Wednesday, 26 October 2016

agreed, Virgin Trains do it better

Whenever you see a decent idea to promote rail, the odds are it has come from within the Virgin Group - and these two ads are no exception.

It's clever,  it's well written and gives clear benefits as to why train travel should triumph over the plane. It's not about the destinations served (like so many train ads) but the benefits offered. And about time too. 

Virgin Trains East Coast managing director David Horne is quoted as saying “At Virgin Trains we like to do things a little differently, so we’ve decided to highlight the fantastic experiences we offer customers compared to road and air travel in an entertaining, playful way. 

With free on-board Wi-Fi, free movies, TV episodes, magazines and games on Beam, our new on-board entertainment service, delicious food from our revamped menus, refurbished trains, increased rail connectivity between the English and Scottish capitals, and frequent services to the heart of cities along the east coast, we’re hoping that our tongue in cheek approach will encourage even more people to hop on board!”

They have chosen to show the films solely online on 'Facebook and across AOL’s ad serving platforms' which is a shame as it deserves a wider exposure.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

unfortunately, most people won't even notice what you do

A couple of weeks ago the wife and I went to visit some friends just north of Birmingham, and for my sins, I decided to drive. 

There's a particular stretch of the M5, just before the exit for West Bromwich, where there is probably twenty or so billboards, made up of both traditional and digital formats. And despite travelling at the best part of 70mph, being 'in the business' means I can't help but take in the messages that are around me. Critiquing the executions in my head, seeing what ideas I could nick.

Some were good, some average, and some definitely poor. Yet the one thing I was doing was looking at them. After we'd passed the section, I asked my wife which ad she liked best, and it turns out she hadn't even seen any ads yet alone liked any of them.

How could she not see them? Whilst she sat in the passenger seat watching the world go by there were twenty great big images trying to sell her stuff, but didn't notice a single one.

A stab in the heart to the marketers of those twenty brands who (I would like to wager) all assumed that normal, everyday people like my wife, notice their advertising.

But notice advertising is exactly what everyday people don't do. Come on, really, how many ads can you remember from yesterday? One or two at best out of the hundreds that marketers assumed you would see. That's an awful lot of wasted budget from an awful lot of brands.

So just remember the five simple words nice and big on every brief you issue - 'This work must get noticed' and at least you'll give your brand a chance to succeed.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

the brand weakness of vanilla

I like a splash of colour in my life - deep red walls in my house, the odd pink sweatshirt in my wardrobe and a few pairs of red socks on my feet (not at the same time I might add).

Not sure what the psychologists would make of it but maybe it says something about my personality, that I don't want to blend into the background and be forgotten. The colours make a statement, and although I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't like them, it's irrelevant. The fact is, I do.

And if I ever sold my house, I'm sure the estate agent would tell me that the colours would put potential buyers  off, and I should present each room in a shade of vanilla. Offending nobody and, the logic goes, appealing to everybody.

Which reminds me of most companies' brands, and most companies' advertising. Not standing for anything in particular, not a having a real identity - just in case somebody, somewhere doesn't like it and doesn't like their product.

There are very few companies who trade in a non-competitive environment, taking all the cream for themselves. Most are fighting for custom on a daily basis and would be expected to use every trick in the book to make their product stick in the minds of consumers.

And just as one house that has deep red walls would be remembered more than a hundred houses that all have vanilla walls, the same can be said for advertising.

So let's make it different, make it noticeable and make it memorable. Just remember the trade off is that somebody, somewhere might not like it.