Category Archives: Food & Drink

Dear M&S


Dear M&S Simply Food,

Thank you for sticking with it. You could have got bored. You could have been tempted to try to something new. But the memory structure. The art direction. The MUSIC. It’s brilliant.

Clothing – not so much.

But Food. Brilliant.

Thanks again



Dear Arla Best of Both

Arla-Best of Both 2ltr-1ltrDear Arla Best of Both,

Thank you for being unashamedly “inspired” by a similar brand in an adjacent category. And for demonstrating that sometimes the simplest and best ideas are in sitting right before our very eyes – or rather just a couple of aisles along down at the supermarket.

Hovis Best of Both

Whilst I may not necessarily like the ad, it certainly does standout – which is no bad thing when launching a new proposition…just ask Barry Scott over at Cillit Bang.

Arla_ad_1200Thank you for showing us how to play to and piggy-back an existing, well, establishing unit of meaning –  in the form of the Best of Both descriptor, which directly leverages all the hard work that Hovis have done establishing their Best of Both sliced-bread proposition.

And thank you for creating a potential new code with the Yellow cap. It remains to be seen whether you can make it yours and yours alone…or whether the proliferation of colours (purple or orange for the, albeit multi-brand, 1% Fat milk) will prove to be too much for consumers.

The One - Purple Top

Thanks again


Dear Marmite

Marmite - Moustache - PolarisingDear Marmite,

Thank you for allowing me to indulge in a spot of flippancy with your #LoveItHateItNameIt personalised pot promotion.

It turns out that moustaches, like you, are polarising.

Marmite - LoveitHateitPersonaliseitThank you for reminding me that polarisation is a good thing, to be sought and championed, at the expense of lowest common denominator positioning which, by seeking to appeal to everybody, ends up failing to motivate anybody.

For brands, the middle-ground is often the most treacherous. No danger for you, as featured in a previous blog here.

I should also acknowledge the wise-words of a former client, Alan Martin, who once told me, “When you hear the word “polarising” in a debrief, sit up and listen…because something interesting is going on.” Amen.

Marmite Limited EditionsAnd thank you for not only being the kings of limited edition innovation, but also senior royalty when it comes to licensing. Where others talk, it appears that you do.

Low cost, incremental, big impact, new-news. Lovely.

Marmite Rice CakesThanks again

Ned –

(Only 5 days to go!)

Dear KFC

KFC LogoDear KFC,

Thank you for The KFC FriendshipBucketTest – what a wonderful and unique expression of the “Sharing” needstate that appears on pretty much every consumer needs / motivations “map” – usually on the right hand side.

A sophisticated psychologist would probably also thank you for successfully harnessing some of the memory structures formed by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…But I’m not sufficiently qualified to make that case. I just see it as a neat case of “Steal & Modify with Pride”.

And thanks for making me smile…the reaction to “it’s got to be that haircut” is priceless.


Dear Cobra


Dear Cobra,

Thank you for demonstrating the potential risks of failing to keep things simple…your latest piece of communication – “The Boss” – crams so many different ideas into 60 seconds that this viewer at least, is left dazed and confused.

So firstly there’s The Boss himself.

Cobra - The Boss

Although he’s remarkably similar to the other impossibly smooth, classic car-driving, mysterious and dishy types who find time in their playboy lifestyles to represent Stella Cidre and Heineken, he’s a nicely ironic / tongue-in–cheek manifestation of the “smoothness” that no doubt sits at the centre of whatever brand format shape Molson Coors uses.

Then there’s the Boss’s entrepreneurial spirit and the play on words that creates the his by-day and by-night business interests – Cobra making beer and BraCo making Bras.

Personally I think it’s a pretty poor conceit (the “creative’s eureka moment would have been a head-in-hands moment for me), but I can understand how you got to it. Sure there’s some ironic kitsch in the comparison which is mildly amusing and titillating, but it all feels a little forced to me.

Cobra - BraCo

And then, if we weren’t confused enough, by way of conclusion, there’s still time for us to peek in on The Boss’s black-tie / casino / yoga lifestyle, and to be informed that he’s living the dream.

Oh and let’s not forget the product story part (swirly tubes, bloke with tweezers, “outrageously complex recipe”)  that’s thrown in there for good measure too.

Technically, it hangs together – The Boss remains smooth despite the complexity of his success…just like Cobra beer – but all thrown into the blender at once is too much for me.

I do like “smoothness” as a rich and interesting brand idea, but for me this ad is too much. Ironically humourous it may be, but there’s too much going on. Too many mixed messages. Too many ideas crammed into too short a space of time.

Quotes in the marketing press reveal that “there’s more to come” and I look forward to seeing how The Boss develops over time, as I believe he’s got lots of potential to help the brand with its strategically necessary mission to escape the curry house.

But please.

One. Thing. At a time.

Thanks again




Dear Aerolatte

Aerolatte Logo

Dear Aerolatte,

Thank you for your “world-famous, award-winning, best-selling, original steam-free milk frother” – it’s making my new-for-February-waste-fewer-resources-i.e.-time-and-money-at-Costa initiative a deliciously satisfying synch.

AerolatteThank you for being a stand out example of kitchen-gadgetry.

I love kitchen gadgets because two things that I enjoy experiencing – genuine innovation (i.e. the solution to an unsatisfactorily met need) and design (mechanical, ergonomic and aesthetic) – so regularly come together in a highly pleasing fashion.  Just take apple corers…

Apple Corer

apple corer 2 apple-slicer-corer

Of course, many kitchen gadgets fail to live up to their promise and are in the back of the cupboard before you can say “Yes chef” – but a quick inspiration-safari to a Kitchenware store before an ideation workshop never fails to deliver a couple of starter-for-10 ideas.

Thanks again Aerolatte – yummy and Costa-busting frothy decafs all round!