Wednesday 25 May 2011

A thousand boring Powerpoint Slides

Everyone in marketing and advertising needs a reality check now and again, if you'll excuse the ghastly buzz word. And you may get yours from playing buzz word bingo in boring client meetings, or putting together absurd brand positioning models as I used to do in my Saatchi days - reminder to self, pull those out - they could be worth something to someone.

So this blog entry is a blatant plug for a very funny man who knows his marketing and can see the absurd side of the brand onion. (What? An onion doesn't have sides?) I used one of his cartoons here and hope you have time to have a look at Tom Fishburne's site.

I love the Mission Statement cartoon and the ones about the fun you can have with focus groups as well as the brand positioning cartoon that introduces the splendid concept of a Brand Butterfly. And check out "The Tower of Eco Babel" if you're working on a sustainability project.

Most of all, I love this quote: "If a picture tells a thousand words, a cartoon tells a thousand boring Powerpoint slides."

Thursday 19 May 2011

Bad Hair Play?

I've just bought a new Wella product from the local supermarket. I suppose that this possibility has been in the (h)air since Procter & Gamble bought up the established hairdresser brand a few years back - and since Schwarzkopf Henkel launched the affordable professional haircare brand Syoss last year.

I'm not a great haircare junkie, but I was interested to read the blurb on the back of the Wella Pro Series product. It's of the "close but no cigar" variety. It's going to help me become a hair expert - me, one of the great unwashed - although, of course, nothing can replace a professional stylist. I'll just come close to that just walked out of the salon feeling.

Funnily enough, I did walk out of a hairdressing salon yesterday, with a bag of products that my hairdresser charmed me into buying. Funnily enough, she is a bit off Wella these days and terribly enthusiastic about a new range of products from Tigi.

They're owned by Unilever, by the way. But I don't think we'll be seeing them in the supermarket.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Toying with brands

Visualising the essence or personality of your brand has always been a challenge but here is something new from JWT to help you with just that.

Brand Toys combines data from Millward Brown's BrandZ study plus real-time online buzz from Social Mention to create a toy for your brand.

There are - I think - 9 different body shapes which reflect Potential and Familiarity, then different body parts, sizes, accessories and facial expressions represent the values and qualities of the brand. So, size of legs/feet represent trustworthiness. Not good news for someone with size 37 continental, but there you go. A cloud or sun in the background shows current level of sentiment - no prizes for guessing what the weather conditions in the land of the BP toy are!

It's probably my age, but they all look curiously similar to me - like the choice of avatars when you join a new chat site, or proposals for the mascot of the next big sporting event.

Overall, though, what do you think? The ultimate dumbing-down or a blast of fresh air in the midst of all that fuggy Brand Onion breath?

At the very least, you could always use them as a voodoo doll for your most hated brand.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Creative Circle

One development I noticed going on back in the UK a couple of years back was advertising and communication agencies actually getting into new product development. Not just on behalf of their clients, which is something that we've always tinkered with, but for real.

Now I'm pleased to see that this is happening in Germany, too. The range of bathroom products with the Can't-believe-it's not-butter-esque name above have been developed and launched by Korefe, the design (including product design) arm of Kolle Rebbe, one of Germany's leading independent creative agencies.

The idea is of the IKEA variety - you do your part (what it says in the tin, um, bottle) and we do ours (stop using artificial ingredients, testing on animals, wasting energy in production...)

In a way, I suppose it's a logical development. If you're going to give the responsibility for creating communication over to the people in a magnanimous sweep of CGC, what's left to do? Or maybe it has something to do with maturity, the urge to generativity, to produce something of more than ephemeral value. I've often noticed what particularly enthusiastic Dads guys in German advertising agencies make.

The Mums aren't always so enthusiastic - but that's a another story!

Tuesday 3 May 2011

What's the Big Idea?

Sometime in the 90s, possibility not for the first time and probably not for the last time, "advertising" became a dirty word. We felt it particularly strongly at Saatchi in those days as the out-of-love suffix was wrenched away from our letterheads, our telephonist's lips, our pencils.

We were no longer "Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising". We were "Saatchi & Saatchi - The Ideas Company". Nothing wrong with that - we were all quite cock-a-hoop about being an Ideas Business in an Ideas Economy. When I went freelance, I toyed for some time with the name "Ideas for Sale" before settling on "Secret Agency."

But I recently found the website of The Joined-Up Company which reminded me that ideas are not ideas are not ideas. And, it may be worth saying that there are some of these idea genres where The-agencies-formerly-known-as-advertising do have a more natural talent than others:

Business Idea - it's about beliefs, structure, objectives: what makes the business profitable?
Brand Idea - classic long-term meaning and mission
Communications Idea - how media in the broadest sense are used to keep the brand strong and the business profitable - and, not to forget...
Creative Idea

I was also going to mention Advertising Idea. But that may simply be a Bad Idea.