May 31, 2010

I was flicking through one of my favourite media choices, the Financial Times weekend edition, and hidden amongst articles about gambling and the world cup , out of office responses and what they say about you,  and Canadian wine wars  there was piece on the Kug. What is the Kug you may understandably ask? It is an all in one device that is both kettle and mug, designed by Irishmen having seen the difficulties that people with arthritis encounter in drinking hot beverages.

The Kug got me thinking of the concept of bundling – whether that’s the  two for the price of one we often see in the media world, or the things that can multi task or be multi tasked successfully.

Things that can multi task: Women (obviously!)

Things that can’t multi task: Tim (obviously, some might say, as best exemplified by my one fingered typing skills)

What is quite a lively debate is the bundling or otherwise of advertising skills, media and creative in particular. The argument,  no matter where you fall on this debate, is usually supported by the line “it’s what clients want”.

Clients want great work supplied by people who understand and are passionate about their business. They want the best media and creative skills. In most cases this works best when media and creative agencies work well together. That’s not to say that the Kug all in one model works best. In my mind it is when all disciplines are given their full scope and focus, that the best work is produced. The challenge is to structure your organisation to bring out the best skills in your own people and their expertise, that can respectfully complement the expertise that either sits across town in another company or down the corridor in your own.

It certainly took unbundling to raise the level of the communications bar that too often under utilised the skills of the old media department in the corner. The debate on how communications solutions are delivered in the future will no doubt continue to rage. For me, it’s time to divert my (single minded) focus to making a cup of tea (Barry’s of course, not a Kug in sight!).



Ignition5 Monday – enjoy!


Last week, as you might have seen in our Ignition 5, the advertising community was chock full of respect for the young creative who landed himself a job by playing on the vanity of Creative Directors who googled themselves, a guilty pleasure enjoyed by many.
Amongst The Influentials blogging team, one of our favourite guilty pleasures, is checking out our blog stats. Any one of you who blogs, knows just how addictive this can be.
Here at The Influentials, our busiest day is always a Tuesday, when most of you (our clients and friends) receive our newsletter The Week in Influence. And since these blog statistics are based on what you, our readers, find interesting, we thought you might like some insight into what’s been most popular since we started the blog in 2009.
The stats provide an intruiguing (and unexpected!) picture of what we’re writing about, what our clients like reading and which topics/keywords have tapped into the zeitgeist.
Jedward drove a ridiculous amount of traffic to our blog, right up to a couple of months ago, only to be overtaken in 2010 by people searching for information on 3D. Our busiest day overall to date was Tuesday May 11th – when Vanessa wrote a blog post on Sex & The City 2.
So our learning so far is that is we want to draw in more readership, Sex (and the City), Jedward and 3D TV are selling. I’m not sure if we’d consciously refine our blog writing to cater for these tastes, but we’ll certainly be keeping this information in mind!
 Top Posts
(Excluding our Ignition 5 series which is a definite favourite – creative ideas from Ireland and beyond chosen by all the OMD-ers)
1.  John & Edward have the X Factor
2.  3D – The Next Big Thing …. I think
3.  Now that’s Advertainment!
4.  How to become a Youtube/Facebook one hit wonder
5.  Missionary Brands
6.  If you pay peanuts…
7.  A picture paints a thousand numbers
8.  WOM – en
9.  Mud is Good
10. What’s the Buzz?
11. Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast
12. The Art of Storytelling
13. Michael O’Leary must be gutted he didn’t get there first
14. The Davy Lewis Band – trying to make it in a different era
15. 3D Convert
Top Search Terms
(Used to find our blog)
1.  X Factor 2009
2.  3D Glasses
3.  Jedward
4.  David Ogilvy
5.  Renault Megane Coupe
6.  Seth Godin 
7.  Lizzie Miller
8.  Swine Flu Poster
9.  Jimmy Wales
10. OMD Ireland Blog
11. The Influentials
12. Gossipy
13. Platinum blond men
14. Zen Quote
15. OMD Ireland


Seth Godin mentioned the devil’s advocate recently, and it hit a nerve. I do it all the time; I say…”I’m just playing devils advocate, but ….”, by which, of course, I mean, “I’m about to be really negative, i’m going to undermine what you just said, and please don’t take this the wrong way…BUT…..” .

I’m not alone in this; we all do it. For the most part, we feel like we are doing a service; often it’s a ‘Phew!’ moment, when we think, “Man! We might have developed that idea and got it really far before we thought of that problem! What a waste that would have been!”

I’ve talked about ideas quite a bit here, and the danger of bottling them up or restraining them for whatever reason. Often, I’ve realised that it’s the devil’s advocate that’s at fault. He’s not called the devil’s advocate without reason; The Devil is dangerous, and being too afraid of failure is dangerous too. Jump, I say. Take a risk, let your mind roam free without inviting the devil’s advocate in. Not always, and not forever. But for a while at least.

The point at which we bring in the devil’s advocate into the process is really the key. If we bring him in too early, we restrain the flow too much and cut off avenues that deserve exploration. If we bring him in too late, we risk all that time wasting we fear so much. Let’s not uninvite the devil’s advocate altogether – maybe just tell him the party starts a little later, and that he’s welcome then.


The new Sex and the City movie is releasing in Ireland on the 27th May. The original movie was an overwhelming success and the franchise soldiered on to produce a number 2. It’s the most anticipated release ever. For the first feature, Galaxy, Veet, Debenhams, amongst others, bought the right to associate themselves with the movie. This time there is an even longer list of partners – Moet, Boots, Nivea, Pretty Polly, Special K, Veet, H&M, HP, Lipton, Mercedes Benz, Skyy Vodka, Swarovski. Every press, TV, radio and online supplier is running coverage of the movie in the hope that unofficial, as well as official, supporters seize the opportunity to align themselves somehow with the movie.

It’s amazing the power of the Sex and the City brand. And right about now, the same fight for World Cup association is kicking off. A load of TV campaigns started this weekend. The Carlsberg ad is a good example. The fifa.com website lists 15 partners/sponsors/supporters, which are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s powerful stuff and the beginning of a competitive fight for World Cup share of voice and share of predominantly male attention.

Which got me thinking that Sex and the City is a female brands dream, and the equivalent to the World Cup for men. I must be the stereotypical female because 27th May is the only ‘event’ on my radar in the next month….what follows in June is over my head. Maybe times don’t change much.


Hope you had a nice long weekend!


There is a concept which I term “The Irish College Phenomenon” which was a very common experience amongst my peers at the time.

For the first week of Irish College, everybody vehemently hated it there and everybody wanted to go home. As we moved into week two, we became accustomed to the regime, the food, the bunk beds, though we still constantly complained and we still wanted to go home. By the final week, miraculously, things would start to change. At this stage, the boys and girls had started to integrate at the evening Ceili, most people had made friends and generally everyone was having fun. In fact, we usually left Irish College on an emotional high, to the point that in the weeks afterwards, back in Dublin, we would pine for our Irish college experience and hold “reunions” in McDonalds on Grafton Street, to recapture the good times.

The fact that we had been miserable for the majority of our time there, was completely overpowered by the highs of the last few days. There was a marked difference between what we had actually experienced during those three weeks, and the memory which remained afterwards. This is the difference, according to Daniel Kahnmen (who founded the field of Behavioural Economics), between the experiencing self and the remembering self.

Many of the things we do in our lives are in service of this remembering self. Kahneman gave a fascinating talk on this distinction at the 2010 TED conference which is well worth a watch. We chase exotic holidays, interesting leisure pursuits, a rich and varied lifestyle – not because we actually have higher levels of enjoyment while we are doing these things (in reality, we don’t seem to enjoy them that much more than sitting in front of the TV). But we do remember them more positively, we like the story they create, and they lead us to think back on our lives with more satisfaction.

This insight has pretty powerful marketing implications, especially in terms of brand experiences.

Will what people remember about their experience with your brand or product, be the same as what they actually experienced?

How can we avoid the tricky little pitfalls, which will disproportionately taint a lifetime of good brand behaviour?

And most crucially, what can we do to create a brand experience story, which goes further than the actual product experience had?


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