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Archive for the ‘Anton’ Category

The Mother of Finds

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I’m not really into reviewing eateries, I find it quite pretentious and sad when ad folk do the one up manship on restaurants and some predictable fame seeker will say in total cliché form The Ivy. It’s fucking shit anyway. Having said that, I’m no greasy spoon man either, with vanity strong in my veins I like pretty people and presentation. But this all aside, I have to say I have stumbled onto what is the most modest yet awesome little find.  

Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to MotherMash. Out shopping in Carnaby Street last weekend I followed someone’s tip and Jesus this place is cute. It has innovation written all over it. Talk about taking the sad sack of British dishes – the sausage and mash and waving a culinary, brilliant service based and utilisation wand all over it.  

Firstly, the guy who runs this lush little eating place is great. As soon as you’re in his door he’s got eye contact, a smile and ‘what can I get you fella?’ all over his face. It’s the kind of service that seems homely and warm rather than snotty and posh. Then get this, you choose which kind of mash you want from a variety of like…I dunno…loads, then you choose your sausage and then your gravy, it’s like a tailored made meal of love. It goes without saying that it tastes fantastic, nothing but organic food tricks your taste buds into an even higher state of euphoria whilst you consume at a silly speed. It’s the kind of place and food that if it was snowing outside you’d feel like it was Christmas day. I can’t explain why, it just does, it has that ‘I’m happy I’m inside where it’s warm when the rain is smashing against the window’ feel about it.  

It’s a long shot this one, trying to link this to what Faris was saying about control, I’m wincing as I type and shoe horn the tenuous link but you do feel like you get to totally custom make your own sausage and mash. In a weird way it makes you feel like a bit of a connoisseur as you create the cheesy mash/lamb n mint sausage/red wine gravy combo. Maybe I’m being incredibly sad here or maybe it’s the way the menu was laid out that got me quite excited but the variety was something I haven’t seen before – dedicated to what I always felt was something I’d have to eat if I ever went to jail (that’s a joke, I’m from Newcastle so I lived on the stuff).  

Don’t get me started on the brand identity either – cute cards with a literature about the ‘humble spud’ and offers of external catering services all compliment this well rounded lovely idea. I want it to be everywhere so that the guy who owns it is rewarded for his genius invention and that you can all try it but at the same time I don’t want the wicked world of the ‘chain’ to ruin its impeccable charm.  

Really, if you’re around Oxford Street/Carnaby Street you must nip in and try it.  

www.mothermash.co.uk

Anton xx     

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Like the sun will rise in the morning advertising has at last woken up to something that was said by myself and Sam, oh, some 4 years ago.

 

 

This was that the current working model of AD and CW as creative teams is a bit pony these days and that teams of a creative and a planner is a certain way to getting better solutions. Both are required to be seasoned and by that I don’t mean the old school ivory tower kind of creatives and I don’t mean the planners that will spend lots of time making sure everyone is aware of how considered they are. No sir.

 

 

The creatives I’m talking about are young enough to have grown up with digital being integral to how they see communication and old enough to be able to stand up and defend work in the face of a client that they are passionate about.

 

 

The planners…..well….are pretty much the same but where they come in isn’t to over complicate and confuse the beautiful mind that sits of opposite them but to make their life easier. It is their role to paint the picture of what’s going on in market, in sector, in segment and in target. This doesn’t mean massive charts and graphs, this means a chat. This means having a crazy wealth of knowledge on the topic that when asked by the creative it pours like Sangria in Magaluf.

 

 

This isn’t to say that the planner is the total and utter gimp of the creative. Far from it. They are a crucial part of the stimulus which gets to the idea. What I am saying is that we trade on creative ideas we don’t trade on bureaucracy, schmoozing and doing exactly what we are told. That leads us down the dark path of mediocrity which surprise surprise many large clumsy networks are in. It’s only a matter of time before these clumsy dinosaurs are exposed for their total lack of creativity and that no amount of regular lunches will save them from their inadequacies.

 

 

So in comes the dawn of a new shape of agency. It isn’t digital screaming how traditional has it all wrong and is so out of touch with its one way dialog. It isn’t a creative team locked away in an office with a closed door, waiting for someone to walk in so they can throw their one award at them from 1999 ‘pfft, don’t they know we’re THINKING’. It isn’t the standard start of TV when planning integration.

 

 

It is a meeting of two minds, both colourful, both commercial, both rebellious the only differing bit is that one prefers to be called a creative and one prefers to be called a planner. One has spent more time mocking up their ideas into visual manifestations and one has spent more time mocking up their ideas as evidenced stories.

 

 

This creative force will of course out manoeuvre any traditional setup. That and the old structure is fucking dull and limited. The problem though is that this model can’t be just ‘imposed’. Because it is quite free it can’t exist in the larger nertworks, they would just ruin its purity anyway with process. Nope, this needs to be the culture of a small agency, it needs to be integrated slowly because the importance of the two that make up the team is ridiculously crucial. You can’t just nip down to Watford and pick these people off the shelf, they need to be discovered having wanted to work like this, have already thought like this, have tried it out maybe.

 

 

So, there you go, another structure rant over, next will be about how you go about getting the ball rolling on it. I’ll wait until I’ve caught my breath before I start on that one.

Anton

xxx

 

p.s. This model was the topic of my dissertation (written June 2004) and that the structure of ad agencies needs to change. If you want a copy let me know and I’ll be happy to send it

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I’ve recently been completely bowled over by quite an amazing piece of ‘on a shoe string’ work that has come from Leo Burnett Dubai. I’ve been harsh on the region in the past for a number of reasons but since following this campaign I’ve seen that great and fun ways of doing stuff can be born there. 

The Client: Nando’s Chicken

The Brief: Bring awareness to Nando’s Chicken Kuwait in a saturated fast food/restaurant market

The idea: Create a character called Fred who is literally ‘dying’ to get in as a Nando’s chicken  

Now I usually wouldn’t say that running around in a chicken suit is ground breaking work. However, what LB Dubai have done is have this character’s rant on his plight recorded and uploaded onto his blog: 

http://chickenpower.org/ 

There are mobile phone sound bites you can download, they filmed a music video etc and it’s all about how this chicken Fred is being discriminated by being denied to become a Nando’s chicken. Again, it’s not the kind of stuff I would follow but if you watch the clips you’ll actually find yourself pissing with laughter. It looks like the guys at LB were given zero budget, have an awesome sense of humour and decided to make the first ever Adland version of Jackass. The Facebook group has 923 members as I write and most of the Fred stuff can be found there and I strongly suggest you check it out for a giggle: 

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5411418182 

Is it effective, how do you measure it? Clearly something you’ll have to park when it comes to this campaign. I would say it’s less about looking at it with a critique hat on and more about looking at it and thinking wouldn’t that be a laugh to make.

Anton

xxx  

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Own a football club

I found this today and it’s an awesome idea. Visit:

www.myfootballclub.co.uk

The idea being that you pay £35 and for it you have a stake in a football club, can vote on buying players, training, takeover deals. They’ve just signed a club which if it was to be successful would be a great story. Also, you can watch a team play knowing that you partly own it. Fantastic.

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 I’m quite late to comment on Marilyn Manson, he’s been around for years and everyone has mentioned that he’s a marketing genius but I quite fancied a brain dump on him. I’ve been watching his videos of late and using some of them as stimulus in certain briefings as they really capture the dark side of surrealism, which I’m, quite a fan of anyway.

Manson kicked off his concept of ‘shock’ around 1994/95 and has made quite a good effort at distributing it as a cultural idea which converges across a number of mediums – T shirts, music, music videos, live gigs, books,  interviews, films, documentaries, websites etc. What’s also great is that he gives credit to his content by using as many opportunities as he can to reveal he has intelligible reasoning and logic for it to exist, that and like it or not his look is quite cool. It therefore has the very makings of a successful brand – distribution channels and mediums along with a level of kudos. I guess what I’m trying to address is the use of convergence and transmedia strategies effectively to deliver a cultural idea into the heart of contemporary society. Some may argue that shock has always been there, Ozzy snorting ants is rock n roll story that’s used WOM to be told countless times. Sure. But in terms of a contemporary cultural movement and contemporary mediums that has been kicked off by a rock star I think Marilyn Manson proves quite a good case study. I guess the band brand of Marilyn Manson could therefore teach a few of the commercial brands a trick or two about getting into popular culture.

On a similar vein, I’ve noticed a few other ideas (using the word ideas to mean films, games, music) breaking out of their traditional platform. The franchise that is the Alien films looks to return Alien War to London in April 2008.

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his was at one point the only film experience of its kind and saw 2 million visitors running and screaming through it between 1993 and 1996. Essentially bringing a very atmospheric film to life to be experienced – branded entertainment, branded content, convergence or transmedia? Probably all. Then I recently learnt that the Resident Evil games (which are known for their atmosphere and deep dark plot lines look to make the whole game experience a certain twist of reality by opening…..A Resident Evil House….but in Japan.

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It’s only because I’m a geeky fan of the above (which usually have OTT fan bases) that I’ve started to notice them break out of their original launched platforms. It’s great for the business of content but also for taking a brand experience into a whole new dimension. Nintendo World, The Terminator Experience, Nike Land (which I would imagine could be fitness clubs) the possibilities are quite endless and can stretch as far as the imagination can.

It’ll be interesting to discuss other cultural ideas which have broken out of their original conception to become a much wider and involving entity if you know of any.

 

Anton xxx

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Firstly, is it boring to talk about how agencies need to change, how the structure put in place in the 1950s might not be the best way to handle such a fragmented 2007 and that possible conspiracy theory that if agencies were honest the whole industry would crack at the top due to the severe profits of large agencies being through traditional TV (whilst it still has an important place it has to fundamentally change in terms of creative and media format i.e. Gorilla and IPTV). 

Still boring? Yeah well, I know but still I think I’ll have a go at Brand Image vs Brand Innovation as we still seem to be far off it. Inspired by the legend that is John Grant I can’t help but feel, WTF are we doing? We spend so much time, resource and money in producing a glossy frame when we don’t think about the actual picture at all. What I mean by this  is that we strive to make polished advertising messages however when we get brand/product facing we are let down by shoddy service or poor product and therefore this makes any ‘image’ we have tried to create totally null and void.

An example was today when I went to pay in a cheque at my local NatWest branch, whilst I understand that they say they open at 9.30am they could clearly see that there was a queue gathering outside and almost out of spite a member of staff stood inside until the clock hit directly 9.30am. I then approached the cash desk, two people were sat there, I approached one directly only to be told, ‘nah mate’…..well why the FUCK are you sat at the cash desk alluding that you might for a second be up for doing your job? Count the pennies either behind a screen or away from where people will believe that you’re sat there for a reason. This experience really clashed strongly with their current advertising – all about how they are human centric, customer caring and service based. So a total waste of money building an image that is utterly false and transparent to a marketing bull shit savvy public. 

So where then? Well surely seeing as we claim to be king of consumer knowledge we should be advising our clients on innovation rather than false motivation. If we are meant to be advising our clients to the best of our ability surely we should be telling them where they are faltering on their delivery or how to innovate in order to gain market share? But that’s for brand consultancies I hear you cry? Is it? If it is then how are there so many brands (big brands) which are failing to deliver on their promise? If it is then surely they can’t be very good at it?  

The long incomprehensible ramblings I’m trying to get to is that our current business model is quite literally screwed. We provide pictures whether it be on TV or on a computer or on a billboard making a promise that simply isn’t true. I’m not trying to be all sanctimonious, I love what we do, I just think we’re working back to front. The ability for us to add value is getting less (based on the consumer facing service failing) and we try and justify that value through (if we’re honest) dubious measurement methods.

So I’d like to change, getting closer to client’s business, bringing innovation to the table and using consumer knowledge to create real and tangible change (as opposed to suitable tone of voice) and then a true and honest brand image which in turn generates the good stuff. I’m aware that certain agencies have worked towards this, having a say in packaging, tone of voice, events, customer services but they’re case studies of inspiration as opposed to the norm right now. Anton xxx 

p.s. AHHH, it’s just happened again, I go into the Bagel Factory as I’m quite a fan, buy a bagel, hand over my loyalty card to be stamped and then told, ‘we don’t do that anymore’ ‘so what do you do?’ ‘nothing’ Had I not paid I would have spun on my heel. This is the kind of arrogance that brands think they can still wield,  with Tesco Express, Pret and Eat on nearly every corner should Mr Bagel Factory be somewhat a bit wiser? I can see the next ‘honest’ print campaign: ‘Really tasty bagels from a really unappreciative company’ or ‘Fuck you very much for your loyal custom’.

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Visiting Home

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I’m off home tonight, to the majestic city that is Newcastle. I hardly ever get to spend a long weekend there and as a result it makes it extra special when getting there i.e. the bars I would fall in and out of a student, all my friends who I grew with outside of work (I love work friends also but you know what I mean) and just the general ‘get out of London feeling.

How many people work where they grew up in advertising? I’m quite jealous of Andrew, the Northern Planner, who was able to stay up there and gets the buzz of the place. But I’ve been London-ed, there’s no turning back now, finish what you started and all that jazz. I wonder how else you can create that feeling of excitement when you know you’re returning home for nothing but parties, old friends, familiar accents and lots of laughing?….or maybe I’m just talking sentimental bollocks.

 

Have an awesome weekend

 

Anton xx

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