Author Archive

GTA Chinatown Wars

August 11, 2009


Absolutely love this little bit of branding from RockStar – fits perfectly with the medium (yeah it’s a bit cliché, but as a Chinese product that goes out to a mass audience you couldn’t find much better) and the demographic (lazy gamers who can’t be arsed to cook – yeah, I said it), and I bet they didn’t pay anything for the space either – genius!


Found via Eat Me Daily


Sundae on the Common

July 28, 2009


So last weekend I went to the Ben and Jerry’s Sundae on the Common in Clapham, and, unsurprisingly, the whole place was one big ad. Huge inflatable tubs of Ben and Jerry’s filled the whole field, stalls sold cow-print rugs and students wandered around in cow and macadamia nut costumes looking like enormous testicles (the nuts, not the cows, although to be fair…). And on top of all this, there was as much Ben and Jerry’s as you wanted, all day. All day.

And right now it’s making me sick just thinking about it. The planner in me wants to write about how it fits incredibly well with their target demographic, how the line-up was so drearily inoffensive that it attracted a ridiculously diverse group of people (including a hell of a lot of families with babies and really young kids, nothing like getting the sprogs hooked on Phish Food early), that the friendly, off the wall feel almost made you feel like you were in one of their TV ads in a cartoon field, and that with the whole thing being carbon-neutral and filled to the brim with people selling fair-trade and sustainable EVERYTHING, it did amazing work for the brand’s environmental credentials.

But I can’t. Because I ate so much ice-cream I wanted to die. Because no-one I saw leaving looked like they were in any way comfortable. Because right now I never want to even see a tub of Ben and Jerry’s again. Trying all the flavours (which was encouraged by a little card you got with space for stamps when you had each one, which if you achieved was rewarded by the chance to win a year’s supply of ice-cream – blegh) was awesome at the time, but now it just means that I don’t want any of them, ever again. Did they not think to look at the people leaving last year, to see what they were doing to them?

Then again, maybe it’s not even branding for the people there – great from the outside, not so much when your drowning in a pool of Baked Alaska. Maybe creating a few thousand ice-creamophobes is worth it in the long run? So, evil genius, or just plain dumb?

(Having said all that, the Mango and Blackcurrant swirl sorbet that I tried there was absolutely amazing, and if they ever bring out the legend that is Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream over here – god damn you america! – I might die from excitement/inhalation of waffle).

sundae on the common

Youtube – the PR nightmare

April 15, 2009

Found via Perez, who’s exactly the kind of person you don’t want screaming “Why You Should Never Eat At Dominos Pizza Again!!!!” all over their site.

Is English killing our newspapers?

April 8, 2009


A really interesting article from the Japan times here, detailing the fairly minor (but worsening) woes of the Japanese newspaper industry. The Japanese buy more newspapers per head than almost any other nation on Earth (around 624 papers per 1000 people per day), and newspaper sales have declined by a relatively slight 3.2% over the past ten years, which in the age of the internet is fairly phenomenal. Even with these reductions in sales, Japanese newspapers seem far less suseptible to the whims of the market – the article states that only 30% of their revenue is garnered through advertising, with cover-prices encompassing most of the rest (making them, in turn, far more expensive than papers over here).

Another major reason, however, that newspaper sales are holding up so well in Japan as opposed to Britain and America is that the newspaper companies made a conscious decision a few years ago to restrict their online presence (as noted in this Marketing article here). Deloitte looked into the British newspaper market to devise possible strategies for the industry to adopt to remain profitable in the digital age, which is taken up in the article as follows –

…[a Deloitte] report offers publishers the controversial suggestion of “significantly reducing” their online activity, in an attempt to drive people back to the physical product.

To support the stance, Deloitte points to the press market in Japan, which has always restricted its online presence, and where titles have suffered lower declines in readership and advertising than its North American and European peers.

Could British newspapers shift away from online to drive print sales, especially after having invested so much money in their online presences over the past ten years? I’m sure if they all clubbed together and took their sites offline permanently then sales might rise in the short term, but the truth of it is that whilst Japanese newspapers are doing incredibly well without a significant online presence, this system just wouldn’t be sustainable for our papers because they are written in English. English is, after all, the language of the internet, with figures as to the percentage of pages online written in English ranging from 70-80%, whilst japanese comes in at around 3-4%.

So much information exists online in English that if British newspapers were to restrict their online presence British people would simply go elsewhere (aside from the obvious Wall Street Journal, the BBC, Reuters etc., Twitter, social networks, blogs and almost any other platform you can think of online can be used to find news, sometimes even more quickly than “traditional” online news sources) – Japanese papers, however, don’t have to worry about their language suddenly exploding across the world and amplifying their reader’s sources of news ten-thousandfold, so they can probably get away with restricting their online content in a way British papers can’t.

Maybe instead they should just go after the internet itself?


April fools from the Guardian

April 1, 2009

Twitter switch for the Guardian after 188 years of ink

This made me laugh, although it’s hard to imagine that someone, somewhere, hasn’t pitched this idea seriously to some newsletter or other. The best bit?

At a time of unprecedented challenge for all print media, many publications have rushed to embrace social networking technologies. Most now offer Twitter feeds of major breaking news headlines, while the Daily Mail recently pioneered an iPhone application providing users with a one-click facility for reporting suspicious behaviour by migrants or gays.

Isn’t it time product placement was encouraged rather than banned?

March 29, 2009


The news a fortnight ago that Culture minister Andy Burnham has rejected proposals to allow product placement in British TV has caused a fairly widespread negative reaction across the advertising world, with bloggers and columnists alike disparaging his take on the subject as short-sighted and simultaneously behind the times, and it’s not hard to see why.

The fact is that the old distribution model is weakening under the strain of digital – Clay Shirky wrote in the Guardian in January about newspapers struggling to adapt to digital and burying their heads in the sand with regard to the impact the internet is having on their distribution model (which Rory Sutherland followed up on in Campaign on Friday, although doesn’t seem to be on their website yet). The same problems face the TV industry, although in this case the real crime is that legislation like this is forcibly pushing their heads under the surface and giving them little chance to adapt, even if they wanted to.


Awesome interactive Trueblood billboard

March 22, 2009

Because, deep down, everyone wants to hunt vampires.

A few more pictures here.

Is o2 Ducks the perfect recession ad?

March 21, 2009

I know it’s been around for a while now, but earlier today it struck me (in the shower, obviously) that Ducks might just be the perfect recession ad, because it manages to combine almost everything that people have been clamouring for from ads since the recession began:

1) People have been wrangling over whether to go down the branding or pricing/offer route in ads ever since the world started to fall apart – Ducks does both. It has brilliant branding, working hard to push o2 as relevant, quirky, knowingly self-deprecating and in touch with consumers, all whilst pushing an offer-based incentive.

2) It’s funny, feel-good, not gloomy in the slightest – it’s not “you’ve got no money now, so get on pay as you go”, but rather “look how fun pay as you go is, plus you can get all this cool shit!”. Plus that shot of the wide-eyed duck about to go over the waterfall is priceless.

3) Most importantly, it really pushes o2’s generosity. Generous brands are going to be the ones who come out of the other side of the recession in good shape, simply because they will have been the ones who demonstrated their commitment to their customers above all else. When things are good, yeah sure it’s easy to give away a few prizes to lure people in and reward loyalty, but when money is in short supply generosity like this means so much more. I’m not saying it’s less transparent, far from it, it might be even more so, but it’s memorable and powerful to give things to customers in lean times such as these (especially when it’s existing customers who don’t have to do anything – this is definitely a “I want to be one of them, their little club is cool” ad).

Anyway, just a thought.

Could Gazaro be the future of online shopping?

March 20, 2009

As the aggregation of the internet becomes increasingly popular across multiple platforms and applications (RSS readers, Twitter, Facebook’s new homepage design and everything Joel wrote about yesterday are all good examples of the increasing collation of online data), it seems obvious that there is real potential out there for a great platform for the aggregation of shopping deals across the web. Sites like kelkoo have existed for a long time (but are usually cluttered and hard to navigate), and Google Product Search, although still a Beta, is incredibly good at weeding out deals, but what really sets Gazaro apart (in the video at least), is its incredibly simple interface, its price tracking ability and its ease of integration into other aggregation platforms such as RSS.

Just a shame it doesn’t seem to be working in the UK yet, even to compare US prices. People over at Lifehacker seem to be giving it mixed reviews, but I’ve tried using it and I can only find one product on there, even just by clicking through all their popular categories. Maybe something for the future?

Edit: Not sure why the video isn’t working right now, but you can watch it here

Israeli missile advertising puts a Bollywood spin on death

March 17, 2009

Apparently this video was shown by defence firm Rafael at a weapons trade show in India as a way to ‘build familiarity between India and Israel and Rafael’. I really hope it didn’t.

Found via Geekologie

Frito-Lay: Firesprite

March 13, 2009

Absolutely love this ad for Tostitos chips and dips from Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco – great choice of (British) music (not sure if the penchant for the plinky-plonky indie ad soundtrack is as prevalent in the US, but it’s nice to think that this stands out as much there as it would here), beautiful art direction, lovely and whimsical, whilst also being pretty brave from the client – smallish packshot, few visual clues as to what’s going on beforehand, and not a crisp in sight – insert hyperbole here.

And here’s the song – East End Blues – Leon Jean Marie

Found via NotCot

If I had a book, I’d definitely steal this for it

March 11, 2009


Found via Failblog

The Daily Mail: The acceptable face of British sexism

March 10, 2009


So, which really is the best invention for women?

a) Women! You like wine and stuff, don’t you? Having a little tipple with the girls while the men get on with the real stuff! Can’t say fairer than that can you?!

b) Women! You were pretty damn subjugated there, weren’t you, having to wash all those clothes by hand for us men, but – lucky you! – we’ve been all benevolent and bought you a washing machine! Now all you have to do is load it up, and everyone’s happy! See, with this happy invention you can save valuable time, time enough to wash some dishes perhaps!

c) Women! You’re all insecure and cute aren’t you?! Having all those issues about your bodies, no idea where they all come from, but don’t worry, you can get away from all that by dimming the lights a little! Nothing like a bit of darkness to cover that aching desire to be thin. Even better, when the lights are off, he might actually think your fat arse is sexy, and deign not to think about Kelly Brook the next time he’s shagging you – it’s win-win!

Just remember ladies, these are all great inventions for you, and we, those proud men who created them, should be foremost in your thoughts the next time you think of designing something – why bother, when someone better can do it for you?! Put your feet up and relax, read the paper, just don’t forget the dinner…

This is what YouTube was made for – The Wire in 5 minutes

March 8, 2009

Massive spoiler alert! If you have watched it all though – AMAZING from Mad Skillz. Sheeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!

Hit the jump for The Word’s Premiership footballers who look like characters from The Wire, and if you’re interested you should definitely read YouNotSneaky’s analysis of The Economics of The Wire, which is kind of a much better version of what I wrote a while ago about the recession, supply and demand and (you guessed it) The Wire.


Advertising and other cool stuff from Berlin

March 6, 2009

This Nike mural is easily one of the most awesome ads I’ve ever seen, I just hope no-one ever paints over it. Art and advertising hardly ever come together this seamlessly nowadays, and it would be amazing to see more of it (although obviously it’s all about context, if this wasn’t in the east of the city, surrounded by countless other bits of graffiti, it probably would have been removed). The rest of the city was littered with all sorts of assorted coolness…

More after the jump, plus a link to the full Flickr set…