Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cadbury raises a few eyebrows

Here’s Cadbury’s follow up to its hugely successful “Gorilla” ad, another Glass and a Half Productions TVC with “Eyebrows”. Created by Fallon and released in the UK last week, it shows a brother and sister’s ability to get funky with just their eyebrows.

It's a good ad but will be tough to beat “Gorilla” in terms of worldwide success. Here's the famous "Gorilla" for those who haven’t seen it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tribal DDB wishes you Gong Xi Fa Cai

Here’s a fun viral that Tribal DDB Singapore has sent out for Chinese New Year.

It hasn’t been done for any particular client, just for the DDB Group Singapore itself, and aims to bring a smile to people during these tough economic times with a bit of quirky online stroking.

You can see it here at this site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Separation at birth

I attended a talk recently, organized by the Institute of Public Relations in Singapore, where Upstream Asia CEO David Ketchum was speaking on trends in the digital PR space. An interesting observation he made was that we might see digital divisions of PR agencies, set up as a separate division, shutting down.

Is keeping digital separated from other operations, not only in the PR industry but in advertising as well, the way to go? Or does this split put a stranglehold on ultimately the growth and success of your entire business?

It’s clear that the future is digital, and perhaps siphoning digital away like a petulant child, away from the other children, instead of fully embracing it will actually be harmful. But as no one seems to have come up with the perfect digital model as yet, where all divisions, strategies and disciplines are truly integrated and play nice together, who knows.

Should digital be your first thought/cab off the rank when trying to solve a marketing problem? Or is it crucial that digital be used in partnership with other mediums?

Send us your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brands say yes we can, too

Obamamania has reached fever pitch the world over, and many companies unsurprisingly are trying to tap into it. But are some going too far?

We’ve seen the number of tie-ins that brands have forged in the lead-up to Obama’s inauguration, particularly CNN and Facebook’s partnership which makes great sense.

MySpace has done its own smart campaign with 50 celebrities making video pledges of service to president Obama.

We’ve even seen a cheeky local example which DDB Singapore did for the salon Strip, with its ‘Farewell to Bush’ and its offer to ‘Celebrate Change’ with free Brazillian waxes. This was cute, cheeky and topical marketing.

But I think this TV effort from Chrysler in Australia just doesn’t work and could backfire on them.

Compared to the others it looks tacky and cheesy. What’s your opinion of it, does it go too far?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Engage don't preach

Putting all your money online at the moment might not be the best approach, as an increasing number of people are living in both analog and digital worlds, and so it’s a must to give consumers a taste of both in a well-balanced way.

That’s the view of Denuo CEO Rishad Tobaccowala, who spoke at the recent seminar “Dawn of the new era: How consumers and communications are changing and What you can do to thrive”, a joint digital event between ZenithOptimedia, Starcom Mediavest and Digitas.

Tobaccowala says merely advertising on social networks like Facebook and MySpace is not doing real justice to the dollars marketers allocate to digital marketing.

“If you’re coming up with online campaigns let there be elements where people can speak back to the brand. It may be more of a customer affair thing and not a media or a marketing move,” he says.

A couple of interesting insights that he shared on consumer trends caught my attention. For instance, he speaks of consumers becoming more and more voyeuristic with God-like features.

“People want to express themselves and like to watch other people and are curious to follow them, particularly celebrities. No longer can a consumer be treated as idiots rather technology has made them kings with God-like features,” he says.
And to communicate with such a well-equipped audience, marketers need to speak with them rather than to them. According to Tobaccowala, the single biggest change that has happened in recent times is the move towards a globally decentralized linked network.

“People can trust their own research before buying any product, be it cars or mobile phones, so it only helps companies to be more transparent and be where the conversation is rather than trying to bring people to their own conversation,” he adds.

Tobaccowala is a veteran with over 25 years in marketing and strategy and also serves as an advisor and director on the board of many leading multi-national organizations in global marketing communications.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ignore IP at your peril

The state of the world economy may be the one issue on everyone's minds, but for the marketing and advertising industry intellectual property (IP) is still a key issue and protecting those rights is now more important than ever.

Last week I attended the second Global Forum on Intellectual Property (GFIP) in Singapore, which saw over 80 Global IP practitioners, IP thought leaders and business leaders explore the theme "The Evolving Intellectual Property Ecosystem: Conflicts Or Consensus?".

The event aimed to raise the bar on IP knowledge and standards, both regionally and globally, with topics ranging from traditional copyrights and design, patents and trademarks, to developing areas such as IP financing and strategic intellectual asset management.

I spoke to David Llewlyn, chairman of the GFIP 2009, who talked about IP and about the protection of IP rights at the Formula 1 night race in Singapore last year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The best and the worst brand ambassadors

Interesting story in The New York Times recently about how Barack Obama is the perfect brand ambassador for Blackberry, and it isn’t costing the company one cent.

They estimated that Obama could earn anything from US$25 million to US$50 million if he was allowed to earn from promoting Blackberry.

This led me to think of other good and not-so-good celebrity brand ambassadors, who don’t earn a red penny from their unintentional plugging of a brand, product or way of life.

There’s Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt, who are walking ads for adoption. English premiership footballers can be always seen cruising in expensive sports cars such as Ferrari and Porshe, although if you think of Cristiano Ronaldo’s driving ability lately maybe that’s not the best partnership.

So who would be the unlikelest celebrities you would like to see plugging a particular brand?

How about George W Bush and pretzels, or Bill Clinton and Viagra? Or Mel Gibson preaching about the dangers of drink driving? It would be great to see Maradona preaching the virtues of the likes of Weight Watchers or Fitness First.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Australia the turkey

Tourism Australia’s plan to boost its ailing tourism industry off the back of Baz Luhrmann’s new film Australia is in trouble, if the early signs are any indication.

As it has been well documented, the Australian government made the big step of pinning its hopes on Luhrmann’s film to revitalize its vital tourism sector.

After suffering declining numbers for the past few years, and the failure of its last big marketing campaign – Where the Bloody hell are you? – the new Labour government decided Baz was the trick. With Australia’s most famous two actors – Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman – a famous Aussie director in Luhrmann and a storyline set down under, what could go wrong? Hell, even the title of the film is the name of country.

But the simple fact is the film is bad, really bad. It’s a turkey. I saw the film in the UK and as an Australian citizen I wanted it to succeed, but the whole time I had to restrain myself from walking out, the film was that bad. Now I’m no Leonard Maltin, but take a look at some of the reviews Australia has been getting since its release.

New Zealand critic Michael Field described the film as "a long, tedious shocker and an embarrassment to a film industry with an otherwise outstanding record". He said: "Every white Australian character in the movie -- other than Drover (Hugh Jackman) -- is portrayed as a nasty white racist or ... a drunkard. The one seemingly intelligent woman, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), is English. Aborigines are all spiritual beings ... Australian women are all painted in the movie as cows."

Rolling Stone magazine said: “If looks were everything, director Baz Luhrmann's epic salute to his native land would be the movie of the year. But, crikey, a padded script bloated with subplots and shameless sentimentality can wear you down… beautiful scenery and the best intentions can't save Australia from dissolving in goo.”

Peter Bradshaw, of The Guardian newspaper in the UK, commented that “Baz Luhrmann's ambitious attempt to make an antipodean Gone With the Wind is a shallow, overblown and embarrassing failure”.

Now reviews might not be everything, but even the Australian scenery in this cliché-ridden film doesn’t look that good thanks to all the CGI.

A classic story, good acting and lush scenery worked for New Zealand tourism with The Lord of the Rings, but Australia doesn’t even have one of those three. With so much invested in marketing the country through the film, it will be interesting to watch if tourist levels correspond to box office numbers.

What do you think of Australia the film? Should Tourism Australia be worried?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

TV advertising banned

Interesting bit of news coming out of from France today, as millions of French TV viewers watched their Monday evening prime-time shows ad-free.

No, it’s not a gimmick to get more people to watch a particular show. The news comes as a result of the President Nicolas Sarkozy's ban on advertising on France's public television network after 8pm – the first few steps of his controversial media reform. It is expected that advertising will be phased out gradually between now and 2011, with the period from 8pm to 6am affected first.

It has been reported that Sarkozy has said the ban on advertising is a major step to model French public television along the lines of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

But in that same report, it said the reform had been criticised for handing an advertising revenue boon to private broadcasters such as TF1, owned by Martin Bouygues, a friend of the president.

Politics aside, it will be really interesting to watch how French consumers react to the ad-free content – you would imagine they will love it.

But as time wears on, what sort of content will be produced now that state television no longer has to air shows with mass appeal. Will the standard of content suffer or will we get more interesting stuff? And how big a boost will the ban actually give private broadcasters such as TF1?

It has been reported that the 450 million euros needed to plug the revenue gap has already been written into the 2009 French budget.