2016 has been a funny old year for retail. Second only to house prices as the barometer of economic stability, the ups and downs of the high street have never been far from the headlines. As we all (or possibly only those that work in marketing) await the arrival of the Christmas ads, it’s never been as important to ensure that what is promised on screen, is delivered in store.
We have all become very used to the Christmas ads that that dial up our emotional response. In more recent years retailers have partnered with charities, in some part to salve the prickly collective conscience about mass consumption. It’s a strategy which so far has worked well. It delivers financially for the retailers (Rachel Swift of John Lewis, speaking at Effectiveness Week last week, said that the ROI delivered by their Christmas ad overshadows all other campaigns in terms of sales, let alone brand value); it helps remind us that Christmas above all else is a time for humanity and compassion. And a handful of charities get a much needed boost to their fundraising. But will emotional response be enough this year?
Read more of Jo's blog on The Drum, here
The Paralympics is over for another four years and I for one am feeling a little bereft. And also a bit uncomfortable.
Seeing so many impressive athletes at the peak of fitness with skills that go beyond imagining was a stark reminder about how invisible people with disabilities can often be. It’s not just on the track and field where we saw greater representation than we are used to either; in the studio and on the airwaves, the world suddenly seemed like a much more inclusive place. Until the ads came on.
Channel 4’s brilliant coverage of the Games will undoubtedly have helped to change perceptions of people with disabilities and encourage other broadcasters around the world to prioritise and celebrate Paralympic sport. It recognised that its approach should be echoed in advertising too and so it threw down the gauntlet to creatives. ‘Superhumans wanted’ challenged brands to feature disability in their ads to win £1m of commercial airtime with the launch taking place during the Paralympic opening ceremony.
The winner, Maltesers, built on its ‘Look on the Light Side’ theme with characters taking a humorous look at awkward and embarrassing situations, all inspired by real-life stories from disabled people. It is a brilliant piece of work, and notably unique in terms of how front and centre the actors with disability are. But that can’t be it. Disability represented in the media needs to be as ubiquitous as it is in our society – according to Leonard Cheshire, one in six of us will be affected by a disability. This is not a minority issue.
To read more from Jo's blog, visit The Drum, here
This week, hashtags got me thinking.
Whilst having a look through the entries from Cannes Lions 2016, I was delighted to see a campaign that used hashtags for good; a campaign that got people talking about something extremely important, but that also turned a hashtag into a solution to a huge problem.
I’m really not one for using hashtags on my personal social media accounts; usually the furthest I go is either using #nofilter when I clearly have (oh the irony) or when I genuinely haven’t. It just seems that hashtags are mainly used because a brand felt they needed one, or because people want more followers. Which, you know, is fine – but it’s all very egotistical.
McCann Lima’s campaign ‘Hashtags for Life’ for the Peruvian Red Cross aimed to solve one problem; in Peru there is a population of over 30,000,000, but there was only a database of 1,250 voluntary blood donors. So, they developed a dynamic platform for the Red Cross which categorised all volunteers by blood type. All people needed to do was hashtag their blood type followed by ‘Peru’, e.g. #OPOSITIVEPERU. The result? 22,983 new volunteers. Which is why it was shortlisted for the Grand Prix for Good award.
This is a great example of how social cause campaigns are achieving great success by using social platforms to elevate their messages, and turn talking into action. For further thoughts on social causes and platforms and how they come together to form outstanding results, see Jo’s article on The Drum, here:
It’s an achievement we’re very proud of. Very few independent agencies that were set up in 2000 are still thriving today.
So what was the world like at the turn of the century? The country was in recession. Y2K turned out to be a damp squib. Google wasn’t a verb yet. Mobile phones weren’t that smart. And there were a mere 361 million internet users; today there are over 3 billion. No Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube.
We had just come out of an Omnicom business where integration was a myth not a reality. Media was beginning to fragment and we wanted to build a business based on true integrated thinking. It would be future proof because it was based on ideas not channels. We wanted to help build dot com brands.
We called it 23red after a Vegas gambling experience. The name stuck after a long naming session with a bottle of Glenmorangie and a series of serendipitous events where 23red played a big part. One included a planning trip to a casino in Biarritz and a bet on 23red that came in first time.
We positioned ourselves around true integration but set up the business based on some fundamental values.
Collaborative, creative and curious.
We are often asked the question, but we genuinely set up without any clients. After painting the tiny office in Carnaby Street for the first few days we received a call from an old friend who trusted us with the brief to reengineer the World Rally Championship into the worlds first true sports entertainment brand and became our first client.
It was an amazing brief and allowed us to deliver on our vision straightaway. Our brief covered the brand, branding, web, TV product, game design and even a restructure of the sport itself to deliver great content.
This work set up a chain of events. Our motorsport credentials gave us an opportunity with Bacardi Martini to create their F1 sponsorship that led us to Bacardi Limited’s Champions drink Responsibly campaign. It also allowed us to win Vodafone and Santander F1 sponsorship. We were truly up and running.
We worked with brands like Sony PlayStation who had just launched the PS2 and had a WRC game. This got us into Ladbrokes and then Betfair. Our activation credentials caught the interest of FMCG brands like Tizer, Orangina and Häagen-Dazs.
We also realised our activation skills were transferable to government campaigns such as Change4Life and Think.
As we approached the 2010 election year we were looking at a business with a healthy income and profit margin.
Then the economic crisis hit.
The Governor of the Bank of England announced that the economy had shrunk by 5% in a single year; the largest fall in output since 1931 and the great recession!
Closer to home, the IPA reported confidence in advertising was at its lowest since 2000.
23red was not immune. In the blink of an eye post election our income fell by over 30%.
We had to make some tough decisions and it was our annus horribilus.
Spurred on by our passion for the business and our values we dusted ourselves down and focused on reinventing ourselves.
In 2011 we appointed Hamish Pringle to be a strategic adviser.
Hamish helped us to focus on what we did best: getting people to do stuff, whether that was moderating the behaviours that lead to obesity or persuading people to visit Bluewater more frequently.
This led to the articulation of our philosophy: Do. Feel. Think.
In a cluttered market place this was and is a real differentiator. It turns the conventional model on its head.
We often talk about the red thread or the thing that makes 23red’s culture different. It’s this - we care passionately about the impact of our work. As an agency we think we are completely in step with a generation of consumers who really care about, and will make decisions on how a business behaves towards its customers, employees and communities. We want to work with clients who share our views.
Our absolute focus on Do. Feel. Think, creativity, our red thread and our values have helped to build a strong business.
This year has been our best year ever. Not only in terms of our income and margin but most importantly in terms of our achievements. It has been a golden year; the most gold awards at IPM, IPA Gold CPD, and Investors in People gold.
Whilst the world has changed dramatically over the last 15 years and we have been nimble flexible and responsive to that change, the values that we based our business on have remained constant. We have a really great sustainable business that we are immensely proud of.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the clients and staff who have worked with us over the years and those who are with us today.
Jane, Philippa and Sean
Our multimedia campaign for Spring fashion is designed to entice visitors from throughout the Bluewater catchment area, reaching them at every point on their customer journey. SO Magazine covers Kent and trackside posters at Maidstone East, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, and Tonbridge appeal to train users. We're using behavioural targeting to reach potential visitors with flash banners, and we're posting to our followers on Bluewater's Facebook and Twitter pages. We're reminding our regulars with a banner on the homepage, and our digital in-mall posters encourage visitors to treat themselves.
From fashion must-haves to another form of wearable, read Hamish Pringle's latest article for The Drum on reaching customers through `wearable tech' - click here.
Credits for the Bluewater campaign
· Copywriter: Claire Medcalf/Steve Meredith
· Art Director: Tom Mann
· Creative services: Philippa Dunning
· Photographer: Johanna Parkin
· Florist: Geraldine Casey
· Dress: Ted Baker
Our client Atkins International has just announced Kelly Brook as their UK brand ambassador, which is great news. Kelly’s already well-known on these shores and is soon to co-star in a new TV series in the USA ‘One Big Happy’ which premieres on NBC on 17th March. Kelly has embarked on the New Atkins Diet and we’re all looking forward to seeing how she gets on.
Celebrity-led campaigns can be very successful as Hamish Pringle shows in his latest blog for The Drum and we have high hopes for Kelly and Atkins.
This Christmas, spare a thought for the retailers
Disability in advertising shouldn’t be something we only see once every four years
Can a hashtag save a life?
See the power of blood donation
How behavioural theory and social media influenced Public Health England’s ‘One You’
- Jane Asscher
- Sean Kinmont
- Hamish Pringle
- Philippa Dunning
- Sam Edwards
- Tristan Cavanagh
- Lauren Lukasiewicz
- Jo Arden
- Wendy Manuel
- Scott Smith
- Anna Stone
- Ann-Marie Droughton-Hall
- Nick Cooper
- Chris Macmorland
- Hayley Cocker
- Ruth Stasiak
- Charles Oben
- Tilly Wilson
- Steve Meredith
- Emma Taylor
- Lily Cameron