Monthly Archives: May 2015

Making the unfashionable, fashionable

Butlin’s is, I think it’s fair to say, unfashionable. Big Data on the other hand is very fashionable. Co-creation is oft talked about by Marketers but still rarely seen.

These three unrelated truisms sprang to mind when I wrote my last post in this blog, but the reason is worthy of this separate post.

Channeling Woodstock may not be very common terminology but in creating the forum “Mumstock” both Mumsnet and Marketing Week have developed an interesting concept to try and offer insight into how ‘Mums’ (apologies for the generalisation) respond to advertising and to try and distill insight into what makes a connection with them; a group of interested parties, just like the like-minded hippies that flocked to Woodstock in 1969.

Why did this spring to mind recently? Well, in my last post I looked at what I call Lifestyle advertising, and that centres, in most variations, on family and children. At Mumstock the reason this style is continuing may have been identified in a simple stat:

  • Only 1 in 5 Mums relate to the portrayal of Mums or motherhood in advertising.

Given the revenue potential of that target group that means a whole lot of advertising is missing the mark completely.

The Co-op Food business were keynote speakers at the event and unfashionably they picked a core headline grabbing insight themselves : Look beyond Big Data and create an emotional connection for your brand. Ok, the second bit is not rocket science, but the first bit is definitely anti trend ! Definitely an unfashionable sentiment for a Marketer in 2015. returns about 800 million results for Big Data, IBM and Xerox dominate the Paid ads which gives a sense of the investment in analytics and its value engineering potential.

So why did I mention Butlin’s? Well they have created a new suite of chalets at their MInehead, Somerset, UK holiday camp and their insight … well it was from Mumsnet. They consulted the Mumsnet community – a notoriously vocal community – and asked them how they should design their chalets to appeal to a family audience, by default identifying their target decision maker is, in most cases, the Mum. Crucially this demonstrates they have listened.

They are trying to develop a chalet that delivers that emotional engagement – if not physically (and they do look nice) then at the very least in their design and fit.  Take a look at the ad below:

A bold move, but one that is well thought out. Marketers rattle on about co-creation, and I don’t know how deep the research went, but its clear in the reality that they have listened; to questions about how many TVs to have in each chalet, what the exterior should look like, arts and crafts supplies for rainy days and so on. The ad doesn’t mention the link with Mumsnet, but you can see the GBP 16m investment has radically changed the appearance and facilities.

They appear to have listened to the research from Mumsnet that says that Mums see their motherhood as a relationship not a job … and by default I interpret this as meaning for Marketers that the emotional can clearly override the rational.

Billy Butlin’s empire was founded in the 1930s but in 2015 his vision/mission statement “Our true intent is all for your delight” seems well suited to this collaboration. Butlin’s refer to this development as a return to what made them popular, so it may be that if I post again in 12 months time my ‘unfashionable headline’ will need a change!

31 May 2015

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Top Ten Lifestyle Adverts

Advertising trends come and go over time, but one trend, certainly in TV advertising terms, seems to be sticking around and in some cases becoming quite brave.

I call it ‘Lifestyle’.

Creative agencies may call it real life, and for a different generation this is a 21st Century version of kitchen sink melodrama. It’s more complex than it sounds, I mean it feels obvious doesn’t it, that if you reflect real life then it shows your brand as empathetic, but that’s a hard trick to pull off in broadcast media. It has to be ‘average’ enough to not polarize I imagine.

The most common manifestation is an everyday life scene, but I have had a bit of fun with my top ten and stretched that a bit:

10.  Homepride Fred

“Fred about the house” is the ad title and it is indeed a slice of just that. There is no first person commentary here, and that style is evident again in this list. Other factors that make this work: The actors are all attractively engaging and not too perfect, the humour works; it’s wry and gentle and just racy enough.

Bringing back Fred as a real life hero seems not to jar (sorry I could resist the pun). Nice ad.

09. Co-operative

As you know I have a fondness for the Co-op having worked on the brand (still no heritage story play by the way !) “Here for you for life” never really resonated for me but this ad really does. It’s entitled ‘Easter made easy’ and that plays nicely into the local co-op positioning for last-minute, low basket value, shopping.
As in many of these Lifestyle ads the hero’s are children and good they are in this ad. The nice thing for me about the ad though is the normal housing, this is clearly not ‘Waitrose-land’ and the ad works better for it.
Again minimal first person narrative makes this feel unhurried and engaging

08. Sky Movies on demand

This is a beautifully shot short film in my view, I forget it’s an advert, the production values are so very high. It uses the diversity of families in 2015 to make a point about there being a movie for everyone.
Its brave and smart and knowing and the art direction is beautiful. And I don’t even subscribe to Sky anymore !

Lovely work.

07. KFC Burritos

A love story in 30 seconds. The Troggs soundtrack rocks this ad along, but what makes it work is the ‘average girl/boy next door’ looks, the normalcy of the setting: Office life, lunch in the sun, boy meets girl, rain, romance. A truly lovely little ad in a category that needs a little inspiration to go beyond the ‘burger as superhero’ fodder that usually airs on our TVs and cinema screens.

By now you will have noticed the filming techniques common in this genre: not too sharp, feathered photography, panning shots from a relatively static camera and no ostentatious glamour. This really is a very nice ad.

06. KFC 50 years – Adoption ad

Can KFC better that ad, you bet they can, this is a love story in a minute, and of a different kind. This is brave ad. It could tip into mawkishness very easily but because it’s portrayed as a normal slice of life, of growing up, it doesn’t. The normal house, the normal bedroom, the light pastel colours, then the music picks up pace as the boy grows … and conversation in the background – no talking to the audience. Lovely work.

It has attracted degree of cynicism, but as an ad it says more about how the brand wants to you to feel than any number of ads that are making a hero of the KFC product itself.

05. Be Lungworm aware

Ok this is niche, but it is a brilliant little slice of family life. I like it because it is unexpected.
it’s an ad funded by a drug company but has at its heart a desire to educate. To do that and break through in a noisy marketplace it needs to resonate.

Whatever the reality of pet ownership is, this ad portrays it as we would like it to be. The family is engaged, attractive and interested in each other and the dog. The filming is atmospheric, pastel shades and sunny. The end frames are therefore very effective, as the delivery of the final message hits home hard. I like this ad a lot.

04. Cathedral City Come Home

This only makes my top ten because the start is so good. The second half of the ad uses the product as hero, so I’m stretching a point. I’ve included it because it ticks a number of lifestyle ad boxes:

  • Children as hero’s / spokespersons
  • Multi generational family scenario
  • Realistic photography with muted colours
  • Great soundtrack
  • Camera work that is largely static but pans and crops

03. Birds Eye ‘The Proposal”

Used to relaunch the brand this is a very brave ad in my view. It relies solely on making the frozen food look natural as the hero. The family are present and you can hear them in a good strong funny voiceover, but the ad gives the main voice to the food.

It’s realistic whilst being unrealistic at the same time. That said the delivery of “no” is genuinely funny at 26s in. The accents are important in the delivery too. Nicely cast and nicely imagined. Brave form Birds Eye I think.

02. Coleman’s Meal Kits

I have used the word brave a few times in this post. This ad is the bravest though. It is so easy to get this wrong. Coleman’s have pulled this family melodrama off really well in my view. Have a watch and see for yourself. I think it’s great that brands and Ad Agencies are now accepting that families in the UK are very different form the cosy Oxo family ideal of Mum dad and 2 children.

Excellent work Coleman’s and this builds on the excellent Shepherds pie ad from 2014.

In itself that was a step outside the category norm as you can see.

01. Habitat

Well this is my family life !

My top ten is:

10 Homepride Fred
09 Co-operative Food
08 Sky Movies on Demand
07 KFC Burritos
06 KFC 50 Years celebration
05 Be Lungworm aware
04 Cathedral City Cheese
03 Birds Eye
02 Coleman’s meal kits
01 Habitat

21 May 2015

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