Monthly Archives: August 2010

Dear Soreen

Dear Soreen,

Thank you for being a secret pleasure. When thickly cut and spread with lots of butter and Marmite, your chewiness and salty sweetness are a pure delight – to me at least.

And thank you for being 100% clear about who you’re for and what benefits you deliver…the ” kids do funky dance routine” execution of the current “Chew it. Then do it.” campaign is a little bit too “Britain’s Got Talent” for me, but it makes sense and successfully harnesses and channels some of the plentiful, but somewhat inconsistent, brand personality displayed in the ads over the years.

Here’s the most recent ad:

And ones from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s – an interesting observation of the evolution of advertising norms, if nothing else:

And thanks for your product range – I can almost see the segmentation and NPD strategy as if it were in a nice PowerPoint deck  sitting on my desk before me…which appeals to me in some strange way!



Dear Daily Mail

Dear Daily Mail,

Thank you for inspiring The Poke (a UK (Junior Partner?) version of The Onion) to create The Moral Underground…it’s pure genius, and brought a smile to my face.

Here’s a small version, but click on the picture to see it in more detail.

It still astounds me that you (Daily Mail, that is) manage to get nearly 2 million people to part with around 50p on a daily basis given the unrelenting vilification doled out by the rest of the British media.

If we take a traditional definition of a brand  as a “collection of meanings and associations”, then it’s hard – for me at least – to envisage what possible positive meanings and associations would come to mind. For me, they’re all (every single one of them) negative…or perhaps I’ve just been listening to too much BBC Radio4 comedy and need to broaden my perspectives. (Irony intended by the way).

You probably don’t have one, but if it did exist, your brand positioning statement / format / onion / shape (whatever) would, I reckon, make for a hilarious and flabbergasting (if cringe-inducing) read. The thought of a positioning format / diagram known as the “Daily Mail Brand Electric Chair” makes me chuckle.

And thanks to The Moaning Cow, where I first spied The Moral Underground.

Thanks again


Dear Heineken

Dear Heineken,

Thank you for showing us the power of a truly campaignable idea.

I’m not quite sure whether any particularly differentiated brand meaning is conveyed, but all of the executions are humorous, extremely “share-able” and spot on for driving / building / consolidating brand awareness…perfect for a mature category like lager. Sure, there is a frisson of similarity to Budweiser’s “Wassup!” campaign, but frankly, so what?

Here’s the first ad:

And then the first follow-up:

And now this:

And this:

Thanks for making me laugh.


PS – I couldn’t let a post about Heineken go by without including this – “Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach” has to be one of the all time great straplines…category defining (as in “Beer = Refreshment”) you might say:

Dear Roberts

Dear Roberts,

Thank you for your Revival DAB Radio – in particular the Piano Gloss Black limited edition. As mentioned in a past blog about M&S, I’ve got a real soft spot for all things retro, especially when there’s some genuine heritage going on…

When people use “shiny” as an adjective (often in combination with “new”), I think of you. And when the analogue radio signal is switched off for good, I’ll think of you again and be happy that I have a genuine excuse to buy you. Until then, I’ll enjoy the hiss and the fuzz of my Grandfather’s Roberts Radio.

Oh, and by the way, you’re in excellent company. Check out this from Bush:

Thanks again,


Dear Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,

Thank you for showing us how to ignore the blindingly obvious. I was staggered to see that you are due to launch a Galapagos variant of the premium Starbucks Reserve line. Errrr…is that not slightly in danger of being labelled as “unethical sourcing”?

The way I see it, this could go one of three ways:

  1. Abject failure due to consumers not being so happy about Starbucks harvesting (might as well be Slash & Burning as far as the British Media will be concerned) in one the World’s remaining Natural Wonders.
  2. A bunch of people (not all of whom are Starbucks employees) snap up all the stock, thereby creating a buzz of scarcity. All goes swimmingly and the guys at Starbucks are dead pleased as there’s lots of traffic to the site and samples are appearing on eBay at $50 a pop. The buzz hits the mainstream, resulting in rallies and parades organised by Greenpeace and a massive climb-down, PR-rescue strategy and a $75m compensation package imposed by The White House.
  3. No-one will really notice and Starbucks Reserve Galapagos will be consigned to the shelf of “Heroic Failures“.

The brief may have been “To get into Grocery via a super-premium range that will act as a halo for the entire brand”, but my feeling is that you should have paid attention to the blindingly obvious (unethical sourcing (real or perceived) ain’t too popular these days).

Thanks to where I spied this story:

“Starbucks Reserve, a line of ultra-premium, single-origin coffees will launch this fall in select U.S. stores. Chosen by Starbucks coffee buyers for their unique flavors and rarity, Starbucks Reserve coffees will be offered in limited quantities and while supplies last in select stores within metropolitan markets including New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami. The first offering, Galapagos San Cristobal, originated on San Cristobal, an island in the Galapagos Islands. The subtropical region’s intense microclimate, rich volcanic soil and equatorial sun create ideal conditions for extraordinary coffee.”

Thanks again


Dear Argos Catalogue

Dear Argos Catalogue,

Thank you for being known as the “laminated book of dreams” in the household of my co-partner at Brandfruition and friend Steve Purnell.

That’s just exactly what you are.


UPDATE – 24-08-10

Steve tells me that the “laminated book of dreams” phrase was in fact borrowed with pride from a stand-up comedian, possibly the superb Michael McIntyre

Just done a quick Google search which reveals that it was in fact Bill Bailey, the “quote” being:

“The laminated book of dreams! You know why it’s laminated, don’t you? To catch the tears of joy! So many beautiful things! I cannot possess them all!”

Check out the full clip on myspace here.

Reminds us once again that Talent imitates, genius steals.

Dear Gillette

Dear Gillette,

Thank you for this:

The opening credits page splash pretty much links you to this, but fair enough for not falling into the trap of the product placement style cringiness of the Gillette Champions. It’s a shame that the whole stunt is quite so obviously choreographed, despite the efforts to make it look spontaneous (the bottle dropping off William Tell’s head – twice – and the dodgy throw of the second ball to Roger). But to be honest, does it really matter? It’s entertaining and I suspect will be (or probably already is) this week’s (or maybe just today’s) internet “sensation”.

It reminds me of Nike’s (fake?) Ronaldinho Crossbar Challenge which personally I think benefits from Ronaldinho’s lack of attempt at “acting”, and just getting on with what he does best. No snappy suits here – Roger, take note…