This weeks creative pics,



Product Benefits

September 28, 2010

In September 2009, I posted here that I was sceptical about 3D, particularly about 3D TV. By January 2010, fresh from seeing Avatar, I claimed to be converted. Now, a year after my first post on the topic, 3D is making its way into homes around the country.

For me, 3D had to be experienced to be loved. People could tell me how great it was all they wanted, but I couldn’t really grasp it until I had experienced it myself. The same, I would imagine, has been true for many people.

Until this weekend, I had only seen 3D in cinema, not on 3D TV, but on Saturday, I was given the oppurtunity to do so at an event set up for that purpose. 

We see experiential marketing all the time, brands looking for extra ways to engage their customers and allow them to interact with the brand. Often, it is done very well indeed, but it’s not so often that we see it in its purest form – experiencing the actual product that the company sells.

This was example of a brand understanding exactly what they needed to do and say to reach their customer, making the appropriate investment, and executing it perfectly. We know that the thing that makes a product new and unique from a producer’s point of view might not be what makes it special for their customer. All too often, still, brands start with what’s important to them rather than to their public.

In this case, I was given the opportunity to do the necessary; experience the product and its benefits. I wasn’t told about the technology that allowed it to be brought to me. That wouldn’t have meant anything to me at all. But after experiencing it, I fully understood the benefits it would bring to my television viewing, and there was the win for the advertiser.


Ignition5 from Tim and Claire

September 20, 2010

Happy New Year

September 19, 2010

Happy New Year.

September kind of is the real new year anyway.  Resolutions?  We certainly don’t need sunscreen, so I’d just say, don’t do interviews when you’re hungover, still drunk, bunged up or any combination thereof.

I was reading through the IMJ Annual Agency issue the other day and I thought I’d do a blogpost of my own predictions for the year.  A kind of unasked-for rallying call for the 12 months to come.  I thought I’d flick through the pieces written by agency bosses, and give my own take.  But holy hell – I’ve just flicked through the issue again – there were about 65 of them!  Where did they all come from?  Disappointingly, they’re all well written, articulate and reasonably coherent.  Don’t know what to add to that.  Except that maybe in a blogpost, I can be a bit less corporate, and a bit more personal. 

We were all flat out busy in the boom, we’re all flat out busy in the bust.  We worked harder than ever trying to catch up with our billings and now we’re working harder than ever to hold on to them.  What have I learned?  You’d better like what you’re doing, be passionate about it, enjoy it or move on.  Aidan Greene talked about the ‘curse of interesting times’ – bloody right.  Ciaran Cunningham said ‘it’s about the people, stupid’ – doubly right.

We don’t live in hard times.  I read Orwells Road To Wigan Pier recently.  Them was tough times.  Miners worked 12 hour shifts on their hands and knees, like underground chain gangs, suffering respiratory illnesses, all sorts of cancers, not to mention shaft collapses and zero workers rights.  Back when Unions meant something, they were the injustices they fought against.

We’ve just gone from being fabulously wealthy, to slightly less fabulously wealthy.  The only thing that matters right now is de-coupling bank debt from our national (and therefore personal) debt.  Hungover interviews are a trivial distraction.  Every single business, whether it be service oriented (like advertising) or otherwise, will sink or swim on the resolution of our debt crisis.  Remember the thick, luxurious property-porn newspaper supplements of the noughties?  When propertypapers came with a news supplement?  Well this is the era of debt-porn.  Remember we used to talk in millions?  Not anymore – a billion is the new million.

I spent some time yesterday in the company of someone who enjoys what he does, is passionate about it and is therefore, of course, brilliant at it.  Colin Harmon is a world Barista champion and has set up his own cafe in Dublin where he does coffee appreciation classes.  If we all cared this much about our own work, invested as much of ourselves into it, we’d be fantastically well rewarded, whatever the billings.

I hope you like what you’re doing. 

Happy new year.

John Clancy.

The end of Big Brother?

September 10, 2010

          Big Brother looks set to leave our screens tonight for good. From a marketing perspective, the show has given rise to many ways of promoting and advertising products. Both O2 and the Carphone Warehouse, have played on the housemate theme by encouraging viewers to “Get Connected” (O2) or “Get Together” (Carphone Warehouse) through their sponsorship of the programme. Beyond sponsorship, Big Brother has been the launchpad for a number of products. Shilpa Shetty launched her ‘S2’ fragrance in 2007, joining Jade’s ‘Shh’ on the shelves. A number of former housemates penned books following a stint on the show, including Chantelle’s ‘Living the Dream’. Even Mars spotted Big Brother’s potential for marketing. In 2008, they launched the Revels eviction campaign, asking fans to evict their least favourite flavour, which would then be replaced by a new unknown sweet.

          Before marketers begin to lament the end of an era, perhaps Big Brother could be viewed in a different way. We should be reminded that the show was inspired by a slogan from Orwell’s novel, 1984, stating that “Big Brother is watching you”. The show began as a social experiment and a modern day means of observing the interaction of up to 15 people with each other 24/7. Big Brother allows for more than clever sponsorship deals. It allows for anyone with access to Channel 4 to observe the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour.

          Consider the infamous Diary Room. It allows housemates to divulge information away from others. It allows them to bitch, to moan and to let go. It is a space in which thoughts are exposed. Meanwhile, in the house, every single action of the housemates is recorded. Therefore, viewers have access not only to peoples’ thoughts, but also to behaviour. Does behaviour reflect thought, as logic would tell us? Often it does not. One of the main goals of marketers is to change behaviour. However, it is not enough to present an idea to a target audience which they think positively about. Thoughts do not always correlate with behaviour, as Big Brother provides evidence for. This is why so much time and effort is put into creating messages which not only persuade, but also bring about a call to action.  

          Big Brother provides a good insight into other aspects of the human psyche. The viewer needs only to be armed with a sense of curiosity. Before getting upset about the loss of a major marketing opportunity, we should remind ourselves that access to episodes of the programme allow us to investigate psychological theories and principles, such as the presence of cliques in groups, the reality of many different personality types and conditions which bring about prejudice and discrimination. Either that or we can cross our fingers in the hope Richard Desmond resurrects the show for Channel 5 and allows Irish viewers access. 


The Thin White Duke

September 7, 2010

I’ve never really got David Bowie. I know that to many that’s a sacrilegious thing to say but it’s true. I think he kind of freaked me out when I was younger and I’ve struggled to forgive him for that, never warming to him since. I’ve been threatening to open my mind to him (well at least listen to a bit of his music) for a few years now. I sat beside Tom Dunne, ( now Newstalk host, then Today FM DJ, ex Something Happens front man, general music aficionado, and possibly David Bowie’s number one Irish fan), on a flight once. He basically advised me of the error of my ways. And ever since Bowie has been on my cultural to do list, low enough not to actually inspire any action, high enough to remain on the list and to line up beside others such as twice yearly visits to the Gate (partial success), read Ulysses (less successful), frequent the Fringe Festival (partial success) and discover wine and practise new found skills (phenomenal success, but still room for improvement).

With Bowie residing in the back of my sub conscious, I read Paul Morley’s article on him at the weekend. Beyond helping me shortlist the Bowie albums I need to download to broaden my knowledge, I was fascinated by learning a bit more about Bowie’s chameleon like passage through his art over his career. He went through different personas like most us go through hot dinners. And in a funny way it was as fundamentally important to Bowie as hot diners are to the rest of us. Survival at the top of his art was what was at stake. Bono once described it that U2 (another band that has reinvented themselves more than once) were re-applying for the job as the best band in the world. Springsteen does something similar. His trips to Dublin over the last decade have ranged from solo acoustic sets to the full on E Steet Band Experience with The Seeger sessions in between. Each concert was completely different, all stunningly brilliant, and most importantly all fresh, ensuring that old fans remain loyal while picking up new fans on the way.  Staying at the top of the music business for a sustained period of time demands it.

In the advertising world, we come across this challenge all the time. Tempting as it may be to rest on our laurels of past glories, be it new business wins or a successful campaign, you’ll soon find yourself more of a Zager and Evans than a Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars if you know what I mean. It annoys me when a sales rep rings us up and asks us where the ad that we booked last year is. The world continues to change, consumers evolve, brands evolve, and new younger fresher botox free iPad wielding folks are knocking on our door every day. Sometimes last year’s plan is the right solution but more often than not it’s not. The Thin White Duke would certainly agree.


Some rainy monday reading,


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