Inspire me
30th June, 2010

As you may have picked up, I’m a big tennis fan. So I was interested to see the following viral video from Head featuring Scotland’s own Andy Murray:

It’s a great little video and has apparently already hit the 600k view mark – pretty impressive.

Finger’s crossed Andy can repeat these skills on centre court in the Wimbledon final on Sunday!

continue reading: Viral success = creativity + skill – Andy Murray viral hits 600k views...

3rd March, 2009

When did you last have some Skittles? I can’t even remember. It was so long ago.

But, to be fair, I’m not really their target market.


The social media/marketing/PR gossip-machine has been in overdrive this week with the “news” that Skittles has replaced its homepage with a Twitter search page. Woohoo!

Gawker is in awe of the personal PR potential this affords us all:

“And Twitter users are, as planned, including the word “Skittles” in their posts in order to have the honor of appearing on the Skittles.com home page.”

An honour indeed.

So, a few questions for Agency.com and Skittles:

1. Who would really want to go to the Skittles homepage? Its a frigging sweet!

2. Who is your target audience?

3. Where do you find these people?

4. Do they read Brand Republic or AdAge?

5. Are they even on Twitter?

The FT in all its social media wisdom proclaims the stunt a  success:

“Early indications suggest the campaign is a success. The Skittles meme went viral on Twitter, and “#Skittles” is today’s most-popular term on the micro-blogging site.”

Wow, a success? After only a few hours? Twitter really is amazing! :)

But what will this actually do for sales of Skittles? Yes, this website is not a vital marketing vehicle for a brand like this, so you might argue ‘why not?’. Econsultancy praises it as an ‘amazing social media campaign’. Is it? Can we really call a campaign ‘amazing’ after only a few days? It’s interesting certainly, but how do we measure success? Surely in the same way we do with all kinds of marketing: sales, revenues, returns…

Of course brand engagement and ‘conversation’ is important, but it wont run a successful business on its own. Too much social media seems to exist only for itself or for the enjoyment of those who ‘get it’. This, in my mind, is a narrow and dangerous approach. Innocent are an example of a brand that continually seems to ‘get it’, but for all the right reasons. Their site creates meaningful content and develops valued relationships with its key audiences. Skittles doesn’t seem to have made a real effort to engage or to add anything into the mix.

So my real question is whether Skittles will see measurable results and long-term benefits. The ‘buzz’ around this seems to stem mainly from social media ‘gurus’ and the like. It’s a stunt. One that makes ‘us’ think, but will if affect the bottom line? Will it reach those that matter? I really do hope they prove me wrong.

continue reading: Did you forget what the product was?...

16th February, 2009
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/45551194/

Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/45551194/

You may have read the article in the Guardian today from Marketing’s editor Lucy Barrett.

In it, she highlights a new site from KitKat:


Don’t bother visiting – it does (or not) what it says on the tin – a bit lame if you ask me!

HOWEVER, the real story behind this, which Barrett seems unaware of, is that KitKat initially registered the URL incorrectly:


The correct URL then proceeded to get cybersquatted!

KitKat seems to have recovered the situation as both URLs are now under their control. But it is still quite funny! Ooops!

Hat-tip to Briman1970 on Namepros.com – no-one else seems to have picked it (or his/her post) up…

continue reading: Y Speling Mattrs...

4th February, 2009

So Woolworths survives:

“Just weeks after the shutters came down on the last Woolworths store, Shop Direct, owned by Sir David and Frederick Barclay, has paid an undisclosed amount for the group’s name. The pick-and-mix to children’s clothes chain will now re-open as an online store in the summer.”

It’s good news for the brand and hopefully for some of the staff at Shop Direct.

It’ll also be a fascinating branding/marketing exercise for the new owners. How do you retain the obvious brand affinity that exists whilst building the company into one that will profit and develop in today’s highly competitive (online) retail space.

Using the internet is surely a good start. But it wont be enough on its own.

Pitching this just right is phenomenally important. But it also presents a great opportunity. Taking an incredibly well established brand and doing something new and fresh with it.

Will this happen? Who knows. Here are some pros and cons for the new owner.

- A loved brand
- Chance for a fresh start
- Opportunity to do something ‘different’ – different to the old Woolworths and other etailers
- Using the online channel, doing away with the image of ‘offline Woolworths’

- A loved brand
- A damaged brand
- Online competition
- Negative PR
- Old ’1p sweets’ associations

They are making a good start. The homepage currently has a form encouraging visitors to leave their details (data capture) and inviting users to share “thoughts on what you liked most (or disliked!) about Woolworths so we can make sure we’ll be even better when we return.”

Nice. Time will tell…

continue reading: Never say die – the Woolworths challenge...

23rd January, 2009

Tuesday was a great day. We sat in the office, in awe of an undoubtedly great man. We were transfixed.

As Paul Carr said in his weekly column, the usual British cynicism that so often comes to the fore when anything American is concerned disappeared like $1 Obama water offered to a million-strong crowd.

The reason: he’s a great, natural marketer.

From day one, Obama has marketed himself brilliantly. There was a great comment piece in last month’s Revolution magazine which compared some of Obama’s early speeches from before he won the nomination to the email he sent on the night he was elected. The messages were almost identical.

That’s great branding. Great messaging and great strategy. We are always telling our clients that if you get the messaging right at the start, then everything else follows and works much better. It’s true and Obama knows it. I guess from a political standpoint, it suggests that this is also a person who is true to his beliefs and his vision. A good business lesson too.

Sure, he was very different to what went before, and that certainly helps. But so is the best marketing. And Obama accentuates and plays on these differences, if subtlety. Marketing the same message in the same way as everyone else is only going to get you so far. Doing something different, something unique, gets you noticed.

David Meerman Scott has brilliantly demonstrated the linguistic differences between Obama’s inaugural address and the one Bush gave 4 years ago. It’s subtle but it seems to hit home.

As Seth Godin says: be remarkable. Obama is certainly remarkable – the person and the brand.

Politically speaking, the hard work starts now. And, at the end of the day, he is a politician, not a marketer.

But in the days when countries are hiring PR agencies, what better leader to have than one that seems to understand how to inspire, persuade and communicate effectively to his own country and globally.

continue reading: Barack: the ultimate marketing case study?...