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bikinis, nudity & the return of super fred August 30, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, brand, cricket, thoughts, viral, word of mouth.
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6up girls

Saw the first one day international between England & India at the magnificent Rose Bowl on 21.08. A game that had everything including some surprises. In no particular order:

Bikinis (well, had to talk about that first)

Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the ground but in the West stand a group of ladies suddenly stripped off and jiggled about in their seats. This caused more commotion than Cook & Bell’s centuries and had us all scrambling for the zoom on our cameras and fighting for binoculars. My interest was purely marketing oriented (ahem! and yes, Mrs. Gill didn’t fall for that either) as I felt sure this was an organised guerilla marketing stunt. Sure enough, one of the scantily clad ladies turned around and pointed her behind at me (and I’m sure it was just to me, not the thousands of other people) to reveal the logo on her bikini’d behind. Good for 6Up mobile text betting. Bad for the stewards who made them leave their seats. The ECB don’t like unofficial sponsors in the ground. Booo. But hurrah! The intrepid girls must have got back in and did it again during the Indian innings to even more applause. It was mighty cold so they must have been paid handsomely or at least been layered with deep heat. Certainly better crowd entertainment than the drunk bloke near us trying to get everyone to sing “barmy army” and start another Mexican wave. Here’s what the local paper had to say with some terrible cricket puns. And the BBC: “A group of girls in black bikinis have just entertained the crowd by running around the stand on the western side of the Rose Bowl. They were pursued by stewards in a scene reminiscent of a Benny Hill sketch, but all have now disappeared from view.”

Nudity!!!

naked hawks

A pitch-side ad hoarding caught my attention: nakedhawks.com. Could this be the WAG alternative for cricket to add some spice on top of the sexy Twenty20 format? No! It’s the Hampshire Hawks cricket team getting their kit off for a charity calendar to support Prostate Cancer. Good for them. Wonder what pose Warney will adopt?

Super, super Fred

As Collingwood said, a “near perfect” performance from the England team with Cook, Prior, Bell and KP blatting the ball around and some tremendous bowling from Anderson in particular followed up by Freddie Flintoff grabbing his first wicket on his return from injury. A great cricketing event. But it was bloody cold.

kevin pietersen

andrew flintoffmonty panesar

Brand experience

I like the Rose Bowl and I’m not just saying it as it’s my local venue. Yes, there were queues to get to the park and ride but unlike two years ago they now have ample stewards and buses laid on so it’s not one mad rush to get on the buses to the ground. They even had a nice Hampshire Cricket Club official board the bus before we left to let us know the drill on where to go, what time they left etc. All very helpful. Not much queuing at the ground and as we were in the family section (we took our cricket mad nephew along too), the atmosphere was friendly rather than abusive as it can sometimes get.

NatWest had some good exposure around the ground especially with the pint carriers and the big screens. Sky offered up their radios again where you could listen to Bumble & Co while watching the action live. And we got to see Phil Tuffnell at half time.

phil tuffnell

Getting home was a doddle too. Three things made me think though: 1) the bars closed for an hour after the half time interval. Why? 2) the queues for the gents was HUGE! For once I knew how ladies must feel. Why not put more gents in? 3) Why does it take 10 minutes to get 3 coffees and 1 minute for 3 pints?

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a tale of two pieces of direct mail May 9, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in brand, content, cricket, direct mail, sport.
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I don’t get that much direct mail these days so I do genuinely get excited by nice pieces of work. Not that too many have come through my postbox of late. But in the last couple of weeks, two contrasting bits of mail did arrive. Both personalised postcards so they should get to the point quickly and be inexpensive to produce and therefore have a higher return.  Let’s take a look:

Hampshire Cricket Club – Warney needs me!

warney front

warney reverse

A5 size digitally printed postcard with my name being called out by the spinner from the gods. Spin it over (nice!) and good personalisation (I have indeed been to the Rose Bowl before), straight to the point with the invite to join as a member, substantiation of why with new players (and my, Stuart Clark was quick the other day) and the genuine desire of the blonde-haired one to win something. And a clear call to action with not 1 but 3 different ways to respond: web, call or fill in the app form they sent me in November. And a cheeky little cross promotion for those old geezers, The Who. Simple, effective and  I may well have gone for it but most cricket is played in the week so I’ll either have to win the lottery or retire early to make full use of membership.

The Times – offering someone else a week of papers for £2

times

As simple, clear and effective as the HCC postcard was, this fails at the first ball of the day. They too have “done a Harmy” as our Australian cousins now refer to it by getting my fucking name wrong! I think I’m fairly in touch my feminine side but I haven’t gone as far as becoming Ms Nicola Gill. I suspect they bought this crap data from the same place as the DMA (Direct Marketing Association for those who don’t know/care) of all people who also addressed something to me using my alter ego. Great advert for the direct profession there chaps! Needless to say I won’t be taking the Times up on their offer which sounds simple enough on the front till you get to the back and you’re swamped with numbers like £109 saving for 24 weeks at £48 or £218 saving for 48 weeks at £96 and get £20 national book token (glam) or £20 thresher voucher (slurp) and £8 discount for direct debit. Fuck me I’m all numbered out. Make it simple chaps and get my name right and I might reconsider. And why 48 weeks? Do I get to choose the 4 weeks a year I don’t want it when I’m on hols?

links for 28.04 April 28, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in blog, brand, content, cricket, digital advertising, thoughts, web 2.0, website.
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 cun

I like these postcards from a beautiful revolution blog – one of them is above. Just genius.

Create your own gift at album mania

A little out of date but still interesting

Nice parody of apple by greenpeace

And always a treat to dip into Hoffworld

And congrats to the Aussies who just won the Wold Cup by thrashing everyone. What an innings by Gilly.  WHAT A SHOT! as the great Richie Benaud would say. Pleased to see David Gower escaped from his beachside lair too.

gilchrist

Image from cricketworldcup.com

poor timing but nice smells April 20, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in brand, content, cricket, digital advertising, sport, thoughts.
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boss

An email from Boss Fragrances arrived in my inbox yesterday to show their sponsorship of the England cricket team, update on the world cup and offer me a free sample and, if I splash out (get it – oh, yes) £30 on Boss fragrances not only will I smell divine but I can also get a free Boss/England cap.

Quite poor timing it’s arrival. For those who don’t know,  not only have we been thrashed out the Cricket World Cup but the day it arrived, happy Duncan Fletcher had just resigned as coach. Not quite sure who sanctioned the release but surely it could have gone out at the start of the World Cup rather than at a time of national mourning?

Still, I clicked to get my sample in  any case (freebie whore, moi?) only to find 3 out of the 7 products out of stock. Cracking.

And don’t the boys look just a little camp rather than mean and moody as they’re supposed to look (one assumes)? Only Hoggy and Pietersen get off though as at least KP hit some runs and Hoggy was running in the Yorkshire Dales ready to batter the Windies come May in the first Test of the summer. Not only do Freddie, Vaughan and Strauss look like Jessies here, they played like them too.

52 not out March 16, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in cricket.
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To alleviate my sorrow at England losing to New Zealand in our opening world cup game, I took another read of possibly the best ever cricket story detailing David Boon’s heroic 52 tinnies on the flight from Australia to England for the Ashes.

super, super fred… oh crap! March 16, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in content, cricket, TV, web 2.0.
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Monty Mask

Watching England in any sport is like getting on a roller coaster. And our opening efforts in the Cricket World Cup are no different. How we laughed when the first Kiwi ball delivered us an extra. How we sat stunned when Ed Joyce went second ball (1 for 1!!). How we thought all was not so bad for a little while until Pietersen, Collingwood and Flintoff decided to put us into more misery. At 175-7 i decided to have a scout round the sites (as promised below).

The BBC were about 10 minutes behind Sky in their live reports so my previous vindication that Sky have better over by over commentary still holds. And of course the human tone they employ conveys the English gallows humour we’ve sadly come to know so well. But Auntie has some hidden gems. Such as the Monty mask!!

Live commentary & debate too on 606 with such gems as “133 /3 …to 138 / 7… my club side could perform better than that..I mean Scott Styrus….god help us”

I also like the wicket icon, i wonder if they’ll have a special Billy Bowden one with the crooked finger??

got him, he’s gone

In the meantime, I’ll be praying that Monty can rescue us.

line and length, son March 14, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in blackberry, blog, content, cricket, integration, podcast, TV, web 2.0.
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The next 6 or so weeks will give (almost) everyday a special lift, spin or thwack. The cricket world cup started yesterday – I ignore the opening ceremonies for fear of being bored away from any tournament by Barry Davies or his commentator fraternity suddenly extolling the virtues of jamborees, traditional dances and ridiculous tightrope walking atop fantastically awful “national” and “historical” costumes and themes. Give it up. Get on with the show!

And the show started last night. And the home team won! This is great for the tournament as the west indies have been a bit shit of late and it would be great to see some swashbuckling batting and rib-shattering fast bowling from them again.

Of course my wedge (metaphorically as always) is on England (as i always hope… One day…).

In a slightly skewed way toward my profession, I’ll be trying to assess the relative digital merits of my good friends Sky Sports, The Times and BBC as the tournament progresses. Looking at the fairly large but somewhat uninspired content of their pullout yesterday, the times is looking forward to bombarding me with podcasts, live updates, blogs etc. Sky is my natural home for over by over commentary as they add some subtle humour. And please lord let bumble have a daily column! As for the beeb, well old auntie has dropped in my rankings already. I just don’t go there for sport as my mind has shifted to sky over the past few years. TV driving online usage? I am a statistic.

Unlike the ashes which all took place while we were snoozing and led us into a constant state of depression and occasional sense of hope when we awoke, the world cup will play out from lunch to the 10 o’clock news (ish). So I can check in at work, attempt to muddle my way to getting the scores on my blackberry on the way home and keep flicking to sky sports 1/2 when I get home.

And most of all I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of David Gower’s seaside lair in barbados. Now that’s my £37 a month well spent!

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