Archive for the ‘Ads’ Category

Why Simple Is Good

While getting my daily dose of the ‘book, I came across this banner ad from the folks at that fruit company:macpcbanner.jpgAnd I thought to myself this is such a simple and cool use of space that really stands out from the increasing intrusive and annoying fare that is being procured as digital advertising – give the user the choice to receive the content and make it a little bit different from the norm when they do decide to take up your offer to have some of their time. Surely this is sacrilege?


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Race Is a Four Letter Word

I’ve thought about writing about this taboo topic for a while, but refrained because I was being a bit chicken. Two things made me do it. Sir Charles wrote a post about it, and this thread on the BR forums. In writing a reply to that thread, I got a little of out of hand on the word count front, so here we go:

In the last 50 odd years the ethnic makeup of the UK has been in the midst of an unprecedented change (this isn’t unique to the UK, generally after WWII the then colonial powers ‘encouraged’ people out in the colonies to move back to their respective motherships – particularly to help out with the workforce that had been hit by war casualties), this change has led to significant social upheaval as ethnic minorities move up the social ladder as successive generations become more prosperous / better educated. You can look at accounting and medicine as examples of fields where half a century ago, professionals were almost exclusively ‘ethnic British’ where now, as an example – according to unofficial research by the Student BMJ (British Medical Journal) London, Manchester and Birmingham universities have more than 50% of their medical students classed as non-white.

So this social climbing has resulted in today ethnic minorities have more spending power. More than 30% of Britain’s richest 100 are ethnic minorities. So the question is what is adland doing about it? To get a piece of their spending power are agencies really in the minds of these consumers? Do they know what motivates them, what they aspire to, what they value? Can they know this when the vast majority (according to the latest IPA Diversity reports) of agency staff are middle-class and white? (And I’m talking about advertising focused staff – not support roles) And I mean really know them, not just ‘oh I listen to hip-hop/bhangra music / I went to uni with loads of asians/afro-carribeans etc’. Because you don’t fully get afro-carribean culture just because you listen to reggae. Please.

And if agencies are smart enough and self-aware enough (George Parker will say no at this point) to realize that they may not necessarily know this group of consumers well enough, what are they going to do about it? Commission more research? Or maybe think about how to attract these types of people to work for them so they can start to pick their brains about how best to approach them with their comms? In order to do this, agencies have to look at their HR departments and as ‘What are you doing to attract the best people’ because if you are looking for the best – you’ll find them, regardless of where they went to university / where they’re from (this leads onto a larger debate about how agencies approach hiring new blood, which I’ll be writing about on adgrads). Ethnic minorities will have, by 2011 300 billion of disposable income. Surely someone wants a piece of that pie, and is smart enough to try and get themselves equipped to go after it.

I’m not by any means suggesting that agencies are racist in their dealing and practices, only that now a large percentage of the UK’s prosperous are of ethnic minorities, and by definition the communications industry should be going out and communicating with them. That’s my 4p worth.

Race is only a dirty word when you let it become one.

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Smell What I’m Cooking

Not brand-spanking new, but I really like this one.

Credit to Sir Charles for sharing it with moi.

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You’ve Talked Me Into It


I saw this gem over the weekend. Click on the picture to see one of the most compelling arguments I’ve seen. To not go somewhere. 🙂

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I’m No Hack

Following Sam’s Saatchi shenanigans and Saatchi’s petty reaction, I’ve had a few emails asking about hacking M&C Saatchi and how I went about it. Far be it for me to indulge, but if you insist.


I was on my placement year at Leo Burnett working on McDonalds and thoroughly enjoying it. However my time was nearing an end at Leos and the Saatchi & Saatchi Scholarship Scheme was approaching. I rang Saatchi & Saatchi who told me that my brief to enter into the scholarship was to take their logo “Nothing Is Impossible” which would be supplied on an A3 poster and place it somewhere topical and interesting.

I toyed with ideas which were terrible, like taking a photo of a homeless person outside the Dorchester holding the poster. Really base line poor stuff. But, whilst having a cigarette outside Leo’s with my friend who was working in Arc (same building) we were talking about hacking websites and how people do it etc. Then, I thought, that could be a sweet idea to place the Saatchi & Saatchi poster on a website, and what better place to do it than on the agency they love to hate and vice versa M&C Saatchi. We both pretty much pissed ourselves laughing at the audacity of the idea. We were then joined by another of my friends from Arc (both worked in digital one being a project manager and the other a designer). We ran the idea past him at which his face broke into a smile. I had no idea on how to hack a site, make a website or anything like that so these guys were really the people who made this idea work.

However, everything got a bit out of control and I’ll explain why. There was quite a bit of press coverage about this, namely The Times and Campaign. Both thought that I had actually hacked the official M&C website. Thing is I hadn’t, I just convinced digital illiterate people that I had, such as the press. My friends constructed a site that replicated the M&C one. I had bought the domain name http://www.mcsaatchi.gov (Maurice and Charles are avid Tory fans and create their campaigns so it seemed like a potential money earner in the unlikely event the Conservatives won the 2004 election). Anyway, the site was constructed showing the image of the Saatchi & Saatchi poster falling on top of the M&C Saatchi logo.

I then took it upon myself to spread this far and wide to stir a bit of noise before I sent it on to Saatchi & Saatchi. I posted it as the actual M&C website on advertising forums and emailed it round to as many contacts as I had as well as the whole of Leo Burnett who in turn passed it on to their contacts. Before I had even sent it to Saatchi & Saatchi I had a viral website as we were able to track it being viewed up to 300 times a day and travelling from London to New York to Rio.

I then thought it was best to get this over to Saatchi so I emailed their HR department telling them this was my entry to their Scholarship Scheme. I rang them up the next day asking them to make sure that the people who needed to see this saw it and quick as my spidey sense knew there was trouble ahead. They applauded my audacity and from there I had an telephone interview and was told that I was accepted onto the scheme. Sweet I thought, but this viral website started to travel further and further.

Cue the phone call from M&C’s lawyers informing me of my breach of intellectual property, that the website had been pulled down by the domain owners and that I was facing court action. Laughing in the face of danger isn’t exactly how I would describe my reaction, more like a desperate need for my mum and that I was unable to stop saying sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. After this lovely chat I rang Saatchi & Saatchi who calmed me down, told me it would be fine and if there was going to be any trouble they would step in. That was great and I had started a little fisty cuffs with two adversaries that had been quite dormant in dispute..

To cut a boring story short, Campaign and The Times covered the story, convinced that I had actually hacked the real M&C site, which was fine by me, M&C dropped any court action as they were starting to look silly for chasing me, I rocked up to Saatchi & Saatchi where most had seen my website and the pats on the back were very encouraging indeed and then the website stills I kept were entered into the DMA Awards 2004 and helped to win Gold.

So that’s how it happened. I placed the stills and the Campaign article in my portfolio and flashed it at every interview which went down a treat. Other than that it’s not the kind of thing I bring up over dinner with clients.

You can check out the website here on a secure server:

Username: saatchi
Password: 3ntry

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Live Wii


Whilst feeding my videogame addiction online this morning I stumbled across this (opens in new window). Nintendo and agency Comment UK are debuting the first ever live cinema ads where two members of the audience will participate with a Wii ad for the ever popular Wii Sports.

The ad will feature a character known as Steve, sitting at the front of the cinema and his mother, who will come running in looking for him, the lights will go up as she enters the room and they will engage in some momma-son bonding over a quick game of Wii Sports.

I’ve thought about this for all of 5 minutes in my post exercise haze, but I think it’s an awesome idea. However, the fact that you need real people (who are scripted, so to speak) means that Steve and his mom can only do this one cinema at a time. Which makes it kind of gimmicky. To make it really cool, how about asking cinema-goers to engage in a quick round of tennis, or Mario Party styled minigames while most people are in line for stale popcorn and fluorescent cheese? That would reward, entertain and push the Wii further out into the mainstream market that Nintendo is targeting for this round of the colossal epic that is the console war.

The question is, will this make you want to get to the cinema early and sit through half an hour of ads and trailers? If so get down to Edinburgh, York, Southampton or Brixton this weekend and check it out.

More on this here (courtesy of BrandRepublic) and here (Creative Match)

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Brilliant or offensive?

I like to think that some things can be both.

(Credit to ibelieveinadv and adfreak)

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