Since May last year I have been capturing ads which have made an impression on me and tried to explain why. I look around all the time for marketing messages (it’s part of my job) and attempt to choose one each day which really stands out, to me. At times, the pickings are pretty lean. But on occasions true gems emerge. Each month I publish the previous month’s highlights.
In March I have found a mixed bag. The deluge of disappointing Olympic executions continue to underwhelm. Fortunately, there are some really smart media placements and clever emotionally engaging ads out there at present to restore the quality balance.
In the ‘oh my goodness, did they really do that’ bracket we find soft toy incentives in exchange for credit card take up and José Mourinho’s brand continues to be butchered by an asset management company.
But at the other end of the quality scale, the following are at the top of my crop:
Best alternative pricing message – Marks & Spencer
This isn’t just pricing. This is M&S pricing.
Who else can pull this off? They are bundling product and selling it cheap and yet we still look at it as a ‘Saturday indulgence’. With many brands looking to move away from fruitless pricing strategies, this is a prime example of how to do it without compromising the brand.
Best use of a celebrity asset – Vitamin Water / Jessie J
So let’s get this straight, it’s not about the price tag. Jesse J is hot sponsorship property at the moment and she doesn’t mind playing the game. From tights to flavoured water, she’s helping brands get some bang for their marketing buck. With her music on teenagers ipods, her face all over the billboards and personality arriving on BBC prime time she’s a short cut for what’s hot for the mainstream late thirty somethings. Vitamin Water have done more with the property than most linking the Olympics tie up of P&G with a party and a specially designed bottle. Not quite brand activation in the league of B&Q (our current favourite in this space), but a country mile more sophisticated than slapping Jose’s face on your ad and calling your asset management business ‘the other special one’ (sadly a true story).
Best innovative use of a conventional media – Sky Atlantic/ MadMen
This is as much for the 60s ads that ran in the first episode ad breaks as for the posters. Such an impression have Stirling, Draper and the gang made on us that we need only a straight shot of a character to start drooling over the anticipated new Mad Men series. Bit too much of a sepia wash for my liking on these – it’s as if we were going back to the 40s rather than rushing from the 50s into the 60s (but given it’s Mad Men, they are forgiven of course).
And the significant PR coverage from this stunt hasn’t escaped my notice either. With one commentator perfectly stating how the ad break can often ‘rip’ the viewer from the mood and atmosphere created by a period show back to the present. But not on this occasion, the ads respect the show!
April 2011 will be the last monthly post before the Best in Marketing Communications 2011/2012 grand final. Until then, I hope you enjoy these March highlights. For the full March selection visit the flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/66864671@N00/
Posted by Christopher Brooks.
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