Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Morning Musing

I saw this on 20x200. It's a great little website with lots photographs for sale.
It reminded me of this WK video... I posted it a while back.
Failing, falling, f'ing up sucks.
But learning and feeling smarter because of it is perfect beauty.

Friday, December 18, 2009

GAP - Baby it's Cold Outside.

I have been a bit obsessed with the song 'Baby it's Cold outside' lately. Especially the Dean Martin version. It's a cross between charm and 'taking advantage of the situation', so to speak... Oh Dean, you and that Rat Pack certainly had alot of charm.

There are a few brands that do 'christmas' well.
For those who read this on the regular... you can imagine that I believe the green-circled coffee proveyor does a bang up job.

But the other mass-brand that does a great job is the GAP.
Delightful multi-page magazine pull out ads, quirky celebrity musicals featuring their oh-so fun stripey, bold sweaters.

I really like that GAP has stayed pretty true to its original advertising roots... there has been lots of opportunities over the last decade when they weren't the darling of khakis to switch it up and forge a new path. There has been alot of criticims about their advertising being more about style than substance. But the work they do does deliver an experience and it actually makes me feel something positive about their brand, and the season. They make no apologies for going big in a fun way.

One other non-Christmas spot from the GAP that I loved is this Audrey Hepburn+AC/DC spot form a few years back. click here to watch.

And on a GAP side note - read about their SPRIZE loyalty program here. Pretty amazing way to encourage incremental spend, frequency and loyalty. click here to read.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Phat Branding Poster.... aka Christmas Pressie??

Using no ink whatsoever, these 18"x24" posters are foil stamped and embossed to create an alphabet composed of letters from many of the more famous (and some infamous) logos of all time. Printed in two different colorways, you have the choice of silver foil on black paper or gold foil on cream, both stocks are 100 lb. French Pop-Tone and include the artist's signature on back.

Numbers are limited to 500 prints of each color

Order here from THE BEST PART

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How You Tube can make money.

a very expensive, but uber cool digital media buy.

Click Here

Product Placement Mad Men style... now pour me a scotch

"Believe me, somewhere in the business, this has happened before"

- Roger Sterling, Mad Men season 3

I just read a nice little article about product placement on Mad Men, the AMC series hit about the origianl Madison Avenue ad execs of the 60s. (read article here) One might think that their product placement was limited to just smokes and booze. I don't know if it's a matter of ethics or a matter of time, but neither of these devious vices are ever called by name brand... but there are certainly others who get the spotlight on the hour long program. Hilton, Gillette and John Deere to name a few.

It got me to thinking about product placement. Starbucks never paid for it.... maybe that has changed, but that was the case when I was on watch. I am Sam, Shrek, Sex in the City.... they all had Starbucks product placement. Anywhere from the cup to the actual cafe, and Starbucks didn't pay a dime. Why? Well, it was authentic to the pop-culture landscape and to the story itself. No other 'Central Perk' would do, it had to be Starbucks or the story didn't feel right. Recently however, they have paid for positioning on a morning show called none other than Morning Joe on MSNBC.

Starbucks is in a unique position because its a daily lifestyle brand, meaning it can more easily fit into a story authentically. Other products like Clearasil, Dr. Pepper etc. need to work a little harder, and pay a little more to even be considered for placement. In the era of TiVO, Hulu and the like, where traditional 30second advertising is getting tossed by the way-side its critical for brands to get creative about sharing their story. Brands message either evolves or dies (so says Darwin and the girl who stepped back into advertising).

A few stats to chew on from the Canadian Business article:

  • 2006-2007 product placement in mass media grew 33.7%
  • 2007 -2008 product placement in mass media grew 39%
  • In 2008, $3.6billion was spent onproduct placement.
  • The last season of American Idol featured 4,636 instaces of product placement.

My Two Cents:

I think the only value American Idol has provided in its last 7 or 8 seasons is its incredibly creative product placement. They have provided Coke and Ford some great out-TiVoing opportunities).

For the Record....John Deere was never consulted on this product placement:

Lululemon usurps Vanoc

Lululemon TXS: LLL just introduced a line up of athletic gear thematically marketed around the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympics. They are not official sponsors, but they delicately hugged the global event by calling their line up:

"Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition" (read CBC article here)

Brilliant move. Until this announcement, they were pushed into a corner by other offical and un-official partners. Bucking the Vanoc trend is certainly in fashion, and not just with clothing retailers. Unoffical banks, thrwarted tel-cos and the like have been try to get in on the Olympic movement.

I have been trying, without much luck, to get our ad agency to do a "you've been Van-oc'd spoof". The regulations around branding and badging have been so tight that its making it hard for marketers to play with the games in any capacity. The Hudson's Bay Company has the exclusive rights. And some how Aritzia got their fingers in the pie too... Chip must have been pissed about that. No Namaste for the wicked (I have heard rumours of gentleman's quarrel between Brian Hill and Chip Wilson for years).

Good for Lulu for coming out with a tongue and cheek approach. Roots did a similar one with their alignment with Right to Play and Mastercard a few weeks back. Root had the rights to the Olympics up until Beijing and then lost it for Canada, kept if for the US Olympic team and just lost the US business to Ralph Lauren.

This certainly won't be the last of the Vanoc bucking trend. But I must say, I do love a little competition.... but question to be answered is whether this is fair play or poor sportsman ship?

Clicker here for their Flickr pics of the merchandise

Monday, December 7, 2009

Starbucks (RED) and a good viral story.

What does a whole bunch of strangers singing the Beatle "Love" have to do with coffee?
Nothing!! that's why I love it.
I love when a brand focuses so acutely on emotion and experience....
and when one does, and does it well, this is what you get.

BTW - it does have something to do with coffee. 10-15% of Starbucks coffee comes from Africa. AIDs in Africa is a rampant disease. By helping to provide relief for victims of AIDs, they help make a healthier community, and a healthier community makes from a vibrant country, and a country that is vibrant, contributes positively to their continent, the globe and more important back to the healthy people that live within its boarders. Its kind of a good news viral story.

perfect integration - LG's Give it a Ponder

Seriously, this is brilliant.
I have been holding back on posting lately because I have been rethinking how I want to leverage this blog... more to come on that late.
But this from LG is pure brilliance because:
  1. It found a fun insight, owned it and exploited it for all of its humour. Similar to a drinking and driving awareness campaign, this LG found something they could stand for, something that felt cellphone company agnostic and by advertising for the category this way - they actually expand their universe of influence and relevance become the text message experts.
  2. Seamless integration of social media
  3. Its target relevant. They knew their target and went for it. Target was probably 18years old... not 18-35....I can't say it enough. Know your Target people and be laser focused on them.
watch one of the many videos/commercials here and below:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fashionble PR pop-up stunt by Holt Renfrew

This week in the westend strip of King West, which is home to Toronto's ad agency alley and oyster shucking hipsters with too much money, Holt Renfrew, Canada's leading luxury retailer set up a temporary boutique shop in the sales center of Fashion House condominiums.
What it is.... its an aesthetically-pleasing, well-curated sampling of gorgeous HR merchandise. It felt like a Barney's Co-Op and Anthropology experience. Expensive high-end merchandise was on display, open and touchable. It was a wonderful sampling experience and great way to show case affordable luxuries in real life situations - and bring them to the masses. The lunch hour lurk was in full force. I fell in love with raspberry headphones and Philip Lim sunglasses.
Pop-Ups are not new thing. They are fantastic way to build up a brands experience by giving it more liscense to curate and target in a more dramatic fashion.... and it gets a heck of alot of PR. In 2009, Ikea created one in the furniture district to launch their new catalog. My favourite is when Target had taken over a few neighbourhood bodegas in New York to display their limited edition designer series. Read more about that here.
Its the PR aspect that intreges me. I love how the untraditional is what gets this thing off the ground. I received an email about the event (because I am on their email list), there are wild posting posters all around the neighbourhood, plus the pop-up is street level, on a very pedestrian busy downtown street.... a street with no banker or brokers, so there is a bit more license to have time to browse.
And read more about Holt Renfrew's pop-up here: Fashion Magazine's article. (photos courtesy of this same article)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

She-Wolf by Chester French

I wrote about Chester French a while back... and most recently I have developed a bit of an obsession with Shakira's She-Wolf song.
And while googling the video on YouTube, look what I found - a Chester French cover of it.
Pretty funny.