•November 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m sure if you’re in the marketing and advertising world, you would have heard of the controversy that recent Benetton advertising has stirred up. A lot of mixed opinions out there – varying from “This is unenccessary controversy” to “Benetton is doing what it always does” –

I’m a great fan of controversial advertising, I mean my admiration of the old Barnardo’s ad (remember the one with the baby and heroin?) has intrigued me into this world of communicaiton at the age of 14 – so I guess I am slightly bias.

Benetton’s advertising has always been an expression of our time, where divisions and hatred happens – and this latest one is about hatred going on in the world of today’s politicians, faiths and cultures – and uniting them nevertheless with a kiss! The example below is Obama kissing the President of Venezuela. The one that is not here is Pope kissing a Muslim Imman on the lips…

The images are so strong that of course it will offend a lot of people, but then isn’t it the manifesto of Benetton? Shedding a light into today’s divisions and uniting them in their posters? And if they treaded more carefully, by choosing a less heart-crunching image, such as them hugging, I’m not sure it would have the same effect.

This ad has been refused a run on a lot of media channels, but it has been covered with PR so widely that it probably would have outrun awareness a bought media could bring.

Do not worry, the social aspect of the campaign is much softer, and cuter –

They are running a Kiss of Wall in social media, where people can upload their kissing pictures – will have to watch that one closely! To me the social aspect of the campaign is so much softer than the executions we see below, it brings me back to when they put babies from all colours and ethnicities into one poster. To me that promoted ‘united’ without having to cause such stir and controversy (although it was more controversial at the time, to unite all ethnicites) – babies are always disalarming (and too many advertising involving them now – hello Evian!).  But with times as politics/religion get tougher, people more thick-skinned and unision of people globally via internet, it needs extra measures to shock people out of the shelves. And this Benetton ad has done it – but I can’t help but feel (yes, this is the pin I’m sticking in it now!) if you are going to cause such stir, and such controversy, for a great reason of promoting unhatred, why not back is up with some pledges and actions? Why tip your toe in the water of politics/religion but not have a space where people we discuss it?.. To me that is a lack of sustainability which I fear will have Benetton on rocky grounds with us all..


Shocker campaign of the year…

•November 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I wanted to quickly share the shocker campaign of the year for me – I’m aware there are still 2 months to go until we officially end the year, but I am thinking nothing else will top this. If you have anything better though, please ping it over to me! Or comment below – I would like to know…

This is an AIDS-prevention campaign in France that launched few months ago. It is absolutely mad – you get to fondle breasts and flick balls, all animated of course… which makes it slightly more appropriate. The main message of the campaign is that of all the things you can do with just a finger, getting tested (for HIV) may be the single most important one.

They have an actual Sexy Fingers’ YouTube channel, where some bizarre videos awaits you, and then there is the official website where you get to play with animated boobies and what-not – and let me tell you they found a lot of x-rated ways to use a finger…

I’ve been searching to see what uplift this campaign has given to people applying to get tested. What I find great about this campaign, except having seen 50 different types of balls, is that although the issue at hand is serious, the way it is communicated is not which is very uncommon in this type of sector. And I think this is a shocking, yet fantastic way to show that you have to be brave for the sake of engaging your audience.

The messaging however is not so well though-after. For one, I’m not sure why, when I click Share on Facebook, it is telling my friends about the ad agency who did the campaign rather than focusing on the ‘sexy fingers’ and the issue at hand?!

Anyway… great brave campaign that brings forth an uncomfortable subject in a disarming way – and wins SHOCKER of the year ‘Nes Awards’ (I’m sure this award will be official one day…)


Account Handling : Tips & Advice

•May 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

From Lively Pup to Top Dog

Recently, there was a Friday Morning Energiser session by the IPA called “How to be the best account handler in your agency”, advising us on how to turn from a Lively Pup to a Top Dog. It was run by Paul Burns, who has had account handling experience for 26 years – 24 of them at Saatchi & Saatchi. So as a relatively new account handler, I was eager to attend this session and was already dreaming of writing about it. It was either going to be a positive review or a negative one… But it was a great session so I haven’t got any negative comments, only a summary of what was taught and discussed.

What is Account Handling?

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half” (Lord Leverhulme, John Wanamaker and Henry Ford)

All suits can face questions like ‘What do you do? ”Creatives, Planners, Producers…. They do exactly what their title says and with Account Handling it somehow confuses people. WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO?!

Instead of pointing them at the direction of an episode if Mad Men, Paul Burns describes it as “Seeking out new opportunities and winning new business is not Account Handlers job however it is their job to grow our existing business with the client.” Understanding and nurturing client’s business is one of the things that make a Good Account Handler a Great Account Handler. Become like a partner to your client, own all market & competitive knowledge.

Account Handlers Required Skills

Most Account Handlers have personal skills, technical skills and attitude.Best account handlers have good client relationship, creative product and atmosphere.

Account Handlers create strong first impressions, are great team players, have high standards, are efficient, effective, proactive and reliable… The list goes on.

It is humanly possible to be all these things… And sometimes it is OK to ‘go into the fetus position’ (as one of our AM likes to put it) as things start going downhill right in front of your eyes – but a great Account Handler will know everything will be OK because they are surrounded with the best people in their respective fields – from creatives to production – that help make everything & anything possible.

What do Clients want

The top 3 things that Clients look for from Agencies are;

  • Value for money
  • Creativity
  • Most importantly ability to understand their business and their markets.

Alex Lloyd Davies (from P&G, the company with the biggest advertising spend in the world) advices us to:

  • Show how work will make the client’s business grow
  • Show why the work is clever
  • Work with the client like they are a partner.

The main reason given by clients for parting with their Agency is;

“They didn’t really understand my business”.

Alex Lloyd David’s advice to Agencies proves just how important it is that we understand marketing.


To Affect peoples’ feelings, attitudes, opinions, preferences, behaviour


To influence, sales, market-share, price, products, distribution


To grow profitability, margin, return on investment, share holder value

We think our clients can be unreasonable and sometimes a pain in the backside, but it’s most likely they are also under great pressure from their boss to reach X amount of sales and X amount of new customers within X amount of time…. So no wonder they get how they get sometimes.

One of the main things we, the Account Handling team, has to really grasp is their marketing objectives. Yes, they want to increase in sales – Great who doesn’t? But understand how, why, when… Don’t just nod, but question. Increase sales by generating trial among non-users? By getting lapsed users to reconsider? By reinforcing the behaviour of loyalists….?

If you don’t understand your client’s business, know what their most profitable product is, don’t understand where they want to get to & why, the input you can have in their business is limited (creative and/or strategically) and when you want to try to sell an idea to them you might hear an angry tone “Why would I do that? You don’t understand my business!”

Paul Burns revisits the importance of this in his session by saying “Understanding your clients’ business will be a real and tangible way to start ‘swimming’ and becoming the best Account Handler in your agency.”

Please also see the slideshow for Tips & Advice that I’ve gathered, not only in the IPA Morning Energiser, but also from AMs in the industry.

Digital Advertising & The Rest Of The World

•February 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After reading a rather intriguing article on Adage about what is happening in different countries when it comes to digital marketing, I wanted to basically comment on it in my blog too. You can read the full article there. I just took out the bits I found interesting, made it a bit shorter and put it at the end of this post as bulletpoints!

No doubt digital is huge in countries such as USA, UK, Turkey and Germany but what is happening in the rest of the world? After all, the unique thing about the Internet was its ability to connect people worldwide, and now many international businesses are actually using this to their advantage, unifying their brand message across the globe.

Traveling industries especially are making the most of this access, and recently there has been reviews and stats showing the Ski Resorts are doing the worldwide social the best – This I might call “country-neutral” advertising. You can read the full article on how resort industry uses social media at Mashable.

All these reasons combined got me really interested in the overview of digital marketing in the rest of the world…. W are all going ‘culture-neutral’, exposed to things that will either teach us or gross us. But either way, it is a big step towards an open-minded audience.

Here is a few facts about the rest of the world and their digital stats:

  • China‘s biggest news was the Google censorship this year. Google users are in bigger cities and with higher education, so very niche market. Chinese social networks are doing well and many marketers are using them. The fact they can’t use Facebook and YouTube makes all the social online pure Chinese.
  • Indonesia has no confidence that the internet will help build a sustainable business yet.
  • Malaysia online is for young people only, and only about 0,5% – 1% of the population!
  • Philippines Digital books (something that UK hasn’t excelled in yet) and e-zines (local news) adopt the digital marketing very well! Advertisers are waiting for monitoring of internet ads.
  • In Brazil Twitter is its own trending topic!
  • Japan The divide between virtual and real world has become the smallest! Social networks are doings the best. However as most of the population owns 3G, it makes developers life a lot easier and they can offer top & advanced apps!
  • India media is dominated by print and TV still and no major shift towards online yet.

For amazing interactive visual mapping the growth of internet worldwide, see

Sociable: Bloggers and Brands

•February 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In my week in New York, I had the chance to attend a seminar on social media in fashion presented by Lume Creative. The two speakers are the most famous bloggers, not to mention the first of their kind, Scott Schuman and Garance Dore. They are the most respected and sought after fashion ‘artists’. Scott is the first street-style photographer with his own unique style & point of view when it comes to catching people on the street. His blog has become so famous and his photography so admired that he has worked with many famous brands and people, including a street-style photography work for Burberry’s Art Of The Trench campaign.

Garance Dore is an illustrator and photographer who also has her own chic style and creative input. She is the queen of fashion blogging with record-breaking followers world-wide.

In this conference, these two, being the first of their kind in blogging, shared what inspired them in the first place and the changes we see in the past decade within blogging. There are now over hundreds of bloggers and street-style photographers, and these two are the ones who started it all years ago. They told us why they think some bloggers are successful and stand out, as well as how blogging has and will change the fashion industry and brand-awareness in general

As it is in any industry, not just fashion, successful bloggers are the ones with a distinct point of view and are not afraid to put it across. Garance and Scott believe bloggers should most certainly have their unique selling point with their own point of view and not give into what people ‘might like to read’ but instead focus on their own artistry/opinions and style.

The thing about blogging is not about sponsorship or being ‘bought’ once you have reached a certain tip point and share of readers. Both Garance and Scott never once thought that their blogs would earn them this fame, yet alone become a career of some sort. But even though it has, to them their blogs are about freedom of doing what they want to do in their own space, and having people admire that and that only if they wish to. Having your own voice and not loosing it no matter what is the key. Garance and Scott never let their other career opportunities or jobs inflict upon their own personal writing and style, hence why they are still so popular within their committed readers. Brands must be aware of this in any industry within any kew bloggers, and never try to ‘buy’ a bloggers space because this will only backfire.

It is no doubt bloggers in general can hold power over brands and it is vital for brands to recognize this. However a brand should also never interfere with the content of a particular blogger, but instead be open-minded about what they can do ‘together’, just like Burberry did with Scott with The Art Of The Trench. They didn’t tell him what to do, they told him to do what he does best but with a subject that would benefit Burberry’s trench and consumer. They gave him endless creativity, hence why Scott has accepted to do this job in the first place.

There is no doubt that we will see more brand and blogger relationships in the future, and this is certainly not only in fashion but other industries too. Already many are using leading bloggers as a way to promote or create awareness of their brands. We find the best bloggers in the automative industry to create awareness of a new upcoming vehicle, or we find the best tech blogger to promote a new phone…. It is about brands respecting these bloggers’ reach and voice. ‘Product placement’ within a blogging space is never going to work, as the reason people trust these bloggers is for the writers own personal point of view. Once this has been compromised with sponsorships or selling a product, it will lose its credibility and will do only damage.

‘Tit for Tat’

•January 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We live in such a tangible world of consumerism, corporate economy, sales, ROI…. And now we re-defined where real ‘value’ comes from thanks to digital.

The age of quick call to action, instant sales, quick ROI and ‘interruption’ is truly over. Companies can’t expect everything to go their way anymore, because consumer has the power. They listen to you if only they want to and if you got something they want to hear/know about. Nowadays ‘tit for tat’ is a destructive brand attitude. ROI goes around big circles before you see the figures rise up. Yes, it goes through consumers, then consumer-to-consumer, engagement and then you get what you wanted – a loving customer base. But don’t you think for a second, once you get them you can quit. No, the real work starts then. You have to keep up what you started, the lies and one-offs are truly over. You have to look after your consumer like he is your pet. Now once you get them, you have to keep engaging them, because to be honest a couple of clicks away there might be something else that will raise their interest.

And in the current climate, what channels do we have to make this happen? Endless. Truly Endless. From transmedia, to gaming to phones, your brand can be anywhere to spark a real conversation with your potential customers in real-time. The most important thing is not how many of these available conversational-channels you have got, but do you have anything interesting to say? Do you have a content that is relevant? Can you respond to the ‘unearned environment’ (bloggers, twitterers…) if they sparked up negativity? And are you really listening? Do you truly know what your customers are doing in the ‘digital’ world? Is this new channel something that will benefit your customer or is it just an add-on to your current marketing activities?…..

It is truly inspiring to have endless opportunities to really connect brands with consumers, in such a real way that was never possible before. Now, we don’t pay for media to speak to our consumers. We create content custom-made for them.

Burger King, ASOS, Nike, Ford, VW, Starbucks, AIDS, Breast Cancer, Lynx are only a few brands that are perfect examples of this media-neutral marketing.

Asos does well in social media

•January 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Mr. Hornik on Social Media: “Who said Media? Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces” and this is exactly what I want to write about today on Asos.

Asos has become one of the biggest young online fashion retailers in the country. It has been growing ever since its launch, and their product range has becoming stronger and stronger. I met one of their bloggers, who told me once a dress is featured in a magazine, it is gone within the next couple of days and that they receive emails from customers straight away! This is how they got to be, and the reason is not just their very affordable prices on a good range of fashion and celebrity clothing, but also they did one thing right. They talked to the right people, then listened and then engaged them in their own environment.

Asos has been featuring big in all women’s magazines! From higher-end Cosmopolitan to lower-end gossip magazines… But they all have one thing in common: Women who love clothes! And cheaper ones in that! Women who see something on a celebrity and want it for themselves at a cheap price! Women who aspire to be looking good at all times.

Recently Asos did a product line expansion into Mens, and although Men is nowhere near as popular as Womens, it is still becoming one of the best mens fashion sites.

With their better products, larger customer base and sales up the roof, Asos did not just spend more money on TV ads or tactical/awareness campaigns. They went straight into the depth of customer engagement – Women, fashion, gossip. Their website has turned into a community within a week, they have their own Asos bloggers everywhere – on Twitter, on Asos website, Facebook and Bebo. And their content is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s rich, it’s frequent and personal!

I went to see a designer in London Fashion Week where I met one of the Asos bloggers, the one I mentioned above. She was invited to the show so she could blog for Asos site, and it was great to see the employees of Asos are as passionate about fashion as its customers (and as they claim to be!). They use their personal names on Twitter and Asos community page, as well as being online – what seems like 24/7- answering any requests and sharing great pieces of information on what customers care about.

And to top it all off, now they put their customers reviews (tweets) on one page for all to see!