Posts tagged #RADvertising

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.

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!  

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:

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.

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.

RADvertising: 3 brands that get benevolence

First off, I’m going to be totally honest: I didn’t come up with the idea of benevolent brands – it’s been around the past few years.  Even worse, I had to google “define benevolent” to even understand what the word benevolent even meant at first!  I’ve since discovered that I’m not the only one, so for those of you who suck at Scrabble too, here you go:

Benevolent (adjective):  “well-meaning and kindly” and “an organization serving a charitable rather than a profit-making purpose.

In the past month there’s been a surge in brands doing cool, benevolent things that take them beyond their core categories (cars, dog food, vodka) – and into an adjacent space that might not make them rich, but certainly make their brand proposition stronger. 

The one you’ve probably seen mentioned the most is Volvo’s “LifePaint.”  The boxy family car that’s synonymous with “safety” has deepened its commitment to safety by creating a spray that can be used on bikes, backpacks and clothing so they become reflective at night (but look no different in daylight).  Apparently the bike shops that sell it are receiving hundreds of phone calls a day about it.  Whilst Volvo isn’t in the bike business, it is in the business of safe driving and this initiative has got people talking about the brand again.

Similarly, dog food Pedigree has launched Pedigree Found – an app that lets dog owners notify if their pet has gone missing, and in conjunction, Google Display Network will post a picture of the dog to people within a 2.5km radius of the owner – acting almost like a digital “Missing Dog” poster. So far it's only in New Zealand (and so far it only applies to missing dogs... what about us crazy cat ladies?!?!) 

And last, Absolut Vodka is elevating its 30-year connection to the art world with Absolut Art – an initiative that helps regular folks like us (I assume you’re not a high end art collector either) discover and purchase artworks from rising talent around the world.  First stop: Stockholm (of course).  It demonstrates that their commitment to artistry and creativity isn’t just lip service – it’s part of who they are as a brand.

Based on my own newsfeed of friends’ posts, the social media currency of these benevolent initiatives seems strong – and I imagine they have a good deal of PR value as well.  The beauty is they manage to strengthen the brand without resorting to traditional forms of advertising… and do some good for the world at the same time.

What do you think… Is it all hippy-dippy feel good stuff with little reach and impact?  Or something every brand needs to be investigating?  

RADvertising: Shot on iPhone 6

We know it's totally trite to use Apple as an example of RADvertising, but they really nailed it with this campaign.   Here's 3 reasons why:

1.  The Simplicity - One beautiful, bold image, brought to life through outdoor advertising, with the simple tagline "Shot on iPhone 6"

2.  They're Aspirational - You see the photos and think: Wow, that was shot on a phone camera.  I WANT to do that... I COULD do that.  We all have an inner-photographer waiting to become the next Annie Leibovitz (pre-financial troubles). 

3.  Variations = Engagement:  Instead of the usual 2-3 variations of an ad (or none!), there are 77 different photos used from iPhone photographers around the world - so you'll rarely see the same ad twice.  At The Insights Grill we often talk about the Internet being an endless stream of new content... this campaign almost simulates constant newness in the form of an ad.  

Posted on April 9, 2015 and filed under RADvertising.

RADvertising: Organic Valley Saves the Bros

It's so refreshing when a brand is able to take the piss out of something and have a bit of fun - especially an FMCG brand like Organic Valley.  With the recent 40 year anniversary of Saturday Night Live, ad parodies are on the top of our minds.   This ad is so good it could be on SNL.   At first we weren't sure if it was a real product however - but by clicking on the Organic Valley website it appears to be so - that's the only slight problem we had with this ad which had us wondering "Is it April fools day?"  

Posted on February 20, 2015 and filed under RADvertising.

Rosetta Stone - create a smaller world

I'm headed to Mexico in January and unfortunately in high school took French instead of Spanish (mostly because a best friend of mine took French - always a good reason for picking your classes).  But I'd like to have basic transaction-level Spanish speaking skills by the time I go - you know, enough to order a beer and express that I'm vegetarian.   

I stumbled across this recent ad from language learning software Rosetta Stone - the only brand name of language software I could name without prompting.  Famous for their yellow boxes sold at kiosks in shopping malls - they've created a piece of RADvertising that lifts the brand from being a software company to a company on a mission to make the world a smaller place.  It's very touching and with the world being in such a state of fighting and chaos, it feels like a real antidote to our problems.  You're not just learning a new language... you're creating peace, understanding and camaraderie.   

Posted on November 16, 2014 and filed under RADvertising.

The only piece of native advertising we've ever re-posted on Facebook

There are a million cat videos on the interweb but probably the best one we've ever seen comes to us on Buzzfeed from Friskies brand cat food in a video titled, "Dear Kitten."  It's an open letter told from one experienced cat to the new cat on the block.  Over the course of 3 captivating mins (yes, a whole 3 minutes - which is like a year in internet time) it manages to pull the viewer in by giving us a glimpse of the world through a cat's eyes, including the menacing threat known as "va-cuum" (a pronunciation we now use whenever cleaning the house).   

About midway through it manages a very subtle product placement of delicious Friskies wet food - deemed superior to the "dehydrated brown nibblets" designed more for astronauts than for cats.  It's a clever way to get a product message in, and it supports the entire video story line, rather than feeling jammed in there.  We posted it to Facebook knowing full well the brand managers at Friskies are gleefully watching the video view counts go up in hopes of an end of year bonus.    We don't mind - it's THAT good!  

What do you think?  Watchable for native advertising?  Would you share it?  Got any other pieces of native advertising you've considered worthy and share-able?

Tags: RADvertising, Branded Content, Video, Cats, Friskies, Viral, Funn, Buzzfeed, FMCG

Posted on October 2, 2014 and filed under RADvertising.

Why Brands Should Consider the Pink Dollar

Earlier this year The Insights Grill was hired by Pink Media Group to conduct the largest study of Australia's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) consumer population ever.  It's a fascinating time in history for LGBTs: Major advances are occurring like marriage equality (in NZ, almost half of the United States), an increase in transgender awareness and understanding, and more LGBT characters on TV and film than ever before.  Conversely, there are violent atrocities happening in Russia and Uganda, and to a much lesser degree, Facebook threatening to delete drag queen profiles who don't use their real names.   

What our study found is that there is a major reciprocity factor that happens when companies actively target and engage with LGBTs: "If you show you care about/respect us, we will happily return the favour."  We created a 3-part webisode series, each about 10 mins long.   Part 1 is about Why brands should consider advertising to LGBTs; Part 2 is about Best Practices of brands who are doing it well (and NOT doing it well - the name and shame wall);  Part 3 concludes with 3 strategies any brand can use to enter into the LGBT market.

We hope you enjoy - let us know what you think and if you'd like a live presentation of it to your staff we'd be happy to come in and share.   

TAGS:   RADvertising, LGBT, Selfie, Best Practices, PinkMediaGroup, The Insights Grill, Drag Queens