i blame the gorilla July 30, 2015Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, thought leadership.
Tags: 80s music, advertising, drum, thought leadership
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The Independent ran an article highlighting the number of ads that featured music from the 80s. The Drum asked me to write a response to it. I blamed the gorilla.
You can say it’s all about fashion and trends and everything comes around again. And again. But I blame the gorilla.
It’s his fault. Sitting behind the drum kit waiting patiently until erupting with madness and glee and yes, ‘joy’, to thrash them to death alongside Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight’.
It’s his fault. He answered the one line brief,’show me how I feel when I eat Cadbury’s chocolate’ by resorting to an iconic 80s music track and going batshit mental on the drums.
The 80s: big hair, big shoulder pads, big news, big everything. Especially big ‘choons’. And now the people who grew up in the 80s with their knowing ‘Frankie Says’ t-shirts and Phil Oakey side-flange partings implanted deep in their hearts have grown up.
They are now in the bullseye of the mainstream brands. Still watching vast swathes of telly and still swayed by big telly ads and wondering WTF emojis are. Still knowing someone could have picked them out and shook them up when they were working in a cocktail bar and turned them into someone new.
If you’re a 40-something to 50-something, you will have witnessed a fair bit of familiarity in advertising of late. A bit of Europe here, a surprise airing of Fleetwood Mac there. All dropped into drive familiarity and layer the emotional element to the advertising to get you to notice, to consider. To strike at the heart of your wallet via your retro fluorescent ear canal.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 80s music was the most popular choice among all brand advertising in 2014. Queen adding little riffs of fun to Tesco Christmas spots. Fleetwood Mac helping a Shetland Pony moonwalk for Three. What surprised everyone was Bonnie Tyler topping the charts. But it was epic. So it makes your brand epic. And you’re epic if you buy our brand. Epic.
Some are wonderful and actually make sense. Others just use the track like audio attention grabbing ‘Like a Virgin’ era Madonnas because Queen selling sofas to the tune of ‘Someobody to Love’ is just really selling out isn’t it? They were a band that famously refused Stallone rights to use ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ in Rocky III forcing them to find their own anthem in Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. And they’re now happy for their back catalogue to be used to flog sofas. Bloody gorilla’s fault.
And then we have the re-imagining. The John Lewis ‘make ‘em cry to make ‘em buy’ approach. A soft, tinkly-tinkly re-imagined, slowed down version of a well-known classic that acts as an ear worm and makes its way silently into your heart. Alongside penguins, bears and gorillas.
Music is a hugely important part of advertising and any film based content. Music can make or break an ad. The rhythm, cadence and the power tell their own story but magic can happen when the story, the music and the lyrics work hand in hand. An edit suite is often a painful torture chamber in the creative process and equally a pleasuredome when things go right.
But is the rise of 80s music in ads also because modern music is incomprehensible to anyone over the age of 30? Where new music is dictated by the Radio 1 playlist which deems La Roux and Lily Allen over the hill and therefore primetime picking for middle-aged, middle-class department store advertising tales?
The brands mentioned above largely appeal to that demographic so going for familiarity over a new artist is a much safer bet. And in a corporate environment where the average chief marketing tenure is under two years, safety and immediate impact is the order of the day.
Unless you’re going to go big and buy yourself instant stardust with Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift (how many times have you seen ‘Shake It Off’ in a creative WIP this last year?), then it’s time to break out the shuttlecocks in your shorts, re-live who shot J.R. and dust off your 12” of ABC. Because then success will be so easy for you but don’t forget it’s the gorilla who put you where you are now and he can put you back down too.
Nicholas Gill is planning director at Doner UK
is outdoor advertising ‘visual pollution’? July 17, 2015Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, BBC, OOH, outdoor, thought leadership.
Tags: thought leadership bbc OOH outdoor visual pollution advertising doner nicholas gill
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I got to represent the advertising industry (I know, really) in a small BBC World Service radio show called Business Daily that went out to a small audience of 1.3m people globally on 2nd June. After a quick line at the start, I come in at c. 12 mins. Here’s the synopsis:
Do ubiquitous advertising like billboards, posters and banner ads lead to mental overload? American author Matthew Crawford discusses whether the constant distraction of ever-present commercials leads to ‘mental fragmentation’.
Daniel Gallas reports from Sao Paulo in Brazil on the city’s decision to ban ‘visual pollution’, including all outdoor advertising, a decade ago.
And, Ed Butler hears from Nick Gill, planning director at advertising agency Doner, and why he thinks outdoor advertising is part of the lore of a big city.
You can also Listen to the MP3 here.
the rise of the data scientist July 16, 2015Posted by nicholas gill in b2b, big data, data, data scientist.
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Data is crucially important in the current marketing landscape. It informs decisions and inspires creative thinking. There has been a lot of column inches about ‘big data’ but the role of the data scientists is to actually provide ‘small data’. The data that really matters. Not analysis that leads to paralysis. The data that gets the boardroom interested.
Data can be complex, convoluted, misinterpreted and used for defensive approaches rather than innovating and seeking out new opportunities. In the right hands, data unleashes truth, overcomes long held assumptions and prejudices and shines a light on new insights that can unlock business growth.
Like many modern business people, the data scientist needs to be a T-shaped person too. Capable of being expert in his or her craft but also adept at communicating and collaborating with a diverse range of people from strategists to creative to brand managers to CMOs and CEOs.
Fundamentally we believe this role should be internal at a company and not outsourced. The person needs to be ‘baked in’ to every part of the business to provide the crucial ‘small data’ that makes a difference. As an example, we know the work we do for Align Technology, who produce Invisalign – the world’s leading invisible orthodontic medical device, for their professional educational programme shows that the multi-layer touchpoint programme works as Orthodontists who attend 2 or more events grow their volume of cases submitted by 43% versus cohort. Or being able to identify a group of underperforming Orthodontists in one European territory and changing the business model to effectively create a group and improve business returns by 587% in one quarter.
Edited version of the above appeared in the July/August 2015 edition of B2B Marketing magazine.
Tags: advertising, brand experience, Marketing Week, NME
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Some words from me in Marketing Week on NME’s change in content strategy. The link requires (free) subscription. If you can’t be bothered to click the synopsis is NME are going free, increasing circulation, broadening the content beyond music and extending into more digital content channels. Here’s my thoughts:
Nicholas Gill, planning director at integrated ad agency Doner UK, says the change in strategy should help keep NME “front and centre” rather than something to look at through the misty-eyed look at history. He predicts it could help NME avoid the fate of its one-time rival Melody Maker.
Broadening the content base, both in terms of platforms and type, should help attract new consumers, says Gill, extending the reach for brands.
“Focusing on content including video and live events is particularly appealing to brand partners and advertisers because it offers a much deeper and more meaningful opportunity to connect with an influential, young and interesting readership beyond just a standard press insertion,” he adds.
Print version below:
tiny explosive ideas with tiny explosive coffee October 16, 2014Posted by nicholas gill in book review, growth hacking, marketing.
Tags: big ideas, future, growth hacking, marketing, playbook, ryan holiday, tiny explosive ideas
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Stop thinking about the “big” idea. The big idea that marketing searches for elusively. We’ve all sat in meetings searching for the big idea. Written briefs that demand a big idea. Followed a path of big media that will fuel a big idea. And moaned that either the agency can’t come up with the big idea or that the client isn’t brave enough to go with the big idea.
Well, forget the big idea. Because the growth hackers don’t need them, They focus on the tiny ideas that have an explosive, catalytic quality. Ideas that have propelled Airbnb, dropbox and even hotmail from start up to brands of hugeness seemingly overnight. The tiny ideas that as marketeers, we seem to have forgotten – or skip over because they’re not big enough. And tiny ideas that exclude marketing completely and re-focus energy into the product itself. Get the product fit first.
You don’t have to be a start up either to start re-thinking your approach to gaining customers and growing revenue – something all of us in marketing are guilty of when we are in the pursuit of ‘the launch’ of new products. The book challenges us to think again and get out of the formulaic box that we’ve allowed ourselves to crawl into.
This book is packed with examples and inspiration. And it’s also tiny in size. Easily consumed on a tiny plane doing a tiny European short haul hop.
Tiny is good. I’ll be thinking tiny and explosive from now on.
Thanks to Georgie at Profile Books for providing the book to review. I have not been paid for this review but obviously wouldn’t mind if it were on offer.
agency fuel September 15, 2014Posted by nicholas gill in agency life, coffee, honest coffees.
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I do like a bit of coffee as my tweets will show. So a surprise package in the post from Honest Coffees was always going to go down well. Free coffee in the post. What’s not to like? Honest Coffees supply agencies and what-not with coffee subscriptions – proof that you can subscribe to anything these days. But given that agencies are fuelled by such substances to maintain the energy levels against the blank sheet of paper at the start of the day and the ebb and flow of internal and client rejection and adoration, this mailing seems a super-smart idea to me. I also noticed the close to sell-by date on the sample itself but I also think this is another smart idea to make sure your stock doesn’t go to waste. Mind you, coffee lasts forever right?
Now onto the tasting. The coffee is a dark roast called Smooth Operator. It’s a little too dark and bitter for me. Maybe I just haven’t got the levels right in the cafetiere?
say hello to your little friend – travel light August 11, 2014Posted by nicholas gill in business travel, gadgets, nomad, nomadkey, technology, Uncategorized.
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I’ve been doing a lot of business travel recently and one of the major pains is carrying all the leads and power cables for your various devices. So it was pretty timely that the guys at Nomad asked me to try out their new Nomadkey – a USB cable that’s well, key sized.
It’s small (yes, key sized), rubberised material and bendy and flexible. It fits snugly on your key ring or just in the many pockets of your bag. And it’s nowhere near as bulky as your phone charger. I travelled with both for a couple of trips because without phone power, you become paranoid but I left it at home the last couple of times. I seem to take my laptop with me so it’s easy just to plug it into that or the TV USB in the hotel room that I discovered on this.
It’s great. I use it all the time at my desk too rather than fiddling around with many wires and sockets.
I haven’t yet used the credit card version but I’m off again soon so will give it a whirl and update.
Thanks to Olivia at Nomad. I have not been paid for this post.