Ferris Bueller was right, "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." We all need to take time to stop and look around.
This is a blog about brands, technology, ads and ideas that I find interesting and would like to share.
We've been doing a lot of work on booze in the agency over the last few months. Again, I can claim no credit for it whatsoever, but I think its good work and very different. Its bang on strategy for the youth target (18-24 years) audience and seems to be going down really well. Its a creative approach that tries not to scaremonger or preach, but rather engage young people and treat them like adults.
The thought at the heart of the campaign was - "you wouldn't start the night like this, so why end it like this?"
Its sparking some really informed and strong discussions online...
We started with a short film that has now gone viral (in first week over 400,000 views)
Then the female TV execution was aired:
And this is male TV execution.
In addition to these three executions we did a PR and Social Media launch with an installation in Covent Garden, Blogger Engagement, some very cool online ad units and print and outdoor.
"The way to be interesting is to be interested.
You’ve got to find what’s interesting in everything, you’ve got to be
good at noticing things, you’ve got to be good at listening. If you
find people (and things) interesting, they’ll find you interesting."
Jeremy Bullmore once said to me that the best Planners were people who found something genuinely interesting in every single section of the Sunday papers.It doesn't matter if you have no car and have no interest in Cars & Motoring for example, take a look and surprise yourself by what you find. It all comes from the same essential premise that interesting people are interested in the world around them, not just the advertising world, the world world.
Russell's annual conference of Interesting which took place in London on 22nd was totally Ronsealin a brilliant way! Although I had nothing to do with it, it actually made me feel very proud of the community that Russell and his blogs have helped to facilitate. The fact that hundreds of people gave up their precious Saturday to go and listen to bizarre, brilliant but above all interesting people taking about stuff that they felt passionately about was oddly life/career-affirming.
There was so much that I enjoyed, even the speakers who just went over my head were still interesting. As soon as the links to the video are posted I will share them, but worth checking over at Russell's blog this week.
So 24 hours on, what are the things that have stayed fresh in my mind?
I loved the old school turntable zoetrope
I loved the talk about vacuum cleaners and RHOPOGRAPHY - the study of the trivial and overlooked.
Thanks to the wonderful Jeremy at Pengiun and Tom Hopkins F and I know have tickets for Interesting 08 this weekend.I am very excited. I missed it last year because of the usual 30-something excuse that there was a wedding we had to go to. Weddings seem to have calmed down a bit this year (thank god!)
If any of you out there are going and we have not met IRL, lets make sure that we meet up! It would be great to meet some of you properly as opposed to virtually.
Clare Beale wrote about our new campaign for Alcohol "Units" today. It was her pick of the week.
She said that it works because: "this is the way we drink...the message is uncomplicated, un-preachy and really surprising." Not that I had anything to do with this, but I am really proud of this campaign. As Clare said this was a grown up message aimed at grown ups, it endeavored to give people the facts and then let them make their own minds up about it.
It certainly made me think about how I drink and also the amount of units that I drink a week.
Jon was my Planning Director for a while when I was at Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York in 2003-04. We didn't work together for too long as he and his family moved back to the UK, but he was without doubt the best boss that I have had and the best Planner that I have had the opportunity of working with. If you haven't read his two books, Truth, Lies & Advertising or Perfect Pitch get yourself on Amazon and order them both. They are down to earth, humorous and intelligent reads.
I wanted to share some of his thoughts and also some of my recollections from my time working with him.
INSIGHTS: Get out face to face with your consumers, not behind a mirror.
We talk a lot in advertising and Planning about the importance of Insights, but ask people what exactly they mean by an "insight" and where exactly you find them and often you get a lot of waffle. Jon places a huge amount of importance on uncovering insights and doesn't think that a focus group in a typical research facility complete with fake mirrors etc is the way to go. Jon's planning department would always be out and about with a video camera doing primary research with consumers. I remember for a Pfizer pitch talking with migraine sufferers and getting them to show us the places that they went to hide from the world when their migraines came on. There was a Middle School teacher in Manhattan who used to lock herself in the stationary cupboard, a mom in Brooklyn who showed us the nest that she made out of towels on the floor of her bathroom - genuine insights, captured on film that all made their way into the pitch winning presentation. We did similar work also for Pfizer but this time we spent time with allergy sufferers and their families. This led us to the insight that most allergy sufferers are content to battle through on their current meds. The only reason that people would stop and think about their meds and switch was when they realised the impact that their allergies were having on their loved ones - this led to our creative thought "Others Suffer" which won us that pitch too. PITCHING: Collect "evidence" on your pitch journey
When you pitch with Jon there comes a point in the pitch process when you stop trying to find a better creative idea. You stick with what you have and then you work out how to sell it, how to bring it to life, how to make it inspiring. He often says that out of a a 3 week pitch, a full week should be spent focusing on the pitch presentation. Better to have a 70% idea that is sold brilliantly, than a 90% idea that no time has been given to the actual pitch. We used a lot of Planner-shot video, photos that respondents were asked to take, respondents drawings and images. As we were doing our research we were always thinking, how can I use this in the pitch.
THINKING: The best place to think is never at your desk
When you ask people the question, where do you do your best thinking - the answer is never "at my desk." With that in mind its critical to build in time and space to actually think. One Jon technique is to get a team together outside of the agency when they are working on a pitch or a new assignment. He gets each person to talk to the others for 5-10 minutes about their thoughts and observations about the issue at hand. Every-time that you hear something that interests you, you write it on a Post-It. At the end of the session you have a wall of interesting stuff that you as a team have uncovered. From there it's not that hard to start clustering them and determining what the story is out of them all.
Russell Davies did an interview with Jon a while back. He writes that "Jon is the model of what a Planner should be." Here is a link to the file, so have a cup of tea, put your feet up and listen to two of the UK's most seminal Planners having a chat about advertising, planning and other such nonsense.
It's a piece about enabling technologies, Web 2.0, the Long Tail and grass-roots activation. It's a fascinating subject. I use Obama a lot as a case study in my work - I think that he represents a new model of organization and popular democracy.
During my research this weekend I found the speech that Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
I was living in the States at the time and remember watching this speech with my then boyfriend, now husband. We were road-tripping in California and in a motel close to Big Sur when we saw it. I remember both of us just sitting there, open-mouthed by the end of it, awed by the passion and intelligent intensity of what we had just seen.
TV commentators were obviously taken by surprise by what they had just seen. They couldn't get his name right when they talked about him afterwards, mixing up the first name and the surname, but for sure they all knew that "this skinny kid with a funny name and big ears" was destined for something big.
If you haven't ever seen that DNC speech, take a look. It's a modern classic.