Blurring of promotion, stunt and going viral: the new PR


North Face is a an apparel, footwear and gear brand that ‘inspires athletes to never stop exploring’. In Seoul, the brand created a stunt in a pop-up store and the video (currently at 6.5mn views) has gone viral. Agency: Innored Needless to say, it is a fantastic idea – with the product at the centre and an execution which reinforces the brand proposition of ‘never stop exploring’. While many brands attempt such activations and promotions in the hope of going viral, very few succeed. Such [Read More]

David Beckham in Guy Ritchie ad for Haig Club: luxury cues done right


Loved the new ad for Haig Club whiskey. It has all the hallmarks of a premium lifestyle brand but none of the bland montage advertising. Like many lifestyle ads, this too is set to a sound track (Left Hand Free’ from Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J. Left Hand Free) but the similarity ends there. This one is a riveting ad with a hint of mystique. In fact, I was reminded of many high-end luxury brands’ advertising when I saw the ad. According to the PR blurb: ‘Welcome’ weaves together a series [Read More]

Brands and hashtags: #notsointegrated


Sometimes I wish Twitter had patented hashtags and charged brands for using them. Hashtags are everywhere – in Breaking News blurbs on TV channels, print ads and of course, the dreaded Twitter contests. I can understand media houses trying to hashtag everything – they have content which can get updated by the minute and hashtags help to highlight a featured story. TimeNow of course has taken it to a comical levels inventing hashtags to push an agenda. What about brands? Done well, a hashtag can be [Read More]

When selfies become fingies and other thingies


It was declared ‘Word of the Year’ in 2013. In an era where things trends in hours and change is constant, we see marketers and digital agencies acting as if they discovered the phenomenon of selfies just yesterday. It is almost 2015 and there are so many ad campaigns featuring the ‘selfe’ as the central idea or as an important element in the campaign be it a TVC or social media campaign on Twitter or Facebook. I realise that marketing & advertising folk need to be keen followers of [Read More]

Are you man enough for the Toyota Hilux?

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The premise: dramatize the toughness of Toyota Hilux. The creative idea: ‘Not everyone can own a Toyota Hilux – the unbreakable Hilux demands an equally unbreakable driver’. Loved the goofy, deliberately stereotypical portrayal of the macho man and over the top execution. Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi (Sydney) While so many automobile ads still drown in the sea of sameness, this one stands out. Such advertising creates likeability for the brand which is a powerful edge over competition. [Read More]

Brilliant outdoor for @johnlewisretail by @aandeddb


Love at first sight. What a clever piece of work. Great to see creativity even for tactical announcers like these. Airline brands have traditionally integrated characteristics of the destination and what it is famous for in their destination announcer advertising. But a lot of agencies and clients simply settle for ‘Now open in’ type of bland announcers. Glad to see this clever visual pun on a port city. Agency: adam&eveDDB. Via. More John Lewis and related work here. [Read More]

Thoughts on Apple event and reactions: Part 2


We are now in the ‘post-event critique’ phase of the Apple launch, with every element of the launch event and launch plans being analysed and critiqued. Herewith my unsolicited views on the event and the reactions thus far: Part 1 of the post is here. The big screen: about a year late Steve Jobs is said to have made the ‘7-inch tablets are DOA’ comment. He has also reportedly mocked large screen phones. On the other hand, officially Apple has not mocked big screen phones in a negative [Read More]

Thoughts on Apple event and reactions: Part 1


Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, goes the famous quotation. With Apple, it can be modified to say, ‘Record sales is what happens when media & critics find fault with almost everything the brand does’. The reason: news about Apple gets attention; bad news about Apple gets even more attention. When it comes to product launches, the brand is under the microscope like no other brand. A media circus has now become a part of the launch event. While this applies to many [Read More]

Apple’s iWatch event and pointers for brands


It has been a year since the first rumours started about Apple launching a wearable device, most commonly speculated to be a watch. In a couple of days from now, we will know if Apple delivers on expectations. Actually, the company will never actually deliver on expectations because (a) the expectations themselves are spectacular, even unreal and (b) there will always be a section of consumers & media who either dislike Apple (hence pooh-pooh any effort from the brand) or want to see it fail. [Read More]

Why I don’t like native advertising the way it is defined


There’s been considerable discussion around native advertising (good reads here and here) of late. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines native advertising thus: it is an online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and function of the user experience in which they are placed. The advertiser’s intent is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and thus increase [Read More]