Saturday, December 29, 2007

Who the Hell is Clive Peeters?

The question on all Sydneysiders lips (well, mine anyway) is who the hell is Clive Peeters and why does he have two e's?

I know full well who Clive Peeters is. I grew up in Melbourne and the family often ventured out to the Ringwood store to check out all the latest electrical items like Beta video recorders and jaffle irons. From memory that's where dad bought his two tier organ from as well.

Now, all these years later, Clive has entered the Sydney market and opened 5 stores. It's a tough market to crack - Harvey Norman and Bing Lee are very established players.

So what's Clive Peeter's point of difference? From the advertising I've seen it's the tagline "So easy". Well OK Clive, it might be easy if I lived next to your Auburn store, but that's a long way away. What else is so easy about it??

Apart from the fact that you have two e's, there's not a whole lot of difference going on. So I guess it all comes down to price, and that's not a great market entry strategy.

The best retailer who's established a point of difference has been Bunnings - Lowest Prices are Just the Begining - selling the message through their passionate staff. Enthusiasts for the home selling stuff to fellow enthusiasts. Plus they won't be beaten on price. Great strategy.

So it will be a diificult riide for Clive. Then again, Bing Lee has done pretty well using ad music sung to the tune of Monty Python's "I Like Chinese" so anything is possible I guess.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Farewell Slim Shady Snr

Get This - the best radio show, came to an end last week because it was too popular. Or something like that. Too much talking, not enough Nickleback, despite increasing the station average.

Tony Martin, Ed Kavalee and Richard Marsland will no doubt pop up elsewhere but in the meantime we'll have to do with the archives. Like Slim Shady Senior, who was around in the 1930's and was apparently the inspiration for Eminem.

Bear in mind with this video I've pulled the audio clip from their web site and cobbled it together with a couple of old photos I found floating about. Please welcome Slim Shady Snr.....

The amazing thing about Get This is that every week 50,000+ podcasts are downloaded. For the final show, something like 270,000 of the things were downloaded! That includes me. I don't listen to the radio in my car anymore. I just hook my iPod into my cassette deck and listen to Get This and my CD's straight off the iPod.

No ads, just the stuff I want to hear.

Also, an interesting report from David Dale in todays Sydney Morning Herald. He points out that sales of the top 15 DVD's over the last 3 months is quite different from last year. Back then it was movies. Now most of them are TV shows.

Like Get This and the Triple M network, shows like The Family Guy scare the crap out of the good folk at commercial networks so it just gets shunted around in bad time slots. Any wonder they can't handle it - this is their idea of a good station promo.

Consumers, not networks, now control the way in which shows are watched.

My media agency told me the other day that Channel 7 was increasing it's rates by about 10% next year. Channel 9 is pretty minimal and Channel 10 is somewhere in between. I need to reconfirm the data but it's something like this anyway. So as viewing audiences go down, the rates go up. Work that one out.

As an FMCG marketer, this is all really exciting. With the growth of private label, a reliance on price promotions to drive volumes, and margins being squeezed, it will be the best marketers who shine through and capture consumers hearts and minds.

And it will be the best agencies who can balance this quest with the commercial reality of having to get 3-5% volume increases in mass brands.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Drunk on Election Night

Rudd's on his way. I can't help feeling there's a hint of the Mark Latham Self Implosion Principle going on here. When Rudd has to deviate from the script it all gets a bit scary.

Anyway, best to drink this off in Kings Cross tonite and face the consequences tomorrow morning. The election that is, not the girl next to me. Possibly. I know how Dan Kelly felt

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fox up on the 9 & 7

Saw a great ad for Foxtel the other day which was talking about how you could program shows onto Foxtel digital from anywhere you have internet access. In this case, some bloke in the Himalayas. The message was strongly built into a visually spectacular landscape and impossible not to watch.

Got me onto the website to see how much it would cost to upgrade.

Then it got me thinking about the creative team over there. There's new ads coming out all the time which I reckon really position Subscription TV as a viable, modern day alternative to the tripe served up on free to air.

Maybe I'm just the target, but these ads do a great job positioning the brand...

Foxtel Tumble ad....

Foxtel Ninja...

Compare this to the rubbish served up by Channel 9 and 7. I remember when this ad came out a year or two ago and came quickly to the conclusion that it's no wonder people are turning away from TV and onto other mediums....these guys have lost the plot.

And surely Richie Benaud is the closest thing we have to Weekend at Bernies....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good Things Ain't Coming

Good things come to those who wait.

Except in the case of Guinness drinkers, where ordinary ads come to those who wait.

I'm still confused about why Guinness don't take the big idea that's made them so big elsewhere. This ad was in the sports section of the SMH yesterday.

Phil Jacques finally gets a shot at opening the batting and makes a ton. Good things come to those who wait.

Mick Fanning becomes the first Aussie to win a world surfing title for 20 odd years. Good things come to those who wait.

Spring Carnival finally kicks into gear in Sydney, despite there being no live horsies running around. We can still get pissed though. Good things come to those who wait.

Instead, let's just sell a stereotype of a bloke in the pub who doesn't want to go home to his in-laws.

Guinness or XXXX or Tooheys. You decide....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Co-branding...the good, the bad and the ugly

There's no doubt that the marketers who embrace the concept of co-branding are giving themselves an advantage in the market.

And the smartest marketers are the ones whose brands get dragged along in the stronger equity and values of the brand they partner with.

McDonalds have done that by linking their products with the Heart Foundation Tick. Great move for Macca's, but not sure that it does too much for the HFT. More and more people are starting to recognise it's not much better than another John Laws Cash for Comment advertorial.

I'm not sure how Prada much is benefiting from their association with LG here...

Then again, some brands do it really well - when two excellent brands combine together to truly enhance each others equity, like Qantas Business Class and Morrisey have done recently.

NRMA and a whole lot more!

"Roadside assistance and a whole lot more"

A whole lot more what??! Boiled lollies??

Is it just me, or is this ad for NRMA just a little bit wrong?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Spring Ideas

Coles has an idea......spend bucket loads of money on a full page press ad for a Spring Ideas catalogue.

I have an on the copy and come up with a better idea.

Is it just me or is this a very difficult ad to read and make any sense of altogether?

And what that picture all about?

Then there's some kind of insight which says you'll save time so you can spend more time in the sun?

I just don't get it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Get Stuffed

I suppose if animated stuffed animals are the best thing some of the world's leading air fresheners like Glade and Air-O-Zone (or whatever they've called themselves this year) can manage to represent their brands, even though they have absolutely nothing to do with anything, then I suppose they're good enough for a no-name air conditioning gadget.

Shit, that's a long sentence and I couldn't be bothered finding a better version.

Well, at least the animals have something to do with the message. Don't know if a penguin and a hippo would be my obvious choice of hot and cold though. A couple of my previous girlfriends would be much better examples there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

MILF on a Loo

Now I know that toilets probably aren't the easiest thing to advertise, but surely there's a better solution than a constipated MILF in bad aerobics gear sitting on a dunny with the lid down......

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Second Life is Weird

The other day I checked out Second Life and I reckon it's plain weird.

And it's full of weirdo's. They're probably all normal people in the real world but the whole thing seems a bit too bizarre - all these strange looking things running and flying around the place.

Is it me or is it all just a bit sad?

There's not one part of me that would prefer to converse with a cartoon figure who looks like a cross between Michael Jackson and the tooth fairy over going to a friends place for a glass of wine and a yak or heading to the pub.

I know there's a bunch of advertising agencies and companies and whoever else building a presence in Second Life, and for some brands it probably makes sense.

Now that I'm back in the real world of FMCG business and selling products on the client side rather than on the advertising side, Second Life doesn't get doesn't get much of a look in.

A couple of months ago we had an off site where 3 or 4 agencies presented an online update to all the marketing team. Everyone was talking about the phenomenon that is Second Life.

It's the agencies job to know about that so fair enough.

And maybe one day 38 year old mums with kids will be frittering their day away talking to alien things on Second Life, but right now a $100k investment will get me 2 weeks of advertising to a million people in Adelaide and for now I'll take that thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nando's Marketing Free Gum

This is what happens when you listen too much to your advertising agency.

Then again, every client has the right to say no to an idea presented to them.

Probably a great ad in the schoolyard - 21,000 hits on YouTube. But surely you can target a male 17-23 demographic without every other target group looking on in amazement and thinking whether they'll ever buy the stuff again.

Nando's - quality food, well designed stores, slutty advertising.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Truth in Advertising

It's amazing what happens when someone tells the truth in advertising. It's seen as a stunt.

From today's SMH...

Sydney's real-estate agents aren't renowned for being dead straight in their descriptions, but faced with selling a complete dump, one of them has decided honesty is the only policy.

In a regular property blurb, 25 Waterloo Street, Rozelle, might be described as "quaint", or a "renovator's delight" - realestatespeak for a screaming disaster-zone.

But its selling agent Paul Cooper has tried a different tack - the two-bedroom cottage is in such a state he decided to reveal the awful truth, cheerfully admitting it's a "dump".

"Situated directly next to a petrol station and metres from the almost stationary peak-hour traffic of Victoria Road, one can imagine they don't come much worse than this," his ad says.

The half-page ad, for Mr Cooper's agency Ray White Balmain, goes on to point out the home's other "features".

It is "particularly popular with talentless graffiti artists", the "holes in the wall provide natural air-conditioning" and its lack of kitchen is "irrelevant as the club does great food".

The property's owner approved Mr Cooper's unusually upfront sales pitch, which the 28-year veteran of the real-estate game says he's successfully used before.

"It was a place in similar condition to this, it was pretty much derelict, and we hadn't had any luck," he said.

"We put out an ad like this one and went from gettting two people to view it, to getting 30 people along."

Friday, March 23, 2007


Russell Davies has quite a nice little post about waffling on about pointless brand theory when from the consumer's perspective, nothing's changing and they're not seeing anything different.

Thought this cartoon was quite relevant. It's been sitting on my hard drive for a while.

I think I picked it up from another blog about 3 months ago, courtesy of Tom Fishburne, who has some pretty classic close-to-the-bone cartoons.

'Close to the bone' - is that the right expression?

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I'm officially a Mother.

I'm a Marketer On THE Run.

Which means we now have to consider the Mother Factor.

Since I got back into the corporate side 4 months ago, it's business as usual. Well, almost business as usual.

The big difference is that it's just so busy. All day, every day. Without a break. Long hours. Making decisions on the go. Not having enough time to think about stuff.

It's the same all over the company I work in. And when I talk to my other marketing mates in other companies it's exactly the same.

When I got to Sydney 11 years ago, things were different. I used to get taken out for lunch by the fragrance suppliers or ACP or Pacific Mags or some promo agency. Probably about once a month or so. I wasn't a bludger. It was just what happened.

And that was before the golden age of the 80's which I missed. Unfortunately.

Nowdays if I get taken out for lunch it just means I'll be working half of saturday to make up for it. Which annoys me because:

a) I like long lunches
b) the best deals are done over lunch and
c) great relationships with my suppliers are formed over lunch.

Tell this to a Brand Manager today and they look at you all funny, just before they turn away and keep writing the promo brief they're about to pitch to 5 different agencies. Including the one that just delivered record sales and response rates on the last promo.

Even the Christmas period is different. There used to be a wind down period before Xmas day. Then you'd ease back into it on Jan 10th and be full steam ahead by about the 20th.

Not nowdays. It's like stopping for a quick drink in the 100m Olympic Final.

So what does this all mean? What implications does the MOTHER factor have?

Call me. Call me now.
I love the strategic thinking. But I don't have a lot of time for it. There's a great opportunity for the agency to be pro-active. Start the conversation. Start the thinking. And then finish it.

I'm not sure the last time a strat planner rang me or my Research Manager to talk about an idea they had that they wanted to discuss further, or get some further insight into.

Hang on. Yes...I do remember it. It was 7 years ago. No bullshit. (Good on ya Cate).

Agencies have to be sleazy guys in a night club.
Sleazy guys who are out to pick up women don't take no for an answer. No means yes. They just keep going and going until the girl says yes.

Agencies have to keep pushing. Not on the creative idea. That's a given.

The agency has to push back on finding time. They have to make sure they know the business problem properly so they can formulate a strategic solution.

Marketers are so busy, finding 2 hours to just talk about the business seems like a waste of time. It's like nothing gets done. Of course that's not the reality, but it seems to be a non productive time in a younger marketers mind.

Don't Overwork the Waiter
Ever been to a restaurant where the waiter is really, really busy?

He's good at what he does, but he's the only guy working that night and trying to serve 25 tables. Everyone's pissed off. They're waiting too long. The guys not even getting the basics right. The guy might be trying his best, but hey....that's the last time I'm going to that restaurant.

It's the same feeling being a marketer and the Strat Planner is stuck waiting too many tables - 3 different clients and 9 divisions within them.

The guy's on a hiding to nothing.

Learn a Foreign Language
Marketing Directors need to force their team to learn a foreign language. The language of advertising and communication.

It's not a natural bent for marketers. Whilst we all want to travel to South America and learn Portugese and frolic on the beach in Rio for a couple of years, the closest most of us get to a Brazilian is when the girlfriend comes back from her beauty therapist.

Get the Brand Team to apply for Award School. Get the agency to run creative presentations. Run 1 on 1 workshops as part of the weekly WIP to discuss what other brands are doing. Start a marketing department blog and encourage people to contribute to it - brand team and the agency. Get the agency to be a sleazy guy.

Learn the foreign language of good creative. Just don't go overboard like Amanda Vanstone.

Look like Sydney Rail
A lot of marketing teams work in open plan environments these days. You want everyone to think you're always working really, really hard. No-one promotes a slack arse. And everyone can see when you're being one.

So it's hard to stop answering emails that no-one cares about and sit back and think. Even for 10 minutes. Sit back in your chair and think. Of course, people will think you've lost the plot.

But marketers are allowed to think.

Look like you're not working for a while. Look like Sydney Rail. And think about how to make things better.

Hire Good Mothers
Companies need to hire more experienced people who can make decisions on the run. Decisions based on years of experience.

Believe it or not, there are some Marketing Managers out there today who have only ever made one or two ads in their life. When things are going 150 miles an hour, it's gonna get sticky.

So when the 24 year old Assistant Brand Manager moans about not being a Marketing Manager on $150k a year, tell 'em they're dreaming.

Make time for the long lunch
Prioritise. Let small stuff slip through the cracks. Recognize the stuff that won't make a difference.

Learn that it's ok to say to some people 'that's too low on the list priorities and won't get done', and then go and have a long lunch anyway.

'Nuff said!

Amanda Vanstone - Super Mum and Dedicated to learning foreign languages

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Killer Babies Driving Hyundai's

Stan over at Brand DNA recently pointed out the lunacy of the Advertsing Standards Bureau Board banning a recent ad for Hyundai.

I wholehearteldy agreed. Until I read this article today in the SMH.

Stan, is there a case that we were wrong? Hyundai's advertising is turning KIDS INTO KILLERS.


March 14, 2007 - 10:03AM

A Melbourne woman is in hospital after her toddler son hopped into the driver's seat of her car, started the engine and then accidentally pinned her between the car and a brick wall.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the accident happened about 5.30pm (AEDT) yesterday at Rowville, in Melbourne's south-east.

"The car was parked in the driveway near the entrance of the garage and the child has got in and started up the engine," the spokeswoman said.

"The car has somehow moved forward and mum has become pinned between the car and a brick wall," she said.

"She was taken to Dandenong hospital suffering from a possible broken hip."

The woman, aged in her 30s, also suffered pelvic injuries and was in a stable condition this morning.

Her 18-month-old son was not injured.

The Knox Traffic Management Unit was investigating the incident.

I'd suggest Knox Traffic Management start their investigation over at Hyundai head office where they teach babies to kill.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Boring Bunnies

What would be the most boring FMCG marketing job in town?

Here's one guess.....Brand Manager for either Duracell or Eveready.

There's only one thing you can do with a a battery to have a point of difference. Make it last longer. But you don't want to make it last too long or you'll drop volume.

So you just keep bashing out the same old comparative spot year after year after year. Senior management says it has to be done that way 'cos the research says consumers take in and believe the message. I suppose they probably do when you shove it in their face in qual groups and ask 'em 20 questions.

All I know is that when I see one, I just switch off. I just see another bunny, or action man, or whatever, and know I'm gonna hear the same old story.

"We last longer than Durcaell". "We last twice as long as Eveready". blah blah blah.......

After decades of seeing these ads, I still don't have the faintest which lasts longer.

The overall perception I'm getting is that they're both about as good as each other. It would be like getting propositioned on the same night by both Kylie Minogue and Scarlett Johansson. Either would be fine thanks.

Surely there's an opportunity for one of these brands to start connecting with the consumer in a different way? Maybe one that will make me feel a lot more positively about it when I'm at the shelf making the choice.

Jason Recliner trivia fact - I went to the same primary school as Kylie. I wonder if she remembers me?

Research clearly shows men would rather see another TVC with the bunny than these girls.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Weird Twin Brother

This is a bit strange.

I've discovered the Jason Recliner is being replicated over at something called antoffthehook.

It's like I've just found my weird twin brother who's kind of ugly and a bit stupid and doesn't make a lot of sense.

I wonder if this post will be replicated word for word as well?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eating Sports Cars

So you're the marketer of a 4WD and you have a tricky one on your hands.

You know one of the main reasons people buy 4WD's is so that when they're in an accident with another car, it's gonna be the other car that comes off worse.

This insight is even more powerful for new mums. Mums who have a lot of money. Mums who live in suburbs like Mosman. Mums who drive approx 3km each day to and from their kids school.

So how do you communicate the truth of that insight? The insight that if you're in a bad accident with another car, then the other person will probably be killed rather than you and your kid because you have a 4WD?

Here's how Ford Territory are doing it....eating other cars for breakfast. Pretty clever.

And yeah, I know that the voiceover is talking about turbo. But when you watch it without sound the visuals are telling another story altogether.

Click here for the ad

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Australia Day Self Google

Google maps have just been released with high resolution maps of Australia taken on 26th January - Australia Day, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

I've always loved reading maps. As a kid I would spend hours cruising through the street directory.

So it was only reasonable that I tried to see if I could see myself on the map, as I drank the afternoon away with friends under the giant oak tree at the Oaks hotel on Australia Day.

Well I could see the Oak tree but not my beer.

The view was better from under the oak tree than from above it...

..then as you go up, the view gets better again!

Monday, February 26, 2007

That Orange Square Thing

Last year when I had way too much time on my hands, I noticed everyone had that little orange Feedburner thing on their blogs.

It looked pretty cool.

So I headed over there to Feedburner, read all about it, and signed up and got one as well.

But I have to admit, I have absolutely no fucking idea what it actually does.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


This has absolutely nothing to do with marketing or advertising, and everything to do with the fact that I am already missing this bloke....

Shane Warne - 8 of the Best

Kevin Bloody Wilson - The Shane Warne Song

Tonk a Kiwi....not

I notice that the end of the cricket season has fallen just in time for Ford, who have now taken their Tonk-a-Pom and Tonk-a-Kiwi promotions off line.

Because as we all know, the Kiwi's tonked our arses out of the park.

Just after the poms tonked-an-Aussie in the latest one day finals.

I wonder what the consumer's response would have been to the campaign if the results hadn't gone Australia's way in the test series?

Would that have left punters with a view of Ford as a brand which completely misjudges things? Backs the wrong horse? Boasts without delivering the goods?

Not great attributes to have associated with your brand I reckon.

Ford are very, very lucky for a 5-0 Ashes thumping. They've got Shane Warne to thank in a big way and probably need to buy him a new car.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Archie Thompson and the Lada

About 20 years ago they tried to launch the Lada in Australia.

Russia's answer to the Ford Laser was launched onto the market for about $12,000. They sold a few of them. But then they stopped selling them. It seemed the hot Australian summers were melting parts of the Lada that were designed more for Siberia than Townsville.

But the Lada was always a brand destined for failure. It will never work in this country.

Or will it?

Sometimes when you launch a new product, it just dies in the arse. Then you launch the same product 5 years later and it bombs as well.
Every 5 years, you relaunch it. Each time, there's something different. Maybe a new management team, new paint, some new features. But fundamentally it's still the offering underneath. And people see it as a dog no matter what.

Then one day, the product is launched again. And it goes mental! Everyone wants to get on board and own it.

That's football in Australia today. After years of Lada launches (and accompanying dodgy Lada quality), football is now the iPod of sport in Australia. And I am absolutely loving it!

How bloody good was it to see 50,000 football fans in Melbourne watch the Victory thump Adelaide yesterday?

Archie Thompson won the impressive new Lada Kalina with his Man of the Match performance

I'm a Sydney FC fan but really, it would have been an injustice to the league if Sydney had somehow bumbled their way into the Grant Final and tried to score by hoofing it over the midfield and into the slowest forward line in the comp.

The finals series had some fantastic football throughout. Really great football.

Years ago I got Foxtel and used to watch all the English Premier League games until the wee hours. Or tape them and watch them on sunday morning. Nowdays I have no interest in Arsenal vs Reading, or Tottenham vs Charlton Athletic.
I would rather watch Newcastle vs Adelaide. Two years ago they would have locked me up for saying that.

I'm just going to reminisce for a second about the time that this brand was relaunched. When John Aloisi knocked in the deciding penalty against Uruguay last year, he started the rebirth of football in this country.

Unfortunately I missed the Australian World Cup frenzy in this country. Fortunately I was in Germany at all the first round Aussie games! Here's some photo's of this glorious new powerbrand sweeping the country.....

And perhaps there is hope for the Lada yet.

Sydney - John Aloisi gives birth to Football

Kaiserslauten. Australia v Japan.

Munich. Aust vs Brazil.
"I will sell my mother for a ticket"

Der Guten Guys. Proving that consumers the world over will buy white goods at cheap prices from dickheads.

Stuttgart. Aust vs Croatia. There's a party in my pants and everyone's invited.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

In the Margins

I was in a bar the other week waiting for someone and decided to do something else besides bury my head in my mobile phone trying to look busy when I'm really just sending meaningless text messages to friends for fear of being seen as a lonely loser in a bar.

So I pick up this street mag called Lifelounge, whose theme last month was 'Tight".

I remember growing up reading Mad Magazine and Cracked comics, where the margins of the magazine used to contain jokes. I forgot all about this until I started reading Lifelounge.

On every page there's a bit of a smartarse comment in the margins around the 'tight' theme.

It's an interesting little space I haven't seen too many advertisers in, and certainly not in the mainstream mags. Maybe there's printing limitations to doing it, but if not, maybe this represents some kind of opportunity?

If nothing else, at least I get to show the picture of the half shaved llama, or whatever that thing is.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Shiny Happy People

Can you make someone feel like this?

I'm not sure if I can. Absolutely not in a business sense, unless I offer them an electric shock with each purchase.

The only other time someone may have come close is on a more intimate level which is clearly not an appropriate discussion for the PG rated Jason Recliner.

Even if I could make someone this happy in business, I'm not sure I'd like it.

I've done some pretty good powerpoint presentations in my time, but if someone in the meeting reacted like this I'd be ducking for cover and whispering the words 'Stress Management' to the nearest manager.

But if you do possess this amazing skill, then forget about earning the millions you probably would elsewhere and, as the back of this avant card outlines, go and work for the St George bank behind the counter.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tone Diversity vs Media Diversity

Why don't we diversify our style of message rather than diversity our choice of media?

When planning a campaign, diversity of media is front of mind. The whole media environment has changed. So a campaign is built around the core idea and leveraged across multiple media options. Or a TV ad is pooled out into other media and often cheekily post rationalised as 360 degree planning.

What I don't see a lot of is the same message being delivered in different ways in the same medium.

Here's an example.

Years ago I launched Finish Tablets onto the Australian market. We launched with a global ad that had the pièce de résistance - a Lionel Ritchie song - a surefire winner coming from our Dutch head office.

Finish was always advertised with a tonality of being the technical expert, with a strong product demo always centrepiece. It had a harder, efficacious edge and drew upon it's innovation credentials.

This was great for launch. We quickly got 12% of the market. But then sales plateaued. The message wasn't getting through to non-triallists. They were either falling asleep or turning off the TV and boogying the rest of the night away to Dancing on the Ceiling.

From research, we knew once people tried the Tablets, they became loyalists. They worked as good, if not better than the powder, and the convenience benefit became obvious. (although that was never made the core proposition as we could never own it).

We also knew from research that the launch ad attracted the early adopters. The housewife equaivalent of the first iPod users. Consumers who really got into the technical details and the product demo. Or Lionel.

Other consumers didn't care. They just wanted to know that it cleaned dishes better than anything else. Don't tell me about the V8 engine, just let me know that the car drives super smooth.

In other words, we went to the trouble of understanding how consumers were responding to the tone and manner of advertising

So we then made this ad, which delivers the same message. Yes, it's contrived, but it's tone is more approachable, warmer and more human.

The result? Finish Tablets share went from 12% to 20%. We resonated with a lot more non-users

It was the same message, just delivered in a different way.

What if we took it one step further and did another ad where the same message was delivered in a really creative way. Even though they worked their socks off, neither of the ads above are very creative ('Stuck on You' clearly the obvious exception). Perhaps that was another option.

So if you have a clear understanding of how the target market is likely to respond to different styles of advertising a similar message, is this as valid an option as leveraging the same style of message across many mediums?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Barry Dawson - The Legend Continues

No commentary needed. Barry speaks for himself.

More Barry here

and here

Monday, January 29, 2007

The National Anthem

Given we've just celebrated Australia Day, it's worth noting that our national anthem works perfectly when sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island.

I remembered this as I was re-reading one of my favourite books - Confessions of a Thirteenth Man - by John Harms. A great read about a bloke who follows the 1998/99 Ashes tour around Australian in his 1982 Holden Camira (incredibly voted car of the year in 1982).

Go on, give it a go......

Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free

With golden soil and wealth for toil, our home is girt by sea

Our land abounds in nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare

In history's page let every stage advance Australia fair (Advance Australia fair)

Spot the difference

Sunday, January 28, 2007

XXXXing Beach Cricket

It seems Peter Roebuck is not too keen on XXXX Gold's Beach Cricket program.

He slams it in his SMH article. "Beach cricket is silly", he says.

Well Robes, it probably is in Somerset, but not out here.

He says it's just wrong because after laying the boot into Warney's personal life again, he says 'Cricket needs all the dignity it can muster".

Is this the same Peter Roebuck who was found guilty of common assault by teaching three schoolboys some cricket discipline by getting them to bend over and paddle them with a cane. Now that's dignity!

Worse still, he has the nerve to call bloody legends like Allan Border and Richie Richardson ' cavorting pensioners'. Steady on Robes, no-one is getting any younger. Plus everyone has this thing called rent to pay.

Cricket legends with airbrushed anti-beer guts

So whilst Peter is busy pontificating his way through another pompous SMH cricket article, other people are out there earning a living including those marketers who are trying to sell some XXXX.

All my mates and I have tuned in at some stage and given it a look. We all love cricket, the beach, the past legends. It's a talking point for sure.

What Roebuck probably doesn't realise, or care about, is that the actual beach cricket event probably only provides about 1/3 of the campaign's total impact.

The rest of it came in the lead up - the TV ads, the print ads, the leverage the Lion Nathan field force had with the liquor outlets leading up to the event etc. New news for the brand, with a clear point of difference, in peak sales time. Nice work.

Beach cricket is good. Now beach volleyball.....that's a silly sport.

XXX have clearly looked at my Male Planners Guide before coming up with this

Is This the Truth?

Further to my post about whether ad agencies, deep down, really gave a rats about making ads that sold lots of product, I came across a really interesting question over at a cool blog called Scamp.

Take these results with a grain of's probably a bit of harmless fun.

But deep down, is this what creatives would rather achieve with their ads?

In my time, I've never met a single marketer who would vote for option 1.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Planners Cheat Guide for Blokes

Working on that new campaign for a power drill, car or beer and can't quite crack the insight?

Need some help getting into the mind of your blokey target?

Well then, just use this handy cheat guide to understanding blokes, and blow your clients away...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Tonk a Pom

It's getting boring Tonking Poms. People are now expecting tonks and tonkability is losing it's impact.

Or maybe not. Barry "The Dawson" Cougar has now been overtaken by Tonk a Pom as the biggest drawcard to the Jason Recliner.

I was talking about the whole Tonk a Pom thing to a colleague the other day, and we both agreed the same thing. As popular as Tonk a Pom is, it's probably doing an ordinary job for Ford's brand image.

Think about it. The whole 1970's backyard cricket thing roots Ford in the good old days - a relic of the past. The whole tonality of Tonk a Pom is one of yesteryear. Is that the optimal positioning for Ford? Maybe the research says it is, but when you're paying $30-40k for a new car, I seriously doubt it.

Or maybe it just seemed like a good idea at the time 'cos they sponsor the cricket and needed a cricket idea. A perfect case of the execution driving the strategy.

Secondly, car advertising only becomes relevant once you're in the market for a car. So if Tonk a Pom gets awareness for Ford over the summer period against new car buyers, then good job. But in my experience, all car advertising suddenly becomes relevant. So tone and manner have a big role to play in whittling the choice down to a select few.

So if you're heading off to lawn bowls, Ford might be starting to get pretty relevant.

Lastly, if the goal of the campaign was to drive people to the web site via Tonk a Pom, well....that's worked a treat. But then that's a hell of a lot of money to spend to drive people to a web site. Why not just give people a voucher for $1000 off a car...they'd probably sell more of them and it would cost less.

So whilst Tonk a Pom might be doing well with cricket punters who like playing a video game that sticks it up the poms, my guess is that European cars might be playing their own version of Tonk an Aussie on their sales spreadsheets.

The England slips fieldsmen poised for a catch

Monday, January 15, 2007

Do Agencies Give a Shit?

I sometimes wonder whether ad agencies really give a shit about producing advertising that really sells.

Now that I'm firmly entrenched back in the client side after a couple of years working for small agencies, it's starting to become a lot clearer.

Here's my story: I've got 16 years of marketing experience at a high level with some of the biggest companies in the world. I love advertising and communication. I reckon I'm pretty good at what I do, and my strategic skills are one of my strengths.

So one day I decided to start my own consultancy and become a freelance planner/marketer. I'd always wanted to work as a planner on the agency side and spoke to a lot of people in the industry who assured me that the ad game was crying out for strong, strategic client side experience.

I didn't disagree.

That was two years ago. I reckon I did some great planning work (and so did my clients and the agencies who I helped win a lot of new business for). True 360 degree planning - the way the top planners and articles in B&T and AdNews talk about how it should be done. With great results for the brands I worked on.

The only 'problem' was that it was all for smaller agencies (ad/design/promo).

I thought I had the skills for a bigger agency, but none of the bigger agencies were interested in me. I got nowhere with a lot of agencies and definitely nowhere with recruiters for the ad industry.

Through my own contacts though, I got so, so close to planning roles at Y&R, DDB and JWT. Even to the point of being offered a job (which changed dynamics somewhat when they changed the rate at the last minute to a 100% bonus system based on the amount of new business I brought in. But sorry, I don't work for free).

The real irony was that for all three agencies, not one of them had the guts to call me and tell me I didn't get the job. They just crawled back under the creative rock and went quiet. That's ok, I guess...I just find it strange given that their job is to communicate.

My problem? I was seen as a client, through and through. One of those people who doesn't really appreciate the power of great creative. Someone who makes life difficult for agency people because we're so narrow minded. Someone who might even think...horror, horror....that a Brand Power ad might actually be the best advertising outcome. And even though I hate Brand Power, sometimes it probably is the best option.

Sure, I love creative work and believe in the power of a great creative idea, but it's not always the best way to sell more product. When has an agency ever recommended that the problem is not advertising, but pack graphics or PR or sampling?

Meanwhile, every planner jumping off the plane from the UK seems to have no trouble picking up a guernsey. English accents go a long way here in Sydney. Fair enough - that's my competition. That's life.

But I've seen a lot of English planners struggle with planning disciplines taught in London put against briefs from volume driven FMCG clients where the goal is to sell 4 million loaves of bread to the average aussie living in Telopea, or Bayswater, or Woolawin. As a client, I haven't got time to wordsmith 3 words in a half day session, only to see them disappear in a puff of dust at the first creative presentation.

Am I pissed off? Yeah, a little.

I can count on two fingers the amount of planners who I think have really added strategic value to my brand. And none to those who have added strategic value to my non-brand related business (eg margin improvement, NPD, trade, internal comms etc). You know....the other stuff that makes money.

Most planners have been pretty rubbish. Sorry, let me rephrase....most planners are certainly not worth the value agencies charge for them over the course of a year. Bear in mind this is my experience, along with a couple of marketing directors I've talked to as well.

So back to my original point. Sometimes I wonder whether agencies really give a shit about producing advertising that really sells.

Because if they did, they would be more open minded about bringing in people who have a true open mind about the role of advertising. They'd be open to people from client side who can add so much insight to the way clients think and operate and add value from so many perspectives.

I think agencies are scared of people who don't see absolute creative work as being the God of Brands. It seems like it would almost be too threatening to have someone with client experience in the boiler room, diluting brilliant creative work with ridiculous client side ideas and insights and suggestions designed to increase sales.

Deep down, big agencies are creatively driven, not (client) sales driven. The end goal is advertising. The means is managing the client to deliver the most creative outcome.

In client land, the end goal is sales. Advertising is one means to deliver it. And I'm not sure things are changing in any hurry.

Is this blog topic inflamatory? Probably. Is there another argument here? Most certainly.

But I haven't seen the argument made too many times (eg never) and this blog entry and a glass of wine seemed like an interesting to do this time of the night.

Good night

Monday, January 08, 2007

How to Be a 30% Better Marketer

OK....enough of these twee nostalgia ads I've been churning out recently.
Let's get physical. Physical. I wanna get physical.

Why are some companies better marketers than others?

I've talked in the past about how good Sanitarium seem to be doing things smarter than the competition. From clever use of sponsorship, to good viral activity, to smart segmentation of product offerings.

But what if they had an upper hand? And I'm not talking about Jesus.

What if they could afford the best people in the industry by paying them 30% more?

What if they could buy their media 30% more effectively than their competition?

What if they made their ads 30% cheaper than everyone else?

What if they could bid 30% more than the competition for the services of Brett Lee and Tim Cahill?

What if they could promote their products 30% deeper than their competition in Coles and Woolworths?

Well, they can.

Because Sanitarium, a $330 milion dollar business, is wholly owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and is except from tax in Australia, according to this, and this, and this artice in BRW.

The Foo Fighters give me some kind of divine inspiration when I'm in the gym.

The lyrics and music of Josh Rouse have gotten me through some ordinary times.

I donate to charity and am even thinking of growing a mo' next November.

But I'm not expecting John Howard to give me a tax break any time soon. So why do Sanitarium get one?

The Foo Fighters tried 30% less equipment but just ended up sounding like the Beatles

Tab Cola. For Beautiful People

Now is it just me getting all nostalgic, as I plough through YouTube videos from the early 80's, or is there an opportunity for a 2007 version of TAB cola to be launched back onto the market with some kind of nostalgia positioning?

Whilst Coke and Pepsi and targeting 25 year old females and music festival goers, who's targeting the 40-55 market with a diet cola offering?

Barry Dawson, The Cougar, is a sure fire winner judging by the amount of traffic I get here because I've got a couple of posts on him. There is something very alluring and appealing in nostalgia combined with an element of taking the piss.

And whatever happened to the great TV jingle?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bigger, Better, Bigger & Better

"Bigger. Better. Brashs city store. Now bigger and better."

Not hard to imagine what the proposition might have been for that one. Right on Mr B!

Good old Brashs. Interesting to note that the TV for $776 in 1978 equates to $2360 today. Sounds about right for an entry level plasma.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

You Cannot be Serious!

Seriously Soccer?

I don't think so.

If they were really serious, it would be called Seriously Football, given that's what we call it nowdays.

Now this is serious.....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dennis Lillee Fixing a Joint

Fresh from hiking around the Nullabor in his Blue Steel hiking boots, DK Lillee is back in action.

This time it's a much more relevant product to the legendary fast bowler.

Bio-Organics has a fantastic new product that repairs damaged cartilage and eases the pain of joint damage.

Everyone knows DK had a lot of back and joint trouble midway through his career, so 25 years later this looks like it's exactly the type of product he needs. Especially when he's bushwalking, for instance.

It's clearly not doing him much good though. He's not even running...he's just holding the stopwatch for the bloke who can!