The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Sometimes The Audience Finds You …

So I recently read an article on the UK distributors of Danish store, Tiger.

Tiger is often referred to as ‘Posh Poundland’ as it sells all manner of stuff.

Anyway, in 2005, a husband and wife – with no business experience whatsoever – decided to pour all the money they had into buying the rights for the brand in the UK.

They openly admit it was very difficult and they made many mistakes but 11 years later, they sold it for an estimated 40+ million pounds.

So far so good, but what really interested me was something they said at the end of the interview …

How brilliant is that.

It’s also a great lesson in thinking about your audience.

Too often, our industry defines audiences by the segment we believe are the most likely to want to buy our brand/product.

While that makes perfect sense, the problem is we are often end up being pretty generalistic in who we define our audience to be … often because our clients are petrified of putting limitations on their sales potential. The other problem with this broad audience approach is that it tends to end up being the audience for the whole category, which means we end up pitting ourselves directly against our competition.

What I love about this Tiger example is – albeit by lucky accident – they realised their was a very specific segment who were attracted to this product. A segment that liked it for reasons beyond what was expected, and yet was something that actively drove them to buy.

Now I admit it takes balls to do this.

It also takes absolute honesty.

And confidence.

But when defining audiences, it’s always worth remembering the motivations for purchase are often very different to what we would like to think they are. Of course we know this, but when in front of a client, it’s amazing how often we either temporarily forget or simply choose to ignore.

By being absolutely open to who could/should be interested in our clients brands, we not only stand the chance of making work that truly resonates with a particular segment, but one that automatically differentiates you from the countless competitors all trying to steal your share, which is why I still love the V&A London museum ad from the 80’s, where Saatchi’s [in their absolute pomp] realised the thing people liked most about the place was the cafe, which led to them running ad’s with the bravest ‘endline’ you may ever see …




A Lesson On The Folly Of Focus Groups From Cameron Crowe …

For some of the younger readers of this blog, you may be wondering who Cameron Crow – the person I reference in the title of this post – is.

Well, he’s a famous film writer/director, responsible for movies including:

+ Almost Famous
+ Jerry Maguire
+ Singles

OK, so he’s also responsible for the car-crash that was Vanilla Sky, but let’s ignore that …

Anyway, I recently read an interview with him where he talks about how he came up with the name ‘Jerry Maguire’ and it’s fascinating.

Not really because of the story behind the name, but what he says at the very end … how movie companies now operate and what the outcome of their modern-day marketing approach would result in.

The thing is, I can so imagine the focus group/movie company preferring ‘You Complete Me’ to ‘Jerry Maguire’.

I can hear the feedback …

“Who the hell is Jerry Maguire?”

“Jerry Maguire is such a boring name, so it must be a boring film”.

“I can’t think what a film called Jerry Maguire would be about?”

“You Complete Me sounds so romantic”

“You Complete Me sounds like a film that is happy and positive”

“You Complete Me is a film I want my whole family to see”

And while I accept I’m being biased – having seen the movie many times – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have wanted to see a movie called ‘You Complete Me’, even if it still contained one of the iconic scenes of my generation.

[Which would probably be left on the cutting room floor these days, see below]

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of research … but focus groups aren’t really about that, they’re about being progress killers.



It Might Be A Bit Ironic For Someone In Advertising To Post This, But ….
February 8, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Culture, Emotion, Empathy, Family, Friendship, Insight, Love

… I do feel this is a very insightful comment.

Of course there are many factors contributing to societies worship of ‘things’ … from the way many treat and regard the poor [which makes the acquisition of ‘things’ appear the path to social acceptance] to the large number of communities who literally see no positive future for them or their loved ones to the many people who grow up feeling a lack of love and support from their families.

Basically, I feel we need to press a giant reset button … but given the best chance of that was when we discovered the banks had fucked us all over and yet we [1] didn’t take any real action against the guilty and [2] we have ended up carrying on as we were before [possibly because there were no implications to those who had caused this mess] I doubt we will get that for a long, long time.

Which means our only hope is us.

And love.

In the end, it always comes down to that.



For Those Who Say President Trump Wants To Take America Back To The 1950’s …
February 7, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Culture

… if you look at this Superman poster from that era, you will see that America was far more inclusive and compassionate towards others than it is today.

And we all know how intolerant it was back then.

Given all the stuff Mr Trump said throughout his campaign and in his early Presidential days, I think it’s fair to say the 1950’s is still too liberal for his liking.

God … what has America got itself into?

Actually, that’s not the biggest question.

How did America end up walking so far from what it believed and represented?

And they have the nerve to still say they’re the land go the free.

[Good job I know there’s more good people there than delusional, gun-toting, nutcases]




When It Comes To Revenge, Be Like An Elephant …
February 5, 2017, 6:20 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Australia, Culture, Cunning, England

Annnnnnnnnnd I’m back.

Don’t worry, I’m not that happy about it either.

So when I lived in Australia, I worked with this guy called John.

I really liked him … he was smart, fun and an all round good chap.

Only thing was he really, really hated all things British.

Oh the banter we had.

In the end, we played a weekly game of pool and if I won overall, he had to fold up the Australian flag to just leave the Union Jack [ie: “get your shit stars off our flag”] and if he won, I had to salute it.

We did this for years and even though my ‘crowning moment’ was when England beat the Wallabies at the 2003 Rugby World Cup final [oh, how I loved wearing my England top the next day], he never missed a chance to piss on his countries Queen.

So imagine my joy when after 10+ years, he got in contact with me to say his niece was coming to Shanghai for a law firm and would I mind giving him my details so she has someone to contact if she gets in trouble.

To be fair to him, it absolutely killed him having to ask me … but he knew no one else and was forced to reach out.

Being the kind, generous soul that I am, I obviously agreed.

With just one condition.

This.

On Facebook.

Left for 15 minutes.

And the moral of the story?

Don’t fuck with petty half English assholes, with a memory for revenge.

Talking of elephants and revenge, here’s one of my all time favourite ads …



And So It Begins …
January 27, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: China, Chinese Culture, Comment, Culture, Holiday

So today is the start of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Yep, that means my first holiday of 2017 has already commenced.

A holiday that sees me away until the 5th February.

I know … I know … but don’t blame me, blame the Chinese Government. Or someone.

If it’s any consolation, I’ll be spending the next week or so doing a bunch of stuff. Sure, none of it will be ‘real work’, but according to you, I’ve never been doing that anyway.

Anyway, to celebrate the year of the Chicken [or, said another way, the year KFC’s share price goes through the roof], I leave you with this …

See you next month.



A Reminder That Expertise Doesn’t Mean Acceptance …

NIKON.

A fantastic camera brand with unquestionable credibility.

Now of course, many camera brands are under threat from the increasing quality – and convenience – of smartphone cameras, which is why many are trying to diversify their portfolio to counter any potential profit loss.

Based on this ad, it appears NIKON are trying to do this as well.

Of course, as we have seen from GOPRO and countless other brands … the ‘live action camera’ category has been growing at an incredible rate and while you could argue NIKON might be a bit late to the party, their credibility in cameras stands them in good stead.

Except it doesn’t.

You see what NIKON have failed to understand is that the ‘live action category’ is very different to the photographic category … sure, they both involve needing a lens to capture the action, but fundamentally the rules are different, the values are different and the culture around it are very different.

As I wrote here, GOPRO’s success is not just because they were one of the first to exploit this market, but because they were part of the culture that created this market.

They understood who these people were.

What they do.

What they want.

What they feel.

This knowledge influenced everything … from their positioning [the utterly brilliant, ‘Be A Hero’] through to the style of advertising they created.

The fact NIKON’s ad shows an image that comes from the perspective of watching others do something, highlights how they have failed to understand the audience they are talking too.

All they’ve done is transfer their photographic approach to their communication … but the audience they need to engage have a totally different set of values and aspirations.

Of course it would be hard for them to achieve this given GOPRO have already nailed it with their ‘in the middle of the action‘ photographic style … but that’s the difference between a brand that looks at a category as a sales opportunity versus a brand that is born from the culture it plans to engage with.

As I’ve said many, many times … culture is far more important than category.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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PS: Happy Australia Day … a day where you are not just legitimately allowed to get pissed before 10am, but positively encouraged to be. Have a top day. And a top hangover tomorrow.