Tuesday, 28 July 2009

They chose the moon

Lots of milestone anniversaries this year - and 40 seems to be the magic number. Not just my brother James, but also 40 years since 3 guys set up a little festival in a farmers field in up state New York. Imagine their surprise as 250,000 hippies block the roads from New York city heading for Woodstock.

In the same year, another 3 guys had the whole world watching them. Just last week its 40 years since JFK promise of sending a man to the moon and returning him safely home came to pass.

I just found this amazing site which essentially re-enacts the whole mission from lift-off to splash down.

www.wechoosethemoon.org/ is truly extraordinary digital undertaking - compling hours and hours of footage stitched together with a stunning graphical representation of each stage of the mission. All the live audio is there, photos from earth, video from space. I love this. Its amazing to think that these guys did this with less technology on broad than we have in our mobile phones.
I found this at http://www.thefwa.com/ on recommendation from Blazej Wocial from Moxie Interactive

Friday, 24 July 2009

Britain's most memorable ads - the common link

There are many small pleasures about being an English abroad. One of them is being able to hear BBC radio thru my Mac. Believe me when you find the local language totally impregnable it is a real joy to hear your language across the full gamut of the BBC's portfolio.

This morning, as usual, I woke and munched corn flakes to the dulcet tones of Nicky Campbell and Sheila Fogerty. I'm not really fully awake at this time but one of the features that did stick with me was a piece on a recent survey into the most memorable advertising ever produced in the UK. So my work-based interest was piqued.

What was interesting about this latest ad poll (and don't we Brits love a survey about our favourite ads by the way - shows how high we regard the craft I believe) was that it focused on what made these ads memorable and helped to keep the ads and brands in our minds for literally decades.

Its the common or garden jingle (or sonic branding if we're looking to update the language) - a truly powerful tool.

Number 1 in the poll is Smash 'For mash get Smash', regularly voted as the UK's favourite ad. The BMP created Martians campaign and catchy jingle transformed the brands fortunes. And it despite the product all but disappearing from the kitchen - the ads still linger with people. It is a classic example of a brand being hard-wired into our brains. You say Smash - and I say 'for mash get Smash' without missing a beat. And in a world where we are almost tyrannised by brand choice - this ability for certain brands to create 'heuristics' (rules of thumb for quick decision making) in people's heads is a potent tool.


The other ads in position 2 and 3 are linked by use of music but in a very different ways

R White's Lemonade - made in 1973 but aired incredibly until 1984, its a classic jingle in that it was specifically created for the campaign. Written and sung by Ross Macmanus (Elvis Costello's dad) - 'The secret lemonade drinker' tune was a huge part of this ads enduring charm.


In at 3 is Guinness surfers. Created by AMV, written by Walt Campbell and directed by Jonathan Glazer and yes perhaps the most visually arresting of all the examples. But don't underestimate the power of that pulsating Leftfield soundtrack 'Phat Planet'


Here's some of the other poll toppers: Wall's Cornetto 'Just One Cornetto', Shake'n'Vac 'Do the Shake and Vac', Kia Ora 'I'll Be Your Dog', Mars 'A Mars a Day Helps You Work, Rest and Play' , Kwik-Fit 'Can't Get Quicker Than a Kwik-Fit Fitter', Club Biscuits 'If You Like a Lot of Chocolate on Your Biscuit Join Our Club.", Cadbury's Flake – 'Crumbliest Flakiest Chocolate'.

All classics, all driven by their sonic branding, all essentially made famous through TV advertising (and lots of it) and all created in the pre-digital age (bar 'Surfers')

So what I'm wondering is whether in the age of digital fragmentation if the ad industry hasn't slightly lost sight of the power and potential of the honest jingle or powerful soundtrack. As more campaigns move from being created for TV and simply 'put up on You Tube, to campaigns actually being devised with digital media in mind as its lead means of distribution. How many are really using the full power of aural stimulation and how many will stand the test of time like the jingle-tastic examples above?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I'm just a teenage intern baby - the future of media reseach?

Got sent this FT link yesterday http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/035e83fe-6f18-11de-9109-00144feabdc0.html

Fascinating story about how Morgan Stanleys head of media research release a analyst note penned by their 15 year old summer intern. Apparently all their clients have gone mad for it.

If the actual content of the note was not a surprise - teenagers don't listen to the radio, buy papers or use Twitter - the means of conducting the research certainly was. Morgan Stanley do heavily caveat the lack of statical rigour, but that doesn't seem to have perturbed their clients.

So is it time to throw out some of our highly invested in quantitative media research and just take a hand full of qualitative samples but in more intimate detail? Bye bye TGI and hello GCSE aged interns telling us what the hell is going on.

What was very interesting was the value attached by this intern and his group of friends to live experience and events. Cinema is still a huge draw, clearly the quality of the product is a factor but like generations before - its simply a great place to hang out with friends. Linked to this was the value of the live music experience, in an economy where it is almost inconceivable for a teenager to actually buy music - live is the primary means to extract any cash from this market.
Which has to be one of the key outtakes for brands from this piece. Teens will ignore you in traditional advertising but as they chase free content, providing valuable branded entertainment is clearly the way forward.

So is it time for all us media agencies to reconsider our recruitment policies, to engage with an audience we stopped understanding years ago - and to be brave - if Morgan Stanley can do it I'm sure we can too.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Livestrong Tour de France messages courtesy of Nike ChalkBot

Regular Tour de France viewers will be well accustomed to seeing messages of support painted onto the roads of France every July. Fans apparently get up at 3 and 4 in the morning to get their message to their guy on the key climbs - which this year will be the likes of Col du Tourmolet and Mont Ventoux. Its as much a part of the race as the yellow jersey, shaved legs and the inevitable drug related subterfuge

So what Nike have done as part of their support for Lance Armstrongs LIVESTRONG Foundations looks like a really clever piece of comms.

Via the Nike supported LIVESTRONG site you can leave a message of support for your loved one who has fought or is fighting cancer. I just discovered leaving a message for my cousin Rob, you get 30 characters - you can send via the site or SMS (in US only it seems) and then the real magic happens.

Somewhere in France is the ChalkBot - a machine designed by boffins at a place called DeepLocal. ChalkBot receives your message and then paints it large and real in yellow paint on the route of the tour. It also promises to let you know when its been done. Getting to see it I imagine will be a big ask, but the idea is beautiful.

And here's the link to the video of how it all works on You Tube

Appears to be a real good example of a brand, celebrity, not for profit organisation and the world of sport working very well together to raise awareness and cash.