April Foolery

April Fool’s Day is always a good time to have a little fun with your advertising whilst simultaneously humanising the brand. Google’s elaborate hoaxes across their different platforms seems to be attracting all the headlines but I’m not sure I can be bothered to critique it here – life’s too short! Instead, I’ve opted to post about three simple campaigns which I quite like.

Lynx mobile spray app

I didn’t work on this personally unfortunately but the Lynx team at TMW have come up trumps with this useful mobile spray app – guaranteed to give instant sex appeal on the go – apparently! Promoted on YouTube and Facebook

BMW’s driverless running coach

BMW are known for doing April Fool hoaxes every year – in fact I referenced theirs a few years ago here when I first started this blog.  What I like about their executions is that they always tie them into their product or brand truths whether it’s linked to Efficient Dynamics, telematics technology or in this case their sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics. So even though it’s tongue in cheek it’s still reinforcing their brand values and positioning in some way.

This year they highlight how their ConnectedDrive technology and surround view cameras can help turn their cars into driverless coaches where they follow the runner at a safe distance. And as with all their April Fool ads they continue to have fun with the email address too – so if you want more details you can email their Head of Futile Innovations, Alvin.Alaff@bmw.co.uk

via Nickburcher.com

Build your own mini
Mini Australia have come up with a farcical lease financing scheme where yu can now order a mini, one part at a time and build it yourself! Only 29,762 parts to collect…

Social media isn’t the answer to everything

I may be an avid proponent of social media but I think we all need a reality check every now and again, just to ensure we don’t get too carried away with ourselves!

Yes, we live in exciting times where a new social ecosystem is having massive implications in the way brands try to engage consumers.  But that’s not to mean social media is the Holy Grail.  Far from it.  Traditional media still plays a pivotal role whether that’s to build brand awareness, brand saliency or brand reappraisal, to generating brand engagement and soliciting a response.  Social media marketing is just another versatile tool at our disposal within the proverbial marketing toolbox.  (In fact, some might call it a Swiss Army penknife but that’s beside the point!)

Anyhow, this promotional clip is a hilarious reminder that social media won’t solve all our problems and can get up its own arse at times.  Fair cop. Although I have to say it’s somewhat ironic that they chose to seed an online video to get their point across;-)

First press ad with embedded video

I must say I was impressed with this new technology which enables advertisers to feature a tiny video screen within their magazine print ad.  According to PSFK, CBS used this technology to promote their full line up of CBS shows in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly.  When the reader turns the page to reveal the DPS print ad, the video automatically starts playing.

It’s all thanks to the paper-thin hardware developed by Americhip which can store up to 45 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours of video, depending on the size of the memory chip.

But clearly it doesn’t have to stop at print ads. Now that this type of technology exists, we can expect to see an increasing number of brands adopt it across a variety of offline media, from inserts, take-ones and brochures to packaging, POS, direct mailings and Christmas Cards.  To get a sense of its versalitity and interactivity, check out this video below.

Cyber Lions Grand Prix winners at Cannes

The Cyber Lions category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival covers a wide range of interactive marketing from websites, microsites, interactive campaigns, online advertising, rich media banners, mobile advertising, interactive tools, email marketing and viral videos.

This year there were three worthy winners who received a Grand Prix within this category.

‘Best Job in the World’ Campaign for Tourism Queensland

best-job-in-the-worldLet’s face it, we’ve all seen the typical tourist ads with beautiful, white sandy beaches, stunning aqua marine life and cliche couples walking off into the  sunset.  Whether it’s inviting us to visit Malta, Turkey, the Greek Islands or the Maldives, the final destination is almost interchangeable as it’s all based on the same consumer insight or creative treatment.

So it’s refreshing to see Tourism Queensland adopt a radically diifferent approach to make their modest marketing budget go that much further.

If you haven’t heard about this campaign yet you clearly love your job too much to even notice! Basically, instead of going down the traditional route, Tourism Queensland decided to place recruitment ads in various global media for a 6 month paid contract on Hamilton Island, describing it as ‘the best job in the world’.

Needless to say it wasn’t long before this campaign went viral.  What a great way to raise awareness of this beautiful destination whilst indirectly communicating the island’s key features. As an aside, I met a proctologist last week which must surely be the worst job in the world!  Given the choice, I think I’d much rather be a beach bum than a bum specialists!

Credit: Campaign created by Nitro

Fiat Eco:Drive campaign

The Fiat Eco:Drive system is an innovative application to help drivers reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. Fiat drivers essentially have to download and install the Eco Drive Adobe Air application on their computers, sync a USB stick with the app and then plug the stick into the Fiat’s Blue and Me port. After driving somewhere, you can plug the USB stick back into your computer to upload all your driving data, whereupon it’s analysed to give you recommendations on how to improve your driving habits and ultimately your fuel efficiency.

Credit: AKQA London, UK

Warner Brothers ‘Why So Serious’ campaign for Dark Knight

I’ve always been fascinated with Alternative Reality Games ever since McKinney’s ground breaking Audi Heist a few years ago.  The amount of preparation, organisation and planning which goes into these sorts of campaigns  is absolutely mind-boggling and I particularly love the way it blurs the lines between the virtual world and reality.

For the launch of the film Dark Knight, Warner Brothers launched a meticulous ARG campaign to build buzz around the film, engaging 10 million participants in the process. Rather than try to explain it here, your best bet is to watch this video. Pure genius.

Poignant press ad featuring Michael Jackson’s accessories

I was a big Michael Jackson fan when I was younger and have to admit I still can’t resist throwing in a few of his moves whenever I venture onto the dance floor (albeit not with quite the same proficiency!)  So I was as shocked as anyone to hear the sad news today.

However, I bet DDB Espana who created this ad last year for a commercial centre in Spain are feeling rather chuffed with themselves. In light of recent events I wouldn’t be surprised if they reran this ad out of respect for the King of Pop, not least because his absence from the ad makes it all the more poignant.


Thanks to Inspiration Room for spotting this.

Another mini triumph

Press ad

Mini‘s latest global campaign for the new Mini Cabrio is a great example of how you can create a powerful campaign by turning a conventional insight completely on its head.

Most  advertising for cabrios tends to resort to the traditional approach of showcasing the car on the open road in glorious sunshine with the roof down.  But not Mini.  They’ve ingeniously recognised that drivers love the open-top driving experience so much that they’ll keep the roof down come rain or shine.  This paves the way for the  ‘Always Open‘ big idea and a humorous creative strategy which takes this insight to the extreme.

You can see more examples from this campaign in the Inspiration Room

Persil famously used a similar approach of turning a conventional insight on its head with their ‘Dirt is good’ campaign.  Some times the best insights are actually the inverse of the status quo – you just have to think of it first!

Is April Fool’s Day a serious business?

I’m beginning to think April Fool’s Day may not be the best day to start a blog if I want people to take me seriously!  But then again I do think many marketing blogs take themselves far too seriously anyway!

On that note, there have been a couple of  notable April Fool’s Day campaigns today which have caught my eye. BMW had a half page press ad in Metro promoting their Magnetic Tow Technology.  I particularly like the way you can email them for more info at uve.follenforrit@bmw.co.uk.  A clever campaign as it not only succeeds in revealing a more human side to the brand’s personality but it also remains true to their core positioning for Efficient Dynamics!



Waitrose also ran this campaign promoting a new banana / pineapple hybrid called pinanas.  Apparently when you arrive at the fruit & veg section to find they’ve sold out you’re warmly directed to their half-price strawberries!  Tongue in cheek it may be, but it still doesn’t lose sight of their core marketing objectives of driving footfall.

Waitrose Pinanas

If you’re interested, there’s more Aprilfoolery reviewed on Techcrunch.

On a more serious point it struck me that there are two schools of thought around running one-off campaigns on April Fool’s Day.  Some may argue that in these tough economic times it’s a luxury brands can ill afford.  When every marketing pound has to be accountable can one really justify investing in a campaign which only has the shelf life of a day?

That said, I tend to confer with the other school of thought in that it’s exactly these kind of campaigns which achieve creative cut through and resonate with consumers.  Let’s face it, print ads like this are much more likely to generate talkability and be shared around the workplace, which is more than could be said for most fruit & veg advertising!

However, as with most effective campaigns it’s down to the creative execution and the delivery of the punchline. There are countless examples of brands attempting April Fool pranks which are ill-conceived or patronise the customer but get it right and you’ll reap the rewards.

When you consider how much doom and gloom we read in the papers these days it’s refreshing to know there are brands out there which are brave enough not to take themselves too seriously.