RADvertising: Macca's Egg McMuffin in 3D animation

It is a little known fact that I have Macca’s for brekky once a week (on average). Since I don’t eat meat, I try to cheat the system by ordering the cheaper “muffin but add egg and cheese to it” rather than “an Egg McMuffin but skip the bacon.” I also add a hash brown with tomato sauce on it into the delectable breakfast sandwich. And sometimes I guzzle down a Coke with it too.

But I digress.

Normally I rant against ads that are longer than 60-seconds, finding them gratuitous and not user-friendly (thanks to YouTube I’ve learned to love 6 second ads - which make 60 second ads feel like an eternity). However, and I’m totally stealing this from a source I’ve forgotten: There’s no such thing as a short attention span - there is only bad content that doesn’t hold your attention.

For instance, I rewatch a Star Wars movie about once a week (not necessarily whilst eating my meatless McMuffin) and the average length of a Star Wars movie (only the good original ones from my 80s childhood) is 121 minutes if you don’t include the credits.

HOWEVER - a French 3D animation guru just crafted this 2-minute ad/video and all I can say is… I’M MESMERISED. And wish it went even longer:

B&T did a much more in-depth article about it here. But really all I want to do is rewatch it… and go for Macca’s tomorrow morning…

Posted on August 28, 2019 and filed under RADvertising.

BADvertising: Harvey Norman for Dolce & Gabbana SMEG small appliances... or is it genius?

Here’s a communication piece I can’t tell if it’s super smart or just plain dumb: A recent Harvey Norman catalog that landed in my letterbox features some truly fugly small appliances co-designed between Dolce & Gabbana and SMEG.

I’ve always had a beef with SMEG ever since living in a designer unit in Surry Hills that came with a SMEG oven, stovetop and dishwasher that had the most unintuitive icons. Every time I wanted to cook something I had to look up the instruction manual online (which I bookmarked - it was that bad).

Once I got over the visual eye sores gracing the catalog cover, I then moved on to sticker shock seeing the prices: a $799 toaster, kettle and citrus juicer, and a $1100 blender. The blender perhaps didn’t phase me as much as I know they can get quite exxy, but charging $800 for life’s most mundane appliances was still comical to me.

Plus, although I love Italy, my home is Scandi in design - far too minimalist for these patterns! And since I’m currently living in suburban Ipswich for a few months, where I assume all my neighbours received the catalog as well… is this really the target market for this product?

Harvey Norman .jpeg

But I wonder if this is actually really smart marketing: If you’ve read up on behavioural economics, you’ll know the concept of ‘anchoring’ which is where a company puts a really expensive option in their line of SKUs to make the others seem much more palatable to the wallet. A classic example is the luxury car that’s on display at a boat show for $300,000. After looking at multi-million dollar yachts for a few hours, suddenly the $300,000 car doesn’t seem so expensive and you’re more likely to consider it (assuming you are still richer than God).

Going back to the catalog: When I open to the next page and see a range of toasters and kettles from brands like DeLonghi, Russell Hobbs and Breville all selling for around $150, suddenly that seems pretty reasonable. And let’s face it: that’s where the bulk of their customers are going to be purchasing from - not the front page selling $800 kettles.

So if the job was to anchor the price and make the homewares inside feel accessible, mission accomplished. But if the job was to get suburban Ipswich folks to buy into the Dolce and Gabbana meets SMEG aspirational lifestyle, I have to question the success of the catalog cover and for that reason I’m bucketing this one under BADvertising.

Tell me: what do you think?

Posted on April 30, 2019 and filed under BADvertising.

RADvertising from Super Bowl 53

It’s almost obligatory for a blog about advertising to comment on the Super Bowl each year. If you want to watch them all in your copious spare time, you can see them here. But why would you when I’ve just done the homework for you?

So here goes my 3 favourite Rad Ads… and a few runner-ups.

#1. Hyundai: The Elevator. Humour never goes out of style. Jason Bateman and the cast of characters deliver perfect comedic timing and make you want to know how the ad finishes as they descend into life’s most miserable experiences… including root canals, jury duty and a vegan dinner party (Beetloaf!) —- naturally vegans are outraged by the ad. Car shopping is down there with the vegans (I can pick on them because I practically am them) - but then all is revealed for how to make car shopping a pleasure.

#2. BUD LIGHT: Brewed with No Corn Syrup. Sometimes a brand just needs to take off the kid gloves and just punch its competitor(s) in the face, which is exactly what Bud Light does to both Miller and Coors Light - which are apparently brewed with corn syrup…. who knew?! There is the risk that this will bring the entire “light beer” category down rather than lift Bud Light up (new mental model: “Light” beers = corn syrup) but I admire their bravery in portraying competing brands in their ad. It’s ballsy - just like Bud Light. Certainly seems more motivating than sister-brand Budweiser’s ad which uses Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” to tout that its beers are produced using wind farm energy, which I’m even less sure its audience cares about than corn syrup in beer.

Verizon: The team that wouldn’t be here. One of the more poignant ads, it features 12 NFL players who nearly died in accidents earlier in their lives - and the first responders who saved them. The ad celebrates the players and first responders and drills home Verizon’s clear brand positioning as “America’s most reliable network” due to its role in helping first responders receive emergency calls. It encourages you to go online and hear more about their stories (bring tissues).

And there are 3 runner-ups as well:

  1. Pringles Stack - Sad Device… because I never thought to combine flavours by stacking them - which might really increase my cart size next time (I’ll buy a Ranch tube AND Honey Mustard). Also - it’s very funny. See it here.

  2. Pepsi “Is Pepsi OK?”…. As far as I can tell, Steve Carell can do no wrong. This insightful ad brings to life a snippet of real world dialogue that always happens when a you order a Coke but the restaurant only has Pepsi: “Is Pepsi OK?” After seeing this ad, you’ll never hear that question the same way again. See it here.

  3. Michelob Ultra Pure Gold… You have to admire a brand that uses the whispery sounds of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response ) as Zoë Kravitz plays with a bottle of “beer in its pure form.” Only problem is…. this ad would not have worked in a rowdy and loud party of beer drinkers who wouldn’t be able to hear it. See it here.

    What WASN’T working for me: a) Anything much over 1 minute long (gratuitous!); b) unclear what the ad is for (and you really don’t care to find out); c) blatant use of celebrities without them adding to the story (ie: M&M’s doesn’t need Christina Applegate to be a soccer mum; but Sarah Jessica Parker reprising her role as Carrie and choosing a Stella Artois instead of a cosmo has relevance to the actor so it feels less crass).

    What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Posted on February 7, 2019 and filed under RADvertising.

RADvertising: Boost Juice "Vacay with Boost" contest

It’s pretty rare for a fast food, erm, quick service restaurant promotional contest to be engaging. McDonalds’ annual Monopoly game is really the gold standard - but even that you have to be pretty committed to eating your Maccas in order to win. And the latest Monopoly card I got told me to “Download the app and scan the code for a 1 in 5 chance to win.” That sounds like a lot of work for… a chance.

Conversely, with new Boost Juice “Vacay with Boost”… EVERYONE IS A WINNER. Even if it’s just a dollar or two off your next juice. What makes it really compelling is the multimedia factor: First you get a card handed to you with a unique code. Then you enter it at BoostVacay.com.au where you meet “Burning Man Dave” who is totally obnoxious but entertaining too. A video plays where it feels like Dave is typing your number into his system to see if you won - it almost feels a bit like the viral hit “Subservient Chicken” from Burger King circa 2004. (Has it really been 14 years since Subservient Chicken?)

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 11.03.27 PM.png

Then, for the gamblers out there, you’re given the chance to swap your number for a different prize. To do so, you type your phone number into the screen and the next minute your phone rings and it’s, yep, Burning Man Dave (note: he has nothing to do with actual Burning Man festival) telling you what your new prize is. I ended up with the same $2 off my next Boost.

Although it may sound like a lot of work, it’s not. Rather, it’s all very effortless and engaging - with a unique irreverence that Boost manages to pull off nicely. The grand prizes are trips to wacky places like the Toilet Museum in New Delhi India, Dracula’s castle in Transylvania and Area 51 in Nevada.

Of course from a business strategy standpoint, the real measure of success of a contest like this is: Does it drive more store sales? No doubt Monopoly does for Maccas as people try to get all the pieces and trade with their friends (or sell pieces online even). I’ll keep this card with me for next time I’m in a shopping centre, and yes it’s more likely I’ll redeem it when I might not have without it. They also have my phone number now too which is possibly where the real business value exists for the company. Plus, the promotion has strengthened the brand as being somewhere between a jester and an outlaw if you follow brand archetypes. For all these reasons this counts as a form of RADvertising at Insights Grill headquarters. :)

Posted on October 6, 2018 .

RADvertising: Crazy Rich Asians as an ad for Singapore

In 2007 I took a trip to Singapore for an IBM brand strategy project I was working on and remember not loving it there.  I was living in NYC at the time so thought nothing could compare.  I jokingly referred to the island city-state off southern Malaysia as "Singa-snore."  It wasn't for me with all its rules (No spitting.  No gum on the street.)  - which they even joke about on the tacky tourist t-shirts at the airport.  I was from NYC - I was a rule breaker, not a rule follower.

Common tourist t-shirt

Common tourist t-shirt

The only part of Singapore I remember liking was Little India - with all its Hindu temples and authentic Indian food everywhere youwent.  But all that's changed after seeing Crazy Rich Asians last night.   

If you haven't seen it yet (and it's topping the box office currently), it squarely fits in the rom-com genre.  But besides the central romantic relationship in the movie, it's actually a love story about Singapore.   It romanticises the food, the architecture, the nature and (some of) the people.  I was salivating over the hawker food market scene even though I was painfully full from having dinner just before the movie.  When the main character mentions some vendors are Michelin-rated chefs, it puts your local food truck to shame.  

When I visited in 2007, the Marina Bay Sands was probably just a hole in the ground.  Now, I'm obsessed with the idea of swimming at the top in its infinity pool:

The Marina Bay Sands, which opened in 2010

The Marina Bay Sands, which opened in 2010

Who knows what kind of set-up there was between Singapore's tourism body, film industry and the producers of the movie, but they must all be pretty pleased with the result and likely boon for visitors.  The best part is, you won't leave the theatre thinking you have to be 'crazy rich' to enjoy Singapore - but you would be crazy to not be more curious and excited about Singapore than  you were before you walked in. 

In that way, Crazy Rich Asians definitely counts as RADvertising for Singapore.  

Posted on September 4, 2018 and filed under RADvertising.

BADvertising: Samsung Galaxy ad... or is it an iPhone ad?

The new Samsung Galaxy ad spends a lot of screen time dissing iPhone users / fanatics.  It doesn't go so far as to call them a "basket of deplorables" - but still, you can't help but feel that making people feel stupid about their phone choices is a good idea, or that they are behind the curve on technology (also: most people are not obsessed with having the latest technology - they're obsessed with having the latest iPhone which is a much greater brand feat).

It also makes the false assumption that people are glued to their screens watching ads.  If you weren't watching closely, it would be easy to catch a glimpse of the screen and think it's an iPhone ad because the Apple logo features so prominently.   This can't be a good thing.

Lastly, what's so good about the new Samsung Galaxy?  What does it come with besides Extra Smugness?   See for yourself and judge:

Posted on November 6, 2017 and filed under BADvertising.

RADvertising: Qantas x UNICEF "Change for Good"

On a recent flight to Melbourne I passed by the large bin holding headphones you could take onboard to use on the flight.  Wrapped around the headphones is an envelop for UNICEF in which you can provide any pocket change after your flight.   This got me wondering:  Does anybody ACTUALLY do this?  Is this actually an effective and RAD way to do advertising, albeit a fairly old school and analog approach?

The answer is apparently YES:  According to UNICEF, since the program began in 1991, over $31 million dollars have been raised, that's about $1.25 million per year on average.  Considering 5 cents gives a child clean drinking water for 2 days, and $1.50 can protect 5 kids from disease, that money can go a long way.  

The UNICEF brand has been around for a long time - and I always associate it with doing good on a big scale, similar to a Red Cross.  But I've never been really clear on what it actually does.  Turns out it stands for United Nations Children's Fund.  From the site:

The United Nations Children’s Fund, formerly the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, was established on December 11, 1946, by the United Nations to meet the emergency needs of children in post-war Europe and China.

In 1950, its mandate was broadened to include the long-term needs of children in developing countries everywhere. UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations system in 1953, when its name was shortened to the United Nations Children's Fund. It retained its original acronym.

Here's a list of the other corporate partners - and hey perhaps you work on a brand that would want to be added to the list?  With the state of the world as it is, seems the need has never been greater.  

Although at the time I didn't donate (I bring my own headphones), learning more about UNICEF has inspired me to do so next time - that spare change in my wallet only weighs me down as I'm travelling and could be put to much better use through UNICEF.   My only recommendation to them would be to switch it up a bit and get people like me who are on auto-pilot and don't know much about the organisation to take a fresh look at what they've accomplished.  

Of Frorks and Ford Cribs - aka viral stunt marketing

I am probably the most McDonald's-loving vegetarian / tree hugger you will ever meet - considering there is very little on the menu for me and the environmental waste is soul-crushing when you think about it.  

Which is why you'd think that I hate the new FRORK invention that has set some spheres of the interweb ablaze with commentary, confusion and delight.  It's basically a red plastic fork handle that allows you to insert 3 fries into the end to serve as the fork's prongs, which can then be used to sop up any extra ketchup or Big Mac special sauce left on your plate, erm, wrapper.  

Sometimes the rational marketer in me asks: What's the value of doing something like this - does it ACTUALLY SELL MORE BURGERS?  Is this just content for content's sake?  Or is pumping out ideas that spread virally simply the way brands need to operate today to remain top-of-mind? 

Ford did something similar recently with a baby crib that simulates being in a car, since babies are more prone to falling asleep in cars:  The crib gently rocks back and forth like a car, emits car engine hums, and has a circling glowing light that emulates a car passing street lights at night.   I'm getting zzzzzzz just thinking about it:

Part of me is very sceptical and thinks it's a total waste of dollars and energy and won't sell a single car... but part of me also recognises the PR value being generated by these stunts.  A quick search on Youtube for FRORK shows the number of people who've created additional content off the back of the original videos.  By even writing this post about them, I'm adding to the chatter.  

And I was guilty of doing it last year too when I blogged about Volvo launching the Volvo Life Paint, a clear spray paint that can be sprayed on clothing and bikes that glows and is reflective at night.  This to me was the ultimate in viral stunt marketing as it also hammered home Volvo's core positioning of being a SAFE vehicle and caring about protecting consumers.  

But did it sell any Volvos?   

That's debatable - but it did manage to get the brand top-of-mind for a bicyclist/car buyer like me who never watches ads any more.  To that end, perhaps it's done its job.

What do you think?  Are these viral stunts worth it?  Do you believe they help build sales --- or could that money be used better some other way?  


Posted on May 9, 2017 and filed under RADvertising.

RADveritsing: REI's #optoutside campaign

It's fitting to write this blogpost on Friday, 25 Nov 2016, even though we don't celebrate Black Friday nor Thanksgiving in Australia.  Just a few days ago at an AMSRS event we got to hear Niccola Phillips, Head of Art for M&C Saatchi, share her picks from this year's Cannes festival.  Probably the best was the REI campaign from the 2015 Black Friday in which the store adamantly shut its doors during one of the biggest retail sales days of the year in America.  Below is the video case study she shared and the 3 reasons why we think this is a form of RADvertising:

Why we love this:

1. It bravely goes against the grain.  It zigs when everyone else zags.  It goes against conventional wisdom ("We must open our doors at 3am because that's what our competitors are doing!!").  People are tired of seeing how much the Black Friday shopping holiday has been creeping backwards into the Thanksgiving evening and this brand finally decided to do something about it.

2.  It builds the brand:  It wasn't just some PR stunt to be forgotten the next day - it embodies what REI is all about - and they are doing it again this year.  Their employees are still paid which also endears us to the brand and makes them a good corporate citizen.    

3. It's become so much bigger than the campaign:  This year national parks in California are opening their doors (gates?) to the public for free - and people are tagging their photos #optoutside.  On the website where you can pledge to opt outside (5.2 million people have already), you have to wonder how many new family traditions are beginning because of this campaign... naturally they are beginning to call it Green Friday instead.  

For all these reasons and more, we say this is full-on RADvertising REI!

Posted on November 25, 2016 and filed under RADvertising.

RADvertising: Squatty Potty - "The best poop of your life"

We normally review ads for more serious categories (banks, supermarkets, wet cat food...) but on a recent trip to the US we were first exposed to the Squatty Potty - an invention so simple it makes you sigh: "Oh why didn't I think of that?"  

Probably because it's a topic not many marketers would be keen to touch: POOPING!  There is a growing body of evidence showing that we poop better when we are in a more natural squatting position, as our ancestors would've done prior to the invention of the toilet.  Seriously - this has been written about in The Washington Post, HuffPo and Men's Health.  It's also based on the insight that people do not need to waste their money buying more laxatives and prescription drugs when they can solve this problem with a simple "pooping posture" adjustment.  

So someone out there came up with the blazingly simple idea to create a plastic blow mold stool that rests beneath your toilet bowl for you to put your feet on when doing a #2, thus creating a more beneficial squatting posture.  It probably costs them a few cents to produce and it's selling like hot cakes on Amazon for $25 (of course it's $55 from the local Australian distributor).  And the 2,500 customer reviews are largely 5 of 5 stars (read them yourself and become a believer).  It even had a successful pitch on Shark Tank.   (post continued below photo...)

What we really love about this burgeoning health brand is the level of FUN they've managed to have with a potentially unpleasant topic.  Rather than take a boring, medical approach, they've removed the stigma of talking about pooping by making it humorous - the same way some feminine hygiene and toilet tissue brands have recently.  Though we haven't seen it air on TV ever, the hilarious Squatty Potty video (commercial?) came up in our Facebook feed recently.  Titled "This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop" - the ad is one of the most oddball, captivating pieces of long-form advertising we've ever seen.  We couldn't take our eyes off it and bet you won't be able to either:

The holidays are just around the corner... how many of our clients would rather receive a Squatty Potty instead of the usual bottle of wine?  More importantly: What do you think of this quirky product, advert and brand?  Discuss!  

BADvertising: NAB - More than Money campaign

We at The Insights Grill feel bad for banks: no matter what they do, it's never good enough.  Admittedly our last blog post was a RADvertising post for NAB's visually stunning home loans "Journey" ad, the new "More than Money" campaign tilts towards the BADvertising side.  Here's why:

1. Money is inherently emotional - there's no need to go overboard on emotional appeal in the ad.  By now it's pretty well documented that brands do better when they appeal to not only the rational side of our brains but the emotional as well - which is why every marketing brief now talks about communicating the rational and emotional benefits.  But it's not the same for every industry - some categories seduce people more with emotion (fashion, sports), others there is a high degree of rationality involved (toothpaste, cars).  None are completely exclusive of emotion nor rationality, but they are not all equal.  Whenever we've done consumer research on the topic of money, people get incredibly emotional and worked up about it.  Banking should be the rational counterbalance to all the pent up (crazy) emotions we have about our money.  Banking is a category that we believe skews towards rational thinking and evaluation.  The "emotional battle" that banks need to win is at the point of contact (in store, one the phone, online) - arguably NOT during a 30-second TVC.    

2. The Online Backlash undermines the work - Judging by how people have responded online (both on NAB's Facebook page and also advertising trade media like Mumbrella), the campaign is at best falling flat, at worse an indictment of contradiction.  People simply don't believe a bank like NAB could possibly be about "More than Money" when last year it recorded a $6.3 BILLION profit (up 20% from the previous year ago.  (source)  The claim "More than Money" perhaps would be better coming from a community bank or credit union.  

3. All Talk when there actually is some Walk - When you actually visit the More Than Money content (micro?) site, you can see what the company has been doing to prove that it is about more than money: creating co-working hubs like its Village in Melbourne, providing small loans to economically challenged people to help them get back on their feet, and offering quick 3-day loans of $50K to small businesses so they can succeed if in a pinch.  Those real life examples do a much better job of conveying the brand is about more than money than a splashy ad (which people will always equate with a hike in their bank fees to pay for the ad).  

The good intent of a brand highlighting the fact that money is just a conduit (usually) to the important things in life is to be applauded...  But given the current climate of consumer scepticism, uncertainty and oftentimes anger VS. record-breaking bank profits, the More than Money campaign, on the surface, comes up short in believability and for that reason we've classified it under BADvertising.  

RADvertising: NAB Home Loans "Journey"

Sometimes, but rarely, we at The Insights Grill can focus on a TVC for more than 15 seconds because it's just so darn captivating.  That's exactly what this new ad from NAB does as it lures the viewer in with its striking visuals, realistic looking actors, and perfectly selected music.  It also leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger - the journey is not over for these two.  This is one minute of our lives we're happy to not get back:

BADvertising: The new Uber logo - a change ahead of its time

If you're under 34, there's a good chance that the next time you update the apps on your phone, you're going to see a new logo appear for taxi-industry nemesis extraordinaire, Uber.  The change was announced on 2 February with an explanation on the Uber website (here) that talks about the importance of bits (ones and zeros – the digital stuff of life) and atoms (the physical stuff of life).  

The change has been highly criticised online – seems everyone’s a critic when it comes to new logos… including us.  But we like to think our condemnation has more to do with strategic reasoning rather than just pure emotion (though we know emotion is incredibly important when it comes to strong brands of course). 

Here’s 3 reasons why we aren’t fans of the new Uber logo:

1.     It’s too soon.  Roy Morgan just released data showing only 5.1% of Australians rode with Uber in the past 3 months, with almost 3 in 4 (73%) of them being 18-34 year olds. Since there are about 5.4 million people ages 18-34 in Australia, that means only 13% of them have taken up the service.  The video talks about the future of Uber going into food delivery (UberEATS) and parcel delivery (UberRUSH) --- and we applaud those grand plans --- but it makes more sense to have a deeper penetration and understanding of the brand and service as it stands today before messing with the logo.

2.     It’s lost some flavour and distinction.  The beauty of the old logo was it immediately conjured up the brand name.  The new logo could be for anything (personally we see a record player --- a more analog technology than digital).  The brand promise of “everyone’s private driver” also felt more appropriate with the black/silver logo which reminded us of black town cars and limousines and had more prestige to it (even if the driver shows up in a bright blue Hyundai i30).  

3.  It's inconsistent.  They mention that the look and feel will change depending on which country you're in:   "The team has spent months researching architecture, textiles, scenery, art, fashion, people and more to come up with authentic identities for the countries where Uber operates."  Again, the whole point of a brand identity is to be a shortcut for recognising and attaching meaning to a brand --- by having a different looking logo every time we land in a new country (and we'd like to believe Uber users are well-travelled) seems to make it harder on the user, not easier.  We'd rather they leave the local market acculturation job to the driver rather than the logo.

For these reasons, plus an underwhelming response to the visual itself, we have to rate one of our favourite brands as BADvertising when it comes to the new logo.  We'll still take you anywhere Uber... it just might be harder to spot you amongst our 73 apps after a big night out.     

You can watch the brand video here.      

Posted on February 16, 2016 and filed under BADvertising.

RADvertising: Cillit Bang makes household cleaners sexy

Look there's not much to say about this one: Brilliantly shot, 80s nostalgia music, and one of Madonna's tour dancers.  What more do you need?  We rarely sit through ads over a minute long as they always seem gratuitous but this one is worth the full 1 min 37 seconds of your life: 

* Note:  If you're looking for Cillit Bang in Australia we call it Easy Off BAM!  

Posted on February 5, 2016 and filed under RADvertising.

BADvertising: Love Supreme Pizza - overly emotional?

We don't normally focus on smaller, local businesses, and certainly don't want to cause them any harm (we love small biz - we ARE a small biz)... but walking past Love Supreme, a pizza joint (if-not-institution) in Paddington, we noticed its tagline "Emotional Pizza for One and All."  Something about this just rubs us the wrong way.  There's been a lot of talk over the past few years about building emotion into brands and the increased efficacy of emotional advertising (vs rational / logical ads).  This tagline just seems to hit the wrong note and here's why:

1. "Emotional + Pizza" are not really two words that make sense together in the first place.  What exactly IS emotional pizza?  It doesn't even sound very nice.  Are there tears in my sauce?  In food branding, perceptions of taste are uber-important, and this phrase risks diluting positive perceptions - not a risk we would encourage clients to take;   

2. They've already got the words Love and Supreme in their name - both strong, evocative words rife with meaning, and together they work very well: everyone can relate to the notion of Love, and Supreme tells us that there is something great about this brand and thus (hopefully), the pizza.   We don't need "emotion" beat into our heads.  One questions if they even need the tagline at all given the stronger brand name and local reputation (4.3 Stars out of 5 on Facebook reviews).  

3.  Last, we've done a lot of brand strategy work over the years, and this tagline sounds more like someone took what was supposed to be an internally-facing brand essence and turned it into a tagline.  We like the democratic angle ("for one and all") but just can't wrap our heads around why you'd call it emotional pizza.  If anyone who works at Love Supreme is reading this, let us know the thinking behind it and we'll happily share with our readers!   



Posted on January 30, 2016 and filed under BADvertising.

RADvertising: Fitness First "How did I get here?"

 Saw these ads in the Newtown Fitness First last week and was very taken by them - especially the one of the woman at what looks like Burning Man in the desert.  It's not your typical posed perfection gym brand photo - the whole series takes a bit of risk: the mum climbing the rocks while her kids watch from below, the naked people on the rooftop probably at 8am after a great night out partying (which we know NOTHING about!), and the granny in the gay nightclub.  

Questions in headlines are an easy way to engage readers - and the simple pay off here of the "Fitness First" logo as the answer to the question is suggestive but not over-powering.  It's not saying Fitness First is the be-all end-all in your life, but rather implies that your time spent at the gym has given you the confidence be naked in broad daylight, to endure a week in the desert, to throw yourself into the middle of a dancefloor.  

Well done to VCCP Sydney and its client Fitness First for doing something interesting in a category that often defaults to trite health images.

Posted on October 3, 2015 and filed under RADvertising.

Top 10 Sizzlin' Moments from Mumbrella 360

Allow us to save you $2,000 and two days out of the office.... Here's what we learned last week at Mumbrella 360 ("Australia's biggest media and marketing event").  Note:  all quotes are paraphrased to the best of our ability - we can only write so fast - and should not be taken as verbatims!


Legendary ad man Ted Horton’s keynote opened the conference.  The founder of agency Big Red (most famous for Coles’ “Down Down” campaign) emphasised the need for “less fluff; more integrity in the message.”  He urged brands to “assert your territory” and then “re-assert your territory” – as Coles did when it stopped selling beef with hormones.  With everyone being too busy and distracted these days, a clear, consistent and simple message can cut through – it doesn’t always have to be mind-bogglingly creative.


MOST HERETIC IDEA:  Funny enough, the most provocative idea shared at Mumbrella 360 didn’t come directly from the conference, but rather when Kerry Taylor, SVP at Viacom/MTV, shared something Kathryn Parsons of Decoded told her:  “Start a business inside your business who’s main aim is to destroy your legacy business.”  If you’re the taxi industry, it’s better if Uber comes from you than an outsider.  Same goes for the hotel industry (AirBnb) and car hire (witness Hertz now playing catch-up with GoGet through its Hertz 24/7 knock-off).


Four CMOs were hidden behind a curtain and had the pitch of their voices heightened or lowered so the audience wouldn’t know who they were.  Whilst they shared tales of agencies behaving badly (copying work, booze-fueled nights) they also offered straight-forward advice:

  • “To get on my radar, show me results of your work – not just a list of your clients.”
  • “A relationship is stale when you start putting juniors on my account, show complacency, and make me sweat the small stuff like typos.”
  • “Go beyond creativity: Bring me data, insights and opportunities.  Boston Consulting Group can charge $200K a month, but they promise to deliver 10 times that in ROI.”  


Four CMOs were hidden behind a screen and had their voices changed.

Four CMOs were hidden behind a screen and had their voices changed.

#4.  Best Marketing Metaphor

In the Humanising Data session, big data experts Lucy Acheson and Simone Blakers from RAPP did a great job explaining how big data “is like looking at the universe of stars in the sky and being able to find the patterns that provide the brightest opportunities.”  They also stressed the importance of creativity, saying advertising is still “…more Mad Men, less Math Men.”     


Steve Coll, ECD at Droga5, talked about the tightening of budgets as an opportunity to create better work:  “When you have to do more with less, it’s an exciting mindset to approach challenges with.”  We really love applying this concept to market research since there are so many old, expensive ways to get insights that ultimately aren’t as good as the more nimble, digital tools out there.   


"Storytelling" is definitely this year's buzz word, with plenty of people paying lip service to it, but not always acting on it.  So it was refreshing to hear husband and wife team David Morgan and Rowena Millward of Morgan share the 7 basic story plots, lifted from a 2004 book by Christopher Booker.  For any marketer that enjoys brand archetypes, they should look into the book to understand if their brand is telling the story of Rags to Riches, Quest, Comedy, Tragedy, Overcoming the Monster, Rebirth or Journey/Return.  (We at The Insights Grill see our brand story as "overcoming the monster": all the dreadfully dull market research that’s being done out there)     


This came out last November but somehow slipped past our radars.  We think it's a great example of artificial intelligence, which was another key theme coming out of the conference:


UM CEO Mat Baxter raised a good point about the Paid, Owned and Earned framework that has been the darling of agencies for the past 5 years or so:  “Everything we do is Earned.  Even a print ad needs to earn your attention.”  The litmus test of everything you do should be:  Will this get news coverage?  Will this get shared?


Adam Ferrier (Consumer psychologist and global chief strategy officer at Cummins & Partners) said some very ‘schmart things as you’d expect, explaining:

1.     The Pratfall Effect: the human tendency to like a person or brand more after they’ve made a mistake – and owned up to it.  Think Jennifer Lawrence falling as she goes up to accept her Oscar, or Apple Maps after its terrible bug-heavy launch:  “We screwed up.” 

2.     The need for using the scientific method in advertising:  Observe > Create hypotheses > Experiment > Analyse > Modify & Repeat.  He said Experimenting is the one most lacking.  The great thing about consumer research is we can help companies employ more of this approach through A/B testing and scenario simulations.

3.  He also announced the launch of a Consumer Psychology Interest Group in conjunction with the Australian Psychological Society.   If you'd like to be involved click here


The 2-day event ended with Mumbrella Question Time with a panel of heavyweight pros like Darren Woolley from the Australian Marketing Institute, Mia Freedman of Mamamia Women’s Network, Robert Morgan of Clemenger Group and John Sintras of Starcom.  All agreed it’s the era of “disrupt or be disrupted” and pointing out that the Chief Customer Officer is the fastest growing C-Suite job in the US today (more than 25% of Fortune 100 companies now have one).  

Throughout the conference, customer-centricity was an ongoing theme: the better you know them, the better you are able to craft products, services, content, and messaging (brand stories!) that will appeal to them.  Here's a list of things we can do to help your organisation become more customer-centric in the new financial year. 

And… let us know if you went to Mumbrella 360 and learned anything else – next year we’ll send 4 people to cover the 4 different tracks – it was hard to pick which sessions to attend.      

Posted on June 9, 2015 and filed under RADvertising.