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i blame the gorilla July 30, 2015

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, 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, 2015

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, BBC, OOH, outdoor, thought leadership.
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NG BBC

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.

this is what excellence in integrated digital communications looks like August 2, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, align technology, award, communique awards 2014, digital, Doner, integration, invisalign, social media.
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WINNERSme winner

We won an award recently and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. It was for the work we’ve been doing for Align Technology to generate awareness and lead generation for Invisalign across Europe.

The award was for the 2013 consumer campaign, “Smile and the Whole World Smiles With You” received the Excellence in Integrated Digital Communication award at the 2014 Communique Awards on July 3.

The Invisalign Smile campaign ran across key markets in Europe, where a mix of appointment-to-view television programming on digital channels was sponsored with integrated digital direct response, social media paid advertising, social media community activation programs, Pay Per Click, and digital innovations such as Zeebox in the UK and use of the new Twitter Card lead generation functionality. This strategic approach was designed to get more target consumers to ask for Invisalign treatment at dental practitioners and leveraged an integrated consumer marketing campaign that engaged and motivated people with problem teeth to start Invisalign treatment.

The award judges summed it up nicely:

“The beauty of this campaign is its demonstration of what could be achieved outside standard pharma practice. It was a paradigm in terms of its integration of carefully chosen, appropriate channels and had digital at its heart. It’s also very in-sync with where the industry is going to have to go in terms of the breadth and connectivity of different communications channels.”

 

AWRD1AWRD2

AWRD3

And it also worked, here’s what Raph, the VP International at Align had to say:

“The Invisalign Smile campaign had a significant impact including driving prompted brand awareness for Invisalign and achieving 30% growth for Invisalign lnfo Kit downloads and Find an Invisalign Provider searches. Our social media community grew a phenomenal 140% (2.5X) year on year and the Smile campaign helped to impact our total business objective by increasing Invisalign case submissions.”

 

Really terrific stuff. I’m really proud of this work. It shows what can happen when a client and agency work together in a proper relationship to deliver great things.

 

what it’s like to work in the creative industry July 24, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, Inspiration.
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A short documentary on what it’s like to work in the creative industry when your craft becomes your profession. Even though I’m not a “creative”, I can relate to these feelings and scenarios.

Originally found on Design Taxi via Evan Michaels.

my favourite londoner – new work May 29, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, Client, Doner, Fuller's, James May, London Pride.
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Image

Blatant work plug. Here’s our new work for Fuller’s London Pride, again featuring the marvellous James May. The campaign celebrates the provenance of the brewery and the pint, especially important when the world’s eyes will be on London this Summer. The work is featured on the Marketing Society blog and also on Haystack and you can see it pretty much all across London this Summer. Cheers!

we fear change November 16, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, digital, integration, marketing, social brand, social business, social media, technology, Technology Digital.
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Change is the only constant factor in life and in the world of Technology; the businesses which realize this sooner, can only gain from it. Article by me in Technology Digital.

Image source.

brands need to take the risk while embracing technology November 14, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, analytics, brand experience, data, digital, integration, mobile, Technology Digital.
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Article in Technology Digital by me on why brands need to blend with other channels of interaction to create a bigger impact among their audiences.

Image also from Technology Digital

no such thing as a free lunch November 2, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, social media, social networks.
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A fascinating article on privacy, advertising and the use of your data on social networks and the new alternatives such as Diaspora and Unthink to the accepted norm. Where Hugh once said if you talked to people the way advertising does, they’d punch you in the face, he was talking about traditional ATL advertising and the shouty nature of the traditional 30′ spot. This quote from the article suggests that advertising in social media could possibly be worse; rather than just blurting at you in ad breaks, it snoops on you and brazenly flashes this in your face. Good food for thought to start your day with.

Imagine you’re eating out with your lady or a loved one; the restaurant is completely free from 12pm until 2pm. Free. Trouble is, your entire conversation is being recorded and watched closely. Every time you both mention something that suggests an interest in a product or purchase or place – an ad rep/TV/radio ad/leaflet appears in front of you and pitches away. Mention you’re interested in a mini break; cue the man from the travel agency peddling his wares. Your meal is free though, don’t forget. You can always ignore the ad man. How many of us would appreciate that constant eavesdropping? Few. Remarkable then that the digital world doesn’t quite suffer the same reaction. It all feels so remote and far way.

Image source.

connecting and kinecting October 20, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, integration, microsoft.
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When CP+B picked up the Microsoft advertising account, we all wondered what would happen. The “I’m a PC” ads weren’t as bad as the original haters suggested. The product elements and the use of interesting characters started to change perceptions of Microsoft. I quite liked them but I didn’t identify with being a PC still. And then just as some momentum was happening, the Launch Party “thing” happened. Finding the video now, the comments have been disabled on the version I am linking to. Unsurprising given it was truly horrific. I also thought the “Windows 7 was my idea” campaign was an interesting concept but felt hollow in execution. There’s been some advertising for the Windows Phone but in a market that is dominated by Apple, HTC and Samsung in the kudos and media space, it’s not really stood out. And then there’s X-Box. The golden child. And it’s shinier child, Kinect. Which aped the successful Wii advertising but without a controller. X-Box is a great product and the Kinect addition has made it even better.

But it’s never been leveraged as part of a wider brand and product effort. The reason I, and countless others, buy into Apple is that their stuff together just works. iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iMac, AppleTV and so on. Seamless, easy, great. The best brand experience by far. You can even take this into the retail environment.

You don’t get the same feeling from Microsoft. It feels disparate and hard. My own experience of Apple’s “plug it in and it will work” is in stark contrast to “plug it in and load the accompanying CD, load up the drivers, reboot, etc.” of Microsoft. Now I know this perception is now several years old but it’s stuck. And that’s why we are an Apple household.

But this new ad challenges people like me. And it makes use of the integrated Microsoft brand experience which has never been done before. I like it. It shows Microsoft in a new, family setting than rather the individuals it has targeted before. It has humour. It’s not trying to copy Apple or Nintendo either. It also looks easy, creative and fun to have Microsoft products in your home. It’s a shame then that the good work of the commercial is let down by a bland website that does nothing to re-enforce the message of connectivity and togetherness by immediately splitting the products again. Perhaps CP+B can get their hands on the digital side of things too?

the networked business of the future September 15, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand experience, digital, Knowledge Peers, social business, social media, technology.
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Last night I presented at the Knowledge Peers event: Technology – transforming growing businesses at the Design Council, Covent Garden, London. A lot of good presentations and discussions with a genuinely interested and intelligent audience asking some probing questions about cloud, social business and the changes required. And then I came on. I was the entertainment; the only one in jeans as far as I could tell. Certainly the only one in trainers.

I think the title is quite misleading. My bit was about how technology has changed companies, the problems they face and the benefits of becoming a more social business internally and externally. It picks up on themes from a couple of previous posts on social business if you fancy checking that out.

So up I popped and did my thing. And it was all going so well. New content, on form, enjoying it and then unfortunately the technology in the Design Council had a spaz. A big one. The keyboard wouldn’t work, the mouse wouldn’t work and any attempt to run slide show resulted in it all just blitzing through the slides and ending up on slide sorter. The irony of the session prior to me involving the shift towards employees bringing their own IT equipment into the workplace was not lost on me. (An ironic) thanks, Design Council. So I managed to convey the key messages (I hope) and promised to share the slides with the funny, sweary videos in them. They’re up there. Also because the technology spazzed, here’s the script. I went off script last night, a lot I think, as I usually do. I don’t normally write a script either so this is a rare collector’s item. But this is what I was meant to say.

THE NETWORKED BUSINESS OF THE FUTURE

Knowledge Peers event, 14 September 2011 @ Design Council, London

<intro>

I’d like to share a part of a speech given by Ben Hammersley, the editor of Wired, gave to the IAAC this week – the Government’s talking shop for lots of things including cyber security. It’s a brilliant read. Probably better than the next 10 minutes with me, in truth. But then again, he hasn’t got the videos I’ve got so stay with me. The thrust of Ben’s speech was similar to the themes we’ve explored tonight; how technology is rapidly changing our world and the line that stands out for me is this…

“The Internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st Century… it is the central platform for business, culture and personal relationships.”

It is. Not soon, not in a few years but now.

But in business, we’re slow to catch up. And I’ll share why this is happening and what needs to change internally and externally.

<slide>

Some of you may be thinking exactly this. I know a lot of clients I have spoken too in the last few years have also experienced this horror too. Some put their heads in the sand; some jump headlong. Most just haven’t seen it coming.

<slide>

We live in 2011. We are in the information age. But we act as if we’re in the industrial age. Factory mentality rules. Process this, refine that, get a repeatable outcome every single time. No exceptions. Except in our economy, that doesn’t happen. We don’t live in a 9-5 economy. Example: Facebook traffic peaks at weekends and evenings. How many brand managers are actively looking after their brand beyond Monday to Friday 9-5? We live in lumpy times. Not repeatable. Our workload is up and down. So we compensate for lumpiness with meetings. Because downtime is a sin. But where some detest this, others embrace it. Google allow developers 20% of their working week to develop projects. This is where Gmail, Google Plus and other game-changing technologies have come from. Not sat in endless meetings or churning through a gazillion poor uses of email that are a time sink.

<slide>

But here’s the thing. We fear change. Because change means different. It’s hard. And the change needed is immense because it spans the entire organisation, not just adding Facebook and ticking the social media box in the comms list. We need to change across the enterprise. Change from jealously guarding our knowledge stocks and eking out ever decreasing profits from them. To become more open, collaborative and sharing.

<Slide>

Because the silo model organisation inhibits growth. Of course you can’t break down all the barriers. That would cause chaos. Or an ad agency as we tend to see it. No, you need to become more porous. Demilitarize the silos. Fundamentally sharing the data reserves. But harnessing it and mining it for actionable insights. Not just pretty charts. And it can work.

<examples on screen>

<slide>

And it’s a similar story for marketing to people. The external environment.

Look at this timeline and look how long TV has been there. It’s now a process. Honed and toned. Familiar, trusted and yes, still effective. But with recent developments, it can be bigger, better, more effective.

And then technology came along and we hid away because we fear change. But even old things that we thought were dying have been given a new lease of life. Take outdoor. Eyeballs were the thing. But nobody looks up any more. We’re praying to the blackberry. But give them a reason to look up

 <McDonald’s Sweden interactive billboard>

<Slide>

For years marketing has been like a scene from Ghostbusters.

Bear with me here.

Don’t cross the streams! Why?

Dr. Egon Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That’s bad.

<source: IMBD.com>

So don’t cross the streams. It’s bad. And the marketing MIX became silos. Oh the irony.

We carefully trap our consumer in our stream of high impact telly, grapple him with press and outdoor, and opt him in to an email programme that will bludgeon him to death with messages until he finally buys our product. And now he’s in our box, we’ll maintain our CRM programme to keep him loyal. Process. We love that stuff in marketing world.

Here’s the thing though; technology changes, people don’t. They like to disrupt. To change. To do new things. And new things don’t have a history of past performance so we don’t know what will happen.

We fear change.

This is why brands have been slow to embrace technology.

All the while our consumers are doing interesting things without us. They love mixing the steams, messing with things. Our precious brand being messed with is hard to take. But it can be brilliant.

<Backstreet Boys weird manga>

Embrace change.

<slide>

Which is why brands are behind the curve on mobile. It’s perhaps the most exciting thing to happen in marketing yet it’s being largely ignored.

Mobile devices were predicted to outsell PC shipments in 2015. This already happened in the last quarter of this year.

The opportunity for brands in simultaneous viewing is huge.

It becomes more communal, enriching and adds excitement.

Just hop on Twitter or Facebook on a Saturday night when X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing are on. I don’t have a video of Anne Widdicombe. I don’t want to make you all ill.

<slide>

Mobile represents as big a shift as TV did. Because you always have it with you. 35% of women under 30 check their Facebook news feed BEFORE they get up.

It’s exciting because we know your location, the context (contextual ads based on mobile search terms have 6x greater impact than banner ads on the web), it is real-time. And if you can combine the data you have unleashed form silos, imagine how powerful that is?

But let’s not get too carried away, there are things it cannot do.

<David Lynch on the iPhone>

<slide>

Contrary to popular belief, TV is not dead. It’s evolving. We spend more time watching TV than anything else. Still. We do it in different ways. Technology has improved our telly entertainment. But it also means we need to be smarter. Run of network will get fast-forwarded – some 70% of ads are fast forwarded on PVRs which is no surprise when we’re time and place-shifting our viewing. Appointment to view TV gets saturated and expensive. You need to think and behave differently to light the fires a great TV ad can start. If a Yoghurt brand can think differently, you can too. Yeo Valley wanted to change perceptions of being an organic brand and decided TV was they to go for the first time and took over the entire ad break in X-Factor last year with something quite different.

<Yeo Valley Rapping Farmers>

Different thinking, different behaviour. Great ad. Did it work?

In the 12 weeks to December 25 2010, the brand experienced a 14.9% year-on-year sales uplift, outperforming the total yogurt market by two-and-a-half times. Total downloads of the song from the ad on iTunes has exceeded 27,000 copies.

<source: UTalk Marketing>

The brand amplification and extension is social channels is still growing today.

<slide>

Be brave, have budget and cross your streams. Activate your brand, embrace your community and let go.

I’ll leave you with this great example of Lego. It’s not by Lego. But technology and fan passion makes this a great ad for Lego.

< Lego, Death Star Canteen>

You stay classy, San Diego.

(I didn’t say that.)

And here’s a follow up video from the event with me yakking on for a bit from 2min 45ish and again from 6m 50ish.

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