Indulge Me – Brands.

February 23, 2012

A brand I feel nostalgic about would be Fairy Liquid, I adore the advertising especially around the 1990’s. It’s fifty years old this year! I remember the campaign about re-using the empty bottles, and enjoyed seeing the many possibilities. Oddly enough I also rather enjoyed the tv ad when the mother was washing her hands, you could see all the bubbles and they looked so soft.  What also was adorable was the kid having to wait ages for the empty bottle because ”Fairy Original provides you with up to an amazing 8 weeks of cleaning power!” The branding is clever, with copy like ‘mums like you, the real unsung heroes of the home,  should have excellent quality and value that you deserve.” Including direct address and flattery without sounding patronizing. Although updating the bottle, and products ie dishwasher tablets, fairy has stuck to its familiar style of advertising. This for me is why I get nostalgic it evokes memories of my mother saying that the bottle is empty, so my brother and I could make whatever was on ‘Smart’ or art attack.

 A brand that I trust would be La Riche Directions hair dye. For one ,their product works well on my hair unlike similar branded semi permanent hair dyes and two it’s aimed directly at me. What I mean by this is it’s aimed at 17-20 year olds, people who like to change their appearance alot and who like to stand out and look different. I do this by my hair, and this is what Directions gives me. The copy is professional yet colloquial and the models in the print all have a style to die for. You can  buy the product from the website, which is also handy. The website also has an ongoing competition to be the ‘face of 2011’, allowing customers to submit a hairstyle using the dye.

 A brand that I distrust would be Schwarzkopf especially with their live xxl hair dye. the advertising is all slick with their beautiful models with beautiful bright shiny hair but in reality its rubbish. And the print is blatantly photoshopped, even the hair colour! Everyone that I know who has used the ‘dark spice’ red dye, have said that their head got really itchy and came out darker than stated on the packet. It also dyes your scalp a nasty orange colour. The branding claims that after 30 washes it will still retain 90% colour. This is a bold face lie as my friends and I complain of it going dull after about 3 washes.  Another colour that is shockingly awful is the ‘mystic violet’, it just dyes your hair black. The redeeming feature is in the copy, ‘find a shade that would suit your attitude’, this works well and its catchy.Unfortunately the shade that would suit my attitude would be ‘bitterly disapointed.’


Working progress

February 1, 2012

Crippled with fear, I fall alone

I’m lost

Wondering idly

Deep into my abyss

I sink

I drown


With Web 2.0 always functioning in BETA mode, its not hard to picture the future of social media, there also are various opinions on what will happen. Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO of Foursquare says that, ””The future of social media is that the social graph becomes so ubiquitous in everything we do that we stop using the term ‘social media’.” I agree, when you think about all the possibilities and connections you have with virtually anyone you want. Who’s been here, who’s going where, who’s experienced what, who’s watching / listening to / reading what and etc. Just like Facebook’s news feed, Twitters home page and Dailybooth’s photo stream. These are becoming necessities, I and many others my age check these constantly and feel lost without them. Charlene Li from Altimeter Group has similar views, “it’s going to be like air. It will be anywhere and everywhere you need and want it to be. It will be seamlessly built into our everyday experiences, rather than shoe horned into the corners of websites. And like air, if it isn’t around, you will feel like you can’t truly breath and live.”

Sara Haines, contributing correspondent for “Today” claims that, “”The future of social media is an integral part of television.” In keeping with Dennis Crowley,what she means by this is that viewers will continue to use new technology to share and react to what they’re watching. From sharing breaking news to events in Eastenders viewers get up the date opinions and first hand reactions.

Mike Monteiro from Mule design studio controversially says that, “‘Who you are’ has never been as interesting as who you pretend to be.” The future of social media is the start of a new fiction, online you can make yourself whoever you want to be, more and more people will eventually find their real personas uninteresting.

Business’s and companies will grow and expand even more then they already have by fully integrating into social media platforms. Business’s will gain from the relationship they can build with their consumers. Mike Lazerow from Buddy Media has a similar outlook, “It’s an era where customers, vendors and partners are no longer anonymous segments that you ‘source,’ ‘manage’ and ‘market to.”

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This critique will define who has made a successful Christmas campaign and who have missed their opportunity in 2011. Some people don’t even feel ‘Christmassy’ until they see the Coca Cola ads now. Ultimately that is what brands want to strive too, a ‘Christmas event’ to mark the beginning of the festive period. To get the customer to buy into their idea or product, especially around a heavy gift giving holiday. This will include looking at brands propositions and how well executed they are in my opinion (of course).

Let’s dive in with Argos’s 2011 alien Christmas advert, which features a  recently arrived family of aliens. They go shopping and are  shocked by all the hustle and bustle that Christmas shopping can bring. Argo’s brand proposition would be to showcase that they believe there is a better way to shop online. As it’s Christmas the target market is mostly parents and family’s, and there is no exception with this campaign. For a start the aliens are a typical family, you have a mother, a father an older brother and a younger sister. This would appear to be so the audience can relate to the family and even see a bit of themselves in the roles that these aliens possess. However, in my opinion I don’t think the use of aliens was necessary. I get it I really do, Argos thought, ‘how can we show an outsiders point of view on how hectic Christmas shopping on the high street is, and get customers to consider shopping online.’ Except they took the term ‘outsider’ literally and went with the notion of aliens. Apart from aliens having nothing to do with Christmas, put in puppet form they are terrifying!

The advert starts with a busy shop, and cuts to the family of aliens looking wide eyed out of the lift,  (isn’t it odd that no-one runs away screaming, ‘ALIEN INVASION’). The brother alien pipes up and says, ”This human idea of Christmas shopping, does my head in”, to which the father adds, ”It all feels a bit alien running around panicked.” What a witty pun (enter sarcasm here). Everyone knows that Christmas shopping is a major hassle, so why do Argos have to show this through aliens. Ultimately the conversation draws on to the brands proposition, ”They should just reserve their presents online with Argos”. This message is clear, but I feel that Argos could have pulled the boat out instead of the notion of aliens, to me this just doesn’t scream Christmas.

May I add how creepy and unnecessary the whole scene is where the daughter alien says that, ”this is all a big conundrum, it’s up there with Justin Bieber and Egg Nog.” I get the egg nog part because seriously who wants a drink made from egg? If that is even what it really is. However, why does the mother alien have to moan ”Mmmm Bieber”? It sounds like she wants to steal him away and lock him upstairs in her room for her own pleasure. Just sounds creepy and doesn’t add well with the free moving plastic eyes and twitchy movements of the puppets.

This competes with Iceland’s Christmas campaign because they are both directed at family’s over the Christmas period. Featuring Stacie Solomon driving home for Christmas, Iceland’s brand proposition would be to ‘Get more for your family this Christmas, from Iceland. Basically advertising Iceland’s cheap frozen wonderland full of Christmas party and dinner supplies. The ad is a modern day take of the original ‘Driving home for Christmas’ ad that was made in 1998 and features a song by Chris Rea. This firstly is where the ad goes wrong. ‘National treasure’ Stacy Solomon became famous from being on X Factor and singing, so obviously Iceland thought it would be a good idea to have Stacey cover this iconic Christmas anthem. No, no it wasn’t Iceland, you have ruined this song for me therefore you have ruined my Christmas. Bit of an overreaction but, the cover is just abrasive, it doesnt work in the same way as Chris Rea’s soft comforting gravely voice.

The ad opens with Stacey just finishing her gig, she gets in the car and cue the abrasive cover. It’s all dark and snowy just what it would be like when you are driving home for Christmas. It cuts to her family and friends in a lavishly decorated house having a Christmas party as Stacey drives towards Dagienham (where she actually lives).  All well and good so far, but she is over-ally  smiley and looks perfect considering she has been on stage performing, this doesn’t bode well for continuity and realism. She parks up and waves to a passing Iceland delivery man. Towards the end of the add it cuts back and forth between happy smiling faces and defrosted frozen food from Iceland. Just like Argos the advert has a distinct heavy family theme, causing competition between the two.  I get the emotional trigger of being ‘home for Christmas’ and this comes through somewhat well, I just feel Iceland could have pushed the boat out instead of producing a bog standard advert with a poor cover over the top.

I realize this critique is quite critical, Toys R Us doesn’t bode well for you either. What happened to the ageless jingle, ”There’s a magical place; we’re on our way  there; with toys in their millions, all under one roof”. It created a fantastical excitement in me as a child of all the toy possibilities stacked up in a massive warehouse. Now in Toys R us’s new campaign, they have featured a poorly executed American rap waffling on about coupons over poor digital animation. The brands proposition is to showcase their biggest Christmas catalogue in a fun way for families (again more competition). I feel they have gone to far in their ‘down with the kids’ theme, the visuals look similar to animated adverts (Coco Pops) which I believe will make viewers switch off . The American rapping over the top doesn’t help either. It shows a company didn’t think their strategy through well when the outcome of an ad features a rap. I mean it’s just not ‘cool’ anymore is it? It all seams a bit out of touch and outdated, especially advertising a catalogue, when Argos are advertising to buy and reserve online instead of using their catalogue .The campaign tagline ‘Where toys are a big deal’ is also weak and outdated, its short and sweet yes but I feel there could have been a better word then the use of ‘deal’, they could have just gone with ‘Where toys are for you’.

Lastly Sainsbury’s have redeemed advertising me for me this year with their Christmas ad which complies of Jamie Oliver cooking a ‘happy go lucky’ Christmas dinner for the cast of a pantomime. This is Jamie’s last advert with Sainsburys and I feel it is the best one yet. It features the original (Icelands Stacey Solomon cover competition) song by George Formby titled ‘Happy go lucky me”. The brands proposition of ”Bringing you all the ingredients for a show stopper this Christmas” and strategy is clear throughout. Jamie Olivers branding is very similar to Sainsburys and this works very well. The ad starts off with a panto horse riding a two man bike, and cuts to Jamie smashing some garlic in his ‘bish, bash bosh’ style of cooking. Both Jamie and Sainsbury’s have a ‘Happy go lucky me’ vibe with their brands visions and values, and this is even shown by the choice of song that starts to play. The ad plays out with scenes of pantomime characters drastically trying to get to this meal cooked by Jamie, and Jamie himself throwing beautiful ingredients in various pans and ovens. Eventually the kitchen pulls away like a stage and Jamie presents his beautiful meal. It has a loose Christmas theme , which is good for a change and will help the ad stand out from its competitors.  It’s  more celebrating the event of getting together with quality ingredients  for a show stopping Christmas dinner. Also their isn’t much talking from Jamie, which is brilliant because their is only so much Jamie I can hear on the television. He wishes you a happy Christmas from everybody at Sainsbury’s and thats it. One pointer I have to say is that to make the advert more an an event it would have been better for the pantomime characters to be celebrities. Just to endorse a more Christmas present idea for their advert, however it’s humerus simple and light hearted  and this works extraordinarily well in advertising.

To conclude, Argos, Iceland and Toys R us failed in my books as Christmas events, this I believe is because the brands propositions weren’t executed enough to the already high standers of competing advertisements. Sainsbury’s however are in a different league, the proposition was clear and didn’t digress with any gimmicks of aliens or rapping. Comparing Sainsbury’s to Iceland branding is like chalk and cheese. Iceland are cheap and cheerful frozen foods for when you simply cant cook or cant be bothered to, this is shown in their adverts, the poor cover of a classic Christmas song (trying to be something they are not)  and the fact that there is no preparation involved in the food except for arranging samosas on a plate . Sainsbury’s branding is about quality and beautiful food to enjoy and celebrate, and of course this is shown in the adverts. They use a top quality TV chef who has pride in quality and sustainable ingredients to cook a meal worthy of celebrating for. It’s obvious who comes out on top here.

I shall leave you with a quote from Michael Winner, “calm down dear, it’s only a commercial.”

I am not a fan of politics to the point where I would rather gauge my eyes out with a rusty spoon. However I understand the ‘importance’ of it’s role, and its role in Social Media. Or rather Social Media’s role in politics.

Lets start with a definition of democracy from good ol Wikipedia, “Democracy in it’s purest or most ideal form would be a society in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions tha affect their lives.”

Here is Dahl’s (1971) Empirical conditions for democracy. It involves  the election of officials through free and fair democracy, it also allows the right for all citizens to run for public office. This leads to freedom of expression.

Information is important to the democratic process as only an informed citizen can cast an informed vote. In order to make meaningful discussions, citizens of democratic societies must have knowledge of social issues and understand the political system.

Ah the internet, lets have a chat about that and its democratic potential. It features include an unmediated access to a wide range of information and like citizen journalism it has low barriers of entry. It also offers a global reach of a connected network. This is effective because anonymity can remove social stereotypes and hierarchy, and brakes down the barrier between producer and consumer.

The rise and increase in social media content has further enhanced the Internets democratic potential, An example of this would be  politicians using social media to gain votes such as Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Obama used social media to increase awareness of his campaign this engaged citizens to take a more active and direct role. He used Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to encourage voters support and amplify his campaign through their own networks. This led to a  group called the Jewish Council for Education and Research, who were behind ‘The Great Schlep’, which encouraged young Jews to go to Florida to nudge their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama for president.

However there are draw backs in the rise of social media involving politics. This would involve an information overload which questions quality of online discussions, leading to a lack of accountability.

Indulge Me – Drink Aware

January 21, 2012

This campaigns proposition from Drink Aware is essentially, informing 18-24 years olds on how alcohol can turn good times in to bad times when you drink too much.

They also have a  tagline of ”Why let Good Times go bad?’ Which I feel could have done with a bit more work, I don’t know what it is, but there is just something wrong with the way it’s worded. I think it’s the word ‘Bad’ just seems a bit weak.

However they have redeemed themselves with their posters:

Right use of up to date ‘slang’, this Epic night and Epic fail ad works well.  On the left it shows awesome hipsters having an awesome hipstery time, on the right separated by a silhouette of a bottle of bud it shows that the hipster drank too much and is about to ruin his awesome image  by chundering.  This fills the brad proposition well, is done with style and is also simplistic.

A Facebook fan page is also featured here, ‘This is your Fan Page and a place where we encourage you to leave comments, photos, videos, and links.’ There has been a few bits of activity with currently 713 likes and 21 people ‘talking about this’ It also showcases its app –  ”Have a great night out with the Good Times app. Then keep those good times going using its top tips and tools.
Record the fun memories with live comments, photos and updates, and relive them all over again the next morning.’ Personally? I wouldn’t download this app, for one I hardly take my smartphone out with me or even use it on a night out. Secondly I don’t want my phone to nag me with ‘tips and tools’ to stop me from getting too drunk.

Lastly we will end on this: 

It’s basically a poor parody of Katy Perry’s ‘Last Friday Night’ music video, including those ‘hipster glasses’.

To me this just seems like an after thought after a quick idea. The concept of ‘Don’t let the good times go bad’ loosely fits with Katy Perry’s video, also I don’t understand why the lyrics had to be changed and re-sung. I get the thought process I really do essentially its showcasing how to use the good times app. Unfortunately in my opinion this video really wasn’t necessary for the campaign.

The intranet is mostly used  for business’s for internal communication this makes a vast number of resources available. Recently companies have taken this idea and created their own social networks. Social Business is a recent trend revolutionizing the way companies work and generate value for all the stakeholders, employees, customers, partners and suppliers.

An example of this would be IBM, according to ‘social business starts with people’. They go on to say that  a social business ”embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration and community – internally and externally.” Thus delivering unprecedented return for the time invested. This social network they created for use internally in a business has benefits, such as being able to reach where their employee’s live and work helping to engage people productively in a business context. Apparently according to Ted Stanton thi is working very well, with over 30,000 specialist communities, 18,000 blogs and 12 million chats every day.

The benefits are clear with a social business, it’s sharing information at a more controlled and relevant way at work. This leads to  better business performance. Which, increases better awareness about business opportunities and colleagues needing help. It will filter out unwanted spam emails, and stops an overload of information. Because of it being its own social network the employees will have more motivation and company engagement due to feeling more involved. That’s always a plus for a business.

Elements of Word of mouth marketing relate to citizen journalism , the real time nature of social media changes how audiences access and consume news. It has lower barriers to entry for publishing which has decentralized who is considered a publisher.  Mobile technologies change how the news is sourced and broadcast. With instant live feeds and videos being uploaded constantly its easy to see why social media is challenging traditional notions of advertising. Social media also enables  content from multiple sources on its platform, like discussing news articles on The New Yorker to generate user feedback and discussion. This can also get shared across onto Facebook, according to Ofcom 51% of 18-24 year- olds with a social networking profile agreed that  they often find out about breaking news stories first via a social networking website. Traditional methods of journalism have high barriers to entry and were uni directional, now anyone can set up a blog. It is also available in  real time and is constantly updated. An example in culture would be the London Riots in 2011, rioters, spectators and journalists  were able to communicate through blogs, Tumblr, tweets, photos, maps and videos. All on their smartphones. Even after the riots, social media was being used to spot and catch out rioters. Tumblr has a blog named ‘Catch a Looter’ which is in contact with Crimestoppers calling people who recognize looters in the pictures uploaded.

Simply put, DailyBooth is “Your Life in Pictures”. The platform is one of self expression that connects people to their friends in real-time through the use of photos and status updates!

Created by John Wheately and Ryan Amos in  February 2009, Dailybooth is a real ‘people watcher’ hobby. Wheatley said, ”You could see these people actually grow and evolve. You could watch their style and fashion change over time.” It is a whole new way to communicate and behave.

It gained immense popularity as celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Demi moore joined and encouraged their viewers and readers to join. It recently passed the 100,000 photo mark and in early 2010, the website reached 3,000,000 photos and 10,000,000 comments. The company says that to date 13 million photos have been shared via its service and that it is poised to benefit from the introduction of front-facing cameras on smartphones and tablets.

The Live Feed is a feature which displays a real time stream of recent photos and activity from all public members on the site. This means it is constantly moving as a picture gets updated every 2 seconds, what more could you want from a social media platform. DailyBooth allows users to automatically post a link to their Twitter account when they take new photos, interlinking between other social media platforms, and also offers short URL’s  for users to link to their photos.



January 8, 2012

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