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Ok, this wont really make any sense or be of any interest unless like me you’ve been following the Leo Burnett work for Nando’s in Kuwait (two articles down).
Granted it sounds like an obscure one but it’s given me quite a few laughs along the way and I’ve grown some affection for this character ‘Fred’ that they’ve created (a chicken who has dedicated his life to becoming a Nando’s chicken).
Now, seeing as there is all this noise in the UK going on about how we treat chicken chickens…..
……the most recent video uploaded on to the Fred blog was quite attention grabbing:
I mean, they execute a brand character and then upload it…..that’s genius. Imagine if we started killing off these characters – first of all it would be very entertaining…but it’s also the most un-corporatey thing you could do. It goes against every single rule ever made about advertising……and that’s why this is great.
I guess it’s therefore important to try and understand why I liked this Fred the Chicken campaign. The answer really is because it seemed nothing like advertising which has never been more true than in its latest upload. How much respect would McDonald’s get if they did a drive by on Ronald, it would be answering the calls of the people. The difference being we all hate Ronald where people actually grew affectionate towards this Fred character. So there you have it, probably the first ever execution of a brand character and probably the last. Maybe it’s a bunch of ad people having a laugh with friends and a camera or maybe it’s a very clever way of breaching a new way of approaching a run of the mill chicken restaurant? Whatever the thinking behind it, I thoroughly enjoyed it…..almost gutted Fred is dead.
I’ll quit babbling about it now, just that I saw it this morning and felt it was quite extreme and different, but in a good and novel way.
Advanced apologies regarding the analogy, I’ll explain. I’ve recently just come out of what can only be described as one of the most enlightening meetings with a planning mentor.
We tend to discuss advertising (well I do) here on blogs in very conceptual, consumer interacting ways which is obviously the sexy part of advertising theory and debate. I indulge in this past time a lot and I worryingly force those not in the advertising industry to engage in such debates also (which isn’t always the best way to make friends). However, I was stopped in my tracks today and asked to in a very thorough and logical way to express my understanding on how certain campaigns came to the fruition. So I started using a VW example which is the new print executions about their new fold down roof and the way it works with the consumer, visually it……. No no no Anton, what did the agency actually do to get there?
I think when discussing advertising it’s very easy for us to get lost in the sizzle, by that I mean how the ad looks, how it sounds, how it is reacted to. When really this should maybe become a luxury conversation that comes after we’ve been credited with discussing the sausage by providing a solid and practical discussion on how the strategy was arrived at, translated into a brief and then passed on to creatives. Was this a brutal and simple USP or product benefit that when tested on audiences, responded well to and as a result developed into a strategy i.e. a sports car with greater leg room for passengers for greater comfort. Was there an insight discovered about how the product was used which was then crucial to building a creative strategy and how was it discovered i.e. how people consume Cadbury Cream Eggs and practical research techniques into the phenomenon on how it is physically consumed hence ‘How do you do it’.
I dissed rigid strategic frameworks but at the same time celebrated their importance in previous posts which I can understand must seem confusing. What I was trying to express is that arriving at a strategy can’t be the same in every instance…which is obvious, obviously, hence we can’t apply the same way of arriving at a strategy every time you are tasked with writing a creative brief. A different brand and product will require a different methodology in getting there. So maybe to build the really important part of a career in advertising is to understand and discuss the very beginning of advertising strategy and think about the practical ways the agency got to that pretty picture – sales and market data, consumer habits, well structured research groups, factory visits, interviews with industrial opinion leaders and product designers – all the really important steps that were taken to get there. In some cases I said that some advertising was created off the back of a strategy ‘make it look cool’, and quoted ipod. Whilst I still believe that to be true I’d like to note that the luxury of such instances are rarer than a blue steak and can’t be a rule of thumb.
Ramble over, just a thought or a critique of oneself.