Category Archives: Advertising

Anatomy of An Insight: Blood

nobloodshouldholdusback

This Bodyform ad might be my favorite ad of the year.

Insight: It´s ok to draw some blood when you do sports.

Especially FMCG category is filled with fake images of shiny happy people who are so detached from reality that I wonder how the brand managers and agencies can live with themselves. Our audience is not stupid. Having blue liquid in sanitary pad commercials has been a running joke for as long I remember seeing advertisements.

Many of the brands might have been toying about showing actual blood in the ads; the idea is not that novel. What instead is novel, that Bodyform had the balls (or ovaries in this case) to actually do what none of the other brands had not dared to do before.

Because of popularity of Game of Thrones, Crossfit and MMA, our audience is accustomed to more rough and rugged imaginary. Many of the marketers have not realized this sense of aesthetics and that is why many of the ads nowadays look over-polished and just plain fake.

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Ferment and Distill Your Ideas

“Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.” 
– Oscar Wilde

I like alcohol in its various forms and like with many things the more you know the background of it, the more you enjoy the experience. Therefore I don´t only consume ethanol, I read a lot literature about it (hence camouflaging it from problem to hobby). Besides Three Martini lunches, the art of making booze and the art of making great marketing have lots of similarities. For example this passage about the difference of fermentation and distillation in the “Proof” by Adam Rogers captures something essential about our field of work as well:

Fermentation is a natural process, as close to a miracle as a science-minded type like me would ever acknowledge. Over human history we have learn to harness and adapt it. We domesticated the micro-organisms that make it possible, designed containers friendlier to it, created business around it. But a winemaker taking credit for fermentation is like beekeeper taking credit for honey. Fermentation would happen whether men and women were here on earth or not. If a fig spontaneously ferments in the forest, a monkey is there to hear it. (And eat the fig. And get drunk.  

Distillation, though, is technology. Human being invented it; we came up with the process and developed the equipment. It requires the ability to boil a liquid and reliably collect the resulting vapors, which sounds simple. But to do it you have to learn a lot of other skills first. You have to be able to control fire, work metal, heat things and cool them, make airtight, pressurized vessels. You need a big brain with wrinkled cortex, maybe some opposable thumbs. But most of all you need a desire to change your environment instead of just live with what you have. Distillation takes intelligence and will. To distill, literally or metaphorically, requires the hubris to believe you can change the world.
 

The great marketers understand the difference of fermentation and distillation and when to utilize both of the methods to come up with ideas.

“Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire”
– David Wallace

Ferment: There is time and place to rely on your emotions and gut feeling. Fermentation is a skill that you either have or not. Let it flow and don´t try to control things. Use just pad and pen, technology does not make fermenting better. Usually when fermenting, the quantity is better than quality. Third beer tastes better than the first one. There is time to distill later on.

“Civilization begins with distillation”
-William Faulkner

Distill: After you had your ideas ferment freely it is time to distill your ideas to purest form. You have to try to control your ideas, make sense out of them. Use technology to find the essence of your idea. Distillation you can learn when you have the discipline. The less is more. If you have truly potent idea, one shot is enough and you don´t need to mix it with anything.

The best marketers are the masters of in balancing between chaos and discipline.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Cornetto Commitment Rings

cornettocommitmentrings

My wife and I seldom quarrel, but when I started to watch Orange is The New Black alone without her, there was a heated exchange. Therefore this is brilliant execution tapping into current life of target audience:

Insight: The biggest time commitment you make in this digital world is the 10+ hours you decide to invest to a TV series. You should want to share those moments with your loved ones, but quite often the temptation to be the first trumps the consideration for your other half.

I am not exactly sure whether Cornetto exactly the right brand to do this, but idea is rooted on a true insight.

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Anatomy of An Insight: +46 771 793 336

swedish number

Insight: When thinking about travelling to other country, you don´t necessarily know how the people are like. What if you could talk to the people before you are booking your holiday? In the spirit of being the first country in the world to ban censorship Sweden enables you to have unfiltered conversations with swedes, just because they can.

That number above works, but it is regarded as international call so you might need to pay for the privilege. Thus far there have been already over 150k calls and callers from 182 countries. As a Finn, cannot say anything else but Swedes beat us again (luckily we were better in ice hockey this year).

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Advertising Can Make Even Baby Carrots Desirable

babycarrots

The fact is that majority of brands and products are boring. Being boring is a challenge, because your brand will not be noticed. You are not competing against the other products and brands in category, you are competing of mindspace of your consumer which is increasingly filled with Netflix, Snapchat and other way more interesting things than you brand.

The main role for advertising is to sell more products and how you do it is by making your product more interesting, desirable and thus noticed. Rational arguments don´t really work. Every smoker knows that he would need to quit. You know that you should hit the gym. And you know that carrots are healthy, but you still choose to munch on chips because they just taste good.

This campaign from few years back is a brilliant example of the true power of advertising. You have a great product, but it has an image problem. You fix it by going totally overboard. You appeal to heart. You beg, borrow and steal from other categories. You are bold. You make that product differentiated and interesting. If your category is boring, you reframe your whole category. You do what you are supposed to do:

If advertising industry has identity problem right now, it is because we have lost our focus on making the brands we work with desirable. We have gone too deep in rabbit hole of championing social causes or doing unnecessary technological innovations, that we have forgotten why we exist in the first place.

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Vodka From A Village and The Secret of a Great Brand Film

finlandialessordinary

I hate majority of brand films. They just revisit same old clichés and not even the employees get kick out of them:

The false deduction would be to conclude that if majority is shit, everything is. Brand film, when done well, can be truly uplifting experience. It can put your brand´s stake in the ground and convey your attitude in a manner that resonates both to your consumers and your employees.

This rebranding of Koskenkorva is a great example of a good brand film. The product consists of water and barley. It is coming from a small village. It is Finnish and we don´t brag or boast. The understated tone actually oozes confidence and in a minute shows what the brand stands for. Brilliant stuff from Bob The Robot:

Finnish vodka brands seem to have learnt something during the years, because the following example is from Finlandia vodka. Whereas Koskenkorva is the rural and rustic everyday drink, Finlandia has always been a little bit upscale. Upscale in Finland meaning still that you have weird attitude that other markets don´t understand. This is a brand film that is built around the desired attitude of the brand. After seeing this you are hyped up to grab a bottle of vodka and try your new deadlift record (this is done by W+K London):

Great brand film:

1) Tells something interesting about brand.
2) Is something that only your brand can do
3) Makes you feel something
4) Looks good (there is no such thing as lo-fi brand film)

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Anatomy of An Insight: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese It´s Changed But It Hasn´t

macandcheese

“This is like the largest blind tasting ever”

Insight: Brand is all about perception. When you are changing the recipe of an iconic food item, you have to be careful. Expectations play important role on what we taste and how we experience it. Taste is shaped by our past experiences, our current mood, our expectations, and any number of incidental details.

“What we think is going into our mouth actually changes what we taste, down to the level of the taste buds themselves.”

Michael Norton, assistant professor of business administration in the marketing department of the Harvard Business School

So instead of doing big bang like New Coke and failing miserably, Mac & Cheese starts sneakily by just testing it out. Not surprisingly people didn´t notice any difference and generally having no artificial ingredients should be good thing. macandcheese2

I also recommend watching this longer story about the project and to visit the website.

Powerful, simple, big and real (not scam or some crappy innovation) campaigns are not that common nowadays, so this definitely deserves some praise.

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Advertising At The Right Place but At The Wrong Time

The main rule in contextual advertising is simple:

Ensure that your contextual advertising is done on right context.

Sounds redundant but it isn´t. Let me show an example of advertising aimed at particular time-of-the-day:

McDonalds1
Hmm, it is 11AM on Monday morning. I have barely woken up. I don´t necessarily want to be up, but generally if you work at the office you don´t have choice. Or are you referring to my stand-up desk?

McDonalds2
I don´t even know what I will do tomorrow, not to mention knowing will I oversleep or not. I was planning to go sleep early, but do you know more about my Netflix addiction?

McDonalds3
I have already eaten breakfast and I am already dreaming about my lunch. Would you have any lunch deals? Or will you be targeting those ads at my dinner time?

McDonalds4
This ad was definitely at the right place because I noticed it. Probably in the media report it will also be really effective because I replayed it zillion times to get proper screenshots. So probably we will get more of this kind of lazy targeting in the future.

In many ways the opportunities in digital media are really interesting right now: ability to target people at the right place, right time and to retarget based on their behavior is fascinating. Unfortunately media and the media agencies are too often just too damn lazy to really utilize these opportunities, or just plain creepy.

This experience was not without silver lining, it reminded me to listen this awesome song by Dr. John to cheer up my Monday:

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Anatomy of An Insight: Letgo Commercializer

Sometimes your biggest challenge for growth is not that people are not using your platform, but they are just using it wrong:

Insight: The challenge is not that people don´t have stuff to sell, but they don´t know how to sell that. The pictures look bad, there is not that much story behind the stuff and everything lacks enthusiasm. If you are marketplace where people can sell their old stuff this is naturally a problem. You want to make people better sellers so their stuff moves faster and they can sell even more stuff. More stuff equals more money to everyone.

Would you notice a used product ad featuring Dolph Lundgren?

I know that I would.

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Anatomy of An Insight: GEICO Fast Forward

How did they get in the air playing a saxophone?
And we said, “Exactly”.

Pre-rolls are pain, but they should not be. Geico won “Campaing of the year” last year with their Unskippable-series. Now it is time for it sequel and again it does not fail to deliver. As we now sequels don´t usually work in advertising, expect when they are working.

First you are tempted with the pre-roll:

You can´t help yourself. You have to watch the whole thing:

(There are four of these ads for your viewing pleasure)

Insight: Quite often it is more arousing if you don´t reveal everything you got immediately.

This campaign is not only creatively top-notch; Geico has also ensured that all the nuts and bolts in YouTube definitely guide you to right direction.

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