Archive for October, 2010
So the T Mobile mega ad just aired:
As the latest in the series, I’d somehow got the impression that it was going to be another mass event type affair (a la Trafalgar Square) or at least very shareable on mobiles (like what they, you know, sell).
But after all that fuss, it seemed a bit flat. There were some great performances, but they were just that – performances to be enjoyed, but not particularly participated in or shared. Nice piece of entertainment, but I thought Life’s for Sharing?
Although Event TV (with the exception of X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent et al) may be on the way out, Event Advertising still seems to be holding its own.
This Friday evening sees the launch of T-Mobile’s latest Life’s for Sharing guerrilla ad (UPDATE – you can watch it here), which will air as an extended 3 minute version simultaneously across over 80 digital and terrestrial commercial TV channels, as well as on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and so on.
They’ve been filming at Heathrow today with a flashmob of over 600 people and a kind of Welcome Home angle to the whole thing.
Although I’m looking forward to viewing the ad, I just wonder if the whole flashmob thing is running out of steam a bit. E4 certainly think it has jumped the shark and I’m also wondering whether using Heathrow as a location was influenced by either of these:
In what is turning out to be a bit of a thread on Insights Based on Freelancing at Other People’s Agencies, I’ve been thinking about agency cultures (and their related positionings) recently.
Whatever the HR experts might say about employee led or even customer led cultures and about organisations focused on customer needs, in the small world of agencies (and in my experience), it mostly reflects what is going on at the top.
Describe an agency and their culture and (unless it’s some remote outpost of a multinational) I bet you’re describing the MD. And it’s not just relevant in my Regional world where most MDs or CEOs are either the founder or MBO’d their way to the top.
Take Wieden + Kennedy. Most of what I know about W+KLondon is based on reading their blog, the trade press and the odd mate who knows someone who works there. But I get the feeling that the risky, full-on ethos of co-founder Dan Wieden is alive and well in (almost) everything they do.
On a more local level, I could tell you about the hardworking-but-just-one-step-behind agency, the we-know-we’re-great agency and the where-traditional-and-digital-bang-heads agency. And in every case, the head honcho seems to embody that mindset.
For me, the interesting question in the case of agencies that have been around for a while is what came first – the agency culture and positioning, or the leadership style?
It’s slowly dawning on me that it’s not just the large-ish integrated agencies I used to work for that get seriously messed about in tenders and pitches by clients. Every agency I go into seems to be in the throes of some kind of new business related angst. Take, for example:
- The client’s tender where (despite the ten page tender response document) it was decided on price.
- The client who got a face to face pitch plus written proposal from several very different agencies, but three months in has yet to appoint anyone.
- The client who wanted a strategic, communications-led response to his business issues but also needed to see it as ready-to-artwork creative in the same meeting.
- The client who sent over thirty briefs to their agency, all needing response within a 4 week timeframe.
- The client who didn’t appreciate that they could only choose two of Good, Fast and Cheap.
Which reminds me of this:
I was rather looking forward to seeing the new PCWorld-meets-Star Wars ad.
Since I don’t do X-Factor (where it first aired on Saturday night), I tracked down the director’s cut on youtube:
I think I was expecting something with a little more upfront warmth and humour and less shots of endless rows of product.
The ad really seems to split into two parts, the first 25 secs feels like the stuff the client insisted went in – the exterior store shot (brand recognition!), the bank of flatscreen TVs (product breadth and depth!) and so on, while the engaging creative stuff that is going to make people connect with the brand takes up the second half.
Perhaps the 30 second edit will keep my favourite bits like R2D2 meeting a pink Henry vac and shooting-the-shoot-em-up-game and have less of the kind of store shots that feel like they were shoehorned in at the client’s request.
I’ve got a real soft spot for train travel.
A few hours of staring at the scenery flashing by is guaranteed to put me back on an even keel. Especially if the view is courtesy of Cross Country or East Coast trains (used to be GNER) just south of Edinburgh where East Coast means exactly that:
pic by EGFocus because I forgot to take one (CC applies)
At the same time, I can’t resist checking out my fellow passengers and trying to guess where they’re going to (or coming back from) and why. In such close proximity, you also tend to learn loads of interesting stuff just by overhearing, like:
- the pros and cons of university education in Edinburgh v. Glasgow
- why old ladies never go anywhere without a coat
- why working in Saudi Arabia isn’t very practical if you’ve got kids
It’s like a mini Interesting on rails.
Not only that, but chose a quiet enough train and you get a mobile desk all to yourself, complete with laptop power point (and distracting view) – but goodness knows what my fellow passengers made of all my flipcharts yesterday:
Anyway, long-ish distance train travel. Highly recommended. Just bring your own food.
I’ve been a Boden customer for a several years and I’ve posted before about how they tend to flash their 15% off offer at just about everyone except their loyal customers. So I was quite pleased to get a catalogue through in the post offering the Boden shopper holy grail that is 15%-off-with-free-delivery-and-free-returns.
It even came with cute cover that charted my ‘break up’ with Johnnie Boden and asked me to log on and declare whether I loved him or loved him not.
However all this was slightly undermined when my sister’s catalogue arrived on her doormat. Personalised.
Suddenly my mailer didn’t seem quite so special. I suppose we marketing types sending out DM have to remember to see our mailing lists not as individuals, but as members of networks. Or, in simpler terms – women talk.
Northern Planner posted today about work-life conflict. Can you be brilliant and awesome at something work-related while still having an actual life outside work? As he reasons in his post, ‘you can’t do interesting work if you don’t do interesting things’ (which to me is the whole point of the Interesting Un-Conferences).
A high profile in the marketing world seems to require working in the right city, drinking with the right people, speaking at the right conferences, changing jobs every couple of years and being active online – and that’s time consuming. Even a high profile within your own company might require you to drop everything and relocate to Nowheresville for two months, or to work all weekend prepping for a big meeting.
Some people chose not to play that game and to just get on with doing the best job they can in the chunk of 9to5 time they have allocated to it. They might not climb the corporate ladder quite as fast but their reward is time to do other stuff. I suppose it’s a question of motives. If you’re working all the hours because, say, you want to get a promotion that will provide better for your family, then I can understand prioritising work first. Or if you have such a fab job that work feels like playtime anyway, then go for it.
But for everyone else, I wonder what the end prize for all this workaholism is? If you ARE playing the star pupil game at work (i.e. high profile, stupid hours, stress-central) without knowing what the end prize actually is, perhaps its time for a rethink?
There’s a really nice poster too – ‘Mirror, Signal, McDonald’s’. Anyone got an image of it? Took a pic while I was out and about today (15/10/10):
I watched the US version of Undercover Boss on C4 last night. It was the turn of Coby Brooks, President and CEO of ‘delightfully tacky yet unrefined’ restaurant/bar chain Hooters to go undercover in his own business.
Never heard of Hooters? If I tell you that they’re big on cold beer, fried chicken and pretty girls in very short shorts and that their logo features an owl with a set of boobs for eyes, I’m sure you’ll get the idea.
Following his week of scrubbing dishes and waiting tables, Coby (who is responsible for 455 Hooters branches in the US) suddenly realised that a) many women don’t frequent Hooters because b) they don’t like what they think Hooters stands for.
I refuse to believe that a brand of that size has spent nothing at all on market research in the last few years. Surely even the simplest omnibus or a few focus groups would let the CEO know that some women thought their brand was degrading to women. But no, it took him going out sampling chicken wings on the street with a couple of Hooters girls for the penny (cent?) to drop.
Which is why you have to wonder whether the brand (including the CEO) was perfectly aware that they had an image problem and the boss played dumb undercover to help get their point across via an hour of free airtime.