James Bond from Monaco: SkyFall or AudiAutumn?

The other day, while walking through the chic 7th arrondissement of Paris, I came across James Bond’s real life car… We all know that Bond must live in Monaco, no?  Here is a photo of it.

James Bond Skyfall Audi from Monaco, in Paris, The Myndset Brand strategy

Ok, it’s possibly not Bond’s car, because it is no Aston Martin. But, I did find the license plate sufficiently exceptional to want to post about it! [And I admit that I am an Audi man, too…]

Bond apparently has some traffic violations, I note.

Audi James Bond Monaco, The Myndset Brand strategy and Digital marketing

The Monaco 0007 would be every person’s dream, no? While we’re at it, what did you think of the Skyfall film?

Keep Paris Clean says the Mayor’s Office…

The Paris mayor’s office has seen fit to launch an outdoor ad campaign to keep Paris clean.  The image of trash in one or other natural environment is headlined with “unacceptable” or “scandalous” in Paris, too!  To the extent that photos of trash in Paris would have not had much impact, this is quite a good execution.  Of course, when you know how little recycling goes on in Paris, you wonder on the consistency of the effort.  Dog litter is also rather unacceptable in my mind.  Meanwhile, how about those pigeons?  Are they not right up there as the foulest, polluting element…aside from us human beings, of course?

LIDL – A web campaign that merges value and values

MEANINGFUL MESSAGES AND SINGULAR SHOPPING EXPERIENCES…
A consumer’s journey with a brand

Ever since I latched on to the Firebrand (RIP) site, I have been interested in the concept of advertising as content, beyond merely being a reflection of contemporary society. Ads that have content have meaning and create conversations. They can become viral, for example, because they transmit values to which people adhere or humour that bring true cheer. Content-filled ads are rather rare, as marketers are reluctant to step away from the classic advertising ways; and, yet, in today’s environment, I believe that creating meaningful ads should be on the top of marketers’ priorities — at least for those up and comers wishing to make waves, make a difference and make a buck. Arguably, all brands with at least a little attitude or a semblance of community, should be looking to make their message meaningful.

The brand’s marketing [advertising] message is one thing; but, the in-store “live” feeling is another. There is a lot of work to be done for a brand to connect its advertising message with that in store feeling down the line. In today’s economically depressed and evermore time-compressed conditions — not to mention the paroxysm of information and misinformation that besiege the consumer — there is a need to rethink the shopping experience. And, whether it is the high street independent, the department store or the supermarket, the shopping experience is in need of a significant [r]evolution. Consumers are no longer willing to put up with the deluge of confusing messages, lost time and wasted packaging.

LIDL LogoHere is a wonderful return-to-values and bring-me-emotion campaign by the German discount supermarket chain, LIDL (with stores in 17 countries, including major presences in UK, France & Holland…). I add a Wikipedia write-up here on LIDL. This web-based 1’31 ad (below) associates fundamental, daily emotions with basic (and cheap) accoutrements that you can find at LIDL. It is perhaps a more practical take on MasterCard’s Priceless campaign. Of course, I now need to see how this translates in the LIDL in-store situation.

For such a great creation, I was surprised to see that it only has 39K views (since its October 2008 posting). Perhaps, that is because it is only in German. In any event, I think you can get the gist from the euro figures…and the English lyrics to the accompanying song.

What are your thoughts? Please drop me a line!

UPDATED on 2nd June, 2009: Since there was a decision (I assume by Lidl) to shut down access to this ad above, I have re-added a different link to the YouTube ad from LIDL. In any event, if they do the same thing again, I add the link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkSOv52qvD4.

UPDATED on 19th April, 2011: This last ad was also taken down.  I guess LIDL don’t want their ads on line — or at least certainly not on YouTube?

Value of a Facebook Friend placed at 37 cents – What a Whopper.

How much is your friendship worth? Just 37 cents!

Burger King Whopper SacrificeI love this. Burger King is up to its notorious self, finding all sorts of ways to gain rebellious publicity. In this most recent activity, Burger King announced that it would give any person that drops 10 Facebook friends a coupon to buy a Whopper. With a Whopper priced at $43.69, that would effectively put the price tag of a friend on Facebook at 37 cents. The campaign, called Whopper Sacrifice, is now closed as some 24,000 people quickly sacrificed 10 of their friends to reap the Whopper coupon. Here is the story from the New York Times. If you want to check out the Whopper Sacrifice application, it’s here. And, if you are one of the people on the losing end, who got dropped by a now “ex-friend,” the Burger King team were sufficiently foreseeing, to provide the angry-gram application directly on their site (photo top right), with the ability to write to your ex-friend a nasty letter (replete with an angry hamburger). Here below s a neat little artistic rendering of the program from a Kenyan, Joe Ngari.

Facebook Friends versus Burger King Whopper Sacrifice

Frankly, it’s a wonderful piece of marketing, (a) getting at the notion of those who have oversubscribed their Friends, (b) giving out a free burger during the difficult economic times, and all this (c) with an application on Facebook, the second most visited site, after Google, over the Christmas period. Kudos to the BK marketing team and the Crispin Porter & Bogusky ad agency that came up with this counter intuitive program. And the cost? Ok, let’s say $10,000 for the FB app. Add $20,000 for the 2 light websites (angry-gram and Sacrifice Whopper) including the hosting for the sake of argument. And, let’s say there’s a whopping 30% uptake on the coupons (30% of $88,560) meaning $26,568 worth of redemption of the coupons sent out electronically, of course, taken at a reasonable cost of goods of perhaps 15% (I have no idea of the fast food COGS), adds less than $4,000. Of course, there are the agency fees to add. So the total cost would be $35K plus agency fees. Not bad from where I sit, even if I don’t like fast food.

Somehow, I managed not to get dropped, but I’d love to hear your reactions!

BootB & Pratiks – Website Reviews

I have spent the morning looking at and rating two different “community” sites with different concepts: Bootb and Pratiks, with proof that not all sites are created equal.

BOOTB – “unlimited creativity”

I discovered a new concept in the Internet world which appeals to me no end. It is called BootB, for Be Out of the Box. Available in 12 languages at launch (officially launched November 2007, but went “live” during 2008) Bootb it is still just in the beta phase. With several big name clients and plenty of media coverage around the world (LCI TV in France, WSJ, Guardian and more), I have to believe we are on to something here. BootB is a perfect example of “crowdsourcing.” Pier Ludovico Bancale, CEO and Founder, has pulled together a pool of some 10,000 creatives around the world who are there to submit their creative executions to briefs put up by companies who are looking for quicker and cheaper alternatives to the traditional Agencies. The minimum price is $1000 and the creator of the winning submission gets 80% of the earnings. I have not tried my hand yet on a brief, but in the era of collaborative, open innovation, BootB has a fun design and several success stories in its pocket already. Here’s how it works. As the site says, BootB is the Republic of Unlimited Creativity… the world is your [creative] oyster at BootB.

One annoyance for BootB: the sign up is particularly painful to navigate (scroll doesn’t work, small text, odd calendar system) and, worse yet, the sign up information isn’t rolled over into your profile, so you get to do it twice.

BootB FINAL RATING 5***** out of 5.

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PRATIKS – “video guides for life”

The second site I have come across is called Pratiks.com, available in English/French/German. Pratiks is a site collating consumer generated video guides for life. The idea is for consumers to post their “how to” videos regarding practical parts of life. In the channel mosaic, you will find a number of chapters, most of which are as yet empty of content: Love Charm, Car Bike, Beauty Fashion, Kitchen Cocktail, Do It Yourself Decorating, Law Money, Practical Life and more. In Beauty Fashion, for example, you can find an amateur video for how to do a chignon or how to apply a lipstick – seems to be aiming at the teenager. In Law Money, meanwhile, you find topics such as death & succession as well as divorce (neither of which has found any takers, duh). In “Unusual Hobbies,” you find such unusual hobbies as football (single most popular game in the world), bicycling, golf and tennnis… When there are videos, they are virtually all in French, making the English and German flags a case of oversale. And, without even waiting for further content to be posted, I cannot state that I believe this site will not last long. YouTube and its peers have sufficient search functionality to allow to find videos on how to play many pieces of music, play cricket or just have a laugh… things that pratiks can’t do. Then again, I did get a laugh out of the poor quality of some of the videos.

One final annoyance, the English site is riddled with errors in English. Just on the English language Profile page, it writes “CONGRATULATION MINTER” and “Invit your friends”. A bit sloppy. And some of the text has yet to be translated from the French.

Pratiks FINAL RATING 1* out of 5

Your rating please!?

Airline Advertisements – Who Can Afford to Experience Luxury Service?

Airline Ads — the good, the bad and the luxury

In these trying economic times, one of the industries that will inevitably be hit hard (again), will be the airline industry. Whether for personal or business travel, there is likely to be a good amount of seat-belt tightening. Some wise folk would say that NOW is a good time for the companies [that can afford it], to invest in attracting new business. In this vein, I took a look at some of the print advertising messages by airline companies around the world. While I certainly can’t say that I did a definitive and comprehensive search of all the ad creatives, I did find that there were certain patterns. When I take the NORTH AMERICAN companies, for example, it seems to me that the companies are communicating less about the experience in the plane and more about the “dream” of travel and the number of destinations serviced. In the creatives here (which I believe may be a bit dated) American Airlines (left) puts forward that it flies six times a day from NYC to London “via cloud nine.” A second American Airlines ad (right) presents the benefits of staring out the window. Implicitly, they are asking you not to look at the quality of service inside the plane, no?

More current, American’s billboard ad above is another curious statement. What are they selling? They are proposing planes that know how to land in water? Not going to rock my boat, if you see what I mean. The creative concept here is to show that you can have wifi internet access in flight. Dubious item to search if you are trying to encourage people to fly. To the right, you see Delta pushing its inflight entertainment (curiously promoting playing its Texas Hold’em game against fellow passengers). I would be remiss not to include Southwest, a true lovemark, which is proud of its advertising (historical creatives posted on its own site). But, even Southwest, in this output (left), is discussing the technology equipment (and while we haven’t heard the last about inflight telephone conversations), we are again not truly onboard.
And then Air Canada (left), is encouraging pedestrians to consider flying with its “People Working Above” humour. Again, not much content in the way of in-cabin service. Had they picked snow-packed scenery (there is a BIT) and miserably cold people, then the concept might have been to incite people to fly away to warmer climates? Bottom line, the North American companies seemed to be more prone to communicate about the concept of flying, rather than the experience itself. 
And as a sign off on the North American situation, the next step is to focus on on-board advertising to its passengers…as a way to gain extra revenue (see here in a USA Today article earlier this month).

EUROPEAN COMPANIES – THE “JE NE SAIS QUOI…”

After the North American ads, I took a look at the European companies. Mainland companies were not as “out of the cabin” as the American companies. Air France‘s creative (left) has been running for quite a while. It’s a nice image, but it leaves me wondering about the reality in the cabin. And their competition up north, Brussels Airlines (formerly Sabena), had decidedly the same creative air (below). Something about water as being part of the flying experience? The need to sit on a wooden board? I, for one, am absolutely horrible at sitting on the ground. Interestingly, both ad creatives use women.

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England‘s two primary airlines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, have somewhat different approaches. Virgin allows for cheeky claims as well as innovative service concepts. On the left, you have an ad (9 inches) targetted presumably toward the female customer yet again. On the right, Virgin is going at the pre-flight experience with the offer of the limousine and a fast track check-in into the Virgin lounge. “Fastly Superior” and a cut above in terms of service proposition. Whether it is 9 inches of pleasure or the limo-to-lounge service, there is little humanity in this offer.

Moving to Virgin’s compeition, British Airlines is communicating in this creative on the onboard experience. Again, the focus is on the “mechanical” or physical benefits on board. With a cute creative (using the windows as eyes), the ad speaks to the ability to get a real night’s sleep in the plane (all good when you are flying overnight or on very long haul flights). Of course, in this creative by BA, you have to understand that you did not fly BA in your last flight. I have snuck in an Aeroflot creative just to say that they are more in the North American category…not much to sell onboard, unless you like the idea of doing wheelies and 360s. European companies are in for tough times, just as much as in the US, with lots of short flights, expensive personnel and intense competition (and regulation). Recently, European legislators have decided to go after the European companies for improper pricing advertising. Read here for the June 2008 article from the BBC.

ASIAN AIRLINE CLASS
Finally, moving to Asia. There are many examples that reinforce the notion that the battle is actually for in-cabin comfort and service. Here, we see much more of the human element. For example, Cathay Pacific (below) is not afraid to personalize the experience.

An Air India execution (below), in broad daylight, with the same romantic couple concept.

And the king of inflight, luxurious and personalized service, Singapore Airlines, in a veritable world of its own… Here’s the suite landing execution:

So, in summary, the Good (European) tend to be in the imaginary. The Bad (North American) largely ignore the onboard travails. And the Luxury (Asian) are vying for top dibs in terms of the personal and personalized onboard experience. In these difficult economic times, you have to wonder which airline companies are going to survive. Aside from ensuring that the fleet is uptodate and safe, are companies going to be cutting back on the little luxuries or, to the contrary, investing in the details?

[And then, if you are interested, there are the airline company slogans. I found this site (textart) from Russia, that regroups all the slogans for a host of industries. Here, Airline Industry Slogans it is just for the airline industry. A useful resource for us marketeers (although I can’t vouch for how up to date it is)]
If you enjoyed this article or take issue, do let me know!