Archive | Brands RSS feed for this section

The Challengers Almanac

1 Apr

The Challengers Almanac is no ordinary book. It’s a collection of stories and wisdom written by people who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and I’m thrilled to be included.

It all started with a talk I did for She Says, alongside other ‘disruptors’ including the wonderful Olivia Knight from Patchwork Present, following which I was invited to contribute. My story is about how to do Marketing ‘Gangnam Style’ (stay with me now), because there’s much to learn from one of the greatest cultural phenomenon of our time, in fact we owe it to ourselves. As uncomfortable as it may feel to operate outside of your comfort zone, it’s better to be a disruptor than to be the disrupted (the only real alternative).


The Challenger’s Almanac has been curated by Mark Em and Meg from Sideways, while photographers Alastair SoppRasmus Keger and tattoo artist Josh Vyvyan have provided the stunning visuals.

We’re fuelled by people who have created businesses that are worth more than just profit. People that are led by their ideas, that take the road less travelled, that see business as an opportunity to create positive change. Built by a group of creative people who have given their skills and time to the project, The Challenger’s Almanac is a year round resource full of inspiration and practical advice.


The team have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the first issue. With just three days to go, they have already tripled their target with backers from all over the globe (but still appreciate all the support they can get!).


Make a pledge here for your copy and become part of this extraordinary bunch of challengers….

The godfather of Challenger Brands. The speaker of one of the most watched TedTalks of all time. The A-list celebrity revolutionising family products. The accountant who is redefining client relationships. The man who is getting his town making jeans again. The women who is helping to fix the future. The eyewear brand that’s given 500,000 pairs of glasses to people in need. The clothing company who wrote a manifesto celebrated by over 100 million people. The market researchers that take inspiration from freaks and geeks. The scheme that takes a small amount of turnover and changes the world with it. The designers who have visually branded some of the world’s most successful Challengers. The guy heading up the rise of the maker.The paint company taking on its industry. The certification that represents the world’s most responsible brands. The young entrepreneur whose business is a force for good. The beer club that champions the little guys. The founder of the nicest creative blog in the world. The women who champion equality in the workplace. The cartoonist who consults for the world’s biggest brands. The creatives carving out time for creativity. The travel company with a thirst for new challenges. The guys who stand for doing the things that matter. The agency that rebels against traditional marketing. The sustainable apparel company creating a new category. The confectionary company with a penchant for good. The woman who will change the way people give. The serial entrepreneur who thrives on failure. The King of Shoreditch.

Apple-y Ever After

13 Mar

Today hippy ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s announced that it is renaming one of its flavours, from Oh! My! Apple Pie! to Apple-y Ever After, to support the UK proposal to legislate same sex marriage (hear, hear). This isn’t the first time Ben & Jerry’s have voiced their support for the gay community. Back in 2009, they renamed an ice-cream Hubby Bubbyformerly Chubby Hubby in celebration of the legalisation of gay marriage in its home state of Vermont.

Aside from the social merits of this bold move, you also have to applaud the use of their own assets (i.e. the name of their ice-cream) to reaffirm the brands free-thinking reputation. In a world of shrinking advertising budgets and media fragmentation, smart brands are exploiting their greatest assets to drive business. Food for thought.

Via Stylist

Effing great ads

6 Mar

After two weeks of sun, sea, and sand, I’m back at work and ready to be inspired. Fortunately today, I am just that. Here are some effing great ads you’ve probably already seen as I’m two weeks out of touch. A long time in the world of advertising. I hear Pinterest is the new Facebook or sumink (the usual nonsense). Anywho…

Invisible Mercedes. 

Not only is it invisible to the environment, it’s actually bloody invisible. Nuff said.


The Guardian “Three Little Pigs”. 

A well known story re-told in the digital age. Inspired.


IKEA Berora. 

A touch-screen friendly glove and awesome IKEA invention. Where do I buy??

Doritos “Late Night” presents the FIRST EVER 360 degree video on YouTube, and the iPhone

19 Oct

Doritos (I work for AMV BBDO, Doritos creative agency) are launching two new and authentic flavours that draw inspiration from classic late-night foods – ‘Tantalising Tikka’ and ‘BBQ Rib’. Om nom nom. But ‘Late Night’ is more than just two new tasty flavours, it’s a never before seen interactive music experience (which breaks today!). I’m super excited. We’ve hooked up with some of the biggest acts around the globe, including Rihanna and in-demand (3 x MOBO-nominated) British rapper Professor Green.

For the “Late Night” campaign, AMV BBDO have created a fully interactive 360 degree music video for the track ‘Coming to get me’, written by Professor Green exclusively for the campaign. The 360 experience puts Doritos fans in control and lets them choose which direction they would like to look – check it out now at our custom YouTube channel here. We’ve even created an embeddable widget so that you can host the whole 360 experience on your blog – grab the embed code from here. Unfortunately my wordpress-hosted blog cannot support the widget (I need an upgrade!), but here’s the unwrapped version from YouTube. The general consensus on Twitter is “it’s sickkk”, but I’ll leave that for you to decide…

‘Coming to get me’ is the FIRST EVER 360° video on YouTube.  Up until the launch of the Doritos / Professor Green promo, all videos featured previously on YouTube have been a flat / 2D video.  As the world’s most popular video sharing site, this is a landmark event for both YouTube, Doritos, and the Internet as a whole.

‘Coming to get me’ is also COMING SOON to download as a free iPhone app.  This will be the first ever 360° video on an iPhone.  The app, via the iPhones accelerometer, enables consumers to change the direction in which they’re viewing the video by moving their arms (or tilting the phone) up, down, left or right. More on this to come…

But it doesn’t stop there. Using special packs of Late Night chips and a web cam, consumers can unlock an augmented reality experience with Rihanna at  The interactive video (created by Goodby & HiRes!) – for brand new song feat. David Guetta ‘Who’s That Chick’ – shows Rihanna showing off her day and night time personas.

This has been quite possibly the coolest campaign I’ve ever worked on, but more importantly it delivers once again on Doritos promise of being the most entertaining snack brand.

Comments welcome 🙂

Integration in 2010 – brands need to be multidimensional

29 Sep

The lovely folk at the IAB invited me to talk at a seminar today – entitled “Brand Building and Integration”. Marketers have been talking about “integration” for about 30 years now, so what does it even mean anymore? Well here’s my perspective, and some shit hot examples from around the globe…

p.s. I don’t actually like putting words on slides, so it probably doesn’t make much sense 🙂

Robin of Shoreditch

24 May

So who are Robin of Shoreditch? Well, their website tells me that they’re a bunch of creative outlaws (in tights maybe?) who take from the rich and give to the poor.

They’re in charge of the ‘100 Brands Project’, which is about providing every one of Brand Z’s Top 100 brands (source: 2009 report) with a creative idea that can make a difference to their company. In return they’re asking for 1/10,000,000 (that’s one ten-millionth) of the value of their brand as a fee. Then they’ll send on 100% of that fee to the continued relief efforts in Haiti (which is an ongoing great cause). In true creative style, they’ve created a little film…

It’s a brilliant concept and one us social media-ites should get behind. For more info they’re blogging, tweeting, and they also have a splendid vimeo channel for all their BIG ideas.

Good luck to the merry men 🙂

Virgin Media give something back to consumers with their ‘Speed of Light’ installation

19 Apr

With the glorious weather in London this weekend, I decided to pop over to the Southbank to check out Virgin Media’s free ‘Speed of Light’ installation. The immersive light and sound installation was in celebration of 10 years of broadband in the UK. Which as a digital bod, obviously makes me very happy 🙂 Fortunately I went along with a couple of mates – because the experience was actually rather dark and scary!

Once my eyes had adjusted, I quite enjoyed the experience.  I watched hesitantly as a series of laser-based experimental light works flowed through the labyrinthine spaces of the Bargehouse.

On entering, we were asked to speak into a suspended microphone to answer questions displayed on the wall in front of us. Our answers subsequently  eerily followed us around the building as we explored the various installations over four floors.

In conclusion, a beautiful and memorable way for Virgin to celebrate an anniversary. They could have settled with TV, but with the help of Borkowski they decided to give something back to consumers instead. Top marks.

Doritos ups-the-UGC-ante with King of Ads

8 Apr

If you work in the advertising industry, you’ve probably heard of a little thing called user-generated content? Well with the help of AMV, Doritos have launched King of Ads’ – offering creative types (or anyone with a video camera for that matter) the chance to get their ad on the telly box. We’re encouraging people to be as creative, left-field, or as adventurous as they like.

Doritos have upped the stakes by inviting a panel of specially selected experts to judge the entries – including Bafta award-winning actor, director, and screenwriter Noel Clarke, TV and radio presenter Lauren Laverne, and top ad director David Shane. The finalists will even be invited to pitch their ads IN-PERSON to our experts (eek), before the top three are put to public vote.

While UGC campaigns have been widely used in the UK, never has there been such a huge cash incentive. The consumer-selected winner is guaranteed £100K, plus an extra £1 per every vote (up to another £100K!).  But of course the incentive goes beyond this unique cash prize, since they’ll also have their ad broadcast on national TV.

Feeling inspired yet? If not, our resident ad director and funny man David Shane has created an idiot’s guide to making an ad. I may be bias, but I think this is pretty funny.

Submissions close on 30th April, so if you want to get your hands on that prize, give it a go!

Burger King’s Tasty T-Shirts – buy it, or earn it!

17 Feb

Great idea from Burger King to promote their new burger the “3-Cheese Angus” (put simply a heart attack waiting to happen).

On the website you can create your own T-shirt – to be honest, this could do with being a bit more creative as it’s just text based. But the cool thing is you can either buy it (for a bargain £9.99), or you can earn it! You do this by getting enough people to view it and watch the ad. The execution is a bit weak, but there’s a really smart idea at the heart of it.

Check it out.

My 2010 predictions (yes Christmas has come early)

17 Dec

It’s Christmas time, which means it’s time for the obligatory 2010 prediction post. I’ve never done one before, but I’m actually really excited about these trends, and what they could bring in the new year for brands and communications. A glimpse of what’s to come…

Channel Blindness

Consumers will continue to become more and more channel blind. They experience brands at multiple touch-points and seamlessly switch between channels and devices. Brands that offer multiple consumer touch points will see benefits; though the brand experience must be in harmony across all channels. This year we saw Asda generate online shopping lists from receipts, and Kraft successfully launched the iFood assistant for the iPhone. More of this please.

Real-time ramp up

This term represents the growing demand for immediacy in our interactions. It’s a combination of factors – from the always-connected nature of smart phones, the immediacy of Twitter, to the instant gratification provided by a Google search. On-demand will be the norm. The speed at which things happen is going to get even faster, and only those brands who can keep pace will stay relevant.

Blended Reality

People don’t experience the world in silos, when experiences spread across platforms, there is no longer a distinct between online and offline activities. Digital is now engrained into people’s everyday lives (not only where but how we live our lives). The browser is not enough anymore. The web will become more and more connected to the real world. For brands this means they should no longer develop digital strategies and communications in isolation. Brands need to look at the bigger picture where virtual and real co-exist in one world.

Embedded Sociality (not just social media)

Gareth Kay argues that we should stop obsessing over social media and what it can do for a business and instead spend our time trying to deliver social ideas that delight consumers. While social media channels fade in and out of social significance, social ideas are timeless in their power. Doritos iD3 mystery flavour was a social idea not a social media campaign. Of course this won’t stop the flurry of social media conferences in 2010…

Virtual is Reality

With the rise of Augmented Reality, and virtual worlds, virtual is finally becoming reality. Habbo Hotel is a virtual 2D world insanely popular with kids (13 – 16 year olds) – they are growing up accustomed to virtual friendships and immersive environments. Brands will need to be multi-dimensional to survive the participatory culture of today’s multi-dimensional universe.

Inspired Innovation

Consumers continually want to play an active role in marketing activities (and beyond), brands need to sell with consumers not at them. Remember that consumers like to customize and create stuff. With Walkers ‘Do us a Flavour’, we invited consumers into the product development process. And yes crowdsourcing is just one approach, but I’m not going to over-hype it as there are plenty of other blogs doing that already.

Experiences over Advertising

According to Garrick Schmitt, traditional media’s grip on consumers continues to slip as they increasingly turn to the internet and their peers for entertainment and purchasing recommendations. With an abundance of technology, information and choice, consumers’ attention spans are as fragmented as today’s media. We’ve proven time and time again with Doritos that digital brand experiences can have a dramatic effect on consumer purchasing habits and brand affinity. This Ad Age article looks at a range of experience-driven communications (worth a read).

Coherence over Consistency

Consistency was the marketing mantra of the ‘90s. Dr. Plummer argues that coherence is now the key because audiences are no longer congregated by media so that the same group of people are drawn together at the same time and place to witness the same content on the same platform. Brands should be less bothered about executional consistency, so long as the brand’s point of view is coherent across media, between campaigns and around the world. No more matching luggage please.

%d bloggers like this: