Archive for February, 2013

ads worth spreading

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I wouldn’t push anyone to watch a go compare ad. I wouldn’t hold you down until you’d sat through all 30 seconds of Meerkat madness. And I certainly wouldn’t wish the Iceland Christmas ad on anyone. But I will share these with you (via TED and Co.Create). They’re worth watching. They may not change your life but may make you think a little differently. Go on. Why not?

My Two Ads – Vicky’s pick

Friday, February 15th, 2013

This week in our weekly ad review, it’s the turn of our account commando Vicky Luke to toss confetti at her favourite ad and toss a harpoon into the face of her least favourite.

The best – John Lewis Christmas 2011

‘Because we’re such a bunch of saddos in our house, we wait in eager anticipation for each year’s new John Lewis Christmas ad.

And my favourite has got to be the 2011 Christmas one featuring the little boy waiting to give his parents their present to a cover version of the Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’.

For me it embodied a true Christmas message, encouraging us to remember that Christmas is about sharing and giving, not just receiving.

The ad teases you throughout delivering an unexpected, and highly emotive, twist at the end.

I think I love it most of all because I secretly wish it was like that in our house. But sadly, the reality is waking up at 5am to see what my two boys have been given, not what they are going to give. We live in hope!’


The worst – Bet365 bingo ‘Bingo Heads’

‘My first choice for this would have been the horrible SafeStyle UK ad, but Ruth already did that in an earlier blog.

So, instead i’ve chosen Bet365 Bingo. And let’s face it, all bingo adverts are annoying in their own way.

But with this one, I couldn’t even remember which brand the ‘bingo heads’ were supposed to be promoting – so it clearly hasn’t done its job very well!

And above all, I can’t even begin to understand the thinking behind the concept. So it didn’t really talk to me on any level!’

Next week: Account wizard Kate Fletcher

Gulp: the challenges of successfully marketing a drinks brand

Friday, February 8th, 2013


Here at Together Agency, we love a drink. That’s not to say we start each day with a mojito or stash a cheeky WKD blue in our desk drawers (well, some of us don’t).

What we’re trying to say is that, as a marketing agency, there are few accounts we find more rewarding than an alcohol campaign.

We work with some leading brands of UK ales, cider and spirits, and the creative briefs we receive never fail to cause a ripple of excitement in the studio. And, let me assure you, there is nothing the Together team enjoys more than a good ripple.

I suspect that the reason we find marketing for the drinks industry so enjoyable is the fact that successfully advertising and promoting alcohol brands in the modern market is incredibly challenging.

Few marketing sectors are so inextricably linked with lifestyle than drink. What a person chooses to drink at a bar says an awful lot about the personality and character that individual wishes to convey.

Marketing drinks goes far beyond persuading a consumer of the quality and flavour of the product. The way it looks, the way it is perceived and the social capital it imparts on the drinker are all integral factors to the brand’s appeal.

The drink you choose is as much a matter of status as the haircut you sport and the music you listen to (or at least the music you wish to be seen to be listening too – shameful confessions of a secret PJ and Duncan fan).

Drink brands are also incredibly vulnerable to damage from societal behaviour and perceptions. If your drink is regularly seen in the hand of some despicable villain or some young scallywag caked in his own vomit then it is going to take a Herculean marketing effort to repair the reputation of the brand.

Premium drink brands especially make monumental efforts to position their product towards the mature, stylish and discerning consumer. The Stella chalice is the ultimate embodiment of a brand striving to escape the stereotypes that have dogged their status in the eyes of the consumer for many years.

Our approach to a brief for an alcohol brand is always to understand the kind of individual who drinks it and the kind of individual who we would ideally want to be seen drinking it. It sounds simple, but very often the disconnect between the reality and the ideal scenario is a staggering gulf.

The very best drink branding and marketing is that which not only creates an impact but also imbeds very specific and memorable lifestyle cues in the mind of the audience.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve just cracked open a WKD and we’ve got ‘Let’s Get to Ready to Rhumble’ on repeat. That, as they say, is how we roll.

My Two Ads – Ruth’s pick

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Another week, another time for lavish praise and vicious criticism of two ads in our regular review.

This time around it is our indispensable Office Manager (and Tuck Shop proprietor) Ruth Fox. Foxy Fox. The Fox in The Box. Doctor Fox.  Former Newcastle United winger Ruel Fox. FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder. Disappointing Disney film ‘The Fox and the Hound’. Sorry. Got carried away. Here are her thoughts…

The best: Coca Cola Christmas Ad

‘This is an unusual example of an advert that has come to signify more than just promoting a brand or product. To a lot of people it now marks the start of Christmas, it’s sort of become as much a festive traditional as mince pies!

‘It’s become a classic with the right amount of nostalgia. As soon as you see it, you feel the same kind of anticipation you used to feel as a child, knowing that Christmas is coming.’

The worst: Safestyle Windows

“You buy one, you get one free. I say you buy one, you get one free!”

This advert is so annoying and brash. It’s right up there with my other hated ads – Go Compare and Compare the Market. But having said that it has stuck in my memory, so in a horrible way is it actually doing its job?

It’s debatable effectiveness aside, it has no class, artistry or creativity. It’s nothing more than a blatant (and very loud and obnoxious) sales pitch. Again though, is that an effective way of selling your product?

Whether it is or isn’t successful, it’s still an offence to all my senses!’


Next week: Account Directing Mega Dude Vicky Luke

The Crunch: Skips

Friday, February 1st, 2013


(As requested by Head of Creative, Nat)

Skips. Oh Skips. We want to love you. Maybe we did once. But we were different then, we both were.

You didn’t particularly taste of anything. But dammit you fizzed on our tongues. FIZZED! A crisp, fizzing! Madness.

But we needed more than that. We grew up and we moved on, that’s what people do.

Soon we discovered crisps that didn’t taste like someone had sellotaped together a load of pencil shavings.

True they didn’t melt on our tongue like you did, but we soon forgot how brilliant that felt (to the point where the whole idea of it actually seemed quite a rubbish thing for a crisp to do anyway).

We’re sorry it had to come out like this. We were close once and, who knows, one day we may be close again (we won’t).

You’ve got to be brave now and keep going. Carry on doing what you do best, namely being the most disappointing crisps in a variety pack.

And one day, you’ll find someone. Someone new who doesn’t fully understand what it is a crisp is meant to do.

And that, old friend, is why we must give you…

1 Lovejoy



More Crunching next week…