26 December 2007

2007: Year Of The Chicken

Like every marketing blog, article or podcast you've read or listened to lately, its time to reflect upon 2007. I have no awards to give out or predictions to make, but merely wanted to discuss the brilliant marketing of perhaps my favourite food chain; Nando's.

There's so much going for these guys its hard to know where to start but what stands out most is their advertising. Whether its their commercials, print media or campaigns; they're all brilliant. Their website has just a few examples used in Australia.

Their Nando's Fix Gum campaign was genius. Great word of mouth qualities and even more so when they gave away free gum at their stores. Check out the spot here...

According to The Australian, this was the most complained about advert of 2007.

A similar campaign was run last year with Nando's Fix Patches. Whether its in the newspaper or on display in their restaurants, their print ads are also always witty or funny, most importantly highly talkaboutable. Recently FHM ran a free poster giveaway through Nando's which I wrote in for. I received a letter in the mail saying "We know its not as good as the chick on page 29, but we thought you may like a meal on us!" with a free meal voucher attached. The note was hand written.

I'm looking forward to Nando's' marketing campaigns throughout 2008.

Also, if you're interested in other trends and news from 2007, Julian Cole linked me to Most Contagious 2007. Its also worth checking out the 2006 edition.

22 December 2007

The God In Seth Godin

Whether you agree with Seth Godin's views or not, there is no doubt about the fact that he can write. This probably explains his rank as the best marketing blog on the net.

I've being following it for a few months now, and recently purchased his book Free Prize Inside. I feel very out of league commenting, but I have on order Purple Cow and Meatball Sundae.

If there's one thing you can learn from him, its the way he writes. Any new blogger, marketing or not, should follow his work just to gain as basic understanding of the best practice when it comes to blogging. Whether this is to keep it simple, short and to the point or the importance of regular but relevant content.

It's certainly going to change the way I blog.

13 December 2007

Marketing Marketers

As I finish my first year of a marketing degree, I come to realise I'm working towards a career where I'll be hated. Marketers are in the same league as used car dealers, lawyers and police officers when it comes to their public image.

Dr Con Starvos in this month's Marketing (December, 2007) summed it up perfectly when he said "The childhood obesity crisis is still being blamed on marketers, who are also taking the heat for making children anorexic and image conscious".

Why can't we marketers market our profession a little more successfully?

09 December 2007

Affluenzing Americans

Mitch Joel just posted about an interesting mini series titled The Story Of Stuff With Annie Leonard.

It raises some really good points regarding the consumption of products particularly the way in which we produce and dispose of these. But I could not overlook the rather negative view taken on us marketers.

"What's the point of an ad except to make us unhappy with what we have?" says Annie Leonard, portraying a rather naive and simplistic look at the most basic form of advertising. Some what conicidently, I just purchased Clive Hamilton's book Affluenza which I'll be sure to discuss upon reading.

04 December 2007

Louie's Still Got Buzz

According to Frederique Hull, Marketing Director of Reckitt Benckiser, over 90% of the Australian population recognise Louie the fly. Not surprisingly, when asked to name a product "that kills insects", 88% of respondents answered Mortein.

Louie celebrates his 50th birthday this year, an incredible achievement of branding but what's more is the clear link between the character, the jingle and the brand. This kind of long term positioning would not be seen today, even with successful results like this.

Can you think of any other long term campaigns this successful?

28 November 2007

Marketers Taking The Piss

I read an article in Marketing (November, 2007) that brought to my attention a real innovation.

According to Luke Berry, managing director of Innovative Solutions Oceania Group, the 18 to 30 year old market tends to be resistant to most advertising. A perfect way to target this segment is with the Wizmark Talking Urinal Cake.

Basically, these small devices are installed in male urinals and when activated a recorded message starts. Usually placed in bars, there are many benefits to this innovation...
+ You have roughly 45 seconds of undivided attention where there is usually no other advertising and no chance to change the channel.
+ It is likely the consumer will return two, three or more times in a night.
+ As someone who falls right into the target market, its definitely something I'd spread through word of mouth with clear viral qualities.
+ Research indicates that if placed in a bar, you would have a reach to 59% of people aged 18 to 39.
Tooheys recently launched a campaign with the recorded message saying...
"Thank you for your excellent DNA sample. Please submit another sample after your next Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum. See you soon."
Ambient marketing brilliance?

25 November 2007

It's Not GeniusRocket Science

GeniusRocket has a brilliant yet simple concept...
1. Create a GeniusRocket Account
2. Choose a Current Assignment
3. Choose to Work Alone or Collaborate
4. Complete Your Project
5. Submit Your Project and Spread the Word
6. Earn Money, Network with Creatives, and Get Recognition
Its a really great opportunity for future advertisers and creatives to get a step in the door and earn some money at the same time. What I love most about the concept, is that its involving the consumers in their own advertising, really playing on Web 2.0 trends and consumer generated content.

Here is a look at one of my favourites and a recent winner...

21 November 2007

The Drink For Mankind?

So its been more than two months since Cadbury Schweppes revealed their ManCans shampaign.

As a consumer who would fall right into their target market, I am yet to see an actual mancan, or rather a 440ml can of Solo.

The build up and the word of mouth was so successful. In fact, the campaign was so influential it added a word to my vernacular, which I still regularly use. I've received my free stubbie holder and was a member of the webpage... but I still have not purchased. Not because I don't want to but rather because I have not had the opportunity.

I'd love to see some figures on Solo can sales.

What is the point of a campaign if you can't sell in the end?

13 November 2007

'Tash For Cash

Yesterday marked the mid of Movember.

For those not familiar with this, over the past few years a growing trend has been to sprout a moustache during the month of November. Up until today, I had thought it was somewhat of a parody, much like International Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19th) and had not realised it was actually linked to the charitable cause of men's health.

This connection is rather disappointing. Other charity days such as Red Nose Day (June 29th) or Pink Ribbon Day (October 22nd) have been able to claim just one day, not an entire month. There is so much potential here yet it is lacking due to a poor link between the event and the cause.

Don't get me wrong, last year alone they raised over $7,500,000 but I can't think how much bigger it could be, even through simple traditional means of advertising.

It is like running a shampaign and not revealing the brand behind it.

11 November 2007

Alcohol Consumption May Cause Brilliance

Yet another piece of brilliance with a viral campaign, this time from Guinness.

Have a look at this commerical...

Here's a small list of some of the most memorable viral campaigns we've had in the past...
+ Victoria Bitter's Stubby Symphony Orchestra
+ Pure Blonde's Pure Gold
+ Carlton Draught's Big Ad
+ Heineken's Unchanged Since 1873
+ Victoria Bitter's The Tash
+ Carlton Draught's Flashbeer
+ Tooheys' Bottle Opener
+ Hahn's Love The Taste
And let's not forget the mountain of great campaigns for Bud Light and other international beers.

Why is it that the beer market is leading in viral marketing? Perhaps sampling your product during the brainstorming stage is the key to success.

10 November 2007

Google Almighty

Surprisingly, the writers' strike in Hollywood has not made the media here in Australia. However its easy enough to follow over at United Hollywood, basically members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have currently stopped production of big shows such as The Office, Lost, >Desperate Housewives, Scrubs, Heroes and Grey's Anatomy.

The easiest way to explain it is by watching this four minute piece of footage...

Seems like a pretty good cause to me.

But the purpose of this post relates to a post over at the United Hollywood, A Modest Proposal: Hello, Google!
"If Google wanted, they could scoop up THE ENTIRE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY."
It is an interesting read that really brings to light the future possibilities of the Internet. It seems far fetched, but is there some method in this madness?

Will we look back in five years time and laugh at the thought of a television not connected to Google and the Internet?

09 November 2007

Sparkling Shampaign

I always wondered if someone ever specifically sat down just to develop new words for the English vernacular. For example the marketing word prosumer, can it be tracked back to the person who first used it?

Well here I give you the first ever use of the word...

n. sham·paign
a campaign where the brand or product remains unknown until later revealed through subsequent marketing
The word shampaign is a portmanteau of the words sham and campaign. An online dictionary defines the word sham as "something false or empty that is purported to be genuine" and "one who assumes a false character" which I believe is somewhat appropriate and allows for a good play on words.

Shampaigns have become increasingly popular and will continue to do so. As viral marketing becomes mainsteam, we will see more and more shampaigns as this is a technique that creates talk and can successfully carries consumers from one media to another, for example a television commercial to a website.

Just recently we've had Cadbury Schweppes' ManCans campaign...

As well as Ebay's Santa Kidnapped campaign...

There we have it, remember where you read it first in a few years time when the word becomes mainstream.

07 November 2007

Sevs' Free Slurpees

Today is the 7th of November, or rather 7/11. 7-Eleven has capitalised on this with National 7-Eleven Day. Simply go into your local store and say "Happy 7-Eleven Day" to receive your free slurpee.

I think this is a really creative campaign that should work well for them, particularly if they run something like this every year. Its targeted well to their market and I believe there should be a good turn out.

There's also good use of their Facebook Event which seems to have gained a lot of popularity with over 40,000 people expressing interest. Unfortunately, it seems they've almost hidden away their promotional videos on the official website, with none of these posted on YouTube.

I know I'll be heading down for my free slurpee, will you?

05 November 2007

Vary Your Vernacular I

Vary Your Vernacular is a small intermittent series designed to increase one's vocabulary relating to all things Web 2.0.

n. pro·sum·er
A portmanteau of the words producer and consumer, playing particular importance with the increase of consumer generated content through new means such as blogging, podcasting and social networking.

Social Network Fatigue Syndrome (SNFS)
n. so·cial net·work fa·tigue syn·drome
Mental exhaustion and stress caused by creating and maintaining an excessive number of accounts on social networking communities.

to jump on the brandwagon
v. to jump on the brand·wag·on
To follow a trend based on another brand's performance in a specific area.

02 November 2007

Are Retailers Intentionally Advertising Subliminally?

In case you missed it, the title is a late night attempt at an acronym for the Australian Record Industry Association Awards (or ARIAS as they are known). The question of "Are Retailers Intentionally Advertising Subliminally?" should be raised after the airing of the 2007 Awards on the 28th of October.

Take a look at this footage as seen on Network Ten...

Notice anything?

Watch the clip again and you might see the logo of Olay splashed across the screen during several of the cuts between songs.

In Network Ten's defence Olay was the sponsor of that particular award but similar tactics were also used by KFC, Big W, Toyota and possibly others in their own sponsored awards.

Subliminal advertising in Australia is illegal. Section 1.8 of the The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice prohibits the use of "any technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness".

Clever sponsorship or subliminal advertising?

01 November 2007

If You Drink And Drive...

...then you're probably going to be subject to similar campaigns. Or at least its likely if you drink Heineken and drive a Holden.

Julian Cole linked me to an interesting little blog Talent Imitates, Genius Steals written by Faris Yakob. After looking through it just last night and then watching an episode of House, I noticed a rather familiar commercial.

The "original" was for Heineken beer, and much like many of the beer commercials it was a pretty kickin' advert...

And the "stolen" is for Holden's new ute, which is also a pretty sweet advert...

Does anyone else spot the similar theme there?

Don't get me wrong, I think they're both great ads, particularly Holden's use of Aussie rock band Jet (and their single Rip It Up), but it raises the question as to what level can two campaigns be similar? Where is the line between stealing someone else's creative idea and imitating another?

Take a look at You Thought We Wouldn't Notice? and see for yourself.

Is it really genius to steal?

26 October 2007

Operation: Firefox

Mozilla Firefox have released their latest marketing campaign; Operation: Firefox. The concept (like their strategy) is simple, develop a plan for where you would stick a giant one metre logo on display for the world. The top fifty plans are actually sent out the stickers and required to put them up as stated in their submission. In the end there will be fifty stickers on display somewhere around the world promoting Firefox, "infiltrating society one sticker at a time".

For those of you, Firefox is a web browser that is quickly gaining popularity over Internet Explorer and other popular browsers. What I love about this concept is that it screams "Firefox" at me. The contest is creative, original and a little bit devious which are things I strongly associate with Mozilla. This should receive a fair bit of attention, not just from the stickers going up but from blogs like this one that I think will really carry it through.

In fact, its the way in which this contest really plays to the brand loyalty of Firefox users, which I think people often overlook, that I love. When I say "brand loyalty" many people might think of big companies like Apple or Google, but Firefox users I believe are among the most passionate consumers of a brand. It is so strong, where as a Firefox user myself, I hate IE and I can't think of any other brand that has created such a negative relationship with its competitors. Every one I know who uses Firefox doesn't have a bad thing to say but what's more interesting is that they themselves promote it to their family and friends, acting as a credible opinion leader and testimonial to the brand. I know I have personally converted a few people.

However the campaign falls down in a few areas. Firstly, the prizes which certainly could be made a little more attractive to potential entrants. Not overly important, but still I'd expect to see more from in a project that will hopefully be quite big. And secondly, the fact that you can only enter this if you're in countries with a Mozilla office, which is not my own and many others. The pros certainly outweigh the cons, but some things worth noticing.

Another clever promotional strategy from the people over at Mozilla.

Where would you stick your sticker?

17 October 2007

The Chaser's War On Advertising

The Chaser are an Australian group of six who focus on political satire. Starting with a mock newspaper at University, this comedic team have become well known for The Chaser's War On Everything which first aired in 2006 on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

I've been a big fan for a long time, well before they became mainstream. However their popularity has increased exponentially over the past few months with two controversial stunts that have sent their ratings skyrocketing.

The first was a stunt breaching the security of the APEC Summit...

And the second, which aired only last week, was The Eulogy Song...

The first stunt reached international media and that episode reached 2.3 million viewers, which is phenomenal for Australian TV.
It was controversial with many saying it was over the top while others, like myself, loved it. And the second gained a lot of interest in the media, calling it poor taste and disrespectful, even to the point where the Australian Prime Minister came out and said it was disgusting. The general view was that you can't make fun on deceased people, which is exactly what the song plays on. Again, I loved it.

Personally I feel the Chaser guys are legends, as would the majority of the Generation Y. But how does this all tie into marketing I hear you ask? Well, lets take a look at their popularity and how it was reached.

The War airs on the ABC, which is a government funded channel with no advertising. Not only does this means their production is done on a budget far less than on the commercial networks, but it also means they cannot advertise. The ABC has a strict policy on this, meaning no commercials for the view but in fact its so strict that logos on the show are actually covered up as not to suggest any kind of sponsorship or endorsement. So how is it that these guys can win the ratings over commercial networks and gain such popularity?

I believe its more than the fact this show is hilariously humorous and obviously controversial, with a few main reasons that stand out.

Podcasting being the first. It seems to be something that the ABC has adopted and its definitely something that's working in their favour. The War ranks as the most downloaded podcast for most of last year, only to be topped these days by ABC's other high rating series Summer Heights High. Both of these shows have similar elements and the podcasting of these freely has significantly increased their audience, particularly to the Generation Y.

YouTube being the second. Many of their stunts have gone viral but rather than the ABC forcing this clips removed, they've endorsed it. Again this was done with Summer Heights High and again both of these are gaining the benefit from a much larger audience.

And their online support being the third and final factor giving this show such popularity. If you've seen the show you'll know they run a regular segment called "The Ad Road Test" which involves testing Australian adverts to see how true they are. All of the adverts used are suggested by average consumers on their guestbook at their official website. They also have a strong forum community. The War are involved and as Joseph Jaffe would say, they are "joining the conversation".

The combination of these three has successfully promoted their show. With no advertising budget and no access to commercial or standard channels of promotion, these guys are using new means. Its costing them less and is arguably a more successful approach.

And now, the whole point of this blog, was to discuss what could be called The War's first serious marketing campaign. I say "serious" because they have placed billboards in Iceland and Estonia in the past (see below), but this is their first official campaign. Its called Sledge and basically it involves people to go out and filming their on satire piece based on the upcoming 2007 Election. It must then be uploaded on YouTube and the best clip has the winner spend a week working with the Chaser guys in Sydney with flights and accommodation paid for.

I must say I really do love this idea. At first I was hesitant, thinking it wouldn't attract much attention. I haven't really heard much about it, just through Triple J (An Australian radio station, closely affiliated with the ABC) and a small newspaper article, which is my main concern. The deadline is the eve of the 2007 Eelction, the 23rd of November, and if word doesn't spread quick enough it could miss out on the involvement it deserves.

However I think the idea itself is great. Not only is it something new and creative but it really goes to the heart of what The War is all about. Its also integrating YouTube as a social network and pushing the concept for consumer generated content. I think its really a great example of a "prosumer" related contest with an interesting prize. I'm already working on filming a clip of my own but I think it will be great to see what people can come up with.

The War and the ABC are leading the way in new marketing.

What Is Pigs Don't Fly?

Welcome to Pigs Don't Fly, a new blog written by yours truly, Zac Martin.

I am an undergraduate student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I'm studying a Bachelor of Business (Management) / Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and its because of this that I've decided to start my own blog.

The blog will focus on the most part on marketing, particularly keying in on innovative marketing campaigns across Australia. Inspired by numerous blogs and podcasts, I'll soon make a link to these when this blog is customized correctly. I also have a logo and other images in the works, which will be uploaded when possible.

At this stage the blog will be infrequent depending on my time and content available.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin