Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jamie's Fowl Dinner Gets Results

If you didn’t watch it, no doubt you would have heard about Jamie Oliver’s Fowl Dinners. This is the show where he killed baby chickens in front of a shocked studio audience in a bid to get people to choose free range eggs and chicken over factory farmed product.
If you didn’t see, it here’s what all the fuss is about: In the opening scenes of the show, he asked members of his audience to separate the male from the female chicks on their tables. With this he put the male chicks to death by suffocation, demonstrating what happens at chicken farms to the non-egg laying member of the species.
Of course his audience members were upset, and the RSPCA condemned his slaughter of the chicks. But Jamie defended his actions, saying …”if seeing some of the practices helps to change the shopping habits of just 5 per cent of people watching, then it will be worth it.”
Jamie would have known that he was going to piss of animal rights groups and alienate some of his audience. But bravery won out in the end. After the program aired in Britain sales of factory farmed chickens dropped by 10 million units within weeks and sales of free range eggs increased by a third. Amazing results for this one off stunt and more than what he was hoping for I’m sure.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Big Thinking for Small Spaces

When Ikea arrived in New York it wanted to make a big noise in the city that never sleeps. For the opening of its first store in the city, it tapped into New Yorkers’ pride in their local landmarks, combined with its traditional focus on affordability and recognition of small space living.

Four 20’x20’ pop-up room settings were fitted and furnished with Ikea products, giving the public a taste of what they could experience in-store. These living room-sized boxes were erected in busy outside spaces: Union Square, Borough Hall Plaza, Brooklyn Public Library and Cadman Plaza.
Other media used included bus kings, pizza delivery boxes, phone kiosks, guerrilla media, direct mail and even wrapping the buses and water taxis that transport visitors to the Ikea store.
No results from this campaign yet, but a really simple and effective way to bring the staple collateral of self-assembly boxes, which Ikea is well known for as an integral part of the media mix.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting won over!

Following on from a couple of posts, Retailtainment & Banksy, this is a simple little story about a recent retail experience of mine.

Borders, the big book baron, has infiltrated lots of shopping strips and centres and are obviously taking sales from the somewhat little-er guys that I’ve always shopped at like Dymocks and small independent book shop, Readings. Always one to go for the underdog, I don’t tend to shop at Borders.

On this occasion, I wanted to buy my loved one a copy of a book called Wall & Piece…a book of mystery man Banksy’s graffiti art.

I find myself in a shopping strip with only Borders and Dymocks to choose from. With my head held high, I head for Dymocks first. The 80’s style peach d├ęcor and times new roman font directing me to the Art section make me feel I’m doing the right thing by shopping here; they clearly need the cash to renovate. With no luck in the art section, I ask Kaye, the mid-40’s shop assistant dressed in a striped Dymocks shirt and gold name badge, if she can help me with my request. She asks her trusty computer if the book is in the shop, tries a few different ways of spelling Banksy, but they don’t have it, never have..."Sorry, can't help you love".
I shield my identity as I walk into Borders. The shop is huge, nice fit out and lots of bookish looking people man the registers. On the lower floor I find my section and start the search. Nothing! I approach one of the female staff and search for her name badge. Nothing! I ask her if she can help me find a book about Banksy…cutting me off she says “Ah, Wall & Piece…sorry we’ve sold out, but I'm happy to order that in for you. It will take up to two weeks to get here, and we can call you when it arrives, or get it sent to another store if you like. But if you’re into Banksy, what about this….”
I could go on, but you get the picture. I’m sold. Good old fashioned service, friendly, knowlegable staff and a good range has got me going back to Borders next time I’m shopping for a book. Pretty simple stuff really!

Picture Monkey

One of the most time consuming things I find in the run up to a client presentation is gathering all the relevant images to bring the ideas to life. Often the images you use to get your thinking over the line, can have a significant influence in selling in an idea. Everyone has their share of favorite stock image sites to help crystallise their idea. Some stock imagery however, is so bland and generic that all images sourced are highly unbelievable.

Flickr's related word site is one of the best sites I've come across to source interesting imagery and make the process fun along the way. With a contemporary black portal, you type in a word and a wheel of related words appear in your screen. The good thing is the images are sourced directly from flickr, so you're sourcing real people's photographs from around the world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Psychic Experience

On Friday night in the pub we were chatting about Psychics, and two of my girl-friends said they'd been to one in Manly who was good (85% accurate they said!). In the spirit of our recent creativity training, I decided to put my long-held skepticism to the side and dive in. Why not try something new to stimulate my creative brain? So I went to the Psychic and when I showed up they said I had to make an appointment (insert your own joke here e.g. didn't they know you were coming?).

So you ask: did Melita the Psychic change my life and my opinion of the supernatural? If I tell you that half way through the session I stopped to ask Melita, "Am I giving off enough energy?" you'll quickly guess that she didn't win me over. I honestly started open-minded but she was so far off / vague that I couldn't suspend my disbelief any longer.

In the style of the 7 show The One I give you the hits and misses:-

A relative with the middle name James
A new project coming up which is going to involve a bit of Payne (then again she might have meant pain?)
I'm going to the Blue Mountains soon

I went fishing with my dad or grandad a lot when I was young
I'm frustrated in my job (although I did have a frustrating day Monday)
I go to the casino with my friend Will

I will buy property when I'm 37 or 38
I will find everything I want in reverse order but I need to be patient
I need to focus on communication and tell the girl in my life what I want out of our relationship

What did I learn from this experience? First, it's absolutely true that the more, different things you try, the better you will be at having rounded perspective and good ideas. Second, you can make $90 an hour making stuff up (and I honestly reckon I could do her job as well as she did). Third, never trust a psychic who asks for payment in advance and who starts calling you Robert when your real name is Robin! Doh.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Give Dreams not Stuff

This is the motto of a new Canadian company called DreamBank that are gathering quite a bit of good karma / PR for themselves. It's a pretty nifty idea and as with all great ideas dead simple! It's based on the premise we all gather way to much useless stuff in our lives that we actually never use. The more useless stuff in the world, not only is this a drain on storage space but this over abundance aint really helping the heaving planet either.

So, register your dream on DreamBank e.g. penguin watching in Antartica, deposit for a house, paying off the student loan etc etc and just let all your future gifters know about your dream so that rather than getting another set of personalised hankies from your Great Aunty Dot, get her to throw a bit of dosh towards your dream.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Banksy - International Man of Mystery

Art is good and often mysterious; it brings an often indefinable joy to us all where we need not have any specific agreement on what it means or why we like it, it just is and we accept that by its very nature it is often subjective.

This brings me to Banksy a British satirical graffiti artist who has been bravely challenging the establishment for a few years now.

He has an enviable ability to subvert the belief systems that we tend to clutch onto today and I LOVE IT. His art is public and therefore democratic and its poetry is in its ability to challenge social norms and injustices with a wry grin.

Aside from his satirical wit, what makes Banksy so fascinatingly mysterious is his anonymity. No one really knows who Banksy is, his art fetches huge amounts of money (one piece sold for over $500k!) and pops up in all the ‘right’ places. In 2005 nine images appeared at the Israeli West Bank and my personal favourite was when he hung his own subverted paintings at the Tate Gallery in London. Check out the video footage on his site of him doing it

His message has been to make his art famous and not himself yet recently there have been news reports claiming to have cracked his identity. I can’t help but wonder why we can’t live with the mystery.
What is it about outing Banksy? What is it that forces us to need to explain something which is clearly more challenging the longer it remains a mystery?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Retailtainment - putting you in the mood to buy.

With the anticipated launch of the Apple Flagship store in Sydney, last month, we we're discussing the role retail plays in the channel planning process. This got me thinking about a term which I came across back in the UK [when I was working on the Nokia business] and looking at ways of showcasing the features of the Nokia NSeries range instore. Defined as 'Retailtainment', this spoke volumes about the importance entertainment plays in sustaining the dialogue consumers have with brands right to the point when money is exchanged with the sales representative at retail.

In his book, Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption (1999), author George Ritzer describes "retailtainment" as the "use of ambience, emotion, sound and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in a mood to buy.”

If we think about OMD’s Checkmate Framework– apertures are essentially the times our customers are most likely to be in the mood to buy. The criteria below may help identify Retailtainment at its best:

· Must be Entertaining
· Gets you to interact with the brand
· Enriches the consumer journey
· Converts from Awareness to Sales.
· Leaves you wanting more.

What does Retailtainment consist off and which brands in the world are doing this best? In the book, The Experience Economy, Pine & Gilmore demonstrate how a coffee bean can be graduated up four stages of value from a commodity (at $1 per pound) to an experience at $5 per cup, by enveloping the actual purchase of coffee into distinct experience.

When does brand experience become retailaiment and when is it just a way of generating brand awareness?
The following quadrant map plots out these differences to help us understand the role media must play to influence these two territories.

Having identified the difference between brand experience and retailtainment, we can begin to plot out the channel selection to help enliven the path to purchase so that the journey is as stimulating as the retail experience at the end of the road.

Since being founded in 1964 Nike has, in partnership with agency Wieden & Kennedy, consistently been one of the world’s most creative & innovative companies. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s they set the agenda for dynamic & influential marketing via legendary campaigns for Air Jordan, Air Max & many more. Over the last 10 years Nike has continued to innovate by extending its brand identity & experience into its retail environments.

For its 2002 World Cup sponsorship, Nike’s creative campaign was led by a global 90sec TVC showing competing teams of football superstars playing ‘Scorpion Knock Out’, a dramatic variation on traditional football played in a menacing arena. Nike extended this idea into their retail stores around the world by constructing 30ft x 80ft cages in which local youths could compete in their own 3-against-3 Scorpion games. This activity remains one of the most effective examples of a creative campaign being extended through the line all the way into the retail environment.

Most recently, the NIKEiD project enables consumers to design their own shoes. This can be done at either or in the NIKEiD design studios in select Nike stores around the globe. Customers can mash up any number of styles, fabrics & colours to create their own personalised Nike’s. In some stores the behind-the-scenes laboratory construction of the shoes is then broadcast on external plasma window displays for passers-by to enjoy. For everyone from sneaker freakers to kids this makes for a hugely immersive & entertaining retail experience.

Activities such as these continually reinforce Nike’s credentials as an innovator & yield a genuinely 360 consumer experience, where purchasing a pair of trainers becomes just as involving & entertaining as the campaigns created to promote them.

OMD’s point of view is that once you understand how the dimensions of retail and brand experience fit together, you need to understand how the client’s brand can fit into the retailtainment quadrant. We think there are many different ways of approaching this which might depend for example on whether you are working on a service brand, a product brand or a retail brand.

St George bank (which we can consider as a service brand for our purposes here) is currently using a successful strategy in Victoria where they are a relative newcomer. They have moved off TV and mass media to a grass roots strategy and they have invested in a St George ice cream van which goes around Melbourne dispensing free ice creams and building the St George brand. The challenge for them is to make sure that the ice cream van does translate to product sales somehow.

Product brands face the problem that they usually don’t control their own retail experience – often Woolies or Coles will be botching it for them and making sure they’re seen as a pure commodity. Brands such as Levis, Nescafe, Cadbury, Lipton’s and more have taken retail into their own hands so they can control their own experience. It can be quite feasible for a product brand to extend its retail channels and take them to the consumer (through for example pop up stores, online or new distribution channels), although in recommending this one has to be aware of contracts with retailers which may prevent direct sales of the product. One of our skincare clients has a site in the US where they have begun to sell direct online and it represents a great advance in retailtainment compared to the supermarket where it’s normally sold. Part of the challenge in recommending new retailtainments to our clients is to make sure they see it either as a brand experience with retail benefits, or a distribution channel with brand experience benefits. If it falls between two stools it can often be too hard.

Retail brands, i.e. retailers themselves have the most control over the customer experience. But conversely in Australia it seems that they have the biggest challenges keeping up with the rest of the world in retailing best practice. Our client Telstra recently opened another T-Life store in Melbourne to go with the one in Sydney opposite the Apple store. When our clients do build these retailtainment experiences, our job is to close the gap between the client’s mass media and the instore experience. How do we get as many people as possible in through the door, how do we sell it as an amazing experience worthy in its own right of attending? Our perception is certainly that Australians are excited by great retailtainment concepts and that PR, ambient and branded content could play a heavy role in this instance.

Ultimately, it does feel like Australia is well behind in the area of retailtainmet, but with more case studies demonstrating the impact of this arena, surely we are on the verge of a brave new world of retailing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Paper Cut

I received an email with some amazing paper cut images like this one and it suggested they had been part of a competition at a gallery in the US. A bit of digging and I discovered they were all the work of the same guy, a Danish chap called Peter Calleson.

Anyway, I think they are amazing and you can see a whole load of them on his website.

Like all great ideas, may patience and perseverance be your friend.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rolf Harris - Kazoo or Hero?

What a man is our Rolf. Just been put into the ARIA hall of fame at the spritely age of 78 and I have to say I am thrilled. I always felt that Rolf was treated a bit like a kazoo in Australia..... you know, an amusingly goofy ole thing that we bring out for a bit of a laugh but not worthy of any real recognition. Well hats off to Rolf.

Some might say that he's a bit on the side of cheese and admittedly those who know me will appreciate I am a big fan of gorgonzola but at a glance here's a few things you may not have known about our Rolf:

-The Beatles sang backing vocals on the original recording of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport
-He played the didgeridoo on a Kate Bush album
-He had never heard Stairway to Heaven before he covered it for the Andrew Denton compilation in 1993
-He has been awarded a CBE (Order of the British Empire)
-He has also been awarded an AM (Order of Australia)
-He painted the queen for her 80th birthday
-He has his own customised Google page that you can download with a changing Australian landscape
-There are 509 YouTube videos referencing him

I think what amazes me about Rolf is he is one of those characters who simplifies what to most of us that which seems out of reach. He's a passionate artist but talks about it in a way that engages everyman, he's a highly successful musician but if you've got 2 arms and a bit of board... well, you are half way there too. I think behind the buffoonery is a great man and there is a good lesson i belive worth noting from the guy who refers to himself as a lucky amateur: keeping stuff simple is a great way to engage.
Click on the image to hear Rolf and the Beatles jammin'

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thinking Big

Love him or hate him Donald Trump has had success that you have to admire.

He has given us some great quotes, most memorable is, "You're Fired!"

One of his lesser know quotes which I like and think applies to thinking fresh & being brave is, "As long as you're going to be thinking anyway, you as well THINK BIG".

I think it applies to the work we do for clients.

If we are going to invest the time working on & thinking on a brief, since we are thinking away we should spend our time thinking Fresh, (Big) & Bravely!

Monday, July 7, 2008

God - who dat?

Admittedly this is The Curio from Easter time but we wanted to post them all up in one place and this seemed appropriate so apologies for the rear view mirror.

After the Easter season we all felt we were left with our bellies full of chocolate and left over hot cross buns in the freezer, but it got us all thinking about where religion fits into it all. Have brands started to fill some of that space we used to allocated to faith? And with brands jostling to be a bigger part of our day to day lives, which are gaining our trust and creating a following?

According to the ABS, there are 185,000 less practicing Christians and related denominations in Australia since the 1996 census. Currently, 3.7M Australians say they have no religion. That’s an increase of 750,000 people over the last 10 years taking their faith elsewhere.

Approximately $4.8M was spent in media by church organisations in 2007…the biggest spenders were the Anglicans followed by Hillsong. Their preferred channels…DM, TV and of course, billboards.

Credited with creating a ‘confessional’ form of media communication, Oprah has been spiritually educating huge audiences for years. A brand in her own right, Oprah has developed a following big enough to rival the total number of religious followers in Australia. Devotees tune in every day, buy her magazine and favourite books. Her most recent book club recommendation has been brought to life, with the help of spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle. Together they’re offering formal, spiritual instruction via a free weekly online download. 700,000 registered to receive the first lesson in ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purposes’ this month. Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University who is working on a book about Oprah as a religious icon says; "The only limit to your religious choices is your imagination, and your sense of loyalty to a particular brand.“ I guess this is how we’re seeing religions more and more…as brands!

So which brands do we trust and why do they occupy that special place in our hearts?

1. Cadbury 11. Streets
2. Panadol 12. Dairy Farmers
3. Band Aid 13. Bunnings
4. Colgate 14. Arnott’s
5. Sony 15. Peters
6. Nokia 16. Gillette
7. Canon 17. Elastoplast
8. Nestle 18. Johnson’s Baby
9. Kellogg’s 19. Kraft

10.Qantas 20. Sanitarium

The Aus Centre for Retail Studies Director, Steve Ogden-Barnes asks “Can you be loyal to a brand you don’t trust? I don’t think so.” The more trusted a brand is, the more likely you are to buy that product. For the top-ranked brand Cadbury, a massive 48% of respondents in the Reader’s Digest survey, said they would always buy that brand.

Look at which well known Aussies are the most trusted:

One of the reasons we want to trust brands is simply because it makes life easier. 80% of Australians say its safer to choose well known brands and 71% think brands are useful because it helps them to judge quality and value. According to Roy Morgan 47.5% of people trust well known brands, which is up 3% since 2001. Nice to think we’re helping people out!

When Radiohead released their latest album online, they gave consumers the power to choose how much they would pay for it, essentially putting their trust in the hands of fans to do the right thing. Prices varied from zero to 100 pounds (the latter probably from their PR manager). The band’s manager Bryce Edge said "We're prepared to take a risk and we might come out looking very foolish. But we believe if your music is great, then people will pay for it." Now that’s what we call faith!

A group of devout Christians in the Philippines are trying the quick way to god by live crucifixion. The “Kristos” are nailed to a cross, Jesus style, and hung up for 5 minutes. Post crucifixion, they can quench their holy thirst thanks to Coke and Pepsi, who have set up stalls at the site. Another case of these big brands going where the people are. So what about bringing people to your brand? Here’s a couple of cases to how it has worked and hasn’t!


VW wanted to reclaim their position as ‘The People’s Car’. They created a character that typified most Germans, Horst Schlammer, and send him on an 8 week quest to become a licensed driver. The online campaign began without mention of VW but the association became more apparent as Horst favoured the VW Golf. His popularity grew with videos spreading virally and visits to his blog exceeding all expectations. With more than 4.7M video downloads, Horst became a celebrity and provided 90,000 qualified leads for VW making it Germany’s most successful DM campaign ever. Consumers didn’t seem to mind that a car brand was behind Horst. The campaign had built enough value through its entertaining content for consumers to want to spend time with as well as share with others.

It could just be “teaser fatigue” , but it seems Coke went about starting a movement the wrong way. The teaser campaign for Coke Zero began with un-branded street posters asking consumers to visit a blog to discuss topics such as: Why can’t every weekend be long? and perhaps where things went wrong, Why can’t you have the real thing with Zero Sugar? Once the teaser was discovered to be the work of Coca-Cola an angry online community responded branding the idea an intrusion and dishonest.

Check out the Coke Zero damage on:

Comedy in Communication


Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?". The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"

Ah yes, humour…such a divisive thing.
In this Curio we wondered how humour works in communication and is it the best medicine?
This joke was part of a year long experiment by the scientist run Laugh Lab in the UK to discover the world’s funniest joke. 40,000 jokes were submitted and 1.5million consumers voted but why did this one win?
It overcame all the same hurdles that hinder
funny ads working in the advertising domain;
  • It bridged the culture divide
  • It crossed the gender division
  • It is classically amusing, not bowing to any particular time or fashion in humour

THE EVOLUTION OF DANCE follows the universal humour rules and on Youtube is currently:
#1 Most Viewed Video
#1 Most Discussed Video
# 1 Favourite Video of all time

It has now has had more than 86.5m views…!

Humour has a great history in advertising; disarming people with laughter has been an often debated means to win the heart but does the mind follow?
It was David Ogilvy who said that nobody buys from a clown but little did he realise how humour wears many a different guise.
Surprisingly, It’s actually an area that we seem to know quite little about from an advertising effects point of view. How does humour work in advertising?
sometimes it works, makes a whole lot of us favour a product or brand and then often it doesn’t. it seems that one of the biggest problems is that as consumers we are so preoccupied with the entertainment value of the joke, we miss the brand or what those advertising types are wanting us to do… not just like the brand more, but love it and buy it..

It’s no big surprise that it all works best when the brand and it’s benefit is an integral part of the execution and there are some classic examples of when this has worked. The We Love Our Lamb campaign with Sam Kekovic turned around an 18 year decline in lamb sales.
Why did this work?
It’s a damn good rally and cry for Aussies, timed around Australia Day - a patriotic high note for good media planning. It’s a celebration of lamb & 91.5% of the population (who don’t consider themselves a vegetarian) are all invited.
Has anyone not seen the Cadbury Gorilla playing Phil Collins?
Cadbury claim it has increased sales by 8%. Amazing really. There’s no real integration between joke and brand. It’s certainly incongruous which is why it’s funny but how do you account for the results?
A theory I favour comes from Mark Sinnock, the SCO at Fallon London (who incidentally created the ad). He talks of Chris Anderson’s long tail theory applying to great communications. This ad was launched in August 07 and there are 966 related videos on Youtube today. The original ad is now tailed off with a multitude of copycats spoofs which will long continue to celebrate the love of this campaign, a phenomenon which Sinnock references as helping ‘to make ideas more permanent, and help brands establish a more permanent position, inside a persons social world’.
Still, this would have been a post rationalised explanation of a brave road travelled by client and agency and we say bravo for bravery for this is the stuff which sees all stakeholders working towards bold greatness!
All you Bonnie Tyler fans, check out the Gorilla doing Total Eclipse of the Heart
Or for a more academic read, check out Chris Anderson’s site;

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

'Join the Conversation' has become to be known as the mother of all blogs. In what began as a half dare, the editors, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan challenged bloggers around the world to contribute one page — 400 words — on the topic of “conversation”. The resulting book, The Age of Conversation, brings together over 100 of the world’s leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators in a ground-breaking and unusual publication available in hardcover and e-format. Sales from the hardcover form goes to Variety, the Children's Charity. The editors of, and contributors to, this book have waived their rights to royalties in support of this charitable cause, demonstrating how you can exchange inspiring thinking and help out a really good cause at the same time.

Hot dogs, meat pies, jam doughnuts and beer

That was the food and drink being consumed around me as I spent my first wintery Saturday watching Richmond play Carlton at the MCG. What was great about a day out at the footy, apart from the thrilling 4th quarter, was the opportunity to people watch.

This was the first time in a while I’d sat in general seating at the MCG and we ended up in the nose bleed section surrounded by real footy fans. Die hard fans that had lined up for hours before the game to make sure they got a seat.

From listening and observing between the cheers and the jeers, they’d come on the train from the outer suburbs which probably cost them $10 or more. The pies were $4 and beers were $5 and tickets into the game were $20. An expensive day out for an average family of four! They mostly wore trackies and proudly displayed their teams’ jersey or scarf. Some looked worn from life, and some had come to the freezing cold ground without enough clothing to keep them warm – now that’s commitment.

I don’t mean to sounds like a total snob, but it dawned on me that I don’t often spend time with what we call middle Australia, so I’d forgotten who they are, what they’re about and what they do for fun.

So, the purpose of this post is pretty simple: We so often think about the audiences we’re trying to reach as someone like us, someone we know, a family member, a friend. But middle Australia isn’t many of ‘us’. They are these guys that were at the footy.

So I highly recommend you turn down that invitation to the corporate box, go get yourself a general admission ticket and spend time with some real folks!

Oh and for the record I had a jam doughnut and washed it down with a beer too, delicious.