February 25, 2012

Last Thursday, the Sponsorship Summit 2012 was held in Croke Park. A series of talks and discussions took place around why sponsorship works, and how to execute it properly. There were a number of key lessons. The audience was told that there has to be a good cultural fit between the brand and sponsorship asset. Think Guinness and Irish Rugby . It’s not enough anymore to badge an asset with a logo. A good plan should make the most of the sponsorship, and consumers’ should be excited and involved. Musgraves brought to life it’s partnership of the GAA with ticket sales at local stores, the use of characters from their TV ads in store to entertain young fans and buses organised to bring supporters to games.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of the day was integration. A fantastic case study, which I would urge anyone to investigate further, is P&G’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics. Stemming from a key insight that consumers are in fact aware that brands such as Olay, Gillette and Ariel are part of a larger group; a decision was made to promote the P&G brand itself. Giving access to billions, the sponsorship of the Olympics is one with huge potential. P&G is highlighting its association with a number of moving ads, incorporating the ‘Proud Sponsor of Mums’ tagline. Ticket giveaways and the use of the P&G/Olympics logo on products are aimed at driving consumer loyalty and sales.


P&G and the Olympics brings to mind OMD’s own strategy of insights, ideas and results. With all three interdependent, it’s a useful reminder that although an idea may seem ‘nice’ and may even be something that a client has ‘liked’ in the past, it needs to be grounded in insight and driving results for the business in the form of sales, market share or stakeholder value. With many brands proud to showcase success achieved with best practice, others need to make sure that they don’t get left behind.


Food for Thought from 1962

February 21, 2012

In 1962, Solomon Asch of Swarthmore University conducted a series of experiments into social pressure and human conformity.

The following video shows the kind of results the ‘group think’ phenomenon is capable of producing:

It’s worth a look, and reminds us to keep our eyes open for when we  fall victim ourselves!

(It’s also very funny….enjoy!)



Boxing Clever

February 14, 2012

From time to time, your eyes are suddenly opened to a job or an industry that you just never really thought about before. In fact, I see it in people’s faces every time I’m explaining to them what a media buyer is…


A recent  TED talk by Mick Mountz of KIVA Systems opened my eyes to the world of boxpacking. Yes, boxpacking. KIVA have invented a new system which turns the world of boxpacking on its head. Instead of warehouse workers going to collect items and box them up, the items are brought to them by robots and much time, money and effort is saved. The ‘pick workers’, as the warehouse staff are called, are much happier too.

They’re happier because the process now revolves around them rather than the ‘problem’ which in this case is the product they need to go find and package. They’re also happier because they don’t have to go to work and walk 5 miles per day around a warehouse. This operator- centric approach should, of course be the rule rather than the exception, but sadly, it isn’t. 

According to Mr. Mountz, this solution came to him during a spell of brainstorming. He was trying to figure out how he could pack boxes more efficiently and was thinking as broadly as possible (….resist ‘thinking outside the box’ pun). In allowing himself to realise what an ideal solution would be in a world without restriction, he could then work out how to make that solution practical. 

Thinking big is a skill. I believe that knocking the ‘yes, but that’s ridiculous’ thought on its head takes discipline. Overcoming our norms to reach genuinely unique solutions is hard, which is why we hold the world’s genuine original thinkers in such high esteem. Here at OMD, we hold ‘Ignition sessions’, facilitated idea generation workshops which help our own day to day thinking aswell as helping clients to crack the challenges facing them. The sessions are structured in such a way that we spend most of the time thinking ‘BIG’ and only rein in the thinking towards the end. We have had lots of success with this type of session (not to mention, fun!), but we’d love it if more people embraced them!

So, for the next month, I’m going to train myself to think more expansively. Instead of “Yes, but…..” I’m going to say “What if…”. I’m going to think about possibilities rather than obstacles, and the proof will be in the pudding at our next Ignition session.

If you want to find out how many bright ideas I’ve contributed, or if you’d like an Ignition session of your own, please contact Aoife.Joyce@omd.com our Ignition leader.




Super Bowl XLVI

February 8, 2012

The Super Bowl set a US television ratings record for the third year running on Sunday night, with an average of 111.3 million viewers watching the New York Giants victory over the New England Patriots. This beat last year’s audience by 300,000.

Whilst the Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year, it seems that the ads are becoming more and more popular than the sport itself! Many of my friends on social networks (who don’t work in advertising!), were commenting on the fact that the ads were the best part of the Super Bowl! Attracting such a large audience, means that the minutage available is becoming more and more precious. A 30” spot is estimated to cost around $3.5m. That’s a serious blow to the advertising budget if you’re not stimulating sales or at least generating a social share with your ad. Viewers expect to be entertained, and they will tell you if they’re not. Unlike any other sporting event I know, Super Bowl Sunday has power! Power to draw viewers; power to capture attention; power to make consumers sit up and watch commercials.

Like Christmas, the build up to the Super Bowl starts earlier every year, with teaser ads being released in the weeks leading up to the event. A good example of this is the Ferris Bueller Honda ad that appeared initially as a 10” youtube teaser. People questioned whether or not a second film was being released whilst others started guessing what brand he might be endorsing on Super Bowl day. When the ad was finally aired, it was clear that it was for Honda, with multiple film references in it.  However, with so many advertisers releasing their ads early and often in longer versions, you have to wonder if they’re giving away too much too soon?

Building up competition among consumers is another strategy that is becoming popular. Doritos ads have been known to inspire a lot of feedback from viewers, and they continue to run their annual contest crashthesuperbowl, which pits consumer-created spots for the brand against each other for the chance to have one air during the event itself. There’s a nice lump sum of $1m dollars for the winner too.

During the SuperBowl, Chevrolet gave away 20 Chevys and thousands of other prizes with the Chevy Game time app. Viewers were encouraged to download the app and play along during the game. Watching the ads on TV is no longer enough. Now more and more companies are choosing mobile marketing to augment their ad campaigns. Companies like Subway, Coca Cola and Pepsi have either sponsored apps, created apps or tied in with existing apps to extend their campaigns into viewers hands.

Finally, in a measure of evaluating effectiveness of the ads, the SuperBowl Ad Meter has been paramount for advertisers since 1989. In a move away from solely using traditional focus groups, the power has been shifted towards consumers, giving them the opportunity to vote on Facebook. This is a logical evolution given the importance of social media, but it’s interesting to note that the results aren’t always the same.

Focus groups chose mansbestfriend as their favourite ad, whilst the public chose slingbaby.

Have a look and see what you think-  admeter




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