Ad Nauseum? The 12 Deadly Sins of Advertising

Unbelievably, this August marked 25 years since I started my career as a lowly graduate trainee media buyer at J.Walter Thompson.  So to celebrate this milestone, I thought I’d compile the 12 Deadly Sins of Advertising, as no matter how ‘sophisticated’ our industry has become over the years, there are some crimes that just won’t go away... 1.  Pointless Corporate Ads.  Fire up the cliché generator and pick, in any order, sweeping shots of rainforests, [...]

Lessons from the Old School

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to attend several incredibly interesting and diverse events - from a Marketing Society talk by Andrew Cracknell (one of the original, English, Mad Men), through to an event that showcased the very latest in marketing innovations from around the world (the ‘Seek’ event, hosted by Essence Digital). And what struck me most was this; advertising may well have turned into a ‘brave new world’ of digitised, [...]

How To Be A Good Client (aka Top Tips for Marketing Directors)

Having previously written about how agencies can improve their pitch performance, I thought it was high time I wrote a guide for clients. Working as an interim and consultant, I regularly see examples of (often unintentional) poor client practice, so here’s my Top Tips for Marketing Directors.  It's not a comprehensive list, just a starter for 10, so if you have any top tips (or horror stories) of your own, I'd love to hear them... 1. Employ [...]

Marketing to Women Needs More Than ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am…’

My December blog took a look at the big retailer's Christmas ads and came to the conclusion that the ones that misfired did so because they didn't correctly connect with women.  Not surprisingly, as women are the major organisers - and spenders - at Christmas, this almost directly correlated to those who subsequently posted poor trading results. This topic is high on my agenda at the moment as I’m working with a brand that is [...]

Survival Of The Fittest? Don’t Make Me Laugh!

The horsemeat scandal and an aggressive piece by Mark Ritson in Marketing Week (Kill the Weak: It's the Marketing Way) has again highlighted exactly what’s wrong with modern business practice.  A basic lack of responsibility and morality which has enabled companies to build and abuse extraordinary levels of power. I know Ritson loves to court controversy, but this time he’s stepped over the line.  His ridiculous assertion, when we are knee deep in another breach [...]

Merry Christmas Adverts!

'Tis the season to be jolly, so this month - in the great tradition of Campaign’s ‘Private View’ – the MarketingMog has been reviewing the annual crop of retailer Christmas adverts and wondering if any themes have emerged in this depth-of-recession year… First up, John Lewis. The MarketingMog is pretty cynical about these annual schmaltz-fests from a team that seem a little too interested in their own PR, but ‘The Snowman's Journey’ is a definite improvement on last year’s ‘Seven’ inspired [...]

What About Marketing’s Social Responsibility?

Back in February, I wrote a piece entitled ‘Time for Some Moral Marketing’.  My hope was that 2012 would provide the antidote to the widespread corporate, political and social immorality of 2011 (expenses-fiddling politicians, corrupt bankers, phone hacking, abuse in ‘care’ homes, riots…). We were all hopeful that the Jubilee and Olympics/Paralympics would provide the feel good factor we were desperate for.  Sadly, the Jubilee was an over-long washout but our athletes did us proud, [...]

White Wine For The Lady…

In the wise words of Al Murray's pub landlord, "white wine for the lady, beer for the gentleman... them's the rules.  And where would we be if we didn't have rules?" (Answer: France!). Here in the UK, Molson Coors have pulled their Animée ‘lady beer’ after just one year.  Good. In last week’s Marketing, WCRS Planning Director Matt Willifer argued that Animée was a “brave launch by an admirably innovative company” (?) but suggested that [...]

A Valuable Lesson in Customer Insight

I was recently reminded of the importance of one of the most basic rules of marketing – never try to second-guess your customers. One of my current clients is developing a holiday centre in the UK countryside and I’m helping them with the branding, marketing and launch strategy. I started with all the usual things; spoke to key managers, visited the site, understood their business plans, did the desk research etc.  Next on the list [...]

Who Are You Calling Socially Stupid?!

Marketing Week’s Mark Ritson was at his provocative best last week in a piece entitled ‘Why Marketers Are Socially Stupid’, following Waitrose’s recent #Reasons campaign on Twitter. He makes a lot of valid points, although I strongly disagree that their “middle class shoppers will feel a little less enthusiastic about entering the store now, and store traffic will decline”. This was a storm in a teacup, which poked fun at what Waitrose is already known [...]