Category Archives: advertising

Offering a helping hand

It’s lovely when people help each other out. I’m a big fan of random acts of kindness.

More-so, I’m a big fan of people helping out those less able to help themselves. We all know times are tough at the moment, especially for smaller businesses. The guys over at Brand Ireland have sent out a rallying call to people involved in all areas of Marketing & PR throughout Ireland, to get together and offer their expertise to those smaller businesses who could use a hand: by offering advice and helping them to develop & implement marketing plans, which could make the difference between them making it to the other side of the recession and, well, not. What a great idea!

I for one would be happy to help. If you too, fancy lending a hand, why not mosey on along to the blog & find out a bit more about it and how you can help?

There, now, doesn’t that feel good?

Live Young?

It was my birthday this week and as I’m officially moving deeper into my thirtysomething years, I’m therefore always on the look out for ways to ensure I still look as though I’m enjoying my later twenty-somethings instead.

Water’s long been the “secret” to great skin, better metabolism etc. and perhaps it really is the elixir of youth, but somehow the Evian “Live Young” campaign that has been around for a couple of years now, has always left me cold, and frankly done absolutely nothing to endear the brand to me. Quite the opposite in fact. Especially as their more recent work seems to be moving away from what I imagine were some of their more established brand values – origin, health & youth.

Nowadays they seem to be falling into the all too familiar trap of doing quirky, whilst retaining only a tenuous link to their strategy. Their initial Live Young TV ad seemed a slightly better brand fit, tonally, although I’ve got to be honest CGI babies are among some of the creepiest things that you can associate your brand with in my personal opinion – it’s not natural, they look really, unnervingly odd!

But this new “viral” that they’ve got out – it not only leaves me feeling a little confused about the brand, but it completely gives me the heebejeebes!

Currently at No.2 in the AdAge Viral Video Chart a fair amount of people are watching it I suppose. But what’s the propositon really? Evian makes me more youthful? That’s a category truth though – where’s the product truth? Where’s the thing in Evian that makes me look/feel younger than if I drank 3 litres of standard tap water? Combined with the fact they’ve (to my mind anyway) managed to completely lose any genuine brand personality, there is apparently no reason for me to choose it.

So I won’t.

That and the fact I don’t want the energy of a baby – awake & hyperactive for 2 hours, then grouchy & irritable and then asleep for 3 hours?? That’s what coffee & mid-afternoon chocolate’s for, no?

Kudos to them for trying to do something that will stand out in a category it’s probably hard to make any genuinely distinct claims in, but dancing babies aren’t going to make me want to drink their water; lack of a distinct personality, USP or any real engagement certainly isn’t either.

Also, why the “viral” ad if they’re not going to do anything else online? Their website doesn’t have the same tone for starters (no, showing the ad there too isn’t enough), as it seems to be very much where they used to be – conservatively european, clean, aspiring to be high-end and perhaps a bit dull. If the ad has entertained me enough to seek out your site, I want to be worth my while – engage with me, let me interact with you, don’t bore me. If you’re quirky, be quirky.

Having clearly spent a fortune on a TV ad, I think they’re missing a mightily big trick. It’s not all about TV anymore, and it’s certainly not about an online strategy being the release of a “viral”. They’ve got a creative device that could have real legs across all media, but especially online (albeit slightly creepy, chubby babies’ legs). Why aren’t they using it to its full potential?

I can see why they would want to move on – but follow it through. If a job’s worth doing and all that jazz.

My verdict – Stop trying too hard, just try & be smarter. Pick a brand personality, stay true to your values, make sure it’s in the fibre of all your communications and engage, engage, engage.

There endeth my sermon for today 😉

Yeah, yeah, women love shoes, blah, blah, blah

For years Ad Land has been unashamedly sexist. Practically every female-orientated brand has managed to portray Men as smelly half-wits who are incapable of doing the simplest of tasks, like figuring out how a fucking Air Freshener works, but don’t get me started on that particular brand – anyone been to Paul’s house recently? Apparently he’s a really smug little shit!

But now, it seems like the tables are turning and women are the new idiots on the block.

Now, I’m not going to try and rationalise a woman’s right to lust after shoes or even argue that there’s any perspective to it. I’m a self confessed shoe fiend and recently got very excited about the new shoe boxes I bought from Ikea that meant I could see all of my shoes at a glance and am currently wishing away what’s left of the summer so that I can go out and get myself a pair of these thigh-high boots for the winter. Yes I know they’re impractical. Yes I know I might end up looking like a hooker. But that’s part of their charm.

I would however, never do the following:

  1. Run down the street in my nightgown (partially because I don’t wear one, but this isn’t about streaking)
  2. Leave a baby to bask (bake?) in direct sunlight
  3. Abandon a group of small children on the side of a street and let them run along the road after me

… all to get shoes from a truck!


Fair play to the men of Ad Land for starting to fight back – you’ve had a hard time of it in recent years, but is this really how women are going to be portrayed?! Pesonally I think it just smacks of laziness, from the client and their agency alike. Women love shoes, ergo they will drop everything that matters to them to get their hands on a pair. That’s not an insight, it’s what happens when you leave naff all time to work on a brief and you know your client’s going to buy it because it’s “safe”.

And dooooon’t even get me started on the fact that none of these women has a decent job amongst them – the only one actually at work is a fucking Lollipop lady! (Though granted her response at the sight of said shoe truck does suggest a somewhat limited mental capacity and thus render her perhaps unsuitable for more complicated jobs – hell, she can’t even do this one properly!)

So it’s the middle of 2009 and where have we come since our fight for suffrage, keeping the country going through a world war and 40+ years of trying to break through the glass ceiling?! Well, we’re a bunch of dimwitted idots that will neglect our children, husbands, jobs (and I use the term job VERY loosely here) all to buy some fugly shoes from an out & out dickhead in a pimped-out Ice Cream truck?!

Well, not me thanks Buddy. I don’t care “how you roll” I’m not going to jump out of bed, hurdle over garden walls and into the path of oncoming traffic like some kind of vapid, shoe obsessed bint…

…well, not unless you’re giving these beauties away I’m not.

A Gaythering Storm

The National Organisation for Marriage in the US, recently broadcast a Public Service Announcement campaigning against same-sex marriage, with the standard blah, blah, blah about faith etc as an excuse for their bigotry.

I’m not going to argue the rights or wrongs of same sex marriage here, it’s a weighty issue and frankly, this blog is supposed to be a light-hearted bit of nonsense.

What I will point out though, is that they think that allowing same-sex marriage somehow puts heterosexual marriages at risk. Now, someone could marry a their dog, or a fucking Real Doll for all I care, and it would have absolutely no bearing upon whether or not I decided that marriage was for me.

Personally I just think they’re worried that all those “gay folk” are going to out-do us straight types with more tasteful, better dressed, and more long-lasting marriages. That’s the real risk as far as I can see – gay men & women just being more successful at marriage than the rest of us, as frankly, we’re not doing tremendously well at it currently, what with almost 50% of marriages currently ending in divorce.

But, it seems I’m not alone in thinking that the NOM PSA is pretty riseable…

God Bless the (curly) Child

I used to love this ad when I was little. Partly because it introduced me to the fabulous voice of Billie Holiday and partly because she was the first child I was aware of, with curly hair, that was officially, universally, cool.

(… though it was a little gutting to know that you could genuinely be a curly haired child and actually look cool, not have to sport the dubious “explosion in a mattress factory” mullet that my parents inflicted upon me).

As I got older, I loved it because it was just a great ad. It’s dated a bit now, as have I in 20 years I guess, but it still remains a classic TV ad from the time when TV ads actually worked.

PS – If you want a really good Billie Holiday song though, you should check this one out: Strange Fruit. One of the first anti-racism songs; it made me cry when I first heard it & really listened to the words. Brilliant, brilliant song.

Old Leathery Purse Anyone?

So, apparently Madonna is the face of the AW ’09 campaign for Louis Vuitton, the second time she’s appeared in a campaign for the luxury brand.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no desire to see a 50 year old woman flashing her crotch to all & sundry. And for those that do, I’m pretty sure there are specialist publications and websites that you can avail yourselves of which will give you er, more of what you want.

Apparently Madonna & Marc Jacobs think I’m wrong though. They think it’s exactly the kind of thing you should be looking at. Regard.


Seriously like, wtf?!!?! Evoking “Old Hollywood”?!? My arse! I don’t remember Bette Davis thrusting her ladygarden at the camera in All About Eve, or Rita Hayworth showing her wares to such a degree in Gilda, and jeez, she played a stripper! Do celeb types use the phrase “evoking Old Hollywood glamour” to pretty much allow them to do anything as long as they wash out the colour a bit?!

For a while there I was struggling to understand why Louis Vuitton would pick someone like Madge to front a campaign for them again, so I asked Twitter, always an excellent resource for reason and logic 😉

Initially we all agreed that “It’s a bit Readers’ Wives” and “That image is just disturbing, put it away Madge” along with the thought we all had, “She must love her crotch, it’s everywhere”.

But after a bit of debate it was decided that actually it’s a perfect brand association: Expensive, Exclusive, Leathery Purses. A match made in heaven!

Though I am going to say that only one of them can really still be considered a luxury brand these days – I mean, I’m all for a bit of vintage bargain hunting, but there’s only one of the two going to remain desirable despite years of “wear & tear”. Am I wrong?

I am however, slightly terrified about the aspirational qualities of each and am somewhat concerned about any future trends which may involve impressionable teens going out brandishing imitation “Madge Vadges” that they bought off a market stall somewhere.

So here’s my plea to Madge – Put it away love, we’ve seen it before. It’s old and it’s boring. Yes, you may be very bendy for a (late)middle-aged bird, but are you still going to be flashing it at us when you collect your bus pass in a few years? I thought you were all about reinvention anyway – how about reinventing yourself as a woman that keeps it in her pants every now and then. Go on, try it, you might like it. I know I’ll be happier anyway!

New Chapters

I always joked about wishing weekends were longer and the working week was shorter. Well, now it seems I’m going to get my wish as my employer puts us all on a 3-day week for the foreseeable. Funny though, it’s not quite as happy making as you’d think, once you work out the economic impact. All I can really say is OUCH!

However, rather than fret about it I’m determined to see it as a potential positive. It means that I have bags more time to figure out exactly what it is that I want to do from now on. I’ve become increasingly interested in, and somewhat evangelical about, all things social media.

From an Ad Man’s point of view I can’t help but feel that this is the area that I need to steer my career towards – TV, press, radio etc just don’t cut the mustard anymore. And they’re only going to become less & less effective with time. I hesitate to foretell of their impending deaths, as I don’t actually believe that to be true, but without a doubt, they’re going to have a much less significant role than they’ve had historically.

So, that’s the plan – me, online, a marriage made in heaven. It’s going to take some time, but I reckon I can make it work. I know my onions when it comes to brands, branding, marketing etc and I’m learning more and more about online & social media by the day so now it’s time to make the two things work for me.

Here goes…

Nothing is original…



If I could, I’d go around stapling this to people…

Your business card is crap…

shit the bed! this guy’d probably chew my business card up and vomit it at me… in fairness, it is pretty shit though; no embossing, no die-cutting, no foil. i feel quite humbled  😉