Wednesday, 29 August 2012

when IKEA befriended a Polish tram

Ever got on a tram with the intent of sinking into a comfortable arm chair, enjoying the d├ęcor of Victorian floral prints, and not even paying for the pleasure? 

Well thanks to a great PR idea by our Swedish friends IKEA, you can do all three at the same time. Their Poznan Franowo store in Poland wanted to let the rest of the city know that it is now possible to visit the shop by tram.

IKEA and Polish trams would not usually be associated together. While enjoying a ‘good design at good value’ market positioning in the UK, IKEA stores have a distinctly ‘up-market’ brand image in Poland. There, the typical IKEA customer drives a large 4×4 with smoked windows and employs a Belarussian cleaner.

In Poland, trams are not seen as an ‘eco-friendly’ solution to urban transport gridlock, but as a grim communist era hand me down. Consequently they get banned from the centres of Polish cities and cars – not trams – are given priority at traffic lights and road junctions.

To press home the point that IKEA products are for everybody, not just Poland’s nouveau riche, IKEA struck a deal with MPK, Poznan’s municipal transport company. One articulated tram set has been refitted internally with IKEA furnishings and will operate a free-of-charge service along the new line to Franowo for a fortnight.

Deservedly, IKEA’s gamble has paid off and the PR stunt has generated a massive amount of free publicity for the company. At the same time the company’s deal with MPK has improved the image of the city’s tram network and publicised the opening of the Franowo extension. 

A great example of creative thinking. I wonder how many British operators would consider something like this?

Thanks to the for this story.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

should advertising be judged on sales?

In a nutshell, no.

"Advertising is one aspect of sales. Advertising alone can’t work if bigger things are wrong.

Advertising can’t work without marketing being right.

Without pricing being right. Without distribution being right. Without quality being right.

Without making a product people want, putting it where people can buy it, at a price they’re willing to pay.

If all those things are wrong, it doesn’t matter how good the advertising is."

All this goes back to our principle of getting the basics right before your creative work can become effective. Get your bus on time, simplify your ticket options, get your platform staff to smile, keep the bus clean, make announcements clear, talk honestly to customers, ask drivers to say 'hello'...The list goes on.

Then you might get a return on your advertising.

Words courtesy of Mr D Trott Esq.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

does your slogan actually mean anything?

Everybody knows the slogan of their favourite brand.

From Nike's 'Just do it', Loreal's 'Because I'm worth it' and Tesco's 'Every little helps' - most brands in the public eye have slogan. Yet slogans never change anything.

They don't grow market share or convince you to buy the product in the first place.

In between the lines of a slogan should be a story. And a slogan well told is a symptom of that story, a shadow of what you stand for. A slogan might be evidence that you have a story, but it isn’t a story. A story is something you live and connect with and come back again and again and again.

If the story of your brand is consistent, if it resonates with your audience and if you can defend it, then you're likely to succeed. And if your slogan reflects your story then it's worth having.

Apple has had various slogan through the years, but in every successful iteration of the company, the story has been remarkably consistent: Apple’s story is that they are idiosyncratic artisans producing beautiful products for smart people. That's not a slogan, but it's a useful tool for deciding if you're making something or doing something that you ought to be focusing on.

So by all means have a slogan. But don't bother wasting any time on it if you merely want it to be memorable.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 ditches Conga ads for 'sensible' campaign is returning to TV advertising with a new marketing strategy urging consumers to 'be sensible', by using its service to save money on fares.

They've ditched its ‘Choo choo choose’ campaign – which featured the song Do the Conga by Agadoo-creators Black Lace – but is retaining the humorous tone of previous executions.

The campaign will show a train carriage full of passengers being interrupted by a man bursting on board to tell them they could have saved money if they had booked with the site. Chaos ensues, while one character who did use the portal sits calmly.

The push uses the strapline, ‘Be sensible. Book with’.

It will debut during ITV1 drama The Last Weekend this Sunday (26 August) and be supported by digital activity.

Friday, 3 August 2012

if today's popular brands had vintage advertisements…

Great ads from a bygone era or a new creative strategy from current brands?

Thanks to Design Taxi for this.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

see how design can distort reality

Ever wondered what the London Underground map would look like if it was a real geographical map and not a designed one?

It's a well known fact that original map of London's rapid transit railway system was just like any other of the time. It was not until the 1930s and a company employee called Harry Beck - who realised that as the railway ran mostly underground, the physical locations of the stations were irrelevant - that the map took on its current 'schematic' approach.

Harry took on the redesigning as an uncommissioned project in his spare time and although his bosses were initially sceptical, they agreed to release it quietly in a small leaflet.

His new look map immediately caught on.

This is great little graphic that shows the real underground map, the version that Beck design and the map as it currently stands today.

Inspiration for some bus companies perhaps? Let's hope so.

is Apple's advertising change risky?

Over the last 20 years Apple, under the guidance of Steve Jobs, built themselves into one of the world's biggest companies through the innovative development of some superb entertainment products.

It was also responsible for some of the most simple, stylish and effective advertising campaigns ever seen. Their approach was very much along the lines of 'Here's our product, you can see the benefits, so go and buy it'.

It was all about the product - not emotional engagement or brand awareness. It was about giving you a reason to buy through the execution of a product demonstration.

Like this.

Then, just a year ago when the hugely autocratic Jobs passed away, some people expressed concern how/if the company's approach to advertising would change.

As Bob Hoffman commentated at the time "The product pipeline will take years to screw up. But the ad pipeline can be screwed up in no time."

Their latest campaign in the U.S tries to be funny (I think) and clearly shows that people without the advertising knowledge of Jobs are calling the shots. All that has made their advertising great (the simplicity, the product demonstration, the unique style) seems to have gone out the window.

Like this.

Is this the start of Apple's downfall? Highly unlikely as their products are too good and too many people buy Apple without advertising persuasion but it definitely shows the warning signs of Jobs' absence are there.