Tuesday 28 July 2009

Martini Time

If you've ever wondered how you might have looked in those chain-Martini-drinking days of the early 1960s on Madison Avenue, wonder no more.

It's now possible to MadMen yourself. Look at the wonderful Doyen of Digital Diarhorrea on the left.

All this is a marvellous timewaster for the summer as well as being a neat way to advertise the next series. It appeals to the same basic motives as those cardboard dressing-up dolls from years back. And who could be more narcissistic as advertising folks?

I'm just hoping they will take the idea further so that you can order the clothes. I'm quite taken with that furry thing round my neck and I'd be happy enough with acrylic - as long as the Martinis aren't alcohol-free!

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Wir sind We

Trendbüro and slogans.de have updated their analysis of advertising
slogans from the German-speaking world. I blogged about last year's study here.

Interesting that only one of the trends has remained - Gemeinschaft, or "Feeling of Community". I'll come back to that later. As far as the others go, I guess that brands have taken a step down from idealism onto a lower but more realistic rung. Which is not a bad thing in the current climate.

So Exklusivität has become the more accessible Qualität, the rather idealistic Nachhaltigkeit (Sustainability) has moved to a more basic Leistung (Performance) and the theoretical, non-specific Orientation has outed itself as a clear direction: Optimismus. It seems that brands have to give a good specific account of themselves in the here-and-now to appeal to people today.

Going back to "Gemeinschaft". The experts at Trendbüro detect a broadening of the "Wir" feeling across borders to "We", suggesting a sort of Global Cuddlefest. They could be right, but I take a different angle. I am convinced that Mr Obama has succeeded in making English socially acceptable once more, after the rejection of the language by "Old Europe" a few years back. And I expect we'll see English slogans in German advertising gain ground once more. As long as Douglas don't go back to "Come in and find Out."

Thursday 16 July 2009

Dilapidation Paranoia

They're picking on me. All those marketeers of products for those whose bodies are falling into a state of rack and ruin. And I don't like it.
It started with Facebook. I noticed ads jumping out at me about tricks to get rid of Bauchfett. OK, while it's in the virtual world, you can pretend it's not real. Because it isn't, really.
But then on Saturday I was accosted by two very real young women from CaloryCoach outside my local supermarket. I'll be honest, I did take it personally. But I fended them off with what I hope was a humorous comment. I refrained from saying that they both looked rather more in need of CaloryCoach than I do - or maybe self-delusion is just another symptom of ageing.
Finally, I was attacked in my very own home by a suspiciously squashy direct mail piece. "Do you know the feeling too? In Summer we feel more active, less tied down, somehow more free...But many women feel limitations on their freedom. The reason is a weak bladder..."
And yes, a free sample of TENA Lady Ultra Mini was enclosed. It was suggested, should I have no use for it, to pass it onto a friend. Now, who's going to be the lucky recipient? Don't all shout at once! And, should I prefer, I could test the TENA Lady Mini Magic, the TENA Lady Ultra Mini, the TENA Lady Mini (sounds a bit dull, that one) or the TENA Lady Mini Plus (an oxymoron?).
I could go on and on about how their marketing could be improved on so many levels. But I won't. It will just make me sound like a grumpy old woman.

Thursday 9 July 2009

The Biergarten of Eden

Seasonality and regionality are always the big themes when it comes to German food and drink and what could represent Bavaria better in the summer than a typical Biergarten?
A Biergarten combines everything that is dear to the Germans, particularly the Bavarians. Beautiful old chestnut trees, conviviality, warm summer evenings that go on forever, hearty food, and the best beer in the world, in large (but not indecent) quantities.
A Biergarten is a multi-sensory experience. The sight of all those blue and white Bavarian coats-of-arms, the sound of heavy glasses clinking and maybe a brass band, the feel of the cool beer trickling down your throat and the heaviness of the Maß as you lift it, the smell of Schweinshaxe and the taste of salty Pretzels or sweet mustard with your Weißwurst.
No wonder that there are beer brands, for whom the Biergarten is their spiritual home. If all this is making you thirst for more, take a look at Paulaner's virtual Biergarten here.

Monday 6 July 2009

In yer face

I have been rather amused by the latest scandal and "breach of security" to hit the UK government. The wife of the newly appointed head of MI6 has been splashing holiday snaps all over Facebook.
One of the comments on the Telegraph website described this incident as "not a risk but impossibly vulgar." I'm glad that there are still a few old-school Telegraph readers left. Another mused over what various fictional spies might have on their Facebook profile.
Given that I'm calling myself Secret Agency, I did wonder how much or how little of my latent exhibitionism should come through on Facebook. If you're employed by a company, there may well be rules about when, where or what you can do on Facebook in office hours. As a self-employed planner it leads to an interesting dilemma. On the one hand I don't want to run the risk of coming across as "impossibly vulgar" - especially if potential clients are Telegraph readers, Old School.
But I also don't want to come over to potential clients as a digital Luddite. So I tow a slightly uneasy balance. And, at the end of it, I know that there aren't that many people who are desperately interested in the detail of my Facebook page.
By the way - do you remember how Facebook used to be? Glad I made that screenshot.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Generation Uh-Oh

My attitude to those generational studies is rather akin to my feelings about astrology. I used to be quite into both (and I am sure that the keen astrologers amongst you will point out that these generational descriptors do have a planetal basis. If I remember rightly, some of the planets furthest from the sun stick around in the astrological signs for years.)
However, I now take a lot of it with a pinch of salt. It's quite possible, after all, to trawl through Wikipedia and find fundamentally different individuals who were born under the same sign, in the same year. And another thing that used to get my back up was being lumped in with the Baby Boomer generation. Vietnam and Woodstock had zero influence on me. I was too young and on the wrong continent.
But now I find out that I'm actually part of Generation Jones. I'm not sure what that means or which Joneses it refers to (Tom? Bridget? Davy?) but it does mean that I'm in there with President Obama, which can't be bad.
Talking of President Obama, what was Generation Y (always a sorry excuse for a name, I thought) has now been rechristened Generation O, after the great man himself. These are people born in the 1980s and early 1990s. Levis are launching a new campaign Go Forth, on 4th July, aimed at this group. It's all about rebuilding America and the new American pioneer.
I had a look at the campaign and it seems very worthy (I mean that in a good way) but possibly a bit too earnest. Call me a superficial old floosie from Generation Jones, but I prefered that chap in his pants in the launderette.
Has anyone got any good names for Generation Z? These are "today's kids", born from the mid 1990s onwards.