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Sunday, 24 December 2006



This was sent to my email account by someone who used to work on Barclays who wanted to remain nameless, but wanted to share the thoughts:I had to respond, having lived through the pain of the senior client team Barclays (who shall remain nameless) briefing an agency
(who shall also remain nameless - not BBH) to do precisely the
'Innocentising' of
the brand that you mention. 'But...' we said 'you'll just look like an
embarrassing uncle wearing his nephews clothes. And bank customers
don't want funny - warm perhaps, but efficiency and capability above
All to no avail. The amount of times I had to nod at the latest piece of
faux-Innocent drivel and say through gritted teeth that I thought it was'great'. You don't mention the one that really gets me going, which is the enormous window banners on the front of most branches, pointing at the
door and announcing that 'through these doors walk the nicest people in
Camberwell / Bristol / etc.* (*and you're one of them)' - I mean, my god,save me! And that's from someone who still lifts and reads the bottom of the
Innocent tetrapak / bottle, whatever, even though I know it's going to call
me stupid or bored or something, and love every moment of it.

tom and steph's office

Love this post - absolutely agree that they fake fey approach is cringeworthy. what happened to the good old days of doing one thing and doing it well? Now everyone wants to be my friend and make me laugh, which is very nice of them, if not a little conceited at the assumption I want to them to entertain me.

It all assumes that we have the attention span and comic humour of a 6 year old. Now if a brand were to be truly filthy and outrageous, rather than using thise lame euphamisms, then that would be really something! The 'Not-so-Innocent' approach you could call it...

gavin sutcliffe

Wonderful posting. I'm suspecting there's a tangible link between the lurid vapidity of our piss poor reality TV culture and the perception by brand managers everywhere that the British public = stupidity & insecurity. As if we need brands to be our friends because no one else loves us! But real brand engagement surely can't be achieved through patronising overtones of fuzziness and assumptive love (I ONLY want my bloody bank to be COMPETENT and FAIR, not my BEST MATE), real engagement must come from simply creating a great product that actually does what is says it will do. And having the support structures in place to deliver great service! It's certainly no good Barclays trying to be my pal when I have seen them screw my friends over in automated 'charges' for years on end whilst investing in every homicidal crackpot regime this side of Liberia... Heck, I'd rather see ol' fatso Robbie Coltrane doing Tai Chi in his pyjamas again... At least that was just a straightforward load of see-through bullshit. At least HE didn't want to be my best mate...!

Kevin Braddock

Hello Amelia.

I too was interested to see that "Chatty Packaging" was included in Schott's Almanac this year, and credited as your coinage, which is strange because I distinctly recall thinking the phrase up myself. I wonder what came first - my piece for Marmalade magazine, written in September 2006 and which included it, or your blog post which referenced the article with a dateline of December 2006? I recall the editors of Marmalade telling me the piece had been widely read and digested in adland.

Would appreciate it if you could let me know.

Nice blog by the way. And you're right - South London is a good place from which to view the world.

Best wishes,

Kevin Braddock
07971 538866
Contributing Editor - British GQ
kevinbraddock.com • thelondonpaper.com • bachelorcookbook.blogspot.com
PPA 2007 Writer Of The Year award - Highly Commended


Kevin - Thank you for your comment, we've emailed about this together but did want to be totally clear that I read (and loved) your article in Marmalade Magazine. That was the reason why I wrote "Marmalade magazine had an interesting called "Fuck Off Nice" which was all about the Innocent-induced rise of Chatty Packaging..."

The phrase seems to first have been used in the US back in 2005


It's a great expressive phrase!


I agree its getting out control. Although Barclays have a good stab at running this right through all there stuff. The ad's with Steven Merchant have a lovely tone of voice (or voice atleast) and the instore branding with the illustrations are quite friendly, compare that to Natwest who are drab boring and completely contradict their "Helpful Banking" mantra.

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