Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Final Recline

It's time to unrecline the recliner and put the thing on e-bay. This is the last post....although like all good rock bands there'll probably be a 10 year reunion tour when the money starts to run out.

It's interesting to look back at some of the stuff/crap I've written in that time...

Transmedia Planning
And to think at some point I actually entertained this as a valid concept. But it's not. It's just a fancy term for coming up with a well rounded media plan. And that's challenging enough to get these days without overlaying an over-thought planning model.

Mount Franklin's Pink Bits
I thought Mt Franklins sponsorship of the National Breast Cancer Foundation would work well with women, but alienate blokes. Well I got that wrong! It's in it's 3rd year now and clearly very successful.

Barry Dawson - The Cougar
Barry and his bad mo are responsible for about half of the visitors to this site. The man has class!

Guiness - still crap
They still can't crack a good local campaign despite running killer ads overseas that position the beer in it's rightful spot amongst the beer brands.

Get Stuffed
NowI know why companies like Reckitt Benckiser use stupid animals to sell air fresheners and toilet cleaners. It's so they don't have to spend a fortune on talent costs when they roll out their global campaigns.

MOTHER (Marketer On The Run)
I'm still a mother. I don't read Adnews. I don't read B&T. I'm too busy doing my job, and so is everyone in the marketing team around me. These mags are interesting, but do we really need two weekly mags where everyone in advertising talks about each other and bla bla bla. At the end of the day, if a Creative Director at Watkins, Spruce and Gribley thinks a competitive ad for Fruit Loops is crap, who cares. Ad folk could spend more time educating their clients rather than their colleagues, but that doesn't win new business does it?

Second Life is still weird
Not only is it still weird, it's dying. Two years ago media agencies were getting a little bit too excited about stuff like this. To bring up Reckitts again, that company still spends 90% of it's media dollars on TV, and is by far and away the most successful household cleaning company in the world in the last 5 years. They say they'll change it when less traditonal media proves that it can sell millions and millions of products at required company growth rates.
I don't work for RB (anymore) and they're aggressive and arrogant, but they're good operators.

The Lada
I also get a lot of people to the site after searching for one of the world's finest motor vehicles - the Lada Kalina. Not sure an article about Archie Thomson is what they were looking for.

Blogging wrap up
I've had almost 20,000 hits. At some point this blog was part of the top 300 marketing and advertising blogs in the world (but since plummetted to 736) and it's ranked 66 in the top 100 Australian Marketing blogs. Not bad for what really is just my personal diary on stuff I've observed in the marketing world.

Do I think I've had any impact on the marketing world? No, not really.

My observation is that there's a small community of online bloggers who are passionate about (and very good at) what they do. Everyone checks out each others blogs and makes comments and engages etc - it's fabulous. And granted there are some blogs that attract a lot of attention.

Overall though, I still think it's pretty niche. Most marketers and ad agency folk I know have little time to get involved, and choose to spend their time at home with their families or other interests.

At the end of the day, it's a great community and for those involved there's some brilliant stuff to keep the marketing mind fresh and challenged. It certainly did for me for a couple of years. But my spark has gone and as much as I often think about adding a new post, I choose to watch Flight of the Conchords or Entourage instead.

I have really enjoyed being part of the scene, and will keep checking out my favourites like Brand DNA and Scamp.

Thanks for checking in over the years. Happy blogging everyone.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

British Petroleum - Finest Coffee in Town

Mmmmm, these guys have to convince me they don't make shit coffee first....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Better Buy Bega....maybe

I really want to buy Bega cheese....I really really do.

It's a beautiful part of the world, it's an Australian brand, it supports the local farmers.

But they're just not giving me a good enough reason to do it. Firstly, their low fat cheese is just too anemic in colour. So whether or not it tastes like Coon, it just doesn't look like it does.

Secondly, their new ad isn't giving me a good enough reason.

Yep, so Bega is famous for cheese. But so what? What they haven't done is bring 'real cheese' to life. You would think that there's enough warmth and character in and around Bega to do that, but the agency has spent 25 seconds on the joke.

John West (I think) did this brilliantly a few years ago for a product produced in a similar part of the world.

Noble Rise bread also did it, interestingly also using a similar tagline (Real Bread, Real Taste). There's a lot stronger reason the bread is "real bread" from the set up.

And OK, I'll admit, Noble Rise was my ad :-)

Bega "Real Town, Real Cheese"

Noble Rise "Real Bread, Real Taste"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Who Are You?

I haven't seen too many magazines of late that have really differentiated themselves via their advertising.

But Who Weekly have done a great job in their latest TVC. Up against mags like NW and Famous, Who Weekly have given their brand a nice edginess and energy.

And the use of the Who song is so simple and common sense - it just works brilliantly and is a really strong point of difference.

Now if I could only get my magazine ads to work so emotionally on my consumers as this ad does on me....mmm....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lleyton Hewitt Theory - Mk II

One of the first posts I ever did on the Jason Recliner was called Lleyton Hewitt Theory, wondering what it would be like to be the Strategic Planner on the Chiko Roll account. And drawing some kind of conclusion that the target market for Chiko Roll might possibly be based around the character of Lleyton Hewitt (minus the tennis part and the Bec Cartwright bit).

Now I'm pleased to see the Chiko Roll is back! And they've taken my advice!!

There's a new Chiko Roll Chick, this time on a dragster, who's replaced the slut on the motorbike.

She's described as a "fun, outgoing Aussie chick who is down to earth". If that isn't Bec Cartwright then I don't know what is.

Not only that, the SMH newspaper article also lists the ingredients of the Chiko Roll. With carrot, celery, onions, cabbage and green beans, no artificial flavours or preservatives, it sounds positively healthy! OK, so it's all deep fried, but with all that goodness inside, who's counting calories.

Annette Melton, the new Chiko Chick, shows Cadel Evans how to really ride a bike.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Evil or Good Backyard BBQ

I think I know what the government is trying to say here in this Drinkwise campaign.

I think.

Be a role model for your kids when it comes to your drinking habits because it will help form their approach to alcohol consumption.

It's just that the TV ad doesn't seem to show anything particularly bad. A couple of blokes in the backyard having a yarn over a beer, everyone pretty well behaved, nothing untoward going on. It looks like a good day going on!

So I'm not sure whether what I'm watching is meant to be a positive articulation of social drinking through the generations or a negative one.

The message itself is an important one to address no doubt. But I don't think this TV ad makes anything a whole lot clearer. Not without delving deeper online anyway.

DDB (who I think are one of the best agencies in town) did a great job a couple of years ago selling a similar message, with a lot more impact. 740,000 hits on YouTube as well....powerful stuff.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Saucy Bits

I like this ad for Drumstick. Product benefit clearly integrated into the creative idea.

Just one thing....shouldn't it be "Sauce from top to toe"?

Also, isn't it chocolate, not sauce? Unless the Nestle nutritionists are now avoiding calling chocolate by it's real name all in the name of Good Health, Good Living or whatever it is they're pretending to be nowdays.

Anyway, good ad though - I'm sure the consumer will still take in the message.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Got Chicken?

Inghams seem to be a bit confused here as to whether to sell the benefits of their own product (versus fresh chicken I suppose) or to sell the chicken category.

Surely they'd be better off selling their own product rather than doing a job for Woolies, KFC, Nando's etc.

And surely the main thrust of the brief isn't to sell more chicken in Australia? Is it???

If so, maybe this whole campaign is about driving chicken consumption so they sell more of their chooks wholesale to everyone else around the country, using their branded product as the vehicle to deliver the message.

Meat and Livestock keep coming up with great campaigns to drive category consumption, and I know which I'd pick as the better piece of marketing. Apart from 17 year old boys, I can't see anyone else logging on to

When you look at the way the Meat & Livestock Association has marketed beef and lamb over the last 10 years, it' s been outstanding. And this campaign always gives me a good feeling about buying meat.

David Thomasen talking about meat marketing

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Your Money Ralph

Three posts in three days.......It's a blogging frenzy!!!

This latest Commonwealth Bank campaign got me far off the mark are these guys and what really is a relevant insight for a banking customer?

And do you have to employ an american ad agency and feature the bloke who directed Transformers to bring that insight to life?

Maybe the client got sucked into the typical ad agency hype about how an ad has to be funny for it to be effective. I've had this shoved in my face so many times without any insight back to how the target is likely to respond to it in the context of what the brand is trying to say.

So here's the thing. 20 years ago the State Bank of Victoria created an amazing campaign that worked it's way into the vernacular with four words - "It's your money Ralph".

Two actors on a couch, with a newspaper prop, well directed and well written.

It's not funny. It's just true. And it struck a major chord.

Guess which bank owns the State Bank of Victoria now?

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Triple M of Blogs


I've made it onto the top 50 marketing blogs in Australia, even though I've spent much of 2008 talking about advertising to my mates rather than blogging it.

So even though my site was described by a fellow blogger as being on 'life support', I'd prefer to think of it as the Triple M of Aussie marketing blogs....not a whole lot of new stuff, but heaps of classics that go back through the years!

And no ads....just 136 blog posts IN A ROW!

Anyway, who says a blog needs to be updated every day or week. There's only so much interesting new news out there. With all the advertising theories, strategies, models, principles bla bla bla, I'm still trying to work out how to make an effective 30 second tv ad!

Thanks to Julian Cole for putting together the whole shebang.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Which Insight?

So the Commonwealth Bank campaign has continued on from it's launch in February. There was a lot of speculation about whether it was genius which would lead to an amazing campaign that would help separate it from the other banks and really lead it forward.

So I guess it's now safe to say what it really is.

And it's still shit.

It all seems a very expensive way of getting across a simple message without any depth whatsoever, wrapped up in an insight think has something to do with Americans not really understanding Australians.

But it's late at night and maybe I'm not thinking very hard about it.

I wonder if the consumer could be bothered to?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Advertising in Shit Places

A couple of good ads suiting the environment, this time in the crapper at the Fox and Lion....

Scare yourself shitless this boxing day with Aliens vs Predator

And then an ad for RSVP.....part of a bigger campaign that says the chances of meeting someone really compatible in everyday life once you drill down through the odds are pretty much next to nothing.

Nothing like a campaign built on a strong truth!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Determined to be Different

Perhaps I was a little harsh on the Commonwealth Bank when I rubbished their latest campaign for failing to understand the Australian consumer and their attitude to banks.

Now I realise, that by taking up it's mortgage rate by more than the official rise, they really are "Determined to be Different"!

I suppose they had a choice didn't they? Customers or profit. Guess which won again?

The Commonwealth Bank integrated it's new Determined to be Different campaign through the whole company by providing all staff with a range of 4 different coloured mouse pads.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Commonwealth Bank of Rubbish

What's going on over at the Commonwealth Bank?

Here's the scenario......

The banks keep reporting record profits year on year. Interest rates keep going up (and banks are quick to take 'em up and slow to take 'em down). Branches are closing and the there's no-one at the window for the ones that are left. They're greedy knobs and not many people like them.

So why not make a stupid ,expensive ad that says nothing, made by idiots, approved by bigger idiots, that does absolutely nothing to address anything. I'd like to know who this ad is meant to be targeting and what they're meant to think about the bank after watching it?

I'll stick with Westpac thanks. Even though they're milking me for profit like everyone else, at least I feel good about the fact that they're helping the environment and spending the profit on something worthwhile. Not million dollar rubbish ad campaigns.

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.