Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, Context, Creativity, Culture, Marketing, Marketing Fail
Let me start by saying that Women’s Day – and Earth Hour – shine a light on very serious issues.
Issues that should be on top of everyones mind without the need for a reminder.
I also want to say that I appreciate everything has to start from somewhere – but I’m genuinely concerned that Women’s Day will end up going the same way as Earth Hour … where society thinks if they engage on the day, then they’ve done all they need to do for the rest of the year.
I’ve written about this in the past.
While this approach is a great way to ignite a social debate about very serious issues, they often end up – at best – only having a 24 hour impact or, at worst, becoming a superficial celebration of a specific day.
Earth Hour have struggled to combat this … as demonstrated by them adding ‘+’ symbol to their logo … but it will take more than that to maintain an interest for the general population.
But at least Earth Hour has been interpreted by society as a commitment to helping the environment, because I’m not sure the same level of clarity can be said of Women’s Day.
Just recently I heard of a company who honoured the females in their company with a range of gifts consisting of an oven, a quilt and a set of pots and pans to name but a few.
I know for a fact they didn’t mean it to be offensive … quite the opposite … but this highlights how many people/companies have totally misunderstood what Women’s Day is actually about and why it is important.
To further highlight the issue, I heard that some guys wanted to start a ‘Man’s Day’.
These were intelligent, Worldly men – not Neanderthals – and if you spoke to them about equality, they’d be passionately behind it, and yet they didn’t see how their suggestion would completely undermine the importance of this day for the females in their company.
And that’s my worry.
Because equality is a fucking important thing.
Something that requires more than a day of awareness … but if that is the route we need to go down to try and ensure the debate is not allowed to be placed in the shadows, then we must at least ensure the purpose of the day is clear because frankly, while it’s fun that Burger King renamed their Shanghai store for the day, it means little if the only reason they did it was for superficial topicality.
I’m not saying that’s why they did it, but momentarily changing your brand name or giving out gender reinforcing gifts highlights that the real purpose of Women’s Day could be in danger of becoming as superficial as adding a Q&A element to the Ms World competition.
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Communication Strategy, Culture, Customer Service, Emotion, Empathy, Insight, Marketing
A few weeks ago, I smashed the screen of my iPhone 7.
To say I was annoyed was an understatement, especially when I was told that all of Shanghai’s Genius Bars were fully booked for 6 weeks so the only thing I could do – if I wanted things to be sorted quickly – was to turn up at an Apple store and queue up for hours on end.
So I did.
I got up early and was at the store at 8am so I could be first when the doors opened.
And you know what, I’m glad I did because otherwise I would not have been able to see this …
“What’s that you ask?”
It’s a group of blind people being given access to the store before it opens so they can shop safely and comfortably.
It may seem a little thing to us, but it would be a huge thing for them.
As we saw with Asda doing a special open store for customers suffering with autism, the retail industry is miles ahead of most organisations in terms of customer understanding and service.
Not to mention being light years ahead of adland and their often embarrassing attempts to make a difference to culture. Though, to be fair, that’s because most of them are only doing it because they want to win an industry award [namely a Cannes Lion] than to actually make something that has any real benefit for society.
… my wonderful Mum and Dad got married.
I always felt for Mum when she had those 16 years without Dad, which is why – even though I’d do anything to still have them here – I’m glad they’re back together again. Or as back together as you can be.
Happy anniversary Mum and Dad.
Thank you for finding each other.
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Culture, Cunning, Devious Strategy
… very much needed on a Monday morning.
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Audio Visual, Brand Suicide, Comment, Crap Campaigns In History, Culture, Marketing, Marketing Fail
I’ve written a lot about GoPro.
I’ve bathed them in adoration … highlighting how they were born from their community, which enabled them to create communication that literally inspired the growth of their community, not to mention a whole new multi-billion dollar industry.
So it absolutely breaks my heart that GoPro are fucking up.
I’m not just talking about their product issues – or their reluctance to innovate – but the one thing they used to do flawlessly.
Look at this …
OK, they’ve kept their ‘in the middle of the action’ imagery.
And yes, they’ve kept the message mercilessly short.
But look at it … that visual hardly screams ‘live action’ and that message is a perfect example of corporate blandom and passiveness.
However there is an even bigger question.
Why – just why – did GoPro walk away from their absolutely brilliant ‘Be A Hero’?
I honestly think that is one of the best lines since Just Do It and yet, within a few years, they’ve seemingly walked away from it and for what?
To keep things new and fresh?
If that’s what they think then they have utterly failed.
It might be new but it’s certainly not fresh.
‘Be A Hero’ was brilliant because it perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the brand and the people who use their products.
It was a line that could last a lifetime. I genuinely believe that.
This obsession with an annual ‘relaunch’ is ridiculous.
That isn’t how you build something … but it is certainly how you destroy it.
Look, I know end-lines don’t make a brand, but they do effect how culture views them.
I know some people don’t agree with that – thinking end lines are old hat – but my response is if NIKE walked away from Just Do It and replaced it with something like ‘Feel Amazing’, I’m pretty sure everyone would think they’ve lost their spirit and edge.
A bit like going from ‘Be A Hero’ to ‘Capture Different’.
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Communication Strategy, Creativity, Culture, Education, Experience, Insight, The Kennedys Shanghai
As many of you know, I spent 5 years trying to pass a bunch of teacher qualification so I could one day be a lecturer at MIT.
It should have taken 2.
And while I [eventually] passed and have done the odd lesson here and there, the reality is I find the whole thing very difficult.
Part of that is because I’m a bit thick, part of that is because the students I’ve worked with are ridiculously smart [one is 21 and re-engineering the pace maker for fucks sake] … but the other part is that so much of the ‘higher education industry’ seems to be focused on teaching, rather than on helping students learn.
Of course, both of those are interconnected, but for me, it’s about the core motivation.
If it’s about ‘teaching’ … then your focus is communicating the curriculum within the time allowed.
If it’s about ‘learning’ … then your focus is on enabling the students to grasp concepts that they can then use with their own free will.
I am absolutely in the latter camp, which is why I’ve found MIT a bit of a struggle and why I’ve found The Kennedys such a joy.
Of course it doesn’t help there are systems in place where the students ‘grade’ the teacher.
Seriously, how stupid is that?
I appreciate there’s some bad teachers out there, but to give students the authority to pass judgement based on their experience is ridiculous.
Of course, in a perfect world they would be able to do this objectively, but as we all know, so much commentary these days is from a subjective point of view so you could be a great teacher who is given a bad grade by students simply because you didn’t give them the grades they desired because they didn’t warrant them.
Now I’ve made a distinction between higher education and more junior – but that’s not to say they don’t suffer the same issues – but the reason I write this is because of that article at the top of this post.
Despite the author inferring they found it educational and inspirational, I’m not sure that approach would be allowed today.
I appreciate it is fairly radical, but handled correctly, it not only helps students learn, but it opens a debate that would help them truly understand.
To me, that is what education is about …
Giving students the tools to challenge, destroy and liberate stuff … because if we don’t give them that, what hope has society to move forward, let alone stand up against those who wish to do us harm?
Filed under: Comment, Communication Strategy, Crap Campaigns In History, Cunning, Embarrassing Moments, Marketing, Marketing Fail, Media
So this is hard for me because it not only involves an agency I like very much – Droga5 – but it also involves a number of personal friends.
So over the past few months, there’s been a campaign for Email marketing platform, MailChimp.
Not that you’d know it, because the campaign has been about creating seemingly random ads for things with names that kind-of sound like MailChimp but never actually say it.
Hence we’ve had all sorts of things like FailChips and SnailPrimps placed all around NYC.
Because when the brand sponsored the hit podcast ‘Serial’, someone in the promo mispronounced the brand as “MailKimp” and Droga5 thought that could be a fun way to advertise the brand.
That’s right, spend a shitload of cash doing a bunch of things that never actually mentions the brand name or relates to what the brand does.
This is how a Mailchimp exec explains it …
“We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information”.
Now I accept there is a good chance I might be wrong, but are people that curious?
Do people give a flying fuck about this sort of thing?
Maybe they do, which means I can’t help but wonder how they felt when they discovered what it was really all about.
Were they pissed off they’ve just been part of a marketing scam?
Or maybe they ended up being massively disappointed by what they discovered it all to be about.
Or did they go, “Wow, that’s amazing” and immediately sign up for their service, even if they didn’t need it.
I have a feeling it’s not that likely to be the last option.
Don’t get me wrong, I know people love to ‘discover’ stuff, but I’m not so sure that means they love discovering they’ve just been had.
All of this feels like the people behind the campaign either watched one too many bad spy movies or took Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘tipping point’ a tad too literally.
But it gets worse.
Much worse … because this ‘strategy’ of mispronouncing the brand name – according to the credits released with the campaign – required 7 strategists.
What did they do?
What is the bloody strategy in any of this?
I appreciate that sometimes the biggest insight is there isn’t one … but even then, you don’t need 7 strategists. Hell, even if you were doing a campaign to solve world hunger, you wouldn’t need seven strategists.
WHAT IS GOING ON!?
I love Droga5 and I massively respect my friends who were involved in this campaign, but this all smacks of early dotcom advertising and we know what happened to the majority of those brands.
Actually I’m wrong, because at least those ads focused on people remembering the name.
This isn’t advertising, it’s anti-advertising and while the industry might think that’s something cool and worthy of aspiring too, in the real World – or at least The Guardian – they know it’s a great advertisement for saying our industry has its head up it’s own ass.