Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Y&R wears its heart on the ST

Y&R made a bold statement to the public today via a full page ad in The Straits Times, four days after declining to contest for the SingTel account which is currently up for grabs.

The ad features names of famous partnerships between musicians, filmmakers, sportsmen, cartoonists, comedians, songwriters, and last on the list was “SingTel and Y&R”. (I apologise for the crappy picture, any suggestions on how to improve it?)

The list also included the dates for which the partnerships endured but none were as long as that of SingTel and Y&R which was a whopping 19 years.

As with any agency client relationship, there’re always ups and downs and good times and bad times but this ad really does position Y&R as a big-hearted agency which is wishing its client all the best. It doesn’t matter the real motivation behind the ad, the idea is they put their money where their mouth is and forked out money for an expensive ST ad. (Anyone knows how much was spent? Just curious)

SingTel previously maintained Leo Burnett and Y&R as joint incumbents on the above the line responsibilities while below the line work was done by a number of small agencies but consolidated its entire business with Y&R in 2004.

The business came up for pitch on 13 September and don’t hold your breath for 31 December when the 16-week process is supposed to come to an end.

Good luck to BatesAsia, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather and Leo Burnett – which has a nice advantage over the rest from its past experience with the client I’m sure.

The last time I remember an agency splashed out on a full-page ad for itself was Publicis in December 2004. Many of you may remember how you felt when you opened the papers that morning and gasped when you saw the ad asking for a meeting with SIA’s CEO Chew Choon Seng. I remember it was timed to coincide with a visit from a Publicis boss – was it Maurice Levy?

The Straits Times and Today both carried stories on how SIA was less than impressed with the stunt.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loo Loo skip to the Loo

Belgium is famous for its beer, waffles, the artist Jan Van Eyck and well also the recently retired Tennis star Kim Clijsters..But this digital campaign from the Belgian arm of ING Bank will put it on the world map for a great campaign well done.

Totally wicked and digustingly splendid. Its a shame they did not bank in (pun intended) more on interactivity. It would definitely be memorable just like BK's Subservient Chicken when it first sprung up in the digital airways years back.

All these to sell a zero Euro ING Lion Credit and using the WC as first point of contact... that's definitely a first for any bank anywhere.For the lazy folks with bad wireless, here are some screen shots but please go invest in a better router or steal your neighbour's connection or head to Starbucks. It's worth a watch.

However it did make me think...Imagine if they expanded the campaign globally and localised the loos for different markets. Yuuucks...Toilets are pretty nasty in Singapore, even legendary in China, if they have used that as the prototype it would have been frightful and downright distasteful.

NEW POST! Swapping spaces for faces

I had a schoolyard moment the other day when I asked a long lost friend to add me to her Facebook friends and she replied ‘actually I’m with Spaces’. OMG! I thought (I told you it was a school yard moment).

I remember when I was at school, yeah it was a few years ago, you just had to make sure you had the right shoes and the right school bag, so it was imperative when your Mum went shopping for school supplies at the start of the year that you went with her to politely inform her what was in this year. Not doing so could commit you to a year of being humiliated at best and bashed in the school yard at worse. Despite what a lot of marketing tells you, being a young consumer is more about conforming and fitting in than it is about individuality and standing out.

The new equivalent faux pas (to turning up with the wrong brand of sports shoes to school), and it now goes well beyond the schoolyard, is belonging to the wrong social network. My friend’s view was that she’s “hype-er sensitive” ie she can’t stand anything that is over-hyped and therefore signed up with Windows Live Spaces.

I replied “that’s all well and good but I am afraid that means we can’t be friends”. She was a little shocked and I wasn’t kidding, because the networks don’t talk to each other she can’t become my friend in Facebook and since I already have a network of friends I am sure as hell not moving across the Spaces.

Today I will ring her and inform her, in case she hasn’t heard, that even Microsoft is now signed up to Facebook, well not so much signed as the owner of a small 1.6 % sliver of the company which it bought for US$250 million. Holy internet bubble Batman!

It does sound a little extravagant in a climate where companies are already wondering if they may have been a little overzealous with their web 2.0 shopping lists, eg eBay which analysts outside the company and a few people inside it, think paid considerably more than they should have for the wonderful VOIP platform, Skype.

However the blogging community this morning thinks the Microsoft buy in to Facebook could make some sense as it will involve serving ads to a community of 50 million users – but then some suggest that the reason Spaces has had a luke warm reception in the face of the rapidly spreading Facebook epidemic is exactly because it serves ads on people’s Spaces.

Mind you the blogging community also seems more concerned with whether 22-year-old co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will now by a private party jet like Google’s founders.
…and everyone thought he was an idiot to turn down a US$1 billion offer for the whole of Facebook from Yahoo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Judas phones it in [video]

Can mixing iconic moments in religion with advertising work? If it does then Iceland Telecom Siminn and Sony Ericsson should expect a dramatic increase in 3G mobile phone usage very shortly, after all, it doesn’t get much more controversial than injecting humour into an ad featuring the Last Supper, Jesus, and Judas, right?

It was Adrants that brought to my attention the ad which starts off in the Last Supper setting with Jesus looking for the absent Judas, and ends with Jesus discovering Judas’ worst kept secret (Like Adrants my biblical skills are not up to scratch so my understanding was that Jesus sees Judas with the soldiers and figures out he will get betrayed?).

So how does Jesus see all this? 3G technology of course…

Admittedly, my free-thinking self found the ad pretty amusing and the tagline at the end, ‘3G – changing the course of history’, was pretty darn funny BUT is it good branding and will it even get consumers to spend? I think it stands a chance if people have a sense of humour – there a lot more Last Supper ads in poorer taste than this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Of Fallon-y and the Bunny Double...

We blogged about Sony Bravia's Bunnies last week. But boy we never knew that bloggers worldwide would be as passionate and heated up on it as it is seen in this blog

Agency Spy: Fallon-Passion ripped off concept for Play-Doh

Is this an issue of great minds think alike or is there truth in the finger pointing sessions - Fallon+Passion's blatant ripping off Kozyndan's limited edition bunny prints and also of their Bunny-wave based on Hokusai's "Great Wave off Kana gawa"?

The couple duo based in LA alleges that Passion approached them previously for samples

Kozyndan's flickr blog post


Apparently Sony has responded to the accusations on Adrants and currently the blog's still waiting for the agency+production house's reply.

Sony's reply on Adrants

Copy-bunny or sheer coincidence? You decide.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sony features Bunnies and Pyramids [video]

The latest installment in the award-winning Sony Bravia TVC stable is one entitled 'Pyramids' and created by Singapore-based regional ECD for Y&R Brands, Rowan Chanen.

This ad comes close on the heels of a previous 'Bunnies' TVC which features a hell lot of CGI on play-doh bunnies bouncing around town, and was created by Fallon UK.

OK now take a look at the Making Of video for 'Bunnies'.

Fallon UK was behind the highly awarded 'Balls' TVC, the first in the series.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gorilla, no I mean guerilla tactics by Salesforce.com

Salesforce.com is not new to hijacking events and bringing its own brand of in-your-face humour to the traditionally boring CRM business.

Yesterday, it pulled another cheeky one. This time outside a competitor’s event – the Oracle/Gartner CRM breakfast briefing.

Led by the senior director of marketing, the Salesforce team positioned themselves at “strategic entry points” into Raffles Hotel and gave attendees to the breakfast a "Get me out of here!" flyer that contained:

1) Free taxi voucher from the event back to their office

2) Details of a Gartner Magic Quadrant report that shows salesforce.com rated higher than Oracle

3) A free 30-day trial of salesforce.com

According to Salesforce, the reaction from attendees “ranged from surprised to outright laughter” but the team decided to leave after an Oracle partner discovered them and got “a little frustrated”. The team estimated they managed to cover 30% to 50% of the attendees.

Definitely an arresting idea – it’s refreshing, it got the attention of the key people it wanted to reach, it made its point loud and clear. No doubt if Salesforce made a large enough impact interested parties at the event would pose the question to Oracle to find out what the difference between the two offerings were and make their own educated decision on what to buy – it’s what customers should be asking anyway, nothing wrong with that.

But you know what? I think it’s fun companies can have a laugh together with the competition and foster a healthy competitive environment. It would be great to see an Oracle executive grabbing his mid-section and laughing uncontrollably at the Long Bar after the event over a beer with a Salesforce chief.

I imagine they’d be laughing about how the Salesforce team pulled a really slick one on Oracle, but then again they may also be chuckling about the successful Gorilla initiative, so says the Salesforce marketing director.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An online campaign to boycott Kettle Foods has launched following reports of anti-trade union behaviour at its Norwich factory – two groups, Boycott Kettle Crisps for attacks on workers and Boycott Kettle Crisps: the Anti-Trade Union snack, have been formed on Facebook.

The groups have already attracted well over 100 members while debate on whether or not to boycott the crispmaker has made its way to other websites as well.

The trouble started when the press revealed that US union busters were called in to deter workers at a factory from joining a union. So what we are seeing here is another example of the power consumers now have to voice their opinions on a brand’s behaviour. For now the Kettle situation is not a full blown PR disaster, but already there’s a fair amount of anti-kettle sentiments online – enough for me to hear about it!

Search the phrase Kettle Chips in Google, on the first page of the search results an article from the Guardian reporting the company’s actions at its Norwich factory can easily be found

Having a bunch of dedicated netizens going around saying that they, along with their family and friends, will never ever buy another Kettle product again is not exactly a great way to build up strong brand affinity. Especially if they are saying things like, buying Kettle Chips means you support union-busting activities and unfair treatment of workers.

According to the report in the Guardian, the company does appear to have a decent reputation when it comes to unions BUT the problem is Kettle seems content to keep silent about the issue.

Another mistake perhaps…

Monday, October 08, 2007

Keep the Onslaught coming

Well it’s only been six days since ‘Dove Onslaught’, the follow up to the brands highly viral and successful ‘Evolution’ campaign, was uploaded to YouTube and early signs indicate that it could be just as effective.

The video, which again showed the nasty side of the beauty industry, not only pushed me enough to make a comment but post this blog as well, and in less than a week on YouTube, it has already generated 515 other comments from users. Of course not all the comments are good ones and not all say how wonderful Dove and Unilever are for launching the campaign, but the point is – a real conversation is taking place amongst consumers and about the brand too.

The insights that can be learned from this are priceless...more please!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Friday Night Sights

Now that the dust has well and truly settled on the IAS ACTIVE Challenge’s industry-only five-a-side football tournament at The Cage, which was organised by Marketing – it’s time to take a moment and remember what was good, bad and ugly about it.

In the end, TBWA are the champs but there are no chumps in this tournament as it was all done for charity, meaning we raised money for a scholarship fund to sponsor university level marketing students in Singapore.

When you think of the word ‘charity’ a few things may come to mind.

1) NKF
2) An act of kindness on a fellow human being.
3) Groups of highly competitive and advertising industry blooded males donating money to kick each other until a winner is found.

We picked the third option.

So I can really only comment on the things I saw from my scorers position on Pitch 1 and that means I did miss out on watching a couple of (by all accounts) competitive teams going at it – The Euro Stars team was mentioned to me a couple of times.

Back on pitch 1, after hours of round robin play it was clear that DDB Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi were the teams to beat as both squads easily made it through to the semi-finals – and playing good football along the way as well (one touch stuff from DDB at times!). If you want to find out more about the actual results you can check out that story here.

As for this blog post, it’s simply my observations and I hope you will share some of yours with me.

The Good:
• $50,000 was raised!

• Good vocal support (Publicis comes to mind with all the banners and cheerleaders, not to mention the mini-buses, packed dinners, and didn’t they bring their own booze as well?

• Entertaining matches – wouldn’t have expected any less from a bunch of creatives though!
• Competitive spirit was alive and kicking (pun intended) – two players come to mind, such as Stephen Mangham and Jeffrey Seah.

• Classy goals – Saatchis get my vote on this one, with Strand (I think his name is Felix) the man scoring a few crackers, not to mention bagging a hat-trick. Actually the Saatchis team had more than a few flair players, too bad they couldn’t convert a single penalty in the Finals.

The Bad:
• Apart from Saatchi’s goalkeeper who was rightly dubbed The 1, and of course TBWA’s goalkeeper as well, who I will call The Wall (actually his name is Alex) – the goalkeeping throughout the tournament was pretty darn poor.

• Where’s the controversy? All football tournaments have some and surely someone must have spotted something? I was too busy trying to get the scores right!

• $5 beers although not as bad as when I went to watch the Contender where a can of Tiger set me back $10.

The Surprising:
• I have to give credit where credit is due – when I saw Richard Bleasdale pull on the DDB jersey I wasn’t expecting to see him terrorise the opposition but he certainly did!

• James Yip actually managed to keep his composure and kick the ball during the opening ceremony after his previous attempt resulted in an ‘air shot’ and sent his leather shoe goal bound – well done James.

• Tempers remained fairly calm on Pitch 1 but I heard it was a different story on Pitch 2.

Till next year then...

What’s in a name? Lots apparently.

I’ve got a pretty uncommon name thanks to my aunt. So once a senior I knew from the Library Club (I was a geek. Ok…Still am) came up and asked me how my name was spelt, I gamely replied. Next I knew, there was another Cherisse in school. What made it worse was that we had mutual friends and soon I was saying and doing things I never knew about. Gosh was I mad but there was nothing I could do.

Silly childish stunts from another age yes but these are all too common in the marketplace with little sprout-ups mimicking the names of more famous established global predecessors by adding Pte Ltd or Sdh Bhd or Co Ltd and the likes.

1. Pure Coincidence
2. Totally Deliberate

*coughs* most of the time 2 and I shan’t give examples of BIG COMPANY VS COPYCAT lest I get a legal letter rather than a paycheck as I step in to my second month with Marketing.

We know all about free-riders. They turn up at food fares poking conveyor-belt-style at samples, or are acquaintances turned best pals when they know you drive after a night out. Similarly these folks are like such, they simply piggy-bag on big names, grovelling and shoving their snouts into market pie - hoping to make a buck from appellation - fleecing unwitting clients. And many do succeed.

Well as the saying goes 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' but somehow it does make you grimace and scrunch your face when you’re the person in question. And if you’re an industry bigwig and with spare change and trademarks just sue the pants out of the other party.