Rich Clark Marketing

Opinions from Rich Clark one of the UK's leading Marketing Professionals


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Best Ads at the Moment

Its been a while since I commented on Hot Ads on TV at the moment but a handful that have caught my eye recently.  They are both completely different ads with wildly different production but both have an element of humour, which potentially explains more about me than great advertising.  If there was one common theme between the ads (which in advertising law isn’t good) you could easily miss what is being advertised especially on first view.

Doggy Dentures

This ad, if you haven’t seen it, is for Pedigree Dentastix, chew treats for dogs that apparently help them clean their teeth. This is a ridiculously simple ad but the whole view of the dogs with gleaming white dentures just works.

Volkswagen

This has polarised  opinion in a few quarters, but in my view is a classic ad.  Once again relatively simple in the sense that the boy dressed in his Darth Vadar costume tries to use the force on various objects.  The darkside Star Wars tune plays throughout and at the end the lad genuinely thinks he used the force when the lights flash on his dad’s VW. Brilliant!

Cadburys

The dancing clothes is a great ad.  Complex fance moves and oversized settings are what makes this ad great.  Technically very difficult to master and film but looks ridiculously simple on screen.  However Cadburys have come up with another tune that just works, even resulting in “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” being in the charts earlier today.

And the not so good…

Comparethemeerkat

Apologies for all you meerkat fans, but I seem to remember in the very early days when I rated the original ad so highly, that I thought the concept could annoy after a while.  Well I think Alexander hit that stage a while back and is now just plain annoying.  So much so, I think I prefer the GoCompare opera man.


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New Series of The Apprentice Starts Tuesday

Whilst writing about the new series of The Apprentice is hardly a normal topic for a Marketing blog, I make no apology for it.  For me The Apprentice is up there with the top programmes on TV.  Both from a creative point of view and the way they have made people understand that a career in commercial organisations need not be boring.

My main hope for this series of The Apprentice is that they have selected candidates that want to be on the show for business reasons, not to try to catapault themselves in to a mini-celebrity.  The likes of Saira Kahn, Ruth Badger and more recently Kate Walsh have been good candidates but seemingly as intent on celeb status than a job with Lord Sugar.

The challenges provide great tests of the candidates talent and commercial acumen, although they quite often focus a lot on sales.  The characters are often so far out in terms of how exagerated they become to achieve stand-out for the crowd, some end up becoming parodies of themselves.

People in my network of friends have often said I should enter The Apprentice as they believe I could do well.  Frankly I don’t think I could put up with some of the candidates and how they behave, so its probably best I stay away.

Anyway, the show starts on BBC 1, Tuesday at 9pm and the candidates have already been unveiled.  We have people from all walks of life including the usual suspects from Sales and Marketing Backgrounds. I for one will be glued to my set to see how the candidates shape up and will expect the losing project manager to go in the first episode.

One element of sadness is that Margaret left the team.  That isn’t a negative around Ms Brady (Peschosolidio), more an endorsement for Margaret.  You could tell both her and Nick had an honest working relationship with Lord Sugar and none of it was forced.  With Karen because she was added to the show it fills a little more ‘done for TV’.

That being said, I can’t wait to hear Lord Sugar say for the first time, You’re Fired!

Oh one other slight negative, I really don’t like the after show half as much now Adrian Chiles has left.


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Do us a Flavour

Walkers – Do us a flavour

So in the first of the case studies to illustrate my 5 F’s theory, comes Walkers and “Do us a flavour”.

The Context

Walkers has always enjoyed a special closeness with the British public.  A relationship that has brought them huge commercial success and an almost dominant position in the crisp market.  Unlike most dominant players in their sector, there seems relatively little animosity towards Walkers.

Part of this has been down to product development but this significant position has also been achieved through great marketing.  Picking up on the status of national hero Gary Lineker was a masterstroke, and it is a relationship that still lives on today.  Walkers are responsible for creating some magic moments with some of the in-demand public profiles.  The classic example of this was when Walkers created a football execution involving Gary Lineker and a tearful Gazza (Paul Gascoigne).  Other celebrities such as Charlotte Church and more recently Cat Deeley have appeared.

Rather than develop the same theme and just extend it, Walkers created a real point of difference.

The campaign

In 2008, Walkers “Do us a flavour” campaign moved their advertising on by taking participation to a whole new level.  Capturing the mass love of social media and User-Generated-Content (UGC), Walkers created a campaign that involved the public and created a genuine national debate.  The beauty of the campaign was that it didn’t live in one space or develop through one-channel it almost became part of the British way of life.  The campaign obviously lived online.  However it also crossed TV ads, in-store, outdoor, radio,  mobile and even IVR (Interactive Voice Response).

The fact that the public suggested over 1.2m flavours (that equates to 2% of the UK population submitting a flavour) and over 1m votes on the final shortlist, proves what a storm the campaign created.

The campaign essentially became the first large-scale initiative to put the British public in control.  The election process was clear and straightforward.  Crowd sourcing at its best.  In hindsight this was a masterstroke as the campaign was also live when realtiy TV was at its peak.  All shows that centre on the population (viewers) being in control.

On top of all these factors, Walkers didn’t throw away the heritage and familiarity of its previous campaigns, Gary Lineker remained a focal point of the campaign.

So why did it work?

Well, partly down to the fact that Walkers spent a hell of a lot of cash on the campaign.  However, you could argue that this was no more than they would have spent on a standard campaign.  So Fortune was a factor in terms of spend.

For me the F’s that really made the difference were Fame.  The chance that “normal” people could get a massive amount of coverage regardless of whether they won.  Their creations, designs or concepts would reach hundreds of thousands of people, very few opportunities like that exist, unless you have an immense Talent (then maybe you could get on X-Factor).  The second success factor was Fortune (not the campaign spend).  The winner secured a huge £50,000 prize.  If that wasn’t enough, they also got 1% share of the revenue for all future sales, in theory, thats the pension sorted.

In my view the combination of social media nuances, putting the people in control and a massive fortune to the winner was a sure fire hit.  Yes the campaign spend did help.

And the winner is…

I suppose after waxing lyrical about the campaign it is only fair to reference the winning flavour – its was of course – Builder’s Breakfast.


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Teenagers Don’t Regularly Read Newspapers

Morgan Stanley Revelation

Well it seems to take a 15 year old boy to tell the corporate world the blinking obvious.  Matthew Robson a 15 year old school boy had a work experience stint at Morgan Stanley.  As part of his spell there he was asked to write a research paper on teens media consumption.

Now this isn’t a dig at Matthew Robson, or particularly at Morgan Stanley, but does it demonstrate a distinct lack of awareness at large corporations about online and other emerging media channels.  Matthew probably didn’t expect to become when he wrote a summary of what he and his mates thought.  Yet it seems his work hit the tables of analysts, investors and CEOs.

So what inspiration did Matthew afford to his six-figure salaried friends?  Well here are a few items:

Teens prefer streaming sites (e.g. Napster and Spotify) to regular Radio – as, wait for it, they don’t like adverts

Teens prefer Facebook to Twitter as it is seen as a better way to stay in touch – (apparently Stephen Fry isn’t cool for teens)

Teens also watch TV (a lot) but via internet rather than TV, so they can watch what they want when they want on channels such as iPlayer

Teens don’t buy newspapers, or indeed don’t buy CDs

Teens also find online advertising pointless

Well as I said, this is not against Matthew, I just think the stating of the blooming obvious really illustrates a lack of corporate understanding.  This lack of understanding is both lack of education of online and also most are so far out of touch with ‘youth’  the obvious becomes a breakthrough.  I just hope Matthew’s efforts opens the eyes of some corporations. 

I have thought of some other bright ideas that Morgan Stanley can get excited about:

Top 5 ideas

1. School boys like football and can often be found to wear replica football shirts

2. Very young children struggle to eat solid food, they prefer liquidised food which is easier to swallow

3. Kids enjoy sending text messages on their mobile phones

4. Children play games on their consoles

5. Girls and boys are different, as a result they should be treated differently when targetting products at them

Matthew is also quoted as saying that he is now considering a career in investment banking.  Matthew, I am not surprised, good luck.


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What are your Top TV ads?

See the full blog post – My Top 5 TV Ads


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Top 5 TV Ads

 

This is a list of my Top 5 favourite recent or current TV ads.This won’t feature the usual high-budget productions from Nike, Guinness or Coca Cola that you are used to seeing. For me the ads on this list off something different. Create engagement, impact or break the mould in their sector. 

1. Cadburys Dairy Milk

The latest series of ads are both creative and show a brave move from the Cadburys Head of Advertising. Rather than concentrating on the chocolate or people enjoying the flavours, Cadburys have created a new stance. They have managed to mix music with humour and creativity and not once does if feel like the brand is being bastardised. Hats off to Cadburys and their agency on these. I could have picked any of the recent series, the Gorilla is probably best known, however due to currency and sheer weirdness I have selected the two kids with the 80s watch and eyebrows.

2. Compare The Market

This ad is a fine example of where creativity takes a lead over the brand police. Obviously the outcome of a creative think tank, the agency that came up with this concept probably couldn’t believe their luck when their client bit. The ad lends itself to some neat viral activity with a spin off website comparing Meerkats. It also very simply gets the message of Compare the market across. Its use of the web to extend the campaign further is a fabulous example of using all channels effectively. The Meerkat with his simples slogan, could also become a great icon. Visit Compare the Meerkat – its worth a look

3. PG Tips

The series of ads featuring Johnny Vegas and Monkey from ITV Digital is a genius idea from the outset. However the latest ad which shows the over complex method of making a cup of tea. Including the milking of the cow and Vegas dancing with Monkey to the Stripper by David Rose. It takes on some classic cartoon style moments as well as classic slapstick. There is no other tea to beat PG

 4. T-Mobile

The first time this was aired was as an exclusive to channel 4. With over 2 minutes of footage from a ‘flash mob’ in Liverpool Street train station, London – it took a while for the pay-off to show that it was an ad for T-Mobile. What T-Mobile created here was a talking point, a stand-still moment that is very rare in advertising. The slimmed down versions are no less entertaining. Whether this is more than a good one-off remains to be seen. The snippet showing a bar-code is hardly inspirational. However as a piece of creative with standout, this is up there.

5. Virgin Atlantic

The ad works on a number of levels. Maybe it is a generation thing. Maybe it’s the visual clues to the 80s, Wimpey and Our Price. Maybe it’s the distinctive Frankie sound-track. Maybe it’s the vivid colours used on the cabin crews uniform and the photogrpahy in the background. Whatever the reason. The ad works – it simply and effectively puts Virgin’s birthday message across (something I wasn’t even aware of before the ads)

Nearly made it: 

 

Nationwide Building Society OK, so I may be a little biased here (having had a hand in the development of these ads). However, Nationwide broke the mould in terms of advertising Financial Services products. Rather than solely concentrating on the product and the potentially good rate, they took a brave step of moving to a situational approach. It focussed on exactly what Nationwide isn’t by introducing the bungling Bank Manager, played by Mark Benton. This combination of good story, good one liners and a pay off, mean it is without doubt worthy of a place. Also, it was a contributory factor to the downfall of those annoying Halifax/Howard ads.

 Barclaycard  The ad with the slide is another fine example of standout within a sector. Finance is slowly moving away from the stayed boring ads. Visually it stands out with good filmography and great visual clues to every day life (Scanning card in supermarket). The music is unusual (Let your love flow by The Bellamy Brothers) offering standout. The addition of a few funny elements such as getting stuck on the slide and the towel line, means this deserves a mention.

Love to hear your views.  Do my choices resonate with you?  Or do they jar with every sense you use?


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Integration Vs Imitation

One of the biggest areas of discussion between client-side traditional advertising professionals and their digital counterparts is campaign integration.

Brand police are obviously very sensitive and protective towards their brands.  They want to ensure consistency and maintain control.  Admiral qualities.

However, quite often their digital counterparts are passed on assets and told to make them work.  The digital teams are fully aware of their channels and generally understand what works and what doesn’t via the internet.

This isn’t a new debate.  Its just the mediums have changed.  The same discussions have and still happen on how to integrate TV with PoS and press.  However as those channels are more established the rules of engagement are generally well understood by marketeers and advertisers.

This isn’t the case with digital.  Traditional advertisers still need to be educated.  However the same discussion applies.  We are talking campaign ‘integration not imitation’.  Whilst millions may have been spent on TV ads or on sponsorship properties, there is no reason why you shouldn’t tweak the messages slightly for the channel.  You need to recognise the difference in mindset of the recipients of the message within each channel.

For arguments sake, a TV ad can be a very broadcast tool as you are trying to hit as many people as possible in a ‘sit-back’ medium.  However, text on an e-mail to your customer base may get the message across in a consistent way (follow same tone of voice, promote the same message, potentially use the same font) – however you know these people are engaged with your brand and you can talk with them on a more personal note.  This rule can be exaggerated again by using social networking as an example.  The text in your corporate brochure or on your press ad is very important and make take a serious tone – however you wouldn’t want to copy that on your Facebook page.

For me you have to ensure consistency is in place, campaign integration.  The look and feel need to be similar, the emotional output is similar and overall the message is the same.  However it doesn’t need to be identical, campaign imitation.  It doesn’t matter if the words are slightly different.  It doesn’t matter if the image is different due to the context as long as the overall brand isn’t effected.

Traditional advertisers need to step up and learn digital.  Digital advertisers need to push back on this and explain their rationale, but also explain the benefits this approach can have on the brand, rather than being precious about the channel.