Jargon Bingo

Check out this rubbish from Y&R in South Africa which was served up to me by LinkedIn last night:

“As the flagship of Y&R in Africa, the Johannesburg office staff are primed to put ideas beyond advertising. Led by an energetic team of left brain/right brain thinkers, the team collaborates to bring a unique perspective to the marketplace.

Y&R Johannesburg is fully empowered in both ownership and management and our global network of 182 offices employs many of the top industry professionals worldwide.

Our approach is totally results driven; we aim to exceed our clients’ expectations at every turn, in our work and our relationships. Strong strategic thinking has long been the core of our way of working.

The idea of “Best alone. Better Together” lies at the heart of Y&R’s successful business practices with iconic brands, both locally – Pick n Pay, MTN, ABSA, SABC, and internationally – Danone, Colgate and LG, which has allowed us to create a comprehensive 360 degree offering.”

Lets look at this jargon:
Primed to put ideas beyond advertising? (I thought the idea would be central to any advertising?)
Team of Left Brain/Right Brain thinkers (as opposed to what? thinkers with half a brain?)
Fully empowered in both ownership and management (um, if you have to say it…)
Best Alone. Better Together (say what?)
A comprehensive 360 degree offering (ok then)

Do you want to know the best thing? This ad was for copywriters!

“Arms Dealers wanted, with weapons in the form of words”

Nauseatingly Fawning Digital PR

Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple as much as the next guy, and probably as much as this guy:


But is this iPhone article  which was featured on the lead page of the Sydney Morning Herald online a parody of the media love of all things Apple?  It feels like it… just look at the stats:

Branded mentions of iPhone: 7 (5 as iPhone, 1 as JesusPhone)

Photo of iPhone and delighted user: 1

Branded mentions of other Apple services:  MobileMe (2) MacBook, MacBook Pro

Branded mentions of Apple: 3

COME ON Fairfax!  Please at least TRY to make it look like it is real editorial.

Fantastic Marketing – Of A Person!

This weekend’s SMH carried one of the most inspirational ads I have seen for some time.

It was compelling, relevant and eyecatching.  But here’s the twist…. it was NOT for a company, it was someone (Collen Chan) looking for the right place to work.

If I was employing a statistician or analyst I would offer her a job on the spot based on this fantastic effort.

Colleen Chan

(sorry about the resolution – I just got a new phone, upgraded from an N95 to an iPhone, and the only downside with the iPhone is the crap camera (but as someone pointed out to me the other day… it is a telephone after all!  Just got spoilt with the Nokia.  BUT I digress…)

Let’s use the old ABC  to look at why this is suuuuuch a great ad.

Attention:  Well, a job seeker taking out a 1/8 page colour ad in the paper.  That’s gutsy and attention grabbing; it got mine.  Simple visual of the boss wanting people to check with Chan- 8/10

Branding: “Check with Chan” – Make it company policy – such a brilliant idea; and it carries exactly the right message in just 3 words! – 9/10

Communication:  You should put me on your shortlist – you bet.  And contact me on linked in. Perfect.  – 10/10

To anyone considering hiring an analyst/statistician, check her out here:

Invent your own PR platform – claim you’ve outgrown the SYSTEM!

This is an interesting spin platform I wish I had thought of before.  And it could work in any industry that has some kind of generally adopted rating sytem (wine, airline service, the list is endless):


Locigally, you can’t compare another 5 star (NCAP) car with the XC 60

This is great!  The Volvo spin doctors are basically saying that there are not enough stars in the NCAP (New Car Assesment Program) and that (surprise, surprise) the new XC60 is SOooooo good that it effectively demands a new level in the safety rating system.  I have to say, I love the strategy – and it looks like the Sydney Morning Herald took the bait beautifully!

And judging from the reaction at the SHM drive blog discussion on the topic, not one regular punter saw through the clever (we are SOoooo safe….) spin for Volvo that the headline telegraphs:  VOLVO OFF THE SAFETY SCALE!

And the hook could work so easily in other categories.  Take wine.  A line like like “this wine has won so many TROPHIES that we need another level of award!” (trophies are the top score in an Australian wine show) .  Brilliant!

And there is already a growing concern with the devaluation of wine shows here (see this Choice item) and the rampant medal inflation that has bottlers even sticking labels that only look like medals – to attract the attention of the consumer.  Perhaps some wine maker could cry “foul!” and demand to have the system changed to fit their high standards!


Fake medal!

Coud “busting the system” work in your category?  I bet it could.  Give me a shout at www.turning-leaf.com.au!

Marketing in a downturn – Premium Brands

You can already see that premium brands are starting to adapt their campaigns for the new economic context.  As an example, look at this ad from BMW.  This is the online ad but it has run in press as well:


There are a couple of important things to note about this campaign.  First, it is a total-brand message which is totally divorced from the traditional “Joy” positioning (“Sheer Driving Pleasure”) of BMW.

Second, they are using a 3rd party endorsement as a basis for a rational campaign.  What other people say about you is MUCH more important than what you say about yourself!  And the campiagn is telling the potential buyer that the total ownership cost of a new BMW is “best in class.”  Clear inference:  might even be cheaper, all-up.

So why are they doing this?

It’s NOT because they are suddenly trying to appeal to a new low-budget market.  The people that will buy a BMW tomorrow will be (by and large) the same types as yesterday.  What’s changed is that they are starting to feel they ought to hold on to their money.  And most importantly, other people might frown on them if they buy a brand new car right now: “don’t you know there’s a recession on?”

So what BMW is doing is finding a rational reason (running costs) that might support someone’s decision to buy their marque.  So when the new buyer is stopped outside the pub, they can say “look, I was going to buy a Camry” (riiiight) “but when I looked at total ownership costs this 3-series just made sense.”

Expect to see this permission-key marketing happeining more and more in the next 12 months!

Compare sports

My younger son has a few different sports competing for his attention. Two he’s interested in are soccer and AFL.  It strikes me that one sport is all about leveraging a flash-in-the-pan world cup appearance and milking parents to raise money to subsidise their top level adult teams.  The other sport nurtures young talent to fall in love with the game.  Can you tell which is which?

Junior Soccer:  $200 per season, intra-club, parent referee and coach.

AFL Auskick:  $50 per season, intra-club, dedicated supporters and trained coaches, special offers… the list goes on

Which would you choose?  Of course you would.  And look at their fantastic website.  The AFL is obviously serious about recruitment and the long-term development of the game.

Soccer is once again off on a world-cup fantasy that has nothing to do with the grass roots.  Puh.  Worse, they are spending $45,000,000 of OUR money to do it (yes, that’s 45 MILLION for a BILLIONAIRE to spend on greasing up global sports administrators who are just NOT going to give the soccer world cup to Asia a second time in 10 years.  What a bloody waste….

Technically Illegal

The food code in Australia currently  prohibits any claim to do with health (with a couple of exceptions such as folate). But the rules are due to be revised in April 09 and the gloves are already coming off….


So… a broad based claim like “the antioxidant superpower” looks like it will be safe.  Or will it?

The new FSANZ guidelines classify antioxidants as a “biologically active substance” so they require (PDF):

  • The amount of biologically active substance present in the food will have to bedisclosed in the nutrition information panel.  (How much antioxidant?)
  • Claims must not include any descriptors in relation to the level of the substance in the food, e.g. that a food is a good source, high in, rich in, and synonymsthereof.  (How much of a Superpower?)
  • The amount of substance necessary to achieve the health effect and the amount contained in a serve of the food must be stated in the general level health claim. (Heath’s angel, but with HOW many drinks?)
  • At least 10% of the amount of biologically active substance that is required to be consumed per day to achieve the desired health effect will have to be present in a serve of food.  (10% of a day’s antioxidants in a drink)
  • All claims will have to be fully substantiated.  (Hmmmm….)

Playing the right tune – what a top marketing idea!

If marketing is about connecting and engaging people, this Sydney Festival idea – public pianos – is an absolute belter!


When I first saw this piano, some guy had stopped and was playing the “star wars” theme! I was transfixed. Actually later I saw one at Taylor square and a different guy was playing “theme from pink panther” – so I don’t know what happens if you don’t play a movie theme… perhaps they self destruct!   But anyway in both cases there was a crowd gathered to listen, and these Pianos are the highlight of the 2009 Sydney Festival as far as I’m concerned.

But I think it would be fantastic if JC Decaux (or anyone) developed and maintained street furniture like this! I know people would always prefer to have unbranded stuff, but someone has to cover the cost of maintenance and I did see a professional tuner tuning this piano up. It all costs. Brands can pay and reap the benefit of providing a wonderful service and totally breakthrough connection with the passing public.

Public pianos could be a perfect vehicle for sooooo many brands. How about Telstra? Qantas? (connecting people) or Cadbury (moments of joy) – you name it….

The only issue as I would see it would be getting council approval for more permanent installations, but it would be worth a try, I think!