Tag: creative


Christmas advert from Lidl

Even after the year we have all had, there is still something extra sparkly about Christmas. The tingle in your tummy as you think about the brief moments we will spend in our bubbles and how even with restrictions, we can all make the most of some much-deserved time off.

For those working in marketing, it is also an opportunity to watch the Christmas adverts and to look a little more closely at the brand campaigns that are creeping onto the screens of our multiple devices.

Christmas creative 

Usually the focus remains on TV when it comes to Christmas adverts. Which brands have spent the most money, and what will become ‘the’ advert of the year? There is usually a race to be the first to air and then the debate about the iconic moments that resonate and that we can all share.

For me, there was a very different start to my Christmas brand watch. While reviewing my Twitter feed, I came across a post from Lidl. It was a clear call to action that if you liked the tweet then you would be one of the first to see the advert.

This was a great idea and I’m sure that it took a massive amount of resource and effort on behalf of the PR team at Lidl to respond to all the posts and capture all the data. It was impressive and I wondered how it would work in practice.

A thankless tactic

A few days later, I received an alert to say that I had a direct message from Lidl. True to their promise, awaiting in my inbox was a link to the advert. And this is where Lidl took the fizz right out of my Christmas.

I sat wide-eyed waiting for the creative that would have me welling up and clutching at my heart as little people danced on stage or older people enjoyed time with family and friends. Would it focus on loneliness, good will to all men (and women) or another topic completely?

Well, it goes back to managing expectations. The advert was a blatant promotion of all things Lidl. Not even a veiled attempt, an all out ‘in your face’, ‘have it’ plug for all festive products in store.

Saved by a Christmas jumper  

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a place for this and in some way I commend Lidl for being so forthright but don’t get people’s hopes up when you just want to flog your goods to them.

I was expecting something special, something exciting, something festive. All I got was a reminder of how great Lidl is and what they have instore. Truth be told, it’s only three days since I had been, so I was aware of what was on offer.

As a customer of Lidl, this advert did nothing to build my loyalty to the brand. The Christmas jumper that is now available and another blatant promotion did make me smile though. And perhaps that’s the point. Maybe Lidl have got it right. While brands are spending millions on festive ads that make us all warm and fuzzy inside, all we really need to know is what they have for us to buy.

When a Burger Beats you to the Top Spot  

In a world that is full of marketing messages, I quite like the idea that Christmas adverts look more towards themes and feelings that we can all relate to. Instead of pushing a product, I like to stand in the moment and that’s why my top spot for the Christmas advert of 2020 goes to McDonalds.

Great creative, excellent delivery and a message that mums and dads, aunties and uncles can appreciate and that will leave you wiping a tear and raising a smile.

McDonalds Christmas TV Advert

It’s not that Lidl got it completely wrong for me but that the tactics were overplayed. Getting someone excited on social will have them coming back for more. Not delivering on that promise will leave them wanting more. The two are very different.

I do hope that the next time the brand engages on social channels that the outcome of that campaign meets with expectations. I’m afraid this time around, it wasn’t the case for me.

For further details about Open Comms and how the agency could support your business to reach its ambitions, please email Lindsey at lindsey.davies@opencomms.co.uk or visit www.opencomms.co.uk.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s that time of year again, the countdown is now a daily update as opposed to a monthly or weekly ‘warning’, smug looks are exchanged by those who are organised and panic stricken wide eyes respond from those (like me) who are not. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I’m not one for celebrating the countdown from August, or even thinking about anything festive until late October, early November. I don’t think it’s fair on people who have children to be making comments about Santa Claus or present lists, unless a naughty moment calls for the odd ‘seasonal warning’ here and there – you know the one’s, Santa Claus is watching and I’ll be putting a call in later if you don’t behave…

I am certainly no Scrooge, I love Christmas and coming from a large extended family, I enjoy meeting with people and taking the time to share in some festive cheer (or cheers as tends to be the case with my family and friends).

Getting excited about Christmas is fun and everyone I know seems to have their own sign that the countdown for them has truly begun; for me it’s the launch of the Christmas adverts. Perhaps it’s because of the industry that we work in but I always get a warm feeling inside when large retailers and household brands showcase their seasonal TV adverts.

What really interest’s me is the story boards that each brand, or more deservedly their agencies, comes up with and the creative concept behind the piece, along with the call to action. Last year ASDA hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons with their ‘Behind every great Christmas there’s Mum’ campaign, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it made a valid point, certainly in our household, and the messaging was clear. Still you can’t please everyone.

Last night, whilst catching some evening TV, I stumbled across the Marks and Spencer Christmas advert. My first thought was, phew, I bet that cost a pretty penny but then watching the creative and following the story I was drawn into a land of make believe, with subtle product placements throughout.

The concept was certainly well thought through; a digital collage of fairy-tale moments packaged with a great big festive bow, sprinkled with celebrity faces, topped off with a clear marketing message; ‘Believe in Magic & Sparkle’. The whole piece was beautifully executed.

It’s only fair that I admit to not liking last year’s festive advert from John Lewis, I didn’t ‘get it’ and was never entirely sure of what all the fuss was about, other than the fact that a major retailer had put significant budgets into above the line (no real shock there!).

However… the advert from John Lewis this year is really impressive. I won’t go as far as to say that it brought a tear to my eye, but I did think about it. I love the animation (as it reminds me of a cross between Watership Down and Guess How Much I Love You) and the soundtrack from Lily Allen is to be nothing short of applauded. The story is Christmassy, without being sickening, and the call to action is subtly dropped in at the end to complete the piece. A gift wrapped story that is fit for the whole family, no matter what your age.

I’m really looking forward to watching more of the Christmas adverts as they hit our screens and will also be interested to see how many of the brands have thought to extend their creative into print, in order to engage further with consumers at a time of such high spend and competition.

People seem to have their favourite adverts during the festive season and I’m really interested to hear what your preferred options are. I do have an all-time favourite, which still gives me butterflies years on and I don’t believe that any brand has quite mastered or captured the spirit that this particular creative is able to deliver…

I give you, ‘Holidays are coming…’

Not only do I feel that this advert is synonymous with Christmas because the brand has chosen to build on it each year, as opposed to come up with something completely different, but the team have also built on it with competitions, digital activity and charitable donations.

An integrated campaign that can deliver year on year deserves a real festive thumbs up so well done Coca Cola, you get my vote every time.

Are we stifling creativity with processes?

We were recently invited to a Mi Networking event in Leeds and decided that as the focus was about innovations in technology we would go along and see what it was all about. Honestly expecting to hear about the advancements in social media (again) and how it’s imperative to ‘engage’ and ‘share’ with your audience, we were pleasantly surprised to be confronted by Dave Birss.

In order to give you some background, Dave is a creative but that doesn’t really do him justice. He has worked for some of the world’s largest agencies and has written books and created websites and apps more or less in some instances because he could. They are funny, quirky, interesting and in most cases useful – well other than ‘are you an asshat’.

What made him different was his enthusiasm for genuine creativity – not pretty pictures or the latest App that delivers very little but you can watch in 3D! – but real life examples of pushing the boundaries beyond brand.

During the session Dave focused on taking education and creating inspiration. He explained that creativity is stifled with process and I’m inclined to agree. We all get so caught up in systems, processes and procedures that we think in a linear way, without even recognising that we are doing it. This was lesson one for me!

He then went on to explain that if your creative idea doesn’t make a real difference you need to change the way that you are thinking – which is exactly what he did. He shocked me a little by announcing that not every brand needs social media. I thought I was pretty alone with this school of thought but apparently not. He, like me, feels that it’s more important to identify with the consumer behaviours of a product or service before jumping on a bandwagon and that traditional mediums can still deliver excellent results and jaw dropping impact.

Dave kept coming back to the same thing time and time again with the examples that he was showing – ideas, ideas and more ideas. He shared some websites, which some of you may be familiar with but I certainly wasn’t – Kickstarter as an example. This is a site which allows you to showcase an idea in a bid to generate funding. Those who like the idea will purchase the product in order to allow you to invest further in its development. What an amazing concept.

Then there was his thoughts on how in order to create truly integrated campaigns all of the technologies need to work together. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Dave wasn’t suggesting you make a design work across platforms or look pretty on an iPhone but that one concept, creative or theme was used across platforms and performed in a different way to add value to the user. So you could have one campaign with multi-purpose depending on what platform the consumer chose to use. Brilliant!

A lot of what Dave said made perfect sense, although it became frighteningly apparent that his passion for technology goes well beyond that of most people when he started to show individuals who are linking their nervous systems to computers and implanting chips in their bodies to create additional senses – hmmm, I’ll leave that one for now thanks.

As a result of the session we were buzzing and although a lot of what Dave said would fit into the ‘oh, of course’ category, it was a real pleasure to watch and learn about technology from the perspective of a true creative.

For more details about Dave Birss visit:   http://userguidetothecreativemind.com/davebirss/index.html

So thank you Mi Network for inviting us to this event. It was a great opportunity to take some time out and get back to what we are good at; getting excited over ideas, proposals and the brands we work with.

A campaign for the collective good

We were pleased to be asked to attend a very special launch this week, which took place at the Hepworth Art Gallery in Wakefield on Monday morning. Along with a room full of business people we were told about a new initiative which will ask businesses to contribute a fixed fee to become part of the Bondholder, the Diamond Scheme.

Taking learnings from Hull, which has successfully implemented a similar campaign for the last ten years, Wakefield will call upon businesses to invest their money in order to create a fund which will then be used to market the city locally, regionally and beyond. As a PR agency based in Wakefield this idea was clearly of great interest to us.

Each company that chooses to take part will receive a series of benefits including marketing materials, access to an online procurement platform and special sector specific networking events and breakfast briefings. Larger companies will also benefit as this could form part of their corporate social responsible due to the very nature of the Scheme.

The reason it is more interesting than ‘just another initiative’ is that the Scheme has been developed by public and private sector business. Not only that but a panel of 12 ambassadors will manage the ‘cash pot’ and decide where the funds should be invested – providing a completely impartial and transparent procurement process.

Needless to say this creates opportunities for Wakefield based companies to support the district, raise its profile beyond the M62 and also encourage investment locally, after all these are the businesses that share a passion for the area and have first class experience of what it has to offer.

I really like this idea and am pleased at last that Wakefield as a collective are getting off their bottom and doing something to raise the profile of the district, after all it has a huge amount to offer.  It will be interesting to see how many businesses come forward to support the initiative and I hope that those who have committed verbally will do so.

As a Wakefield based PR agency we talk a lot in the office about what more could be done to promote the district and we are hoping that the Bondholder, the Diamond Scheme will deliver on its promises to do just that. There is a hub of creative businesses within Wakefield and the five towns and the biggest frustration is that the area has so much potential but doesn’t shout about its success!

As always with things like this there are questions to be answered but at the very least something is happening that could just turn the tables for Wakefield and change perceptions about the city, which after all has a rich cultural, leisure, business and retail offering.

As the agency that supported the launch of this Scheme and secured coverage throughout regional media, we  will be watching this Scheme closely and will provide readers of our blog with updates. I’m hoping that they will be positive and other cities will be using Wakefield as an example of best practice in the months and years to come.

Making the augmented a reality

Ok, I confess, I don’t really ‘get’ a lot of the campaigns which are relying on AR codes to bring them to life. I understand that AR codes mean that agencies can be more inventive and creative but I struggle with what that brings to the brand and consumer experience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the technology is amazing and yet another step towards a world where make believe and reality collide – and this is my point.

Here’s an example, I walk into a supermarket and pick up a product. I scan the AR code and a flashy (and admittedly impressive) animation comes to life in front of my eyes. WOW. I then look at the prices of the products, pick the cheapest – usually the one on offer – and leave.

I will have no greater brand loyalty to the company who have spent thousands on a campaign that uses an AR code because they haven’t given me any reason to do so. I haven’t derived any added value from that animation. I would think it was impressive and probably tell people at work – because I work in PR – but otherwise I wouldn’t think about it again until I read about it in the marketing industry trade press.

This is where I am going to completely contradict myself, well kind of, because Tesco have nailed it. Hannah passed on an example of a campaign using AR codes which is simple, impressive and brings the campaign into the real world, encouraging consumers to engage and most importantly come back time and time again.

The campaign uses an association between Tesco and Iron Man 3. The idea is that shoppers can download a free iOS or Android app, which will allow them to generate an image of themselves wearing the Iron Man armour… now here’s the impressive part. They can then scan Iron Man point of sale in store to ‘unlock’ a further six suits with each showcasing a new weapon that users can fire!

I challenge anyone not to get excited by this app. Come on! Admittedly you will need to be accompanied by a boy aged between around 6 – 12 (the target audience for the campaign) in order for it not to look odd, and remember to seem suitably impressed but not show just how much when you’re ‘shooting’ people in store. I can already see my nephew cringing as I make the noises that accompany my new armour… well, it has to be done.

Taking a digital campaign and putting it into the real world is exactly what a truly integrated campaign is all about and I think this example gives the consumer an experience, while delivering for the client – in this case Tesco.

I have seen other examples of AR codes which take you to more information about a product, which is useful but not overtly exciting – however if it meets with the objective and is what the brands target audience would want then it works and it works far better than a flashy animation.

I think that perhaps we (agencies working for brands) need to think beyond the exciting pretty pictures and think more about the real life benefits of these campaigns. Only then will we start to see real value and results from the work that we do and when clients’ see results they want more and with more comes longer term relationships.

We may all get some column inches in the marketing trade press from a campaign that is impressive to our peers but when we sit back it’s the client we should all be thinking about.