Get responsible: how brands benefit from being the good guys

February 18th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

I read on The Drum a little while ago that both McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are looking at how ‘combining commercial and social purpose’ could help them encourage customers to buy into their brands long-term.

While obviously big corporations tackling societal issues is, in its essence, a good thing, the worry is that it might turn off customers. Building parks for disadvantaged families and donating money to charity is great and all, so long as it’s genuine; if consumers can hear gleeful hands rubbing together at the prospect of a public image (or worse, profit) boost, it can actually end up having a negative impact on the brand.

That said, there are ways to do it well. So, which consumer brands are doing a good job of combining social and commercial purposes?

TOMS One for One

TOMS: One for One does serious good - without being at the front of the brand's image

TOMS: One for One does serious good – without being at the front of the brand’s image

What sets TOMS apart? Their ‘One for One’ cause isn’t used as a PR or promotions tool – it’s an integral part of their business model.

People wear TOMS because, I don’t know, they’re fashion conscious, or just really love any excuse not to wear socks during the day. Whatever. But for every product TOMS sell they donate shoes, glasses, and water to people in need.

TOMS’ devotion to benefitting a social cause isn’t directly used to boost custom – but customers know that for every pair of shoes they buy, they really are doing good. What can be more genuine than that?

Innocent Drinks

BigKnit-5-Celebrity-hatsX623x305

This appeals to many of my interests. Especially my interest in knitting.

Innocent’s promotion of social causes is so good that consumers actually think they’re even more charitable than they are; they’re often mistaken for a social enterprise, despite the fact that they only donate 10% – rather than 50%+ – of their profits to charitable causes (though let me add, that’s still awesome).

That misconception demonstrates just how inextricable their social purpose has become from their commercial. Add to that their brilliant Age UK campaign, where 25p from every behatted drink drink sold is donated to Age UK, and you can see why they’re the nation’s juicy sweethearts.

Lush

Charity Pot Lids C_0

I always buy the Charity Pots. How can I say no when they ask at the till?

Lush already has a huge number of selling points. Their products are vegetarian and made from natural, ethical ingredients. Their packaging is recyclable; in fact, they even offer incentives for you to bring your tubs back into store to be re-used.

They also sell the Charity Pot, a regularly changing product that last year raised £898,000 for small charities, campaigns and organisations. Alongside that are their various campaigns against animal testing, which you can find out more about here.

Lush, like Innocent, is able to boost its already positive image effectively because the nature of its products fit with its causes; both the brands serve natural, ‘healthy’ products, which seems to make their do-good nature appear more genuine.


 

These are just a few businesses that incorporate social causes into the brand strategy. There are lots of big companies, however, that do it too – often devoting whole areas of their sites to how they’re helping their community (take a look at our friends Boots, for example).

At Together, we know there’s always more good we can do. We’re always actively looking for ways we can support the local community and budding creative talent, because how can you claim to love your home if, when you’re in a position to do so, you aren’t willing to give it a helping hand?

 

Perfect Pinterest Pancakes – how food brands are utilising seasonal events.

February 17th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

It’s no secret that Pinterest is the perfect place to find pretty pictures (or pins) on baking, photography, weddings and crafts – or maybe that’s just my boards?

Source: www.adweek.com

Source: www.adweek.com

However, with their strongly female-dominated audience (over 70% of Pinterest users are women) and the most popular pin topic being ‘Food and Drink’, it’s no wonder that brands are jumping onto Pinterest to engage with female consumers and encourage them to buy their products for the eagerly anticipated Pancake Day.

Brands utilising Pinterest for Pancake Day

From food writers to FMCG brands, take a look at the scrumptious boards from foodie influencers on Pinterest.

BBC Food:

Follow BBC Good Food’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

Jamie Oliver:

Follow Jamie Oliver’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

All Recipes:
Follow Allrecipes.co.uk’s Pancake Day Ideas board on Pinterest.

Asda:

Follow Asda’s board Asda | Pancake Day on Pinterest.

Tesco Food:

Follow Tesco Food’s board Pancake Day Recipes on Pinterest.

Aldi Supermarkets:

Follow Aldi UK’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

So who will be the winner of the Pancake Day Pinterest boards? Only time will tell. But, these brands are a great example of best social media practice. They have identified a platform that doesn’t have as many followers as Facebook or Twitter, but is relevant to to their target audience.

AllRecipes.com is a great example of this – they installed a ‘Pin It’ button into the adjacent  photos and videos on their websites, so that community members could easily share recipes. As a result of this, over 50,000 recipes were pinned, 139 million Pinterest impressions were created and clicks on content increased more than 900%.

Since then, they have been reaping the benefits of brand awareness and engaged audiences.

Less billbored, more brillboard

February 11th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

The great outdoors. That’s just for posters, billboards and, well, trees and stuff – right?

A-ho no. Wrong. Well, sort of. Clear Channel UK – one of the biggest of cheeses in the outdoor advertising department – recently announced that its increasingly using tech to make its outdoor advertising spaces more interactive. This comes after more and more brands have turned to innovative digital billboards to create active and engaging content.

Yep, turns out that flipping a traditional medium on its head and totally superseding the expectations of passers-by is a pretty great way of grabbing attention.

So, forget those static, peeling billboards of the past and take a look at a few of our favourite tech/outdoor mashups.

 

Virgin Trains’ chatty billboard

In 2009 this genius idea by Elvis took over the screen outside Liverpool Station – the largest digital screen in Europe – to promote Virgin’s new, super-quick service to London.

To update the screen Elvis popped a copywriter in a cafe opposite, who used a custom web application to write live comments addressing the public and point at them with a giant cursor. Clever and hilarious.

 

Apotek’s/Garbergs’ motion sensor

Last year the Swedish advertising agency Garbergs used an existing idea by Apotek to convey a devastating message.

Garbergs’ ad, on behalf of The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, was much the same as Apotek’s in look, colour and tech – but with a shocking twist and a huge impact. We won’t spoil it for you; give the video a watch and see what happens.

 

British Airways’ ‘Magic of Flying’ campaign

Using a very complicated, ingenious and, ultimately, award-winning process, in 2013 British Airways launched a series of pretty magical billboards that, with the help of some adorable children, pointed out planes (as well as accurate flight information) as they flew past.

The effect was really impressive. The campaign encouraged passers-by to look up, reminded them of the ‘magic of flying’ and engaged with our natural tendency to wonder about what’s flying past.

 

These ads really give us a taste for trying new things and innovating with our work. Even if a digital billboard isn’t something we would necessarily do, the concept itself pushes agencies to go against the grain and invent new ideas.

We’re hoping to see more and more cool stuff like this as brands continue to jump on the digital billboard bandwagon. Seen something even better? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Tips on social media video content for 2015

February 9th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

From checking Facebook on the daily commute to live tweeting during your favourite TV show, it’s safe to say that social media is now a part of (a large majority) people’s lives – even my 72 year old grandma is using social media to catch up with old friends.

With that in mind, brands and marketers around the world are now thinking of new and creative ways to reach their audience through social media channels. Presently, the current ‘buzz word’ going around is video content – we need to create LOTS of videos to engage our customers.

You may have even heard of great success stories, like that of Cosmopolitan Magazine, which created a series of Facebook specific videos to appeal to their fun, fearless female audience. As a result of this ‘relevant’ video content, Cosmopolitan saw a 200% increase in their engagement rate within the Facebook audience.

These results (and the video) are pretty impressive, I think we can all agree. But, let’s take a step back and think. Yes, video content is highly engaging and helps you stay higher in Facebook news feeds, reaching more people. But in the same respect, Facebook are now receiving over 3 billion video uploads a day. So, before running to your cameras or smart phones, here are some tips on where to start:

1. Choose a platform 

More and more social media platforms are beginning to build in video options. The information below looks into the share of video posts across the more popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

SocialBakers-share-of-video-posts-on-Facebook1-800x421

Image source: marketingland.com

All of these channels offer video content from 15 seconds to 15 minutes on average. However, with our average attention span shrinking to 5 seconds,  I would suggest also looking into a social media platform like Vine.

Owned by Twitter, this social media platform boasts 40 million users (Tech Crunch: 2014) and has numerous brands and companies sharing their 6 second videos with followers. You can also set your Vine to share with Facebook and Twitter channels in a bid to reach even more people.

2. Research into your audience and competitors 

From desk research to using social listening tools, start off by monitoring your social conversations and make full use of the Facebook graph search to see other brands and interests that your audience have.

Facebook

 

3. Create relevant content 

imagesIt’s always important to make time to create great content – once you understand what your audience are thinking, feeling and tweeting, the next step is to plan and map out the type of video content that you are planning to make. This way, realistic goals can be set and marketing goals can be achieved.

 

Whether  it’s a ‘how-to’, ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘promotional’ video, don’t forget to put in measurements like #hashtags to track your performance, which’ll enable you to fine tune your videos and make future improvements.

Meet Sophie – our new creative copywriter.

February 4th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

A new year means new additions to the Together Agency team.

We’ve already introduced you to our wonderful art worker, Dave and senior designer, Sean and now it’s the turn for our shiny new copywriter, Sophie. With a wealth of copy writing experience, we’ve asked Sophie a range of questions so that we can get to know her a little better.

Sophie

Where did you study?
I studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield. I had to read Story of the Eye in one module and it scarred me for life, but the rest was great.

What do you love about writing?

Ooh. I don’t know… There are so many possibilities in writing, and I love how something as simple as an exclamation mark or a rogue capital letter can completely change someone’s understanding of a sentence – and that understanding will be totally different depending on the audience.

puzzlecontent3Generally I just think it’s so much fun. Writing is a bit like playing word Tetris, spinning different words in all different ways and figuring out how they work to make them fit into something great. The part where you don’t fit them together properly and it’s game over is obviously writer’s block. Can’t believe I made that metaphor work.

If you could choose one book or blog that sums up your life, what would it be?
I can’t think of an entire book but the first few paragraphs of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat about him being an absolutely chronic hypochondriac is me all over. WebMD is my nemesis.

Three random facts about you.

Sophie's also a fan of dinosaurs. We thought she would love this.

Sophie’s also a fan of dinosaurs. We thought she would love this.

1. I love knitting
2. I’m convinced my cat can say the word ‘milk’
3. I’m trypophobic (which essentially means I’m scared of random collections of small holes like in sponges and honeycomb and poppy seed heads and stuff ugh

30 second brief: Come up with a catchy advertising title and tag line for this image.

off-road

Holy petroleum!

There are some places you really don’t want to run out of gas. The sky’s one of ‘em.

For an awareness campaign to remind people it isn’t safe to run your car low on petrol. Right!?

 

Some epic answers in this. We hope you all enjoyed our little interrogation into our new copywriter.

Welcome to the team, Sophie!

An unmissable campaign… for a show I missed

February 2nd, 2015 / Sophie Allen

For the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to make my morning commute to work without seeing something to do with Fortitude, Sky Atlantic’s most recent offering.

But with that said, the dramatic, actors-slowly-looking-up-into-the-camera digital signs, which have been assaulting me daily from three different angles on my walk into the office, were only the beginning (even though those alone actually ingrained the name of the show into my morning-fugged brain – an achievement which, in itself, is pretty impressive).

The launch campaign has been really wide-reaching, ranging from standard promo to brilliantly bizarre PR.

The print ads were were given a boost by actual Fortitude reps, hired for the sole purpose of handing out special edition copies of Metro on the morning of launch day. I couldn’t tell if the reps were dressed in huge, arctic puffer jackets because it’s freezing at the minute or because it was actually on brand, but either way – it worked.

There was the ice-themed ad break, in which Sky Atlantic broadcast only the chilliest selection of TV commercials during the first episode to create a truly icy atmosphere. There was a branded photobooth hosted at swanky London venus that gave viewers the chance to win a holiday to Lapland (if they shared their pictures with a relevant hashtag, of course).

And then, of course, there was the polar bear. The polar bear that bewildered commuters in a hilarious PR stunt on the London Underground. There’s really not much more for me to say about that. Except, I mean… a polar bear.

It's just genius. (Picture: David Parry/PA)

If I can involve animatronics in a campaign, I will consider my life’s work complete. (Picture: David Parry/PA)

So, was it a success? Yep, a staggering one. The show pulled in 700,000 viewers on its opening night – when the average for viewers in that time slot is 59,000.

The figures speak for themselves – as does the amount of press coverage. But while a polar bear ambling through the streets of London was probably ample for raising huge amounts of awareness, the full campaign created a spectacle that couldn’t be ignored.

The sheer weight of the push behind a campaign with so many creative elements screamed at the audience to pay attention; why would Sky Atlantic invest so much in marketing if it weren’t a big-budget, big-impact show? I mean, you don’t see this kind of fuss being made over Tumble, do you?

But as for whether the show’s any good, I couldn’t say. I don’t have Sky Atlantic.

Let’s hope that, after a launch campaign as good as this, it didn’t end up getting a frosty reception.

What have our clients been up to in January?

January 27th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

It’s been a busy January for our clients, from new product launches to receiving awards; here we give a monthly round up of what they have been getting up to across print, social media and online.

National Trust Embraced Winter Reflections

Along with a series of online ads and radio campaigns, focusing on reflections, National Trust were encouraging followers on their @NTMidlands account to share their favourite winter reflection photos. Isn’t this one amazing!

 

Skinny Cracker Launched in Tesco Stores

One of our shiny new social media clients for 2015 – Cracker Drinks, launched their new range of chilled fruit Juices in Tesco stores nationwide.

If you haven’t seen them already, they have 3 flavours to choose from – pressed lemonade, Blueberry and Blackcurrant and Pineapple, Coconut and Lime. The Together verdict? We love them all!

Untitled design (3)

Ecotricity are voted the best energy supplier of 2015

First of all, we’d like to say a huge congratulations to the team over at Ecotricty for being voted the top energy supplier for customer satisfaction in 2015 (Which?).

Not only have we been working with Ecotricty for over 5 years on marketing strategy and campaigns – but the whole of the Together office is powered by their green energy.

A big welcome to Sean, our senior graphic designer!

January 26th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

We’re very excited to welcome Sean, our brand new senior designer, to Together!

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Sean’s now the chap in charge of leading graphic design within our creative team. He’ll be working with Dave and Ady to develop exciting ideas and eye-poppingly brilliant design.

Given that Sean doesn’t really like talking about himself – he’s modest, this guy – and that he’s already always busy, we’ve prepared some hard-hitting questions to help us discover the man behind the Mac.

Let’s start with the important stuff. Favourite biscuit?
Fox’s Crunch Cream.

And drink?
Jack Daniels & Coke. On ice.

Show us an ad that really rocks.
Honda – The Cog. It really is cool as hell.

Football – yes or no?
Yes! My team’s Blackburn Rovers. I have no idea why – probably because my whole family are Manchester United supporters and I just wanted to be different. I also seem to remember something about their kit being really cool…

If you could have a beer with any person, past or present, it would be…
Santa. Wait, no! Jimi Hendrix.

Tell which song makes you want to rock around the clock.
Hendrix, Purple Haze.

What one thing could you really not live without?
Music.

 Which band can you not stop listening to right now?
Biffy Clyro. I’ve liked them since the early days and they’ve changed a lot, but they’re still great.

Favourite film?
Goodfellas. Shawshank Redemption is a close second, though – it’s probably one of the best films of all time.

And finally…

What would you call this strange, wrinkly dog?

tuna-funny-dog-tunameltsmyheart-20

Ha. Er… Kenneth.

 

Phew. Well, that was fun, and I’m pretty sure we all know our senior designer a little better now.

Welcome to the team, Sean!

 

#ThisGirlCan campaign gets positive response on social media

January 19th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

Look at any social media account at the moment – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – and you will see endless amounts of posts from people “getting fit” or brands showcasing toned models in flamboyant gym wear with the messaging “you can do it”.

Nike Women

 

I hold my hands up, I am currently pushing myself to go to the gym three times a week in a bid to be more healthy. But the truth is, for the majority of us, we don’t always want to do sport or go to the gym because of how we currently look and feel about ourselves.

Research conducted by Sport England, the people behind the #ThisGirlCan campaign, found that a large number of women refused to do exercise because they would be judged for their shape and size.

As a result of this, they created a marketing campaign that targeted all women- not just those people with abs so defined you could grate cheese on them.

When watching the video, which has now gone viral across social media and the web, I was entranced and inspired. But it seems that millions of woman have taken to social media to talk about the video and feel good factor that exercise can bring you – no matter what your shape, size or sport.

What are people saying on social?

ThisGirlCan Mentions

Using analysis through Brand Watch, it’s clear that the channel of choice for people to express their views is Twitter. Using the hashtag of #ThisGirlCan here’s what a few people had to say.

When looking into the overall sentiment surrounding the campaign, via social media and web, we can see that people are using highly emotional words like ‘Love’ and ‘Fantastic’ to express how they feel towards it. Sentiment

 

In my opinion, these are the types of realistic adverts that we should create for people – to inspire them to do something they love and to know that it’s ok not to be perfect.

Soap-Ad-2004

You only have to take the 2004 Real Women campaign by Dove to know that women were reached on a personal level and became more receptive and loyal to the brand. Resulting in their sales being boosted from $2.5 billion to $4 billion (Source: News Generation).

If you ask me “real” marketing is a no-brainer.

Amazing Music Gig Poster Art

January 16th, 2015 / Dave Pearson

If you’ve managed to make it to the end of a gig without losing your wallet whilst crowd surfing or spending all of your money BFS_20th_anniversary_show_poster_webon (extortionately priced) beers, then the chances are that you will have come away with a little something more than great songs stuck in your head, shaky poor-quality camera-phone videos (shame on you.. watch the show) or bad memories of being stood behind the only 7ft person in the crowd …you may have taken a trip to the merchandise stand – not for yet another ill-fitting t-shirt – but for one the (ever-growing in popularity) fancy-pants gig posters.

In recent years, more and more bands have been marking their gigs and tours with premium quality prints so that fans can take them away and adorn their walls with, which, in my opinion is a far better memento of a show than your terrible badly-lit back-to-the-stage selfie could ever be. These prints are often screen-printed on high-quality paper, signed and numbered by the artist, resulting in them becoming highly collectible within both muso and art-appreciation circles and frequently ending up on eBay for ten times the price.

More often than not, the poster’s subject matter has no reference to the band or the event itself, and actually only serves as a way to showcase incredible design and artwork whilst promoting the band and the gig in a more interesting way.

I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few gig posters over the years, like this one that I created for Bowling for Soup’s 20th anniversary show last year. There’s something about working on screen-prints that I love – plus knowing that it’s likely to end up being cherished on someone’s wall is a nice thought.

The only slight down-side of these posters is that they often cost upwards of £30, but just remember you’re paying for a quality, collectible piece of artwork. If you’re still not convinced, just think that kind of money would only get you three pints at a gig these days – at least one of which you’ll end up spilling. So instead, why not treat yourself to something that will last a lifetime (or at least for as long as it’s cool to like that band).

Here’s a few of my favourite gig posters from around the world – send us yours through Twitter.

brand_new_erick montes

batlash - telegramme

Charlie_wager - Frightened Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ATDI - Ken Taylor