Category Archives: Sport

Dear GoPro

Go Pro Be a Hero

Dear GoPro,

Thank you for the 5 minutes of utter awesomeness that you’ve put together to promote your HERO3: Black Edition:


And utterly.


And completely mesmerising, not to mention inspiring.

Thank you



Dear vision express


Dear vision express,

Thank you for working in collaboration with a celebrity…as opposed to just using their image in the hope that some of their kudos will rub-off on you.

Spot him? He was in there. Near the beginning. Your brand ambassador.

Nice, light touch that.

It would have been so easy to think: Who’s a famous glasses wearer? Ah yes. Heston Blumenthal! Let’s do a deal with his agent, bung him some dosh and get him to wear some of our glasses in an ad. Job done.

But you’ve been so much smarter than that.

He’s baked-in. He’s part of the brand. He’s one of you. His creativity and innovation are your creativity and innovation.

People are fed up with contractually obliged disinterested celebrities faking their brand loyalty. We all know that they’re doing it for the cash. And we’ve all got used to it. It’s OK. Even if it does make us feel like mugs.

The difference between your relationship with Heston and Santander’s recent “effort” with Jenson Button, Rory Mcllroy and Jessica Ennis is inspiring and depressing in equal measure…

Now I suspect that Santander is trying to be ironic. Rather than have celebrities act appallingly badly, why not have them deliver their lines in such a wooden and dead-pan fashion that there can be no mistake that they’re doing it on purpose?

(Was this a hasty creative change once Jenson, Rory and Jessica appeared on set and their limited acting talents became apparent? Actually I think Jessica’s interpretation is pretty good…which cannot be said for the other two)

Viewed through that lens, the Santander ad is quite funny. But I’m not sure people will pick up on the irony if it’s intended. They’ll just think that Santander is the bank that spends loads of money on celebrities because they’ve got loads and the boss likes Formula1 and Golf…and feels like he should balance things up by having a woman in there too.

Think the irony-radar may also have been faulty when this was made, but it’s a good laugh.

Well, they were only just out of the ’80s I suppose.

Thanks again


Dear Specsavers

specsavers logo

Dear Specsavers,

Thank you for being the only thing with even the remotest iota of credibility to emerge from the abysmal Chelsea player Eden Hazard “kicks” ball boy debacle. In a Mexican wave of abhorrence, you’ve given me reason to smile with this press and digital ad:



Specsavers Ball boy


So-called pundits may claim that the ball boy was “entitled” to writhe around, but to my eyes the whole sorry affair was a microcosm of almost everything that’s wrong with English football (Twitter (ball boy), cheating (ball boy), play-acting (ball boy), too much money too young (ball boy and players), harassing the ref (ball boy and players), being congratulated for cheating (players), the media’s reaction, the FA’s reaction…need I go on?)

But enough of that.

Well done you Specsavers and your in-house team for seizing the day and doing something topical. You’ve got form:

Specsavers Korean Flag


I like this kind of thing.

It’s quick, on-brand, thinking. And demonstrates that not everything in Marketing has to be passed through a complex series of approval committees. So thank you – just goes to show that a fantastic core brand idea – which I thanked you for here – can just keep on running and running.

Talking of great brand ideas, Lynx (brand idea: boy gets girl) did a similar thing after Prince Harry’s exploits in Vegas.



Doesn’t work quite as well for me as it’s based on supposition (i.e. that HRH might have been wearing Lynx) which is usually somewhat dodgy ground to be on, but nonetheless made me smile at the time.

Anyone got a snappy (cringe-worthy) name for what this type of topical, reactionary marketing should be called? Newsflash Marketing?

Thanks again,



Dear Timberland

Dear Timberland,

Thank you for your Timberland Earthkeepers sub-brand.

Clear proposition, creatively articulated:

Nice…and “global” to boot. (Sorry.)

And whoever wrote this…

…is clearly a genius. Give them a pay-rise. Or  a bonus. Or something else they want.

Thank you for showing us that it is worth going back to the drawing board – you’ve come on leaps and bounds (sorry) since:

And your new articulation also ties nicely in with:

Actually, I think your brand architecture (or rather “Collections” Architecture) is a bit of a mess – i.e. it’s hard to navigate (doesn’t give me the signposts I need to find what I want) and is confusing (what’s the difference between The Timberland Boot Company and Heritage for instance?).

And finally thank you for providing me with my footwear of choice for the past 12 years:

It’s a toss-up between you and my Adidas Sambas, but points lost for lack of packability are countered by all round versatility.

The Sambas make me feel kinda Brazilian old-skool cool…

…entirely erroneously and utterly implausibly on every level.

But you make me feel like a streetwise mountaineering hip-hopping lumberjack – and who doesn’t want to feel like that?

However equally implausible that might be?

Thanks Timberland.


Dear Adidas

Dear Adidas,

Thank you for your brand architecture – it’s wonderfully fit for purpose.

Boiling it right down, it respects and celebrates the past, it delivers against the present, it looks to the future, it meets needs and motivations (both known and unknown) and it picks up volume as and where it can.

I love your Originals range – in particular your retro trainers:

I admire your Sport range:

I’m not that bothered by your Y-3 Style range, but I guess people are spending money on your stuff that otherwise they would be spending elsewhere, so it cannot be a bad thing, especially as you’re only a brand endorser.And thanks for staying true to your 3-stripes – you look like a family, but it’s very clear that you’re doing different things. Masterful.

Thanks again


Dear Lucozade Sport Lite

Dear Lucozade Sport Lite,

Thank you for making me think about why brands reposition themselves.

You’ve gone from this (at launch about a year ago):

To this (which has just hit our screens):

Poles, leagues, galaxies apart – almost shockingly so.

Clearly something has happened to make you reposition so radically…but what I wonder?

Is it because the people you thought would drink you (i.e. gym go-ers) aren’t actually drinking you, and instead you’re being drunk by the weight conscious as a lifestyle drink / hangover cure and you felt the need to reposition in the “lifestyle sports” space?

Is it because you thought you had to start with a clean positioning slate after you had to recall & withdraw your Summer Berries variant on account of the unpleasant smell and mould growth?

Is it because squash / swimming / spinning / the treadmill are all a bit middle-aged (and consequently by definition a bit boring) and you wanted to give yourself bit more of a dynamic (youthful, funky, multicultural) brand personality?

Is it because people just don’t quite get the idea of a low-calorie energy drink and as a result aren’t buying it? (I know you’re about replenishing salts and minerals and whatnot, but loads of people drink you like you’re an energy drink that’s somehow a bit more justifiable than Red Bull, Monster, Relentless etc)

Is it becuase Powerade Zero has come along with a sharper, more aspirational and appealing proposition and started making life difficult for you? (Helped by Coca-Cola’s distribution muscle of course)

Is it because you’re doing really well, you’ve maxed out on the gym-goer segment (both in terms of mindspace and distribution) and now you’re going after an additional audience (whilst trying to keep hold of your gym-goers)?

Is it because you got a new Marketing Director who appointed a new agency, neither of whom wanted to be associated with the past / both of whom wanted to “make an impact”? Or maybe you gave the task to a new funky young creative team from within the existing agency?

Is it because you kept the same Marketing Director and ad agency, but they fancied a trip to the beach / Los Angeles to top up their tans?

Or is it simply because you’re not selling as much as you thought you would and you need to shift some volume, so you’ve thrown caution to the wind and gone for something radical in the hope that a change is as good as a rest – a bit of a double or quits strategy?

I’m sure there are loads and loads more reasons why you’ve repositioned, but thanks for making me think about the possibilities – it’s been an intriguing diversion…and I would have loved to have seen the brief to see if any of my hypotheses were correct!

Thanks again


Dear Red Bull

Dear Red Bull,

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to non-mainstream, “alternative” action sports…what a perfect platform for you as a brand, demonstrating brand values of both consistency/loyalty to a cause and innovation as new action sports develop and emerge (like Brazil’s Altinha…or Keepy-Uppy to you and I).

I love the way how you (mostly) avoid the Point Break style “adrenalin junky”  stereotype and how, whilst the events you’re involved with are competitive, there’s a genuine sense that it’s about the taking part, the community, the beauty and artistry of the spectacle, as much as it is about  the winning.

Check out this mesmeric, epic and awe-inspiring stuff:

Now I’m sure that purists will say that you’re ruining and commercialising action sports such as Parkour (aka freerunning) that have come from “underground” social movements or indeed philosophies. But I love the way how – through the money you bring – you’re giving people the opportunity to indulge in their passions, whilst entertaining – and more importantly from a brand / communication  perspective, reaching – the rest of us at the same time.

Would this have been such a spectacle without you behind it? Would the individuals and teams have practised and honed their art to the extent they clearly have without you? I doubt it…

So thanks Red Bull – I know I’ve thank you before, here, but I really do admire the scale, extent and scope of what you’re doing to build your brand.