central London and thus have made it probably the most over researched city in the UK (according to the quallies, second and third place goes to Bristol and Milton Keynes).
- Particularly if you are a Planner, there will not be that many agencies with the size and set up to warrant doing Planning properly. This results in a job market that works on the ‘musical desks’ principle.
- You will spend a lot of your time on the train to and from London for meetings, but very little time in London itself. The chances of being able to fit in dinner with your old uni mates who live down there, a night at the theatre or a quick shopping spree are, frankly, slim. So you may find yourself back on the London train on Saturday morning in order to fit all this in.
I still think the positives (fresh air, affordable living, decent parking, challenger brands) outweigh the negatives, but at least I’m now giving you a balanced view.
my commute :-)
I’ve blogged before about how we just can’t fit everything in out brains anymore – you can access far more knowledge if you remember how / where to find it rather than the information itself.
But the problem comes in deciding exactly where we should store all this information (or at least bookmarks that will help us find it).
Take bloglines, I happily used it for years and digitally clipped all kinds of posts for future reference instead of printing them out. But then bloglines went AWOL for a few days, accompanied by predictions of its demise, so I switched to google reader but couldn’t take my clippings with me.
The idea of storing all your stuff in the ‘cloud’ is all very well, but it feels a bit intangible – and subject to other people’s servers and business models working indefinitely.
You could store everything on an external hard drive, but them there’s a risk it could get nicked or corrupted and needs backing up and…[eats calming bar of chocolate to cope with anxiety related to the thought of losing Everything I’ve Ever Saved].
I do have a physical bursting-at-the-seams lever arch file I call my Toolbox with articles, methodologies and Every Chart You’ll Ever Need in it. But I also have a backup copy of the Toolbox at home as I’m afraid that there’ll be something unexpected like a fire at work and I’ll lose five years of clippings.
Maybe I’m just paranoid. But I think we’re getting to the point where if you can’t lay your hands on the information you’re looking for within five minutes, it might as well not exist.
From the Lift Conference (via @rooreynolds) comes Russell M* Davies’ talk ‘printing the internet out and squirting it into things’ (can’t embed here, sorry).
Really worth watching, especially for his thoughts on analogue friction, information design, the ubiquity of screens, turning data into physical things, exploring the recently easy and other phrases with which to impress the digital guru in your life.
(*The ‘M’ is presumably because he’s got sick of being confused with the Dr Who bloke…)
photo by Stephanie Booth on flickr, CC applies
We’ve all been there at one time or another. The client pitch brief that asserts their ambition for the brand to be seen as the country’s leading X or most aspirational Y. When you know full well that the brand has more baggage than Terminal 5 on a BA strike day, is right up there with Peter Mandelson in the public’s affections and that the actual product doesn’t perform well against the competition. Oh, and they have a budget approximately a quarter of the size required to affect meaningful results.
So what do you do? Pitch promising to give them exactly what they want but knowing you can’t deliver? Pitch giving them a reality check but knowing you’ll lose? Or decline to pitch on the basis that the client has clearly lost all touch with reality?
I wish I could say that the latter is always the case. But we know it isn’t. Perhaps it’s the role of pitch intermediaries like the AAR and Haystack to challenge pitch briefs and give a severe reality check.