Last night I was at dinner with a friend explaining what we do at 1000heads. I’d just got going when his attention was diverted.
“What’s that?” asked my dining partner not apparently talking to anyone in particular. I turned in the direction of his glazed gaze.
“It’s wonderful isn’t it…” exclaimed a woman in a state of giddy joy, “…we saw them having it and we just had to order one.” She motioned to the table beyond where a couple looked on with the glow of parental pride.
The ‘it’ in question was a rather wonderful chocolate sundae crowned with a hemisphere of thin, dark chocolate. On the side, a jug full of hot butterscotch sauce was waiting to be tipped onto the crown where it would burst the confectionary bubble and reveal an oasis of cream and popping candy. The fizz and freckle of the butterscotch on candy drew oohs and aahs normally reserved for fireworks.
“Looks great…” I said, “…we should order a couple of those later”.
And so we did.
When they appeared we caught the table next to us peering over.
“What’s that?” asked one.
“It looks amazing!” squealed another.
“It’s wonderful isn’t it…” said my dining partner.
And so the ripple continued.
All in all that evening we observed a chain of twelve sundaes, each directly attributable to the trendsetters at the top table.
“So…” said my friend smearing chocolate brownie across his lower lip. “…1000heads, what is you guys do exactly?”
“We help our clients make chocolate sundaes” I said.
“I thought you were in marketing?” (He never got metaphors).
In an industry forever discussing new platforms, new audiences and new techniques it’s important to remember what we do and why. And hey, it never hurts to have a delicious go-to example to explain what success looks like.
Our last post caused an interesting reaction, specifically around the use of music on product videos.
But haven’t we all seen a video or ad and gone “Holy s**t, that song’s awesome!”?
Back in 2010 J&B released the following ad in South Africa. I remember watching it for the first time and being completely absorbed by the entire thing. Goosebumps on my arms as the ad came to an end and the reference to Phi making it all the more mysterious. “I’ve got to have that song!” I said to my gold fish Bison. A few minutes later Google informed me that the song was “Smoke & Mirrors” by RJD2, a DJ I never considered would feel at home in my music library between Rise Against and Rob Zombie.
Another great example, as pointed out by Eric Whelan, is the Internet Explorer ad featuring Alex Clare’s “Too Close”. Eric might not like it, but the song became an overnight sensation, reaching #20 on the iTunes Top 100 Songs and the top 10 of the iTunes Pop Chart, selling over 100k downloads in merely three weeks.
So, as a little Friday inspiration I’ve left my five of my favourite ads and the songs that made them awesome below.
1. Nike “Chosen” Extended remix
Band: Hanni El-Khatib’s
Song: I got a thing
2. Gears of war 3 “Ashes to ashes”
Band: Sun Kil Moon
Song: Heron blue
3. Ford “2011 Mustang”
Band: Band of skulls
Song: Light of the morning
4. Heineken “The entrance”
Band: The asteroids galaxy tour
Song: Golden age
5. Dante’s Inferno “Go to hell”
Band: Bill Withers
Song: Aint no sunshine
What’s especially great is the opportunity small, underground bands have to reach wider audiences, as part of big budget campaigns they would never be able to fund themselves.
A case of brands supporting the arts without even trying.
Have you spotted any examples of fantastic songs, artists and bands you’ve discovered because of a brand’s involvement?
In a world where brands are striving to be more human and authentic, isn’t it natural to make mistakes or get burnt every now and again? Often brands find themselves looking at a difficult situation, whether it’s because of a mistake or simply a competitor trying to devalue their reputation, and have to ask themselves… “What do we do now?”
I’d like to share a story with you about two unlikely companies that have both received a surge of interest and positive publicity because of the way they handled a tricky situation.
Earlier this year, Santam, an insurance company in South Africa released the following TV commercial:
Being the playful brand it is…Nando’s, a fast food chain, decided to poke a little fun at the serious insurer and add yet another sterling response to its hilarious history of marketing case studies:
Now, this is the point where the tides turn and an insurance company rose to the challenge! Santam responded to Nando’s spoof ad and not only did so in a timely fashion, but managed to do this in such a way that strengthened its brand reputation and challenged Nando’s to do a little social good at the same time. Alistair King from the ad agency responsible for the Santam adverts said that he felt the Nando’s spoof was in good nature, but “no one ever spoofs the spoofer, so we did.”
Below is the final video response from Nando’s, and brings me to my conclusion…
I love that Nando’s has encouraged this kind of response from Santam, who I believe saw the situation as an opportunity rather than a threat, showing the power of using a creative response rather than a serious one (or none at all for that matter).
The best approach to dealing with a bad situation is to acknowledge that it has happened and to take the time out to structure your response rather than acting rashly. A little time to let the creative juices flow may just result in a wonderful turn of events.
We have a new look. Perhaps the result of a delayed January detox and an early Spring clean, we’ve tweaked our brand identity and revamped our website.
Yet while visual updates are refreshing and reinvigorating, what else has changed?
Mike Rowe recently talked about the journey we’ve come on, from humble beginnings in 1999 to more recent client wins, new hires and award successes. Over that time we have changed – in size and skill set – but what’s remained constant is our steadfast belief in Word of Mouth, conversation and sharing; in social communication.
And as the marketing and social landscape continues to change, at a rate nobody could have ever predicted, this ethos has never been more relevant.
So we’ve given ourselves a new look and used some new, simpler words to set out our stall.
Aside from running the very latest update of Nokia’s Symbian software – aka ‘Symbian Belle’ – these new Belle devices all come with Near Field Communications (NFC) baked-in. Which means, you simply tap – and go.
Working with the smart guys over at NFC-Hub we produced special NFC-enabled posters, similar to the below -
- that were placed up at different locations around Hong Kong. Delivering against Nokia’s release message of ‘Try Something New’, #NokiaTSN, we thought we’d set a two day course of exactly that, with our guests trying their hands at all things news. For example, riding the Crystal Cable Car or simply taking in a Tai Chi lesson in the park.
The best part being that once the on-site posters were tapped -
- the entrants would automatically check-in on Facebook and/or Foursquare (depending on the poster used) which in turn would produce results like this:
Blink 182, unlike many, many other bands/artists, have decided to EMBRACE the ‘mis-use’ of their music and, instead of hitting ‘go’ on their lawyers, have recognised that if someone has used their music it probably means that they are a fan. .
The sheer dedication and commitment to using not just the famous ones. Being a fan is not defined by how many views you’ve had or how many likes your video has garnered. It’s about being passionate and actually giving a damn. You like Blink 182′s music? They give a damn about you. .
In the same way that the YouTubers featured in this video have ‘stolen’ Blink 182′s music, Blink have done exactly the same back by ‘stealing’ footage from their videos. The difference being the users in question won’t be hammering on the door with their lawyers. .
The title: “The Blink-182 Film Festival You Didn’t Know You Entered” – perfect. .
This is Blink 182′s first single release in eight years and they have a huge global fan-base. No matter what they did for their new single, they would’ve got huge coverage – the fact that they chose this particular idea for their return launch speaks volumes about how much they care about their community. To put it bluntly; that is epic.
Back in part one I promised some thoughts on the Diageo session I attended as well as some overall thoughts and links post-event.
First, Andy Fennell, CMO, Diageo -
Key points and quotes -
Andy talks about his ‘FACE’ values. They are; Flair, Agility, Consumer insight and Execution
When discussing new creative, ask ‘What is ‘the centre of gravity’ of an idea?’
“We need to change our ideas inherently to build participation from the start” – a thought 1000heads has advocated for years
“For rich content to arrive in Africa, phones need to get cheaper or Silicon Valley needs to work out where Africa is on a map.” – contentious!
Speaking of Africa, Andy gave an example of how Guinness arrived in the football-loving continent with their very own football-themed quiz show -
The whole idea, initiated by Guinness (one of Diageo’s sub-brands), started and ended with the drink in question and resulted in a significant jump in sales.
I personally hadn’t seen a brand invent its own TV show before, not least of all one that actually delivered on both an entertainment value (average episode views are upwards of 4m) as well as on a brand awareness and sales front too. Very impressive.
Overall, the Diageo session was interesting as it was a brand talking about their creative as opposed to an agency. Hearing the insights and ways of working behind such a huge, worldwide company inspired plenty of food for thought and served as a reminder at just how impactful television can be when harnessed correctly.
I’m a fan of objects being used in interesting ways.
There’s something about the subtle re-imagining of an otherwise familiar object that makes me smile. And, more pertinently, surfaces a hitherto unrealised emotional bond to that object.
This is a great example. The Ghost towel. I’ve never liked a towel before. But now I love towels. I want to hug a towel. This towel in particular, but hey any towel will do.
If things are getting tired with a product or service, what can be done to set it apart? It could be a wallet. Or given the weather here in London, it could even be a barbecue grill. Give it a twist and see what happens. See how much better it makes people feel when you turn things on their head. Just don’t do a handstand in a towel.
Inside the front hall is a lovely wooden stand (I have no idea why we have something so lovely, I sometimes imagine that a master craftsman lives in the basement). On this stand is all the post for the building.
That’s a bunch of bills, Amazon packages, love letters, flyers, magazines, demands from HMRC, postcards and wonderful news about pre-approved credit cards. It’s fair to say there’s usually a steady pile.
Every day when I leave the building (or when I come back if it’s an early start), I look through the post and pull out what’s for me. In doing so, of course, I leaf through the rest of the building’s post. Which, for the most part, isn’t much fun.
Which is a shame.
Lots of white or brown envelopes that may tease at what’s inside through a logo, or official looking font, but rarely more.
Which is also a shame.
Hidden within those envelopes are a wealth of information about people like me. People who choose to live in the same areas as I do, people who have similar resources to me, and broadly – given the area – are of the same kind of age and background. So wouldn’t it be awesome if that space was used?
Imagine the scenario… I’m a customer of BT Vision (and I am), through which I get my TV including Sky Sports (which I do). But the picture can be a little iffy (which it is). Downstairs lives Dave, he’s a Sky subscriber, and he doesn’t have any problems with his picture. Which means he didn’t miss last season’s Chelsea v Liverpool match (which I did).
So continue to imagine… I’m leafing through the post the day after I’ve missed a big match. I’m grumpy. I’m a bit miffed with BT (Actually, I’m not generally, just for the record). Sky know Dave lives in my building. Sky know BT Vision had problems in that area. Sky may even know that BT customers live in the building. Or at least people considering the purchase. So what if, when leafing through I see a nice blue envelope. It’s addressed to Dave. Inside could be anything, but outside is what’s important. It’s a message:
“Missed the match last night on BT Vision? Dave in Flat 6 didn’t. He’s on SKY. We think you’d love our service, but why not speak to Dave and see what he thinks? Inside this envelope is a voucher for a month free if you decide to switch”
OK, Dave may not want me to speak to him, but that’s to miss the point somewhat.
I’m ready for the message. It’s a moment I’m not expecting to be given such personalised, good news. It’s different. I might even think it’s quite clever.
But instead I get a letter from my bank. And I forget about the football. And I go to work. And I think about my bank.
Which is a shame.
Pick your moments to speak to me. And be clever about how you do it. Then I’m likely to listen. I don’t always like to find a flyer stuffed in my weekend Guardian.
By the way, if there’s any great examples of something along these lines, I’d love to see it, so drop them in the comments!