Posts filed under ‘trends’
Have you had a play with the BBC’s new class calculator yet?
Looking at the categories, most of the Planners I’ve met would slot neatly into the Technical Middle Class box:
But when I tried with my own data, I came out as Established Middle Class, probably because thanks to my horsey friends I could tick almost every box on the ‘do you know people who work in these jobs’ question:
So then I put my Dad’s data through it and HE came out as Technical Middle Class, even though he’s the least emerging culture, social media type person I’ve know.
In light of this, I think I can surmise that this still isn’t a perfect classification system – and I don’t think briefing a recruiter to head off into a supermarket with a clipboard to find me some Technical Middle Class mums aged 25-45 would go down that well…
I was at a wedding recently and during the evening do I got cornered by someone who had found out I worked in advertising and demanded to know:
“Why do all the ads with a family in them have a confident, in charge woman and a hopeless man?”
I was about to write his comment off to one too many glasses of wedding bubbly until I started thinking about it. It turns out he has a point:
and Oak Furniture Land fall back on the old ‘he can’t even shop properly!’
You could argue that women tend to be the main decision makers for these kind of products and acknowledging that they sometimes do take the head of household role should in theory appeal to them. Buts it’s still lazy advertising. At least we’ve come a long way from these kind of ads:
I saw an ad today for Scrooge the musical, which will be at the London Palladium this Autumn starring Tommy Steele, aged 75.
This tied in rather nicely with a piece I stumbled across on The Stage’s website earlier this week about the resilience of older performers, including Ann Emery (82), who plays Billy’s gran eight times a week in Billy Elliot in the West End and Des O’Connor (80), who is currently starring as the title character in The Wizard of Oz. Meanwhile, away from the world of musicals, Ken Dodd (84) and Paul Daniels (74) are both still touring while Bruce Forsyth (82) continues to remind us to “keep dancing”.
You certainly won’t find the average AdMan still working well into their 70s or even 80s. You could argue these older entertainers have got performing and the associated applause so tied up with their own identity that they can’t live without it. Or that their lifestyle requires them to keep working to pay the bills. But they couldn’t work if the demand wasn’t there – and thanks to better healthcare, lifestyle and pension provision there’s an enormous, relatively affluent 70+ audience out there who want to see the stars they’ve always enjoyed watching. An audience that has the flexibility to attend matinées, will happily go on organised group outings to the theatre and enjoys ‘proper’ Saturday night entertainment that they can watch even if the extended family are over.
This audience is one of the most affluent demographics in the UK – and probably one of the most ignored by marketeers. If I had a product or brand aimed at these kind of people, I’d be on the phone to Tommy Steele’s agent straight away.
In the first half of my Planning career I worked on a number of drinks brands and became a bit of an authority on stuff like maximising back bar selling hotspots. As a result, I ended up writing lots of features for drinks trade mag The Publican and still provide expert comment for the odd piece in The Morning Advertiser (who merged with The Publican).
In December last year I contributed to a feature on Why New Drinks Fail, including a rant on the drinks industry’s attitude towards Marketing to Women:
click to enlarge to readable size – or the text is below...
It’s only the brewing industry that seems to feel the need to target it’s NPD on the basis of gender. But women have been conditioned by the industry itself to look for a drink to suit the occasion, rather than their femininity.
Women are more willing to order their own drink to suit the occasion, or invent one, with hundreds of variations on spirit-and-a-mixer. And that’s the point – everyone is an individual and you can’t market at the entire female adult population as some kind of homogenous sisterhood. Which is exactly what beers aimed at women seem to have set out to do.
It seems that the drinks industry didn’t listen. We’re about to see the launch of Coco Breve, a ‘coconut water-infused clear malt beverage targeting women’, hot on the heels of last year’s Animee, a low calorie beer that comes in clear, lemon and rose – and only sold £300K worth in its first four months on supermarket shelves. Then there’s Carlsberg’s Eve, a lychee flavoured drink fronted by Louise Redknapp which failed despite massive marketing spend.
There’s a great piece from last year by Melissa Cole in The Guardian about why she thinks beers aimed at women fail. Only 17% of beer in the UK is drunk by women so it’s clear why brewers see an opportunity. But they still seem to be hell-bent on producing a brand to fit a demographic rather than a mindset and/or needstate.
Ladies, can I have a big cheer please for Boots No7. Their Ta Dah! campaign (by Mother, which has been running since last August) makes me very happy because they haven’t used airbrushing, models with lash extensions or models who have had cosmetic surgery.
But not only that – the campaign implies that their products make you look like the best version of you, rather than the usual “buy this or no-one will shag you” (thank you, Eddie Izzard) messaging cosmetic companies usually resort to.
I suppose ‘Ta Dah!’ is the cosmetics equivalent of shampoo’s ‘Good Hair Day’. I can totally identify with the (sadly infrequent) moment when you’ve done the usual ‘throw makeup in general direction of face while running late’ thing, then look in the mirror and think “I appear to look like a better version of me!” and bounce off to your evening out full of confidence.
It sounds like that’s what the brand intended to get across. I’m not quite so keen on the TV for their anti-aging cream (again from last year but I’ve only just seen it) which, inevitably, has to focus on the product’s looking-younger properties, but at least it’s still pretty down to earth.
Here’s the rest of the campaign I’ve been able to dig up:
this image came from here
I did a project a few months back for a UK retailer looking at all the events planned for Summer 2012 and assessing the likely impact. Without giving away all the insight the client paid for, it’s a little bit worrying.
For a start, it’s going to be a long-haul Summer. From the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle starting on 10th May until the Paralympic closing ceremony on 9th September, there is Something Big Happening almost continually. The major events are obviously the Jubilee, Olympics & Euro 2012, but there’s also Wimbledon, big music festivals and so on. I really think there’s going to be a bit of Celebration fatigue kicking in at some point.
On the upside, it seems logical that there will be an uplift in National pride – and you can already see brands like M&S taking advantage of this.
But one of the downsides is that I’ve ploughed my way through all the briefing documents and I can only conclude that London is effectively going to come to a standstill in late July and the first half of August. If you’re planning any kind of activity in the London area that requires a vehicle to be in a certain place at a certain time around then, I’d reschedule it now.
Last week in a client meeting, someone looked up and said “we’re just going to have to stop using press”.
This client’s conversion rate via press has recently dropped from merely unimpressive to unsustainable and to put it in context, for them online activity now converts 100 times more effectively than press.
You could of course argue that without the awareness raising effect of press activity the online wouldn’t do working so well, but looking at circulation figures for local and regional titles around me, the audience just isn’t there anymore so the target audience won’t have-read-the-paper-to-see-the-ad-that-builds-awareness. I did a bit of digging and the local and regional papers round my way appear to be losing readers at the rate of 10% a year.
So of course advertisers are falling away at even faster levels. One media specialist I spoke to recently said that in their professional opinion, the only category that now gets effective results from newspapers is furniture retailers.
There is still an audience out there that does read papers and according to the Newspaper Marketing Agency, 69% of adults read newspapers every week. It’s just that I strongly suspect that the role of offline newspapers is moving away from ‘news’ and into ‘leisure reading’. Which means that while the future of weekend papers should be rosy (there’s nothing quite like a lazy Sunday morning working your way through the paper), the future of regional and local dallies looks bleak.
As a freelance, I inevitably get about a bit. So I hear an awful lot about how well (or otherwise) businesses and individuals round my way are doing.
I can’t comment on the daily media stories about how the economy is getting better / worse / becoming more unpredictable by the day, but I certainly have a pretty good overview of how the Northern marketing scene is fairing. And the only constant theme here is of inconsistency.
The six / seven figure proper pitches (no faffing about with RFIs and the like) are back – but so are the ‘jump through hoops for £10K’ projects. Some agencies are flying and others are faltering – and this doesn’t seem to reflect size, specialism or even client sector strength.
I’m happy to be extremely busy at the moment (as evidenced by the reduction in blog posts of late) and other freelancers at the top end of the campaign development chain tell me a similar story – but this doesn’t seem to be reflected for many market researchers, some of whom appear to have been hit quite hard by reductions in government spending as well as cautious clients elsewhere.
I know of several clients who seem hell-bent on spending their way out of recession via an increased focus on strategy, braver creative and stonking budgets (hurrah!). But also several clients who are seemingly incapable of making any decision, for fear of making the wrong one.
What does this tell us? Apart from that there’s no such thing as a definitive answer to how the marketing community is doing up here, it does feel like the economy is rewarding the brave.
I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for a while about what I see as the broad perception among the health, diet and fitness profession that being fit & healthy = going to the gym.
Apart from the super fit fitness fans and some of my Dad’s 60+ mates (who seem to use the gym as a pub type social club with exercise as a minor added bonus), I don’t know many people who actually enjoy going to the gym. Which seems to me to be the problem.
If you enjoy something, you’ll keep doing it. You’ll make an effort even when you’re tired, or busy, or it’s raining sideways. But if you don’t really enjoy it you’ll go less frequently and eventually stop – witness the massive influx of new members to gyms every January who quickly drop off again – the first year gym membership drop out rate has been variously estimated from 30-40% (The Independent) to 60-70% (The Mail).
We do seem to be gradually shifting from a ‘diet and lose weight quickly’ message to a ‘lifetime of healthy eating habits’ approach, but apart from a bit of Change 4 Life 150 active minutes messaging the Powers That Be don’t seem to have addressed the issue of finding exercise activities that people actually enjoy and will keep up.
Thanks to regular horse riding (some of it side saddle) I’m fairly fit (and halfway to a six pack) yet I haven’t darkened the doors of a gym in ten years. I keep at it because I really enjoy it. It was the same with most of the older ladies I used to meet at my tap dancing class who turned out once a week without fail for a giggle and a dance.
You have to find something you love. It might be the gym, but it equally might be swimming, jogging, canoeing, hill walking, bellydancing or mountain biking.
With Change 4 Life funding unfrozen, it feels like now would be a great time for a ‘try something new (and keep it up)’ campaign from them. Or maybe this is an opportunity for a brand to step up and claim the territory (and moral high ground). Nestle did ‘Get Set Go Free’ last year but that talked about trial, not lifestyle.
I really think there’s an opportunity here – or has someone just done this and I’ve missed it?
No wonder our high streets are struggling – they’ve become a shopping assault course.
In my second Planning job one of my clients was a big shopping centre. One of the insights we came up with was that this out of town complex was simply shopping made easier than the high street – it was warm, dry, flat for easy pushing of pushchairs and had free parking. It was also seen by many women as being a lot safer place to shop, chiefly because the security guards and zero tolerance policy towards buskers, beggars and chuggers made it less intimidating and consequently more relaxing.
Anyone who has recently tried to make their way on foot through a city centre will know that ‘relaxing’ is not really an appropriate word to use. Since one of my busiest clients is based in Leeds city centre I’ve been taking the opportunity to run a few errands after meetings but I regularly have to face an assault course of big issue sellers (who, to be fair, are the most polite of all of them), MRS clipboard ladies, lucky heather sellers, buskers, the-end-is-nigh religious types, novelty woolly hat cart traders, leafleteers and chuggers.
Last week in Leeds I was approached by twelve different variations of the above in the time it took me to walk from the car to M&S.
The chuggers are worst of all. Again last week I was walking along when out of the corner of my eye a 6 foot something bloke built like a tank strode towards me shouting “hey, lady in the black coat!”. My first thought was not ‘goodness me, who is that interesting and charming man?’, it was ‘Help’. When another dirty great chugger bloke tried “hey, lady in the stripy grey trousers” a hundred yards further along I’m afraid my reply was most unladylike.
Shopping is supposed to be pleasurable. Not scary. And until city centres put their foot down and clean up their high streets, more and more people will decamp to the safety and reduced stress of out of town shopping. Which means that the stores will follow them.