Archive for August, 2013

Angry Ads: the mentality of the serial advert moaner

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Marmite neglect

Moan, moan, moan.  Dear old Britain does love to have a moan. Pick up the Daily Mail and you will be instructed on a good dozen things at which you should be entirely furious.

Our own industry of marketing and advertising tends to attract more than its fair share of indignation.

The latest (and quite possibly most inexplicable) explosion of contention are the 500 or so complaints attracted by the Marmite Neglect ad.

First impressions here at Together were simply that this was an extraordinarily clever campaign. Fair enough, people within the industry tend to have a thicker skin to the sensibilities of the (at times delicate) British public.

But some entirely informal research amongst friends and families outside the industry revealed precisely the same kind of admiration for the intelligence and humour of the campaign.

And yet 500 individuals (albeit of a certain disposition) in the UK clearly saw something so offensive in this piece of creative work that they took the time and effort to register their distaste with the ASA.

We are, to be frank, entirely baffled.

Admittedly some brands have at times have set out (somewhat unscrupulously) purely to shock and offend.

Given the choice between an approach that tickles, inspires and intrigues the audience and one that slaps them in the face with something brash and possibly even inappropriate, we would invariably opt for the former.

But as something like the Marmite Neglect campaign demonstrates, offence can sometimes emerge from the unlikeliest of sources.

The complaint that the Marmite Neglect campaign in some way trivialises the plight of neglected pets. It doesn’t. Similarly, the objection that it is ruthlessly exploiting a serious and tragic situation for commercial gain is nothing short of ludicrous.

But this is the plight of the clever campaign. Subtlety, wit and irony especially will sail over the heads of the pedants, the moral enforcers and the petty contrarians.

It is unquestionably the duty of all agencies to pay due regard to the feelings and sensitivities of their audience. But it is also their absolute obligation to create their most imaginative, thought provoking and original work.

Moaners will moan, no matter what. At least let them moan about something brilliant.

By @boultini

Our Find Sydney promotion is brewing nicely

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

To support the major Find Sydney sales promotional we devised for our pals at Tetley, there’s now a national TV advert about to hit your screens, created by Dare.

You can also take a look at what’s going on with the Tea Folk’s very own Facebook page as they’re desperately seeking Sydney.

Find out more about our Tetley Find Sydney promotion.

A design experiment

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Our hypothesis…

‘Any quote, no matter how cool, can be made to look impossibly rubbish by placing it in white Monotype Corsiva type on a picture of a sunset.’

Friends of science, we present our findings.


Inspirational quote 5

Inspirational quote 4

Inspirational quote 3

Inspirational quote 2

Inspirational quote 1

Inspirational quote 6

Together contributes to ITV’s Tonight programme

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

JT on telly

A while ago we were asked to help contribute to ITV’s flagship investigation programme ‘Tonight’.

They were creating a four part investigation into the importance of provenance in food. On the back of the horse meat scandal, we would assume that the origins of the food we eat would never have been more important, and a survey in fact showed that 65% of consumers wanted to know where their food came from.

And yet, the programme revealed some startling truths about where our food originates, not least because food manufacturers are under no obligation to declare where the meat in their ready meals and processed foods has come from.

We were asked to design packaging for a fictional ‘traditional British’ lamb hot pot that presenter Jonathan Maitland used to illustrate the surprising point about the various locations from which the ingredients in our food are sourced.

Our lamb hot pot packaging creation for 'Johnny's Classics'

Our lamb hot pot packaging creation for ‘Johnny’s Classics’

Our design removed any inference to the provenance to the dish, which while making for a plain design is actually the most truthful approach to packaging foods where the ingredients could have come from anywhere!


The dish itself was created by friend of Together and ace food technologist, Brian Smith of Booth Smith Food Technology.

Friend of Together, food technologist Brian Smith of Booth Smith Food Technology (left)

Friend of Together, food technologist Brian Smith of Booth Smith Food Technology (left)

Together partner Jonathan Turner also contributed to the programme, sharing his thoughts on the three key components of food packaging – name, descriptor and image – and generally sticking his handsome old face all over the telly. He was also referred to as a ‘branding guru’ of which he is rather chuffed.

You can watch the whole show here. (Jonathan pops up about 6 minutes in)

Why a sales promotion needs to be brave!

Monday, August 12th, 2013


It’s been a year of many things here at Together Towers. It’s been the year we experimented with delicious but powerful ales from Brew Dog. It’s the year we decided it probably wasn’t too healthy to fill our agency tuck shop with nothing but Scampi Fries and Chewits.

But probably most significantly of all it’s been our year of remarkably successful sales promotions.

First came our Stowford Press ‘Bowl for £50,000’ promotion, in which a lucky cider drinker became a quite brilliant cider drinker by successfully bowling three cricket balls at a wicket at Trent Bridge to win himself fifty grand.

His feat sent the ground into raptures and was reported all over the world.

Jubilant scenes at our Stowford Press Bowl for £50k finale

Jubilant scenes at our Stowford Press Bowl for £50k finale

Next we pitched for, won and produced the latest on-pack promotion for Tetley, a brand so dear to British hearts it would by like punching Stephen Fry in the throat if we got it wrong.

This promotion invited Tetley customers to find one of the missing Tea Folk characters, Sydney, and rewarded them with £1,000 for doing so.

10 million promotional packs rolled out across the UK.

10 million promotional packs rolled out across the UK.

We’ve always had a great belief in the power of sales promotions and certainly not for merely initiating a brief burst of sales that lacks real substance. In retail, the tendency towards perpetual price reduction instead of value-adding promotions not only fails to build a brand relationship, but actively damages the brand in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

So, reflecting on this year of major promotional activity, we’ve learnt a thing or two about how to carry out an effective sales promotion.

Our first principle had to be simplicity. Every market in which you could venture with a sales promotion is crowded, noisy and often driven primarily by price. Engaging people in a brand is difficult enough, but converting that engagement into participation is a sensitive and complicated business.

If the promotion we provide will take up very little of our audience’s time and yet will promise them a compelling experience and a potential (and appealing) reward then we have established a welcoming platform for a relationship to take place.

Boldness is equally important. Imagination and assertiveness need to be at the core of any sales promotion hoping to make an impression and influence consumer behaviour. The medium of sales promotion is swarming with competing ideas and values. It is neither a place for timidity nor banality and the brand that has the confidence to turn their back on what has always been done will shine.

Sales promotion is one of the most human mediums in marketing. It is a matter of understanding not just the commercial behaviour but also the emotional composition of the people in your market. At many levels the incentive may not be any more important than the voice with which you excite your customer.

Courageous minds will succeed at sales promotion. Timid ones might as well pack up their Scampi Fries and go home.

By @boultini