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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 2011

For retailers the Christmas TV ad is the UK equivalent on the Superbowl Half-Time spot in the US in terms of budget.
Celebrities and traditional Christmas paraphernalia (snow, nativity, tree, family) are a must. However, when striving to create THE blockbuster Christmas ad what makes great comms can potentially be forgotten.
Boots is perhaps the best/worse example in 2011. Earlier this year their 'I'm Fine' was a clever evolution from 'Here Come The Girls''. It amusingly highlighted the everyday heroism of being a mum. However, at Christmas our heroic women can't simply be keeping a home functioning, they need to be all action. The addition of Mission Impossible cues feels like it might have been at the expense of the warmth though.
But they’re not the only ones who have discovered mum as this year’s Christmas hero. The Littlewoods ad is based around this very theme (and is not simply an attempt ruin Christmas by evil Santa - deniers) It's also very close to John Lewis. John Lewis just have a bigger budget and a willingness to swim deeper into the syrupy gloop.
Ads packed with references to popular culture are designed to reassure us brands and retailers really understand what the kids are into. M&S is the worse offender here. M&S using X-Factor finalists feels like a maiden aunt trying to use Little Mix to find common ground with a 16 year old emo nephew on Boxing day.
In contrast Waitrose's ad with Delia and Heston has the magic of Christmas. The Delia cake box is beautiful and wonderfully appealing. Its an opportunity to get the thrill of making things yourself but with the reassuring guiding hand of Delia. The focus on a few hero products makes it much easier to develop links between the ad and the shopping experience too.
. Our favourite TV ad though is perhaps the one most overtly influenced by the current financial climate. Halfords simple idea gives us: nostalgia for the Christmas you got a bike (everyone wanted a bike one Christmas), the thrill of riding a bike so fast as a kid you weren't sure you'd ever stop and a reassuring message of longevity and thus value for money.
Nothing much stood out on the BTL front - there seems to still be a real focus on TV at this time of year. That said we must give a nod to Mini's Christmas wrapping paper. Great fun to do and absolutely in line with the brand's playful spirit.
Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. from all at Thinktank.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Co-creation in 2011

It's been almost 7 months since I joined Thinktank as Head of Co-creation. Christmas is almost here and I think it's time to look back and reflect on co-creation in 2011.
There's a bit of danger the next sentence is going to be quoted by Captain Obvious, but... 2011 really saw the rise of consumer power. Regular people play an increasingly important role in the world - whether it's marketing, internet or politics.
And today there are three things that really stand out for me about 2011 and co-creation:
New levers. Consumers are getting new levers to influence companies. It's easy to forget how much more mainstream Twitter became in 2011. It was used with different degrees of success by brands and companies. But I guess the most memorable case of consumer empowerment on Twitter this year was the pressure people put on brands to drop News of the World advertising contracts.
New products. Open innovation is adopted more widely by businesses. More than half of Fortune 500 companies are now using consumers in their innovation processes. I guess it is important to remember that we are just getting the first results now. More products and services co-created with consumers will hit the shelves in 2012. Needless to say we at Thinktank are keeping our fingers crossed for a couple of secret products to see the world next year.
New year! As far as my own work is concerned, I find it particularly nice to finish this year under a Christmas tree co-creating ideas for Christmas 2013 with a diverse bunch of people: clients, consumers and creatives :)
Onwards and upwards - the future is bright, the future is co-creative :)

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