Wednesday 12 December 2012

Thursday 15 November 2012

It's Christmas and I wouldn't have it any other way

If you want to create an ad as wonderfully sentimental and magical as this Morrison's tv spot you need to do three things: 

1. Embrace your emotions
Reject functional and rational messaging, and embrace the right brained world of emotion. Force yourself to see the world from the viewers perspective; their humanity, aspirations, frailties, and joyful moments.  Resist the urge to make it mainstream or superficial (and write that in your brief).

2. Remember it's not about you, its about me!
Make the viewer (customer/audience) your only priority. That's right, tell a story only they will care about. Realise that capturing their mind and their heart is all you need to do. This is not the time for selling, for price promotions, for store front shots or gratuitous branding. 

3. Believe, be fearless and stay the course
For a story this magical, you have to trust your agency, the creatives  and the director.  When they talk about making it feel authentic and spontaneous...just let them do their thing.  When they ask for the 'slow mo' camera for the flour scene just say yes. When you ask to make the logo bigger in the end frame, listen and agree when they say no and push back. 

One last thing
Whatever you do, don't give in to internal pressure to make changes (stay strong in that tough meeting when the ad is being torn to pieces).  Don't cave to demands to make it more like competitor 'X', or add in more facts like competitor 'Y'. Only marketers and agencies with true belief in their art will take calculated risks like this, and customers will reward them with their minds, hearts and money. 


Friday 19 October 2012

Slightly Less Dissappointing Than Other Companies

My first ever Archie McPhee package arrived today, and introduced me to their wonderful tag line "Slightly less dissapointing than other companies".  Brought a wry smile to my face, and told me all I need to know about their unique brand character. Love it! #Lovemark.

P.S.......take another look at 'dissappointing'...and run a spell check !


Wednesday 19 September 2012

NOT on Twitter READ this. Already convinced - SEND this!

  1. If you are NOT on Twitter read THIS, and find out why you are wrong. 
  2. Already convinced, SEND this link ( to folks who resist! 
  3. Download  HERE  my Twitter 101 guide (PDF) - The links you need all on one page. Tweet me soon!


Monday 3 September 2012

Random Acts of Fusion Muscle Music !

The rather nonsensical title of this post is to inspire you by highlighting the creative  heights that celebrity laden brand videos now deliver....

Old Spice's Muscle Music 
6M views as at Sept 1st 2012: Youtube/Vimeo - official pages only.  
Stop Press: now at 9M as at 6th Jan 2013

90K views (as at Sept. 1st 2012 on Youtube) - 5 videos in the series.
Stop Press: now at 1M as at 6th Jan 2013 (many, many more videos)

Its great to see Ford's passion for episodic scripted storytelling, self deprecating humour, and sharp casting (with Joel McHale, Kate Micucci and Ryan Seacrest).  
The videos are truly 'laugh out loud' funny yet are doomed to obscurity unless you share this post/video link, and check out @FordFusion and their website.

Just don't ask for an ROI, what the budget was, or define the quality of their work by the number of views.....(and for the record no one at Ford asked me to write this, and my current car is from a Japanese brand)...

9.4.12 - Stop Press: So, if you have gotten this far you must believe that the strategy and metrics driving this campaign go far beyond 'viral video/youtube views'.  

Dig deeper into Scott Monty's insights here, as its evident Fords goal is to become a lovemark.  

1.6.13 - Stop Press: ...So I can't leave this campaign alone. 

They've made the ubiquitous concept  of a 'remix' a little more spice by adding Reggie Watts, plus given their Youtube page a revamp with some snazzy gadgets. 

Seems as if Ford and Team Detroit have a budget to invest in scalable ideas.....and so should you...


Wednesday 29 August 2012

Consumer Centric + Design Thinking is a mandate

I’m a huge fan of Marketing magazine, so clicking on a Twitter link to a piece on the London 2012 Paralympics, I expected to see the article in full (on my Iphone).  I don’t object to paywalls – but how about this for design/choice complexity! 

The inclusion of sister publications (PR Week, Campaign), and a multi-choice maze doesn’t work well on a smart phone.  I have to admit to becoming a regular  ‘consumer’  and was left feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated – and  compelled to CLOSE the page.   

Its another reminder that consumer-centric design thinking must be enshrined through each and every brand touchpoint.  P.s. here's a link to the official games website.


Thursday 23 August 2012

Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Trend

I can't help but notice that the square is making a slow comeback, as the Microsoft blog announced their new logo today. 

Despite a mix of cynicism, and support this instantly elegant  logo evokes very few alternative brands, as only FLOR,  Weber Shandwick and JCP come to mind. To prove my point even Square - the mobile payment brand uses rounded edges in their logo! 

So, could a humble sharp edge be a case of simple, yet relevant differentiation? Will the geometrically 2D square edge become the 'new' round(ed) ? Might Square, or Apple embrace straight lines.....? 

Is your brand a follower or a leader ? It's been said that once is chance, twice is coincidence, and third is enemy action a trend!

Microsoft's timing is impeccableWith the August 24th announcement of Apple's patent victory vs Samsung, perhaps brands will adopt the 2D square edge much quicker than envisioned. 


Thursday 12 July 2012

Open Letter to Drew Brees (Lifetime Value vs ROI)

The New Orleans Saints  vs Drew Brees contract negotiation is a perfect metaphor for my frustration with marketing right now. This post is a rally call for marketers and brands to work on Lifetime Value instead of ROI.

The ROI limitation 
As Brees’ current $60M/6 yr contract ends, both sides are at an impasse because of a $6.25M overspend on the NEW contract.  Let’s look at the latest numbers reported by ESPN:
  • Brees demand:   $20.5M X 5 yrs  =  $102.5M
  • Saints offer: $19.25M X 5 yrs = $96.25M 

I’ve been here before, and I know right now that  no President, CEO, CFO, CMO would entertain a marketing plan to ‘overspend’  by 6%, (and if you were having a really bad day could trigger a request for  a 6% underspend!). So here’s an innovation for Brees....combine contracts, current ($60M)  + new ($102.5M) AND change the story:

Lifetime Value Rocks!
  1. Brees should reframe his discussion as LIFETIME VALUE, and use different language.  He MUST avoid referencing ‘current’ or ‘new’ contracts .  These contracts do not impact what he delivers to the Saints.  
  2. He needs to go in right now and TELL THE STORY that he’s only asking for $14.8M a year.  
  3. He should use these words in every statement “My lifetime playing and leadership value to the Saints is $162.5M over 11 years”. 
The lifetime value story is TRUE.  Marketers must be brave enough to tell this story about their strategies and plans. Those that do will be seen as leaders, and marketing will be rewarded as a respected growth driver for the business…..

Those that don’t, well you know who you are. Enjoy fighting with your ROI tools that still wont make the calculation work for you!


Wednesday 27 June 2012


I grew up listening to BBC Radio One. It’s a brand with a special place in my heart, the station that unleashed my passion for music.  Driven by a public service mandate, BBC must create content for a diverse, multicultural and international audience.  The brand must fight to stay relevant in the area of a fragmented and technologically savvy audience .  

I’m so thankful that they’ve found a way to build a beautiful, simple and dare I say iconic mobile interface.  By understanding their  equity,  they have transformed today’s complex station portfolio into an intuitive interactive consumer experience. Eye catching design, dramatic colours and logical layout. Beautiful.  Check it out from your smartphone here.


Monday 11 June 2012

Be Contagious

I love this little booklet of the 10 Rules of Engagement, placed by Weber Shandwick in the Global Issue of Advertising Age. Simple, believable, fun and focused, it caught my attention and completely interrupted my reading...... 

No surprises  - eg 'Rule 2' is a reminder that brands co-create their message as they no longer own it. 'Rule 10' 'Hire Us' is a call to action, but, hey ! It did its job by getting Weber front of mind in a sea of agencies.... 

Nice work in raising the bar. I might get back to reading Ad Age at some stage, but inspiring me with simple pictures and simple ideas successfully nixed the impact of every other ad in this issue.

P.S.....anyone else notice perhaps an homage to JCP's latest logo/US campaign ?


Thursday 31 May 2012

Creating magic....with tin foil (aluminum wrap)

Yes! tin foil (as we call it in the UK) or aluminum wrap ads can be emotive and memorable.  This ad has been bugging me for a few days, because its simple storyline has a cinematic, dramatic air that leaves me expecting many more adventures from these characters.  I love the sense of adventure and the fact they are trying to capture the audience's hearts and minds with a playful sense of wonder and fantasy.

Kudos to the folks at Reynolds (and Euro RSCG/Chicago) for focusing on the right-brain, for using imagination, for great storytelling, for championing inspiration. I hope they take an extreme journey on this whimsical 'magic' theme.....and steer clear of tired, obvious, and functional performance messaging.  

Go crazy -  create a cartoon, give the characters more stories, create kids books and continue to push the envelope. You are on to something, and I might just feel connected to your brand, an emotional territory that your competition dare not claim. 


Tuesday 24 April 2012

The Art of Marketing (#TAOM) - Quotes that provoke ACTION

I get it.

You’re too busy to read a full recap of what the speakers had to say at the art of Marketing Chicago conference today.

So… here are 10 bite sized quotes that provoke action:  my notes and via Twitter #TAOM.

Why Marketers should be artists
1. "commodity is just a marketer that has given up"  - Seth Godin
2. "competence is no longer a scarce commodity" - Seth Godin   

What consumers want
3. "…we use our wealth to get weirder, we use wealth to be more like ourselves" -  Seth Godin
4. (pt 1) "Give a shit first, then maybe consumers will be interested in you”  
5. (pt 2) "..yes and they [customers] talk back now, we have to respect that via good cop marketing" – Gary Vaynerchuk

Leadership in 2012  
6. "lead with generosity, intimacy, candor and accountability" -  Keith Ferrazzi
7. It's Critical to shift from "Stumbling into intimacy" to a relationship strategy. Consider what are you ‘selling’ vs what people are ‘buying’ -  "Ask how can I serve you" - Keith Ferrazzi
8. "Do exactly what I tell you" is the 'Factory' model that no longer works – Seth Godin

Digital stuff…….  
 9. all a ‘bounce rate’ tells you is that "I came, I puked, and then left" - Avinash Kaushik
10. "do you work on a brand that has the right to be on the home page of your smart phone ?” -  Mitch Joel

P.S. Im saving @avinash’s salacious quotes for a deep dive post, and will leave you with the thought, that a book calledPuke.Boom.Orgasm.Awesome is in his destiny.


Tuesday 3 April 2012

" create _____ that you can't imagine any other way"

" create simple objects..that you can't imagine any other way" Jonathan Ive. 
Source: Mark Prigg,London Evening Standard, March 2012. 

So.....what have you created that can't be imagined any other way ?


Saturday 31 March 2012

The secret to your success is......

"...a sense of being inquisitive and optimistic, and you don't see those in combination very often".
 Jonathan Ive.

Source: Mark Prigg,London Evening Standard, March 2012. 


Wednesday 22 February 2012

Pinterest - one simple tip to avoid faliure

If you are (or know) a stressed [business owner/brand/agency/marketer/online strategist/social media get the point] driven by the fear and panic of missing out on the next BIG thing that is the Pinterest bandwagon, today I offer you escape from failure via one simple tip.  

TIP: BEFORE you DO anything, ask yourself the question - is the brand I'm 'pinning' a lovemark? ...I suspect your answer is no/not take a look at my personal list of #lovemark brands (below) and hundreds more - curated at  lovemarkscampus

Immerse in the stories, exercise your right brain.   Have the courage to tell [yourself/Director/CEO/VP/Manager/yourself] .........why you're not doing something with Pinterest right now.  Because you've got fundamental strategic stuff to take care of first....right ?



Tortured Soul



Chocolate Sushi

Cubanitas - Milwaukee


Hong Kong - Taxis
Hong Kong - Langham Place Hotel

My Life


Manchester United

P.S. if your answer was yes....will it be tomorrow ?