I'm sure many of you have seen the 'Big Ad' for Carlton Beer. I love it for the way it pokes fun at big budget blockbuster ads (British Airways and many beer ads are obvious references). I've now stumbled across the spoof Small Ad. It may be a little obvious in its humor but is shows how a powerful cultural idea gets passed around, and how people don't simply now engage with strong ideas but participate in them.
Big Shiny Thing points to a new initiative from Heineken to transform abandoned urban spaces into cultural centres. The Heineken Greenspace project is being overseen by Rem Koolhaas and launches in Valencia by turning some disused warehouse space into vibrant art spaces. It's an interesting example of a brand giving back; facilitating and co-creating an event for the mutual benefit of the brand and community.
Just got back from a long weekend in Montreal - a really beautiful city that effortlessly mixes the old and new. Not surprising that there's so much creativity coming out form there at the moment. While we were there we came across a fantastic thing called Distroboto. These are converted cigarette machines in bars, clubs, etc. that sell art, CD-Rs of music and video, etc. for $2. The real beauty is the Kinder-esque surprise - you don't know what you've got until you open the cigarette box style packaging.
to me anyway. P&G have decided to test some lower priced versions of its most loved brands according to this week's Brandweek.
While it may make sense (and even this is questionable) to offer products to more downscale consumers who tend to turn away from P&G's brands, I fear this may backfire. P&G have been masters for decades at obtaining a price premium through its brands in highly commoditized markets - this move may erode the brand equity they have spent millions of dollars and years building up.
A lot of people may ask themselves why pay the extra for Charmin compared to Charmin Basic and trade down. And if the product is clearly worse doesn't this impact the brand anyway? Feels like a dangerous and potentially no-win situation. Sometimes I feel brand owners are doing their best to commoditize their last point of difference - the brand itself.
I always thought Honda's 'Grrr' was a great ad but I've just been blown away by the strategic thinking behind it. You can download the UK APG Grand Prix award winning paper here thanks to those clever people at Wieden & Kennedy London. Worth a read for the title alone - 'Hate Doesn't Always Suck Ass'
Russell Davies has written a fantastic, provocative piece for this week's Campaign about the state of planning and some thoughts about where it should be heading. He's posted the text on his blog. If you're involved in planning or strategy, directly or indirectly, it's well worth a read. Planners, like the majority of the communications industry, encourage the brands we work on to keep fresh and relevant yet we far too rarely apply this to ourselves.
I seem to remember TiVo used to talk about the fact it put you in control on TV. Well it seems this is no longer the case. New software means certain shows cannot be kept indefinitely on the hard drive - the broadcaster/producer merely has to request this and TiVo will comply and flag the content. Not only is this against the law (the Supreme Court's 1984 Betamax decision which gave the individual the right to record TV shows even if the rightsholder doesn't like the idea) but it strikes me as another error by a brand that was once must have. Unsurprisingly, lots of bloggers seem angry that TiVo has conceded so much to producers and forgotten that it was a brand that was meant to be built around the needs of viewers not the industry.