Archive | February 2009

Cause and effect…

thank you HBOS

thank you HBOS

Today, it’s Halifax vs. Shelter…

Halifax (one of the worst affected banks largely owned by the British taxpayer), have binned Howard. Hurrah cry most adlanders!

But what staff oriented treasure do we have in its place? Roll VT…

An interesting choice given the near collapse of the banking system which has caused the wider economy untold grief; BoE base rate cuts not passed on, businesses struggling for credit, first time buyers still frozen out given the large deposits required, I could go on…

It’s great to see a bank moving heaven on earth to give a little back to its customers (if a little contrived), but take one of those links out at the bottom of the pyramid, one little person falls, and the whole formation comes crashing down around us. Then, everyone loses out. Not a smart move, the agency (DLKW) should know better…

And now, to Shelter. Practically demonstrating what will sadly happen to many homeowners this year . Roll VT…

Beautifully shot, and incredibly poignant. Plaudits to Leo Burnett London, for producing a truly moving campaign, that works effortlessly through the line. But a truly beautiful script…

Not to mention, a truly magnificent coup in getting an agreement from Radiohead to use one of their tracks in the ad. A first for Radiohead, they abhor bands ‘selling out’ to the admen. Shelter clearly represent a cause they believe in.

Cause and effect. Shelter vs. Halifax. I know which of the two some of my money will be going to this month…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And will be donating some pennies come pay-day at http://england.shelter.org.uk/donate

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20 years on…

sky

sky

I am not a big fan of Mr. Murdoch (senior or junior).

But, there’s no denying the way Sky TV shook up the TV industry in the 80’s. Sky’s launch fundamentally altered the way in which the Great British  public consumed their daily dose of TV programing…

Well, their now 20 years of age. And just launched a wee site to celebrate. To view, click here >> 

It offers a chance to see how they’ve changed, what’s to come, and a look back at some wonderful old TV ads they’ve commissioned along the way.

There are some real gems. I’m torn between my favourite, it’s either The Simpson’s real life parody, or the nosey neighbour that launched them way back in the 80’s. We all gotta keep up with the Jones’…

One thing is for sure. They will keep innovating. And for us marketers, that can only be a good thing…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is really looking forward to real TV-on-demand…

The greatest social climber since Cinderella…

Gaga?

Gaga?

Don’t panic, I’m not going all Lloyd-Webber on you, promise! However…

If you have become embroiled in any of the hype surrounding Lady Gaga, you’d be forgiven for thinking that her debut album would:

A) change your life
B) reinvigorate the world of pop
C) make you more attractive to members of the opposite / same sex (dependant on preference)
D) all of the above

How disappointed was I then (hoping for at least a smidgen of D), that the album (of some 16 tracks) had 3, perhaps four tracks which were just OK. Not amazing, life-changing slices of  pop perfection in all it’s glory.

Just OK.

No stand-out pop-anthems, a few signs of promise, but nothing to warrant all the hype surrounding the US’s latest pop export. But what she does represent, is a shining example in how successful PR in the music industry really can make a massive difference.

With pop stars, there is a greater than average importance on the attitude (which she has in abundance, not many popstrels perform in their bikinis, which opens up a whole new can of worms with the feminists, not going there today!).

Journo’s have been waxing lyrical about her (and occasionaly her music), which goes to show that both she and her people really get the importance of media manipulation. But call me old fashioned. The songs go a long way in maintaining the career of any wannabe popstrel.

For every Madonna, there is 100 desperate fame hungry rejects consigned to the pop dustbin weekly, that no amount of PR (or jungle loving a la Katie Price) will help…

My advice? If you haven’t already, buy LadyHawke’s album instead.

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And thinks the aforementioned Lady is more Googoo than Gaga…

One for the tan-o-rexics…

Do not adjust your screen, she is orange!

Do not adjust your screen, she is orange!

 

I love a good hoax. This one is the best I’ve seen in a while, absolutely tan-tastic!

http://www.computertan.com/

Happy sunbathing…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is proud of his pale, pasty Scottish palor!

Raiding the back catalogue

Citreon DS

Citroen DS

Nike, Adidas, Fred Perry.

Pick a fashion brand and from time to time, they all raid the back catalogue, and often (for a limited time only to boost sales), release a vintage line. This isn’t only popular with fashion labels, the motor industry also like to hark back to the glory days from time to time…

I am a bit of a petrol head (does conflict with my desire to reduce my carbon footprint, but I’ll save that one for another day!)  and in my mind, Fiat played a blinder with their re-launch of the classic 500 model late last year.

And now, Citroen are launching a new logo supported by a range ’50’s inspired cars. With the automotive industry on it’s knees, I really hope this one pays off for them…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And would like to encourage you to buy French…

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Competition

Competition needn't be scary

Competition needn't be scary

Competition is a good thing.

It generally encourages brands to try harder to secure new customers, and to double their efforts to keep their existing ones. The old adage, ‘familarity breeds contempt’ needn’t always be true!

But,  if the competition aren’t snapping at your profit margins / market share, it’s easier to become just a little complacent and let prices creep up, take your eye off quality control, and not worry quite so much about innovating…

With the recession biting, we’re seeing some rather worrying conglomerates emerging. Lloyds TSB scooped up the HBOS group* (Halifax / Bank of Scotland), which required the government to conveniently ignore competition laws they’d introduced just a few years back in order to ensure against such events.

Now, we see the Icelandic company Baugur is on the brink of collapse. The cash rich Phillip Green (who already has a hand in much of the Great British High Street), is primed and ready to scoop up vast swathes of the high street at a knock-down price. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against big business. Far from it.

Just so long as consumers don’t end up getting a raw deal at the other end…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. *And a shareholder in our banks. Just like the rest of the British taxpayers…

A bit like the war, only with no buses…

Former Mayor Livingstone would be proud...

Former Mayor Livingstone would be proud...

So.

The recent cold-snap in London managed to put the entire bus network out of action. Something Nazi Germany never even managed, where on earth did our blitz spirit go!?

My favourite (paraphrased) quote has to be from London’s Major, Boris Johnson. Harking back to the days of British Rails leaves on the track faux pas, he said: ‘It wasn’t so much the wrong type of snow, more the wrong amount of snow…’.

Genius. Still, at least he axed the congestion charge for the day!

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And rather enjoyed his extra day off in the snow / working from home (delete as applicable)

Copywriter vs. Virgin Atlantic

Mmmmmm, slop.

Mmmmmm, slop.

So. A witty WCRS copywriter had a very bad food experience on Virgin Atlantic. Incensed, he complains. Extoling  the virtues of long copy, he writes for some 6 pages!  

What happens next? Why, the great Sir Richard Branson himself replies of course!  The way this story has rumbled on for well over a week points to two things. 

Firstly, the power of PR. This complaint has travelled the world over gathering pace (and collumn inches), as it goes.  Had Virgin Atlantic not responded and simply buried their hands in the sand, they would have done so at their own peril given the way the unhappy customers of today can broadcast their opinions far and wide at the click of a mouse…

Secondly, it shows the power of engaging with customers, especially when it centres on their negative experiences.

Brands that offer customers an outlet to complain generally favour better than those that don’t (try finding the contact us button on amazon, that’s all I’m saying).

However, those that provide a real forum, respond to the feedback and deal with it in a transparent manner; engaging in a meaninful dialogue, may well have the opportunity to stop that complaint from turning into a potential PR disaster (e.g. the ‘Stop the great HSBC graduate rip off facebook group), instead turning it into something very, very  special indeed.

Rising from the ashes, a positive brand experience; ensuring that  the once angry consumer swiftly returns to being a true brand advocate…

The cynics are claiming this is totally stage managed, and is nothing more than an attempt to generate some positive spin during Virgin Atlantic’s 25th birthday year.  Red hot indeed…

On the flip side, there are those who feel that this is simply Virgin doing what it does best; responding to an unhappy customer and moving heaven on earth to ensure they fall back in love with the brand.

Either way, it’s a bloody good story.

Spin or genuine, just read the letter and have a chuckle. And the next time someone tells you long copy doesn’t work, just have them read this…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And will most likely believe in long copy until his dying day…

Did Evans just get cool?

Standing in the way of control?

Standing in the way of control?

 

A good friend of mine works at Topshop. And she’s disappointed (I can’t print the plethora of expletives she actually spat out), that the worlds coolest rock chic , is NOT designing her first collection of oversize clothes for Topshop…

Following in the footsteps of Kate Moss (Topshop), Lilly Allen (New Look), and a host of other celebs, Beth Ditto (she of the anthemic ‘Standing in the way of control’),  is designing her first clothing collection for Evans.

Even though her stick-thin bessie mate Kate has a well-established relationship with Topshop, the fact that Topshop  never had any clothes in her size was something of a problem.  So, rather than face extreme cries of selling out, she’s signed on the dotted line with Evans.

Evans has never had a reputation for being fashionable. They are best known for providing practical, hard wearing clothes for women over a certain size. How much control Ditto will be given over her collection (given her love of the loudest clothes made from the tightest fabrics),  is anyones guess, but I for one cannot wait to see the outcome of the partnership!

On paper, this should help Evans stuffy image significantly.

The PR coverage alone will be worth thousands. I have no doubt they will also be hoping that in a world where we seem to be ever-growing around the waist, Evans clothes become the acceptable norm / trendier choice. Leopard print spandex from Evans?

Being overweight suddenly just got that little bit trendier…

Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And he is a fan of leopard print, but only on weekends…

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Too little, too late…

Going, going, gone...

Going, going, gone...

So Shopdirect is re-launching the Woolworths brand in summer 2009. But, there will not be a high street store in sight. The brand is being launched as an online e-tailer. But will it work?
Part of the ‘charm’ of the Woolies brand experience was coming in, having a rummage and finding a bargain; that  real diamond in amongst aisles of tatt. A product that you simply couldn’t do without at that bargain price.
But how will that shopping experience translate as the brand is relaunched online? Some serious re-positioning will be required to make this a succesful venture…
Lest we forget, Branson offloaded his music store empire at just the right time (those involved in the management buy-out should have known better!), and sadly, Woolies were very slow to invest in their digital arm. The business stuck to its guns when the rest of the high street (and world) moved on.
Ironically, they pumped money into their web offering last year. But it was just too late to save them.  One things for sure, it’s going to be an interesting year on the British High Street…
Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And wondering where the youth of today will steal their pick and mix from…
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