Is your company’s image giving customers the right impression?

The new year is a great time to think about your business’ brand.

Are you portraying the right image? Are you using the right messages? Are you talking to the right people, in the right places?

Well, for a bit of new year fun, here’s how to get it wrong…kidsexchange design fail

Turkish Airlines Ad Placement Fail

Starbucks design fail

Pen Denis Design Fail

South Bendon ad fail

Supermarket design fail

Always open ad fail

McDonalds ad fail

The Computer Doctors design fail

Joining Fee message fail

Sale sign fail

Alcoholism ad placement fail

Church logo design fail

OGC logo design fail

Wendys sign fail

Bethany Baptist Church message fail


The Star Wars films that nearly got made

C3P0 - Star Wars scripts for PersilWith Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting cinema screens later this week, my mind drifts back to some great Star Wars scripts that nearly got made.

And when I say nearly, George Lucas had personally approved them.

Let me explain. A long time ago in a galaxy very, very near (1996 in London to be more precise) two advertising agency creatives sat in a briefing for a new TV campaign. The client: Persil. The brief: Get a mum to talk to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

As you can imagine, we struggled. Who on earth was ever going to believe this?

Then, inspiration struck. It was a Monday evening at the offices of JWT. We had been working on the brief for a couple of weeks and had, so far, resisted giving in to writing scripts with a mum to talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid.

We found ourselves where we normally found ourselves when creative juices weren’t flowing: on the pool table.

Then those unforgettable words were muttered: What about C3P0? Of course! You can’t get any more mothering than this shiny gold protocol droid designed to serve human beings.

He can talk about technological advancements until the cows come home.

And wait for it… What if we swapped R2D2 for a mischievous washing machine called WA5H? Genius.

We’d cracked it.

If we needed to talk about ‘Grease Releasers’ that removed stains like lipstick, suntan lotion and motor oil, we could set it in a garage, where a mechanic was repairing their crashed spacecraft.

Or, if we needed to talk about low temperature ‘Stain Shifters’ that removed stains like coffee, grass and red wine, we can have a humorous sketch involving WA5H getting a little tipsy after too many red wine tests.

My favourite was the script about the EC Ecolabel the product had been awarded. C3P0 and WA5H were standing on a cliff overlooking the most glorious sunset. WA5H beeped. “Yes,” replied C3P0, “I like this planet too.”

The characters could cover any scenario. We were so confident, we got the Account Director down to our office. He had a reputation for ‘unselling’ an idea, even after the client had bought it (I will spare him the embarrassment of naming him, but anyone working in the agency at the time will know exactly who I am talking about). We gave him a week to find a problem, any problem, with the campaign. Five days later, he came back into our office and said he couldn’t. Great. He was now allowed to sell it.

The campaign was presented to the Brand Manager at Persil. He loved it.

I need to explain something about how marketing mutli-national brands works. There are many levels of client management. Each level’s only real power is to say ‘no’. If they say ‘yes’, then they lose their power and – like us – are hoping the next level says ‘yes’ too.

With this campaign however, there seemed to be nothing to worry about. It sailed through the next two levels of management.

Even research was on our side. The concept was researched with ‘real’ mums and they gave it a big thumbs up.

We were getting excited. We were getting swept away on the wave of enthusiasm for the campaign.

But wait a minute. Screech! We had to get permission from Lucas Films! Bump!

The agency producer managed to get their contact details. The scripts were sent off to Lucas Ranch. We waited. And waited.

While we waited, the concept was getting a resounding ‘yes’ from every level of client management and every round of consumer research.

We eventually heard back from Lucas Films. George loved the scripts! He liked them so much that he agreed at lend us the C3P0 costume to have a word with Anthony Daniels (the voice of C3P0) about doing the voiceover. Result!

So, what went wrong? Why is this article called ‘The Star Wars films that nearly got made’?

Well, remember the original brief? Remember the myriad levels of client management? The man at the very top said “Where is my mum talking to camera about the technological advancements of New Persil Liquid?”

The dark side was strong in him!

Enjoy the film on Friday.

Scottish referendum

Forget Scotland decides, I can’t decide!

indyrefShould Scotland be an independent country?

Why is such a simple question so difficult to answer?

It might be something to do with the ‘Yes’ campaign wanting you to take their hand and go on a journey with them through the back of a dark wardrobe into a land where everything is beautiful and nothing could possibly go wrong. Or the ‘No’ campaign wanting you to stay in the boring old room because it’s scary in the dark wardrobe.

It’s not surprising people’s views on Scottish independence are so strikingly positive and negative. The choice we have been given; ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is too.

But it doesn’t matter what the politicians say (it’s impossible to know if they are telling the truth anyway). This is too big a decision for any one person or one party to convince you one hundred percent. There are too many ‘what if?s’. Too many ways to predict the future (or interpret the past). It is going to boil down to 4.3m very personal decisions.

Here’s is my analogy of the decision we are being asked to make and probably the reason why I am finding it so difficult:

I used to work for one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world. I now work for myself.

I used to have a boss, who told me what to do. I used to have large multi-national clients, some of which I didn’t necessarily like what they produced. I used to be a small cog in a big machine, being asked to do things in a way I didn’t always think was the best way. I used to have large budgets to play with, that allowed my to travel the world shooting TV commercials in exotic locations. I used to have a regular salary. I used to still get paid when I was sick, or on holiday. I used to have pension scheme, which my employer contributed to. I used to go to fantastic staff Christmas parties, where I would dance with Cinderella – the girl from accounts.

Now, I am the boss and no one tells me what to do. Now, I choose my clients and only work with people I like and people I think are doing something worthwhile. Now, I am making all the strategic decisions as well as the creative ones. Now, I am having to work magic with tiny budgets. Now, some months have a great month and earn loads of money and other months don’t earn enough to pay the bills. Now, I have every intention to start paying into my pension again (well, maybe next month). Now, I work late almost every night. Now, I take the laptop on holiday with me. Now, I close the laptop and pick up the kids from school without having to ask anyone if it is OK. Now, I can work from home in my dressing gown, in a cafe, at the beach, or even just decide not to work at all one day.

As you can see, both sides have their good points and both have their bad points. It’s not as simple as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. But that is what we have a choice of.

Both Yes Scotland and Better Together can be right and both can be wrong. Can we, at least for the next couple of days, agree on that and respect each other? And can we also agree, after the referendum, to respect the “will of the Scottish people” and do our best for the Scotland?

I better go now, I have a decision to make!

Inside IndyRef icon

Everything IndyRef

Message Matters IndyRef SessionInsideIndyrefBrand Satellite’s strategic communications partner, Message Matters, have entered the independence referendum debate with an informed, impartial point of view.

Message Matters’ directors, Peter Duncan and Andy Maciver, have decades of experience in politics and the media, and are intimately involved in the independence referendum debate.

They are offering companies and organisations an ‘IndyRef Session’, an up-to-the-minute presentation, full of analysis and inside knowledge, from a completely neutral and dispassionate standpoint.

With strong links into the Yes, No and ‘in the middle’ camps, there is no one better than Peter and Andy can cut through the bluff and bluster and tell your Board and your staff what’s really happening.

They have also just launched the first in their series of InsideIndyref podcasts, featuring SNP’s Kevin Pringle.

Brand Satellite added the designs and the pretty pictures!

Brand Satellite - Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing – are the scientists giving in to emotions?

NeuromarketingWe, the marketing and advertising experts, have been telling our clients for decades that creating a successful brand is all about creating an emotional connection with your consumer.

Campaign after campaign has proved this, but there are still so many business executives who don’t believe they are swayed by emotional factors when making purchasing decisions, and often doubt that others are either.

Now, thankfully the scientists are backing us up. The latest catchphrase in the pursuit of getting buy in from your target audience is Neuromarketing.

Over the last decade, neuroscience research has shown that affection (emotions, feelings) plays a much more important role in decision making than most people have thought.

Our senses produce over 10 million bits of information per second, which are all processed in the brain’s limbic system. But only around 40 bits per second are passed on to the neo-cortex for conscious processing (thinking, planning, etc). This means that 99.9% of all information from our five senses is only subconsciously processed.

Avoid mediocrity!

As the brain processes so much of its sensory input subconsciously, signals that don’t generate positive or negative affection are filtered out (seen as unimportant) and never reach our conscious mind. You don’t want your messages falling into the massive black hole of insignificance.

Analysis of data from some 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns submitted for the IPA Effectiveness Awards over the last three decades, compared the profitability boost of campaigns which relied primarily on emotional appeal vs. those which used rational persuasion and information.

Campaigns with purely emotional content performed nearly twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31% vs 26%) than those with a mixture of emotional and rational content.