Tag Archives: Brand

It’s a wrap! What was your favourite Christmas campaign?

29 Dec

It was a hard choice this year don’t you think? Let me know your favourite.

2018 has been another tough year for retailers. In Australia, Myer has had it’s woes, while globally we saw Toy ‘R’ Us go into liquidation. In a trading period during the Christmas months which can be the busiest for retailers, getting your Christmas advertising right is paramount to seeing great returns, but also high customer experiences around the brand, brand love and engagement. If your brand can connect on an emotional level during this time, it can last into the following year, but also have high brand conviction and loyalty moving forward in what will be another tough year.

John Lewis

Elton John stars in this blockbuster and it doesn’t disappoint. A beautifully crafted story about thoughtful gifts and not just giving for the sake of giving. It is about how an inspired gift can change your life.

With the tagline of ‘some gifts are more than just a gift’, the John Lewis campaign called ‘The Boy and the piano’ takes you on a two-minute historical voyage through different stages of Elton’s life, with glimpses of early days of concerts, memories and parties.

Each scene features Elton at his piano, with the conclusion of the ad at his first school concert, before eventually showing the first note four-year-old Elton John played on his newly-regifted grandmother’s piano for Christmas. Heart stopper ‘Your Song’ plays in the background and agency adam&eveDDB have really hit success with this.

This campaign is totally integrated and John Lewis sold iconic Elton T-shirts. If you happen to be in London, the flagship Oxford Street London store was renamed ‘John’, but even more impressive was that the 3rd floor has been dedicated to an experiential space where customers can explore many aspects of the ad including the recording studio, living room sets, listen to recordings and immerse themselves while shopping.

Not a John Lewis fan? But still love Christmas lights and store windows? Well every 30 minutes from 4pm, you can see an amazing one minute light show featuring another Elton classic, ‘Step into Christmas’. Watch some footage here (32 min:46 is where you will see John Lewis, but there is cool footage of London lights 2018 and it’s worth skipping through if you have time over your Xmas break)

But do not fear dear readers if you can’t get to Oxford Street. There is  a very long video here of the Christmas lights around London. Watch it here.

Elton John T shirts


Always a winner, and this year, Santa and the elves are back and it’s a winner. This year Santa messes up and sends out his naughty list to one of the boys on the actual ‘naughty’ list – as Santa is not very good with email! This would have to be my favourite, even though I loved the John Lewis campaign. But I do love Elton John. But I did also enjoy ALDI Australia’s effort.



Get the tissues out. This ad is delightfully shot and like John Lewis’s theme, it is about a gift for life, and has many life themes. You can watch & read about it here.

ALDI Australia

BMF Australia’s second attempt for ALDI Christmas campaign is heartfelt and totally Aussie. Its images are funny as well as beautifully shot. All against the backdrop of the Australian outback. The narratives are easy to follow: friendship, pitch in just like Aussies do to help a friend, and if someone pops in, you’ll have enough food.

ALDI Santa.png


ALDI UK – Kevin the Carrot is back and this time in a three part series! Part 1 is a Spoof of the CocaCola truck of happiness. In this case, our hero Kevin is driving the truck.

Read about it and watch it here. More links at the end of this post.

CocaCola saw the funny side to this campaign (and would have appreciated the parody and free advertising), after all isn’t the best form of flattery copying? CocaCola got in to the Christmas spirit and tweeted this clever response:


Part 2 & 3 – Kevin the Carrot fights to save his family from Pascal, a wicked Parsnip living in a dark castle. And Kevin saves Little Red (carrot) Riding hood in a spoof of the fairytale. Both fun productions with fabulous imagery of amazing food.


Let me know what your favourites were for 2018?


Extra viewing & reading:

ALDI Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AldiUK

ALDI – http://www.bandt.com.au/advertising/aussie-christmas-ad-ever-aldi-goes-outback-years-spot-via-bmf

John Lewis – https://www.johnlewis.com/content/christmas-advert

House Beautiful – https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/christmas-adverts-round-up/

Long live Smith’s chips: Short lived product line extensions, long term gains

13 Mar

Smith’s chips do it again, bringing out three brilliant product line extensions including new flavours of American pulled pork, Chinese Peking duck and Mexican burrito, with the tag line ‘take your tastebuds on a holiday.’

The flavours of the world range introduction came at perfect time to coincide with Chinese New Year of the Dog. And as it’s Easter in two weeks time, another perfect way to get the mind dreaming of better things to do! And eat! While chip traditionalists might call this crazy, the marketers of Smith’s are right on track with their long term strategy.


The chip market in Australia was worth around A$872m in 2017 (IbisWorld, 2017). And it is dominated by two players: Smith’s and Snack Brands. Smith’s own brands including Red Rock Deli, Grain Waves, Doritos, Cheetos and Twisties to name a few. On the other side of the chip corner stands brands like good old Samboy, Thins, Cheezels, Natural and Kettle. Snack Brands Australia was bought by Philippines food company Universal Robina, delivering a big pay-out for a cleaver group of investors who bought the business from Arnott’s a few years before.

There is a large war in the chip isle, as the fight for your snacks is large. Back in 2011, Smith’s started with their 75% less saturated fat chip, and the healthy rollercoaster hasn’t stopped. We’ve seen introductions in different vegetables including beetroot, and the amazingly popular (and very scrumptious), sweet potato ranges due to changing consumer tastes. As well we’ve seen the growth and the demand for the premium chip. There are also gluten free and vegan ranges. Smaller players Tyrell’s is distinctively English and have differentiated themselves with old style packaging

Smith’s have been bringing out new and short lived product lines since 2003, when they teamed with big and well known brands to create Aussie flavours such as Bega Cheese, Heinz Big Red Tomato Sauce & Meat Pie, and Ham & Keen’s Mustard.


Product line extensions are a perfect strategy for products such as chips where the growth of the category is very slow. It is predicted that the sector will only grow at 0.7% per year, and when you take into account Australia’s GDP being 2.5%, then this sector is underperforming.

So how do Smith’s and Snack Brands for that matter, maximize profits? By doing the un-natural thing and cannibalizing their own products by introducing product line extensions. Why would a brand do this you ask?

Bringing out short lived ranges of incredibly delicious and creative chip flavours is a great strategy to keep customers interested. It creates buzz and allows for perfect use of a seasonal chip introduction. And top that off with asking your consumers to create a flavour is even more engaging.

For example, to celebrate the footy finals, Smith’s launched Hot Wings that are buffalo wing flavoured. Doritos also now has their Blaze range, introduced during Super Bowl 2018. If you haven’t seen this TVC, watch it here. The rap battle between Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman is incredible.

The beginning of the Australian Summer at the end of 2017 saw the introduction of lamb and mint and Summer BBQ flavours. What a perfect way to sit back by the pool, or get out the cricket set and team that with chips!

Smith’s think tank and researchers obviously have THE best job in the world, and must have a great time designing new flavours, but they have also been smart and put them out to the public in competitions to allow their audiences to be involved and create new flavours. The top flavours have been voted on within social media, again creating hype and excitement. This has allowed for community building and connecting with consumers, as well as creating brand loyalty.


Let’s go back in time and see some other fabulous things Smith’s have done (we can’t mention them all but share with us your favourite memories). In 2006, Flavours of the Commonwealth were launched to celebrate the Commonwealth Games being held in Melbourne.


In 2008, comedians Hamish & Andy came out with the People’s chip.


Smith’s have gone into this as a long term strategy, and while they may be cannibalizing their other chip varieties, it creates engagement and excitement, and bottom line profits. I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry for some chips. Long live the chip!



14 Apr

In our personal life, breaking up with a loved one or a dear friend can be very difficult. And the same goes for brand breakups – or is it?

There are many brands that we have forged long relationships with. Some by osmosis – think Vegemite, Colgate toothpaste and other brands that we have used since childhood. Others have come from our parents/grandparents using that brand or it fits into our lifestyle. Two prime examples are what car you drive could be because you grew up with Ford or Holden (this may not be so prevalent to younger generations), and what bank you bank with. Both of these examples could be long-term loyalty that you hold towards these brands, without actually knowing why you bank with that bank. Let alone if you even like this brand.

Let’s take the example of your bank. You’ve been with them since you were at primary school and (insert bank name here) they gave you a money-box and you thought that they were pretty cool! Your first pay cheque went into that account. You’d watch the balance go up and down in the book (yes remember the book)! You bought your first car, got your first loan, you got some traveller’s cheques and travelled overseas (if you’re older and remember what traveller’s cheques were)! You may have bought your first home – all using that same bank.

When you think about it, this bank (or brand) has been with you for the majority of your life. You’ve been through a lot together. It knows a lot about you. Personal details like your birthday, and of course, how much you are worth to that bank. Did you ever get a birthday card from your bank? Nope. Just a monthly statement, a black and white relationship. Purely transactional.

And of course, as you’ve been friends for so long, wouldn’t you think that your bank would give you special treatment? A gift for being in such a committed relationship?

No it seems.

But what do you get? Interest hikes, no special attention, no paper statements, please don’t come into visit us in a branch – please do everything online, as we really don’t want to see you?


Not until you have to ask for them to be nice to you. You ask them to give you a better rate, a better deal – as we’ve been together for over 20 years (please). It has come to begging! But of course, your bank has now moved on to their next victim and it appears they have become a pimp.

So the question must be asked. Did your bank break up with you in the first instance?

And you missed the whole thing?

Breaking up with a bank (or any other brand for that matter) can be quite hard as it’s personal. You’ve invested great amounts of time and money in this relationship. Your insurance, investments, share portfolio…. credit cards, the list goes on. To move often incurs fees. But more so, you have feelings for this brand.

I’ve slowly broken up with my bank but it has been coming for a while. Somehow I’ve put it in the too hard basket and I’ll do that when I have time! First it was my home & contents insurance, next it was my car insurance. At first I felt sad that our relationship had to end. Then I got angry as the other person in this relationship (my bank) was not even trying to save our relationship!

Next week it is my home loan. I now have no feelings for my bank. My bank has no feelings for me. It has become the clinical relationship that my bank made it years ago, but I was too (in love or complacent) to see. It wasn’t love, it was laziness on my behalf.

I did ask them to be nice to me, to save our relationship. “I’ve been loyal to you” I told them, but they didn’t want to know, listen or talk.

A brand needs to be so many things to its customers: honesty and relevancy are two that spring to mind. Hence we see The National Bank’s advertising campaign to ‘Break Up With Our Bank’ and one I saw this morning, ‘Would your bank tell you if another bank had better rates?’ Brands need to be wherever customers have needs. Find out what we really want and give it to us. It’s really not that hard!

Relationships make the world go round, whether personal or brands. Breaking up with brands isn’t that difficult, ‘cos if there ain’t no trust, there ain’t no relationship!



Happy Endings For Social Media

4 Jun

It’s rather incredible that many organizations still don’t understand the social media ‘minefield’. And like everything we don’t understand, we either kill it (think animals or Wolverine and his (Chrysalids) X-men friends), ban people from using it or ignore it and hope that it will go away.

Social media can have a happy ending for you and your brand if you understand that particular world and those who inhabit it. Just a little teaser today about two social media myths.

1. All social media sites are the same.

Wrong! Assuming Facebook is the same as Twitter is the same as Bebo is like saying that the world of Amazon is the same as the world of Gumtree. And Pinterest. (If you’re asking what Pinterest is, click here)!! Then Google Instagram!!

Lesson:  You can learn many things from others in social media. Join groups, follow blogs.

2. You won’t get in trouble on social media.

Oh dear…. Many people and brands have tried social media campaigns. Some have made mistakes and others using the same strategy have succeeded. Research, research and then research.

Lesson: Don’t think that if you do something wrong that people will be nice to you in this world, and all will be forgiven.  Word travels very quickly in online spaces. If you fail to deliver on brand promises, you will fall victim to the brunt of The Hulk’s fist. 

3. All Gen Y’s are wired.

Again, nothing said further from the truth. OK, so some of this Generation are switched on, are all over social media… but there are a lot who don’t live only in an online world.

Lesson: Yes you should employ them to help you with your social media strategy. And yes, they may want to work remotely. Let them! Learn what they have to offer. Just because they’re younger than you doesn’t mean that they are not ‘wise in the ways of the Force’!!


So for happy endings for everyone? It’s easy.

Only promise what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise.

(See I said that I was going to give you two myths, but gave you three)!

Still wanting more?

Lucky To Be Alive

2 Jun

Last weekend I went up to beautiful Mt Nebo for a gorgeous scenic drive and lunch. On the way down the mountain range, we saw motorbike skid marks on a bend, then a sole motorcycle standing on the road. No-one was nearby. We stopped and found a very lucky, young man emerging from the very steep mountain slope. He had his friend with him and a resident who had heard the screech. The young 20 something had managed to jump off his bike before he and his bike both careered down the mountain, only to have the bike land on him on the way down the slope. He emerged with cut jeans, a pretty beaten up knee, a sore shoulder and the shakes.


Last Saturday one of the coldest days that we have had in Brisbane this autumn, but after his adrenalin died down and shock took over, the poor lad was shivering like he had been in iced water. At least he could walk up to the road. He and his mate were on cruiser bikes, they weren’t being silly buggers, but yet, one of them took a corner at the wrong angle, and down the mountain he went. He was lucky to walk away from it. There are many flower bouquets along that range, signaling many others weren’t so lucky. Disaster can hit at any time. These two young lads will think themselves lucky for many years to come.

Brands need to do the same. They can’t become complacent. They need to wake up every morning and think, how can we keep our customers from leaving? How can we make things better by providing better solutions, service, value? How can we attract new prospects? Think smart and avoid disaster, and have customers loving and thanking your brand for years to come. Virgin have just undertaken a huge rebranding exercise. Have they taken a gamble? I think not. They didn’t cut corners too quickly, they thought about the route ahead and were certainly not complacent.

It’s easier not to

1 May

I must apologise for not uploading regular posts. It’s just easier not to.

Do you say that often? It’s easier not to exercise. It’s easier not to have an alcohol free day. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Call it procrastination. Call it laziness. Call it being smart! Call it whatever you like. What would happen if our trusted brands did this? Imagine turning up to the airport and the pilot decided it was easier to stay in bed!! OK, he wouldn’t have his job. But you get my drift.

What would happen if brands thought it easier not to listen to their customers? Did exactly what they ‘thought’ we need. Myopia would rule, and this brand wouldn’t last for very long. It then would be easier for us not to buy their products and services.

I promise not to take the easy road.

Marketing: the core to any (successful) brand

20 Mar

When times get tough or crisis enter into a company’s boardroom, usually the first thing to go is Marketing. Many CFOs and CEOs confuse marketing with selling, and, marketing with advertising. In fact, many people think that they’re all the same thing.

For us marketeers, we know they’re not.

Marketing is how brands connect with their stakeholders. It’s all about communication, not selling. Marketing has so many facets to it. 

Once you decide whom you’re marketing to (or communicating with), the rest should fall into place. What media does this audience consume? When do they consume and how do they want to consume this information?

How do we create solutions for this group, not just by making more products and services? We should be providing extra value than our competitors are providing. Prove to your customers that they’re not just a number, but surprise and delight them with out of the ordinary service and value adding by allowing them two way communication and access.

Don Schultz founded the 21st Century SIVA principle that far outweighs the old Four Ps scenario. It makes far more sense in our modern world with consumers demanding two way communication and being involved in co-creational marketing where the brand and customer find solutions together. Solutions, Information, Value and Access is where it’s atYes I know bottom line is imperative, but without the customer and marketing at the centre of a brand, you can’t connect with your customers. You can’t build relationships. This is how you maintain long term success.

Authenticity – Are you showing the real you?

18 Mar

Authenticity is something that belongs to the soul of a brand, person, sporting team…. you name it. It also vindicates why we follow sporting teams like The Roar, Broncos, go to The Gabba to watch the cricket or see a band that has been around since your childhood. It also validates the brands that we wear to those occasions, what we eat and drink, our (excitement) activities before and after the show, and the merchandise that we purchase to re-affirm our loyalty.

Last night I saw Duran Duran at The Brisbane Entertainment Centre. They had nothing to hide, infact they showed true qualities of amazing (and stunningly gorgeous), men who had aged as well as a good red. Simon Le Bon had throat surgery late in 2011 but you wouldn’t have heard any different. While these guys have aged tremendously well, they showed their authenticity by being transparent. There were no extra kilos around their waists and they put on a show as good as any 20 year old somethings. They connected with their fans by telling stories, going out into the audience and playing all of their old hits. They used Twitter thanking fans after the concert. Transparency is something that a brand needs to show if they want to humanise the experience.

The sexiest men on Planet Earth

People, like brands are authentic, if they want to be. They show us what they want. They tease us, they pretend. They hide their weaknesses. May the Duran Duran boys keep taking us to Rio within our wonderful Planet Earth for another 30 years with their authenticity!

Daily Deals: Are relationships dead?

13 Dec

Checked your full inbox this morning? Or noticed after you signed up for ‘Daily Deals’ that your inbox is always full (someone does love you)!!

This trend is growing with businesses being smart to cash in on this phenomenon. Anything goes with products and services offered ranging from wine, house cleaning, yoga, facials, holidays, ballooning… and I could continue on forever! Direct mailed straight into your inbox – with a clever headline! We as consumers can now pick and choose whatever takes our fancy. If we are not interested, we delete the email. Simple!

Or is it?

From a marketing point of view, what message are business sending? Do we need a deal to attract the attention of new prospects? Possibly we do? But possibly we don’t.

Will this new customer become loyal to your business?

This really depends on how you treat them. If you treat prospects poorly they won’t come back to complete their deal. You need to still woo these customers over to ‘your dark side’!! You need to provide superior service, you need to value add and provide solutions superior to their (original) provider. You need to provide a positive brand experience.

I suppose the other aspect is… do you want a relationship with these new customers? Most smart businesses and brands will…. But there are always those brands out there that may be arrogant to believe that by doing nothing will turn these potential new prospects into customers. Treat ‘em mean hey?? Unfortunately this strategy won’t work in our uber competitive marketplace.

So we get the new customers in from a deal. What is your conversion rate? And this is after costs? To offer this ‘daily deal’ costs a lot… to not convert will hurt your purse strings.

How about another take on this, keeping your loyal customers happy?

Do they get a deal as well?

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