Tuesday, 30 November 2010

How Research Works

Of all the weapons in the marketeers gun cabinet, research is amongst the most comforting, second only to the one we may one day, inevitably, turn on ourselves.

For many years advertisers relied on little more than the well-informed opinions of experts to gauge the reception of their marketing activities; a process which led to almost universally successful advertising. However, as thicker, less dynamic people took over the marketing departments of businesses they had had no part in building, and therefore had no long-term commercial interest in sustaining anyway, marketers struggled to accept or (in most cases) understand the advice the advertising experts were giving them.

And so, research was born: the process of fool-proofing a decision by consulting as many fools as possible.

Here's how it works.

RESEARCHER: What do you think of this product?

HAPLESS FOOL: What product?

RESEARCHER: This new product.

HAPLESS FOOL: Never heard of it.

RESEARCHER: I know. It's new.

HAPLESS FOOL: Oh. Can I try it then?

RESEARCHER: Ok... What do you think of it now?


RESEARCHER: That a yes or no then?

HAPLESS FOOL: No opinion.

RESEARCHER: I need to put yes or no though.


RESEARCHER: Would you say you were nearer a yes..?

HAPLESS FOOL: I have no opinion.

RESEARCHER: I'll put you down as a yes then, ok.


Monday, 29 November 2010

Brand Spanking

You don't have to be an art director or a client to understand that tone of voice matters about as much to a brand as a jockey to a spooked racehorse. When you're trying to appeal to as many faceless, brainless plebs as possible, copywriters can't afford to play fast and loose with the emotions of their drooling audiences. As any brand manager will tell you, a successful campaign is a combination of brightly coloured celebrities and money off vouchers. The only time one should speak to the audience is either to mention the price, or to remind them not to choke on the product.

So. Imagine how horrified I was to discover this particularly witty, playful, and (God forbid) intelligent piece of copy on the back of a beer label this weekend.

(In case you can't read the pic:"Yet another bummed-out holiday? Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout is liquid consolation. It's a deep, rich, sweetly rewarding stout to take the edge of that grim family gathering, that cheerless annual festival of alienation. This brew is as dark as it gets, as black as the lump of coal you'll be getting for Christmas. Because, let's face it, you've been pretty bad this year.")

It reminded me of Simon Darwell-Taylor's idea for a brand that was shitty, and pissed off you with, rather than bland, obsequious, and mealy-mouthed. Which is, of course, how ALL copy should be in these days of austerity, panic and dickheads.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday Infographic

Fig.1 Levels of freelance job satisfaction throughout the week

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Famous Last Briefs #1

CLIENT: Look, I've never heard of 'em either.

BACKGROUND: Just drop it.

BUDGET: Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

WHAT IS REQUIRED: Fuck about on iStock for a day scratching your head and muttering expletives. Client likes idea of owls but can't be more specific.

DELIVERY: End of play Friday to 20 different email recipients at their end.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Friday Infographic

Fig 1. Manchester's Creative Scene

Friday, 12 November 2010

Did anyone see this?

Story is a junior at DDB Harare or somewhere won a "highly coveted" D&AD tutorial scholarship thingy off the back of it.

I like it.

Or do I?

No, I DO like it.

But I don't believe it's real.

Then again...

Oh, I dunno. It's very well done, but having pulled a few stunts like this myself, none of them to any avail. What. So. Ever. I'm just struggling to see how it worked.

Maybe it's because I is not black.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Finally. A campaign for a videogame that isn't either CGI or shit

Don't get me started on this right, but games are like - the future. Seriously. For lots of reasons. And at some point I'm going to need to post a very lengthy piece about the writing in games and how the "old" skills of writers are needed more than ever in the "new" world of interactive and all that. But like I say, don't get me started because I'm just hitting my stride in Fallout: New Vegas this week and I'm capable of talking the jowls off a despot about how ruddy marvelous it is.

Suffice to say I fucking LOVE games almost as much as ads, but really that Black Ops "Soldier In Everyone" effort from last week was just a big fat lazy wank, as was the Halo: Reach HD prick-tease from the other month. In fact, pretty much every ad for a game I can think of tends to be nothing more than a kind of pornography, where the most superficial aspects of the gameplay (i.e blasting the shit out of stuff) is presented in an exaggerated form. Which is SO dumb, and also weird. Because the best games aren't dumb at all. They're massively complicated, and surprising.

So hats (or HUDs) off to the people behind this slice of loveliness ( http://rebuildbrotherhood.us.ubi.com/site.php ) in anticipation of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood this month. A smart, enjoyable campaign for a smart, enjoyable game.

Some great writing too.

Then again, maybe it's just the shit HTML graphics that are doing it for me.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Advertising Feature

Dear Customer,

As a valued member of our coven, it is time for you to awaken from your slumber, and to join me, The Great Beast, in the shadow of this solstice moon as I lift the veil upon my infernal Winter Sale.

Behold! The altar of The Ancients - Quallthy, and Vhalyew. For unto them we offer this ritual sacrifice - the slashing of our prices (throughout the store) with the sacred dagger of Bargayne.

See now, whilst our prices drop, the madness descends... Into your unconscious mind, as I and my buyers establish psychic connection between you and your desires. Instore and online. Our minds are intertwined.

So place yourself at the mercy of the Aleister Crowley Winter Sale.

With 50% off selected items, you are but powerless to resist.

Starts Midnight.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

No time even for a title, let alone a proper blog post.

Er, so watch this instead. Pretend you're ill or something.