So many channels but how many brands?

I found this data on Ofcom’s website (the long winter nights simply fly by in the Huntington household). It got me to thinking how many real brands there are in the multichannel universe since it asks people in multichannel homes which channel they would chose if they could only have one (as good a definition of a brand as any). Clearly there will be a long tail but interesting that the big boys still rule (even the last gasps of ITV1). Note also the performance of Sky Sports – as many 16-24s would take Sky Sports as Channel 4.

Pimp my proposition

So here is a rubbish idea. I am going to call it pimp my proposition. You give me and the rest of us a brand or category by posting a comment and I give you a proposition at best or a brilliant insight at worst. You decide I am way off the pace and ignore it while everyone else thinks i am an arrogant tosser. Eventually someone out there comes up with the goods three months after you needed it. Job done. If its a brand outside the UK I’ll definitely need the category.

Advertising engagement – lessons from the PVR revolution

Bit of an aquired taste this but for those of you interested in some of the implications of the timeshifting revolution on ad engagement in general and pre-testing in particular here is the paper I gave to Admap’s pretesting conference on the 9th Feb 2006. Don’t all rush at once.
I cover some perenial favourites of mine like ad avoidance being a national sport and brand dawinism. But also introduce some stuff on the geometry of the break and the creative imperatives of the new communications world order.
There is also some new research in there – both quant and qual. Hurrah.
Both the speech and slides (you’ll need both) are available as downloads. A couple of the slides are missing (the mpeg of a fast forwarded break and a house ad we ran on ad avoidance) because they make the file too large. Frustrating! I will try and solve this.

Opposites attract

It seems to me that there are two equally important things happening in advertising at the moment that are more than a little contradictory.
On the one hand is the emerging popularity of what I call identitity rich advertising. In its current incarnation this appeared in the mid 90s with WCRS’s work for Orange and HHCL’s for the launch of the low cost airline Go. Interestingly the identity partners in both of these campaigns was Wolf Ollins.
At present this type of work finds its most ubiquitous expression in VCCP’s work for O2 and also in the Ipod campaign in which the principle focus of the communication is always the identity rather than a bigger thought about the brand. Indeed the potency of this approach seems to reside entirely in the aesthetic and the emotional, something that is slightly scary for someone schooled exclusively in a world of conceptual creativity – what we used to call an idea in the old days. Of course identity rich advertising need not be vaccuous and BBH’s campaign for Vodafone proves that this isn’t always the case – the power of now work is identity rich and intellectually satisfying.
If identity rich advertising is domniated by the aesthetic and emotional then Google’s adwords is presisely the opposite. Here is an advertising environment where not only are creativity and executional precision absent they are actively legislated against with every advertisement typographically and aesthetically identical. This is rational advertising at its most extreme where relevance is the key driver of communication success not creative standout or appeal.
Unfamliliar and challenging as these approaches may be they are by far the most dynamic developments in an industry searching for a new creative language. And in many ways the advertising world seems to be going back to the future, to the creative approaches present at the birth of the modern industry in the late nineteenth century – a big logo painted on the side of a house and text heavy press advertising, this time on search engines.

Strategy safari

Slightly high risk this. But I wanted somewhere to put the strategies that I love but Clients have never bought. Feel free to put to better use or simply to reflect upon my mediocrity as a planner.
In part the idea is to illustrate that good thinking should be simple, radical and well packaged – rather than the dreary meandering nothingness that characterises most stategic thinking in the ad industry.
I am going to update these gradually so that the exit of intellectual property is orderly. Enjoy.

Brand vaccination

I’ve been thinking a bit about a concept that I introduced in the ‘meme doctors’ article. That of vaccinating your brand against competitive memes.
Brand vaccination might be a smart new way to think about your brand’s competition and what you can do about it.
Rather than thinking exclusively about aggressive strategies to attack and counter attack the competition, maybe thinking about how to vaccinate your brand against competitive memes makes for a much more interesting start point.
For instance one could argue that what Sky needs to do in the UK is not only to propagate its brand meme so that it is attractive to consumers but also vaccinate itself against the Freeview meme which is attacking it, that of BBC endorseed multichannel TV with no ongoing subscription.
I guess its a kind of defensive approach to life but how many times has a brand’s competitiveness in the market been undermined ‘at home’ while it was playing away aggressively trying to attract new customers?

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