Friday 23 December 2011

All I want for Christmas is...

I was going to post something deep and meaningful about insights as my last post this year, but then saw this corker on a friend's Facebook wall.

For my non-German-speaking friends, Father Christmas replies to Kevin as follows: "I've no idea what you're talking about. You're getting a book."

Wishing all readers a happy Festive Season and hope you all get what you wish for!

Monday 19 December 2011

Drinking around

If you are anything like me, your wallet is probably bulging with silly little loyalty cards from the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the hairdresser, the chemist, the sandwich shop...

Now, here's an idea that I've seen before, but something about it tickles me. In Singapore, the Be Disloyal card has been introduced to benefit the city's independent cafes. The idea is simple - instead of slavishly frequenting one of those plastic corporate coffee places, you get the opportunity to visit 8 different coffee shops, then go back to the first to claim your free cup (or whatever.)

It's encouraging drinking around, which must be a Good Thing.

And it makes me wonder - which other old marketing chestnuts can I subvert next year?

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Beg, steal or borrow - and share

These days, market research agencies devote a lot of interview time to establishing the potential "buzz" value of a piece of branded communication in their pre-testing as well as tracking studies.

How likely would you be to "share" this on social media?

Would you "like" this on Facebook?

As well as the old standards about "this is an ad I'd talk about with friends."

Sharing, these days, is big business. On the Unruly Media list of "most shared" commercials, The Force for VW has had 4.8m shares - over twice the number of its nearest rival - and 46m views. That's about the size of the population of Spain.

In the Top 5 were also DC Shoes, T-Mobile (twice, with Angry Birds Live and Royal Wedding) and Kia, with Party Rock Anthem.

If you look at the Top 20, and think about the "share" factors of entertaining, informative or useful, it's obvious that entertainment wins hands down. And, sifting through the usual internet suspects - cute kids, celebrities, music, dystopia, cars, apes & gorillas, laser swords and furry creatures - something striking emerges.

Almost everything in the Top 5 is borrowed: from movies, theme parks, games or real events.

Perhaps "borrowed interest" is not such a dirty word any more.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Curiosity killed my free time

Curiosity, at least in its form of Openness to Experience, is said to be one of the Big Five factors of human personality.

I do wonder sometimes, though, how much of the time I while away chasing information is genuine curiosity and how much could be classified as some sort of morbid addiction.

Years ago, I didn't spend hours in the library poring over encyclopedias unless I had to, for an essay or an exam. Yet, these days, a substantial portion of my day is taken over by googling and Wikipedia-ing, chasing after useless facts and confirming half-lost memories.

I do it because I can. And I don't always feel any better for knowing whatever it was.

Sometimes it feels like a food addiction. It's so easy that it's difficult to stop and, the more you eat, the less satisfied you get. Rather like chomping your way through a packet of Pringles instead of preparing a healthy meal from scratch, laying the table, sitting down and eating in company.

The more I know, the less satisfied I am.

I just hope that there won't be a Pandora- or Bluebeard's wife- style nasty surprise at the end of it.

Thursday 1 December 2011

The dustman and the supermum

Planners in Germany have a regular spot in the trade magazine New Business, under the title Strategy Corner. The last two articles have interested me, as there seems to be a direct connection between them.

In "The Dustman as Role Model", Bärbel Boy discovers that the public standing of people who work in advertising in Germany is on the bottom rung, below that of politicians and bankers. Cheery stuff. And, what's more, our reputation has worsened over time. Cheerier still is that the dustman is the rising star - well, cheery for dustmen, at least.

And, this week, in "Women - the real economic power", Anne Brit Maier shows how the portrayal of women in advertising has shifted all of a mm or two over the last 50 years. The cliche of Supermum with her baby and laptop is every bit as unrealistic as the perfect Hausfrau of the 1960s.

I think it's telling that both of these women have founded their own Planning agencies and don't work for any of the multi-nationals. Because I'm convinced there is a direct connection between these findings. I expect half the people that were interviewed about reputations were women. As Bärbel Boy points out, there is sometimes a feeling of living in a navel-gazing hermetically-sealed capsule when it comes to German advertising agencies - not all, but many - rather like living in "2nd Life" (what was that?) and about as relevant and interesting to the outside world.

So, come on, German agencies! Over on YouTube, the John Lewis Christmas Commercial from the UK has over 3m clicks and is hotly debated all over Mumsnet and beyond. It's about time we stopped churning out yet more cliches for the dustman's bin.