Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Now the craft is in the label.

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

I love craft beer.

So much so that when we travelled across the US, from west to east and visa versa, we always looked for a brewpub first for the evening meal.

These places not only had great beers but also excellent wines and food. Their food and drinks were well priced, and they weren’t a slave to the US practice of tipping.

Most of the owners paid their staff a good basic wage and therefore they weren’t reliant on a tip to survive.

Most craft breweries have a very different approach to creating and marketing their products. Especially compared to the big breweries, who are just after volume and usually develop beers that are basic and designed not to challenge the drinker in any way – they don’t want to offend.

Over the last few years I have seen a profound change in the design of beer labels.

The craft breweries’ strategy of creating a unique product now extends to their labels as well.

The first craft beer that I discovered, with a very different marketing approach and attitude, was BrewDog. This Scottish brewery has become international with manufacturing in the USA, Europe and now Australia.

However their labels were nothing to brag about. Their point of difference was their attitude and they did go out of their way to offend in as many ways as possible.

It certainly didn’t damage their sales.

As the craft beer market, both in Australia and around the world has becomes more crowded, brewers needed to find another edge.

Now the label has become a tool to express their point of difference.

Below are a few that I have discovered.

BrewDog (the original) from Scotland. Brio from Berlin, Kaiju from Melbourne, KCBC (Kings Country Brewing Collective) from New York, Mikkeller from Copenhagen and the very minimalist designs of Singlecut, again from NYC.

 

 

It’s gone viral.

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

As part of our forced isolation, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I have been teaching myself new skills on the computer.

Part of this has involved developing a suite of T-shirts that dramatises the new ‘social responsibilities’ that have now become the norm. 

I already had a range of Tees designed and ready to print. These were having a go at the Federal Government for its lack of action regarding Climate Change and last summer’s disastrous bushfires. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has overshadowed these events and these Tees now sit on the back-burner as unfortunately do the issues.

A catalyst for developing the COVID-19 Tees, was a ‘Call to action’ to the world’s creative community from the United Nations. The article was published in the US marketing and advertising magazine AdWeek. It was seeking submissions from around the globe for creative people to come up with ways to promote social safety and a resolve to stop the pandemic.

I felt that T-shirts were a logical platform to express these ideas, especially if they had simple graphics done with a sense of fun. 

After all, humour has always been a great way of making a serious message memorable.

I had already designed three Tees and had them printed at Tee Junction, so it wasn’t too hard to come up with a few more and make a complete set.

I have also offered all these designs, free of charge, to Tee Junction and hope that they will promote and sell them on their website. I have asked them if the profits could go to a community charity supporting the effort of the First Responders.

As another initiative, I have taken the ‘It’s gone viral’ idea and developed a range of posters. Through Bravo Tango Bravo these have been offered to a poster company in the hope that they run them to promote social responsibility.

Let’s see what happens.

I do love a good line. 

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Brunswick-Bitter-coasters

With the current trend of thinly spreading advertising budgets across all the media, good ads and good headlines, are hard to find.

So when I sighted this great line on the side of a Thunder Road Brewery delivery truck, it was a little ray of sunshine in a thunder grey sky of mediocrity.

And it’s very clever.

The craft beer market prides itself on being anti-establishment. So, to subtlety put down a main stream brand like Carlton Draught with humour, makes it all the more praise worthy.

Now I know it’s time to retire.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

AI-CD β

The world’s largest advertising agency, McCann Erickson, has just hired an artificial intelligence (AI) creative director (CD) – his name is AI-CD β.

This has got me worried.

AI-CD β is designed to work alongside the humans to develop the look and feel of the advertising. It is automated to troll through award winning commercials, that have been tagged as relevant. From that data it develops a brief, of what the commercial should look like, then humans take over and come up with a creative concept.

AI-CD β has a physical presence and is capable of writing the brief for the human creative team. As this bot was developed by McCann Ericsson in Japan, the brief is written in Japanese calligraphy.

To my mind this process is back-to-front in two ways.

Firstly, the look of the commercial should be driven by the idea, which should come first. The creative concept should contain the hook, or idea, that gets the consumer involved and then gives the commercial relevance and memorability.

Secondly, great creative thinking doesn’t come from copying another idea but from creating something that is uniquely different.

There is however another aspect to this use of an AI-CD that’s of more concern.

And that’s if this concept takes-off, and bot creatives become the norm and are successful, who will go up to the podium to collect the awards?

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/science/future/article/2016/04/26/when-new-guys-robot

Put the magic back into advertising.

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

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The only way a client will buy an idea is if it’s sold to them.

These days they just don’t buy it without a solid, business based, rationale.

In the past an ad agency was a magnet for clients. They were drawn there because it was a wonderful world of clever thinking and creativity.

Yes, there was booze, long lunches and pretty girls but there were strange people who dressed differently and, more importantly, thought differently. They were challenging, aggressive and they had ideas that were beyond the client’s grasp but, strangely, they seemed to work.

Clients trusted the agency to create solutions that would help their business grow.

So why did the clients suddenly decide they could do it all themselves?

It wasn’t sudden, it took years, because over time we abrogated our responsibility.

We took the path of least resistance.

We failed to quantify the ROI that good creativity can deliver and settled for delivering ‘what the client wanted’ rather than ‘what the client needed’

In other words it was easier to capitulate than fight. This resulted in the client believing that he was right.

Once that happened it took the magic out of advertising.

The client then believed that they could come up with the ideas and they could make the ads. All they needed was a Mac and a technician.

The rest is history.

They now have the Macs, the technicians and a belief that agencies are nothing but a cost centre that they can probably do without.

There is also a belief that the media is the message.

Success won’t come by simply having a presence on Facebook or YouTube. These messages still need to have an idea, one that will catapult them beyond being just a public announcement.

We have to put the magic back.

This will only happen once we give our clients something that they can’t do themselves. And that is still clever creative thinking.

However there is no magic wand that we can wave to return the status quo. We now have to ‘prove’ our worth by justifying the value of that creativity.

This will come down to statistics and the ability to quantify how a creative approach is worth the perceived risk.

It will also come from reintroducing the idea that a creative solution is also better value for money than a mediocre one, or no idea at all.

Creativity sells, it always has done and still does now.

Agencies once promoted themselves as being the conduit between the client and the consumer – we have forgotten how important that is. By connecting the client and consumer, through great advertising ideas, we can again prove our worth.

Short term thinking and instant rewards are no excuse for taking the easy way out. Clients need to look seriously at their brand, its lifecycle and then be made aware of how important building a sustainable, long term, brand image is.

We must educate them to be able to articulate the importance of their brands to their senior managers.

In most cases we are not dealing with decision makers within our client’s business. At best we are talking to the people who have the power to say “Maybe”.

Arming the timid marketing person with the arguments to sell strategies and great ideas must be part of what we do.

Great work isn’t bought by clients, it’s sold by agencies. Advertising is the art of selling and great ideas need to be sold.

Casting. 

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Lee_Lin_Chin

The latest installment of the long running Australia Day Lamb Campaign has been released.

This highly regarded series of ads started in 2005 and stars Sam Kekovich. Sam has always been very forthright in his approach to eating lamb, especially on Australia Day, and he castigates anyone as being un-Australian if they disagreed.

In this day of inclusiveness Sam’s brutal approach could be misconstrued as being overtly nationalistic.

Enter Lee Lin Chin, the legendary newsreader for SBS.

This is an inspired piece of casting, that brings a new face to the Australian Meat and Livestock campaign. It proves once and for all that you don’t need to be a white Australian male to enjoy a lamb chop.

Not surprisingly the latest commercial has still received a number of complaints, this time from the vegan community. They believe that the torching of the kale, by the commandos, borders on violence towards those; “…soap avoiding, hippy, vegetarians” as Sam described them in the original ad.

Good ads stand out by being controversial – this one is no different.

The sales figures also back up the success of the campaign, with butchers reporting that lamb sales skyrocket by 35% around January 26th.

Watch the Australia Day Lamb 2016 ad here.

‘F’ is for Ford or is it for frightened? 

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Ford Mustang poster small

What does the latest Ford posters say about the company?

For one it says they are frightened; frightened that their ever dwindling market share is going to vanish completely into an Australian heat haze.

Why else would you feature a poster campaign where the logo is larger than the product and the proposition is even smaller still.

Ford will stop manufacturing cars in Australia later this year, and it’s my guess that these ads are more about propping up confidence in the dealer network, than they are about selling vehicles.

Given the new car sales figures for 2015, they should be worried.

Ford were 6th, with 70,454 sales (down 11.6%) and behind, of all manufactures, Mitsubishi with 71,752.

2015 was a bumper year for car sales with 1,155,408 vehicles sold – a 3.8% rise on the previous year.

Holden and Ford were the only companies to post a sales decline, with Ford having its worst year since 1966. Even the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comfortably outsold the Ford Falcon.

It appears that Australians have already given up on Henry.

Why does a video go viral?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

On Wednesday January 15, during the Melbourne heatwave, my son Evan posted a video on Vimeo.

It was a simple time lapse shot of a Lindt Chocolate Ball melting in the 42°C heat.

In just 3 days over 150,000 people have viewed it and it has been syndicated by news agencies around the world.

It was even aired on the Channel 7 News here in Melbourne.

For years advertising agencies have been trying to identify the formula that makes videos go viral. There are many theories but no real answers.

It simply comes down to the right idea at the right time, viewed by the right people.

But that’s easier said than done.

 

The best way to position a brand
is to reposition the opposition.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Last year I worked on an advertising campaign for MAN Trucks .

MAN (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg) are market leaders in Europe but are trailing behind in Australia.

Through desktop research and general observation we discovered that many Australian buyers chose MAN because of its fuel efficiency. As fuel is the single biggest expense in operating a long-haul truck in Australia, it wasn’t surprising.

Fuel efficiency is taken for granted in Europe, where diesel prices are high and MAN are regarded as leaders in fuel efficient technology.

This is understandable considering that in 1893 Rudolf Diesel worked with MAN to develop the first diesel engine – with fuel efficiency being a primary objective.

We developed five ads in the campaign, all with the express purpose of promoting the MAN fuel efficiency story.

By simply talking about fuel consumption we challenged the consumer, and the industry, to reassess their thinking.

This simultaneously repositioned the others manufactures as being less fuel efficient.

The madmen behind Mad Men.

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Since our return from Europe and more recently South Korea and Japan, we have decided to catch up on some of the TV series we missed in 2012.

Not surprisingly one series I have always enjoyed is Mad Men, a period drama about the New York advertising industry in the 1960s’.

New York was at the centre of what was called the Creative Revolution during these halcyon years.

The ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) developed ground breaking campaigns for clients like Volkswagen and Avis during this time.

Mad Men was created and produced by Matthew Weiner, an exceptional screen writer who was also involved in the highly acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos.

Having been inducted into advertising at the end of that amazing era and being a student of the ads of that period, I was intrigued as to how Weiner got his material.

It turns out that one of his main consultants was Bob Levenson, a veteran ad man from DDB. Levenson, together with Bill Bernbach and art director Helmet Krone produced some of the most well know and enduring campaigns of this golden age.

It’s not surprising that Mad Men has become such a hit, as it offers the viewer a real insight into the lives, work, frustrations, faults and foibles of the men and women of Madison Avenue in the 1960s.

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