Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Anyway, the silly season has started here. The car flags have been dusted down and shops are stocking up with face-painting sets, triangle bikinis in red, gold and black (a somewhat frightening thought when worn by Gundula, the president of the local Landfrauen ) and those Hawaian garlands to drape over and obsure your rear-view mirror.
I do remember writing a piece about World Cup marketing gone crazy which is over on my Secret Agency site, which included such wonders of the World Cup as sushi footballs and tomatoes in black/brown, red and gold.
I am convinced that it will get even more ingenious this year and I will now officially start a challenge for the tackiest/weirdest/most inappropriate Euro 2008 item from any category you like. All entrants in the comments below, please...
Friday, 23 May 2008
Oh, to be in Germany now that June's nearly there
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Subway's not sleeping
The growth of Subway in Germany has been of great interest to me as, back in the late 90s, when I came over here, I thought that it would be a cracking business idea to establish a Pret-a-Manger-style sandwich/filled rolls chain in Germany. And it was around this time, in 1999, that Subway opened their first franchise in Berlin.
I wouldn't have put my money on Subway in Germany, to be honest. I am quite surprised that a country where the bread is so varied and tasty has taken to Subway's offering. And I did also anticipate something of a Starbuck's effect where maybe people wouldn't be prepared to shell out quite so much money for something really quite basic.
But it seems that I have been wrong: Subway have over 400 outlets in Germany and the expansion doesn't seem to be slowing down. So, respect where respect is due. I guess they must have done their market research. But give me a yummy slice of Bauernbrot mit Hausmacherleberwurst any day!
Sunday, 11 May 2008
With an alarming evangelism and armed only with a rudimentary Powerpoint presentation and a few spiral-bound A5 booklets - one of which I still have in my possession - I was on a mission to tell the world of Saatchi & Saatchi and P&G about the brave new world of Insights.
A lot has happened in the last 13 years. There are now "Consumer Insight Directors" in client companies running huge departments of Consumer Insight Executives or whatever Market Researchers call themselves these days - although I have always thought that the term "Consumer Insight" was in itself not particularly insightful! For a good few years now, we've seen a lot of "Brand Aid" brands find their insight (no little piddly "product insight", this, but the huge holy grail of a "category insight"), pump it up into a Cause and go forth to Save the World with their Brand.
In a lot of cases, this is good and admirable and has broken new ground - I would be churlish to criticise Dove, for example. But when everybody tries to do it, particularly in a "watch out, your strategy may be showing" kind of way, those pesky "consumers" begin to see through you. It brought me right down to earth recently to sit through some Group Discussions to look at an internationally-developed campaign of the "social problem - solved by Brand X" variety. If not done well, this sort of stuff is depressing and met with bored cynicism. I am not saying that we should give up on Insights but rather that taking our brands so seriously is not always the only way. Sometimes people just want to escape and to be entertained - by a drumming gorilla if necessary.
Monday, 5 May 2008
Bring on the cliches
Now, here's an interesting challenge. In their recent analysis of 5,732 advertising slogans in Germany, slogans.de and Trendbüro have identified the latest themes in German advertising to be Orientierung, Nachhaltigkeit, Exklusivität and Gemeinschaft. That's orientation, sustainability, exclusivity and (feeling of) community to my non-German-speaking friends.
Apart from finding it a terribly interesting job to sit down and analyse 5,732 slogans on a socio-linguistic basis (not kidding!), I also thought it would be quite an amusing exercise for anyone with copy writing ability to try and write a slogan containing all four. Now, I appreciate that it will end up sounding earnest beyond belief, but I'd love to see any ideas...and don't forget to say what the brand is!