Monday, 30 June 2014

want to see how National Express make a tv ad?

Last month we showed how First Great Western made a TV advert, and now it's the turn of National Express to do the same.

So this is the thinking behind it and what, as a viewer, you are supposed to take away from it.

And this is the work that will be appearing on your screens.

Do the story and reality marry up? Does the ad show you how great and 'comfortable' the coaches are? Does it connect 'on an emotional level'? For me, you either sell the benefits of coach travel or tell me a story about a coach experience and hope I take something away from it - and I'm not sure it does either to any degree.

The script has three different stories (four if you count David Soul) and I think this is too many for the length of commercial -  I would much prefer to have seen one story told in depth. It seems to have fallen in to the classic trap of trying to appeal to a number of audiences with a single piece of communication - and ended up appealing to none of them.

The casting of David Soul, and him singing 'Silver Lady' is also seems a little odd. I'm not sure many people will actually know who the guy is (Hutch not Starsky in case you were wondering), let alone be aware of a hit song from many moons ago. It might have been different is National Express had iconic silver branding, like Greyhound for example - but they don't.

All in all it's an ad that doesn't really communicate what the directors, clients and agency says it does.

(Well produced though it has to be said).

Monday, 9 June 2014

want to see how First Great Western make a tv ad?

First Great Western has just launched their latest TV advert as part of their 'Be a Great Westerner' campaign.

Very helpfully they've produced a video showing how they shot the ad over the a seven day period.

And this was the resulting work that will appear on your screens.


Much as a I like the execution, I can't help seeing it more as a promotional video for the south west tourist board rather than FGW.

Yes, there are some amazing attractions featured, and truly reflect the beauty of our region but why should I get the train, rather than my car, to take advantage of them?

I guess only an uplift in ticket sales will provide the answer.

viral is a result not a channel

I recently re-read a brief from about a year ago, and was quite surprised by one of the client's key requirements.

The client, a group of managing directors, wanted their campaign 'to include a viral'. There is a big difference between wanting 'to do a viral', and wanting to do something 'that goes viral'.

I remember pointing out to them that viral was not a marketing channel but a result of a great piece of communication. 

I wanted them to understand that if we did something that was funny, engaging, thought provoking etc then people would be more likely to share it - be that down the pub, at work or ideally on social media. Only then would it be classed as viral.

Whilst marketing and message was something they could control, the viral result wasn't.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

is there an alternative to Brighton's free car parking Sunday plan?

I've just read that Brighton is looking at the possibility of introducing city-wide free parking on Sundays, at a cost of £3.5 million in its first year.

One option the council is exploring would be for parking both on roadsides and in council-run car parks to be free. This would cost the authority £1 million just to change signs alone and an additional annual loss of £2.6 million in parking ticket, parking permit and parking fine income.

A second option they are to consider is offering free use of council-run car parks in the city would cost an estimated £1 million a year, so councillors are being advised to go back to the drawing board and look at different options during the annual review of charges later in the year.

As the council has been warned that free parking would increase congestion and lower air quality, could that drawing board not involve offering subsidies to local transport operators in the city? 

Not only could this cost less but it would also encourage people out their cars at weekend, and to try the bus?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

old boy gets the crowd going on Southeastern trains

It goes against the grain of every commuter, but a pensioner travelling on a Southeastern train service last week managed to get everyone on the usually silent service not just talking, but singing.

Passengers travelling on the last London Victoria to Ashford service on Friday night were serenaded by the sprightly geriatric, who suddenly got to his feet to treat commuters to a rendition of Scout song Kumala Vista.

Happily bellowing his way through the song, the well-dressed gentleman appears happily oblivious to the mocking laughs of other passengers – or the quietly observing train security figure behind him.

Showing energy perhaps unusual for his age, the pensioner bounced up and down conducting the carriage’s eruption of laughter and singing before ending his performance to a big round of cheering and applause from commuters.

Maidstone resident George Haswell caught the entire event on camera, showing passengers' mixed reactions to the pensioner.

The laughter continues as after singing to the carriage the gentleman vanishes, only to re-appear now wearing what looks to be a train-conductor’s hat before requesting travellers’ tickets.

Still, maybe there's hope for all commuters if the shrill silence of a Friday commute can be broken by a jovially drunk old man and his personal rendition of Kumala Vista.

We only hope he wasn’t nursing too much of a sore head the following morning.

Story first appeared in The Independent.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

my friend and his (predominantly) online campaign

A friend of mine (a public transport client of another agency) has recently finished a high profile campaign - one that pretty much wiped out his budget for the quarter.

As a relatively small company he puts a lot of trust in his creative and media agencies to point him in the right direction, and deliver against the goals he sets.

On this campaign, his two marketing partners were at odds as the best way to spend the bulk of his budget - with the creative agency veering towards a traditional offline route to raise awareness, and the media buyers suggesting highly targeted digital campaign was a better investment.

Both approaches had their merits but my friend decided to place more emphasis on digital due to its 'greater accountability'. After three months, the scores are in.

By far the largest number of visits to the campaign specific website came from one 'targeted' mobile ad - an ad that delivered a bounce rate of nearly 90%, and a site stay of just 15 seconds.

Accountable? Yes. Impressive? Certainly not. People seeing an ad on their mobile and clicking it by mistake? You guessed it.

On the flip side, a competition link and direct search via Google, yielded bounces rates of 25% and 35% respectively, with the average site stay for the direct search nine times that of the 'targeted' mobile ad.

Not the Holy Grail I agree but certainly a touch healthier. So does this tell us anything about paid for, interruptive digital?

For me, it's that digital is great at fulfilling demand (like a 21st century Yellow Pages) but poor at generating. For my friend, it should be that when he's got a load of marketing spend at stake, he should use a bit of common sense and spread his risk.