Archive for June, 2011


Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Lewis Hamilton - Reebok Brand Ambassador

Lewis Hamilton - Reebok Brand Ambassador

Yet another of Reebok’s marketing campaigns has been banned for unsubstantiated claims regarding their new product the Reezig ZigTech trainer. The claim is that the Celliant fibres the trainers contain increase the level of oxygen in the body by 7%.  The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against the TV advert stating that the evidence was not accurate and therefore the claims were void. Adding to this, Reebok have a strapping a-list celebrity ambassador, Lewis Hamilton, but is Lewis really an athlete?

Reebok need to do their research and consider the messages that they are conveying to consumers more.  This is the 2nd promotion ban for Reebok in six months…In December 2010 the ASA ruled against a TV campaign for its EasyTone Curve trainers.  This does not bode well for the brand’s position in a market that is innovative and highly competitive.  Have similar claims been made against other sports brands…?

The short answer is ‘dope’…, according to a recent report from the Daily Telegraph, Nike are not experiencing claims for misleading marketing information regarding their products, however they are currently been criticized for promoting drug use on their t-shirts…! Will consumers view the information in the same way? The image says it all really.

Nike's Irresponsible Ad Campaign

Nike's Irresponsible Ad Campaign

Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach demonstrates the pressure of being creative in advertising in order to achieve attention, processing and conviction.  The interesting Persil case study, however, reflects that being original is not always the best policy and can in fact cause miscommunication (Chapter 12, page 323, Dirt is Good, Or is it?).  Nike and Reebok are miscommunicating messages, in holding back information they are threatening their brand perception…It may be time to tone it down…!

‘Gamification’, apparently adults like playing games too…!

Monday, June 27th, 2011


The BBC released a report this week that emphasises the influence of the gaming world on business. This is a very interesting concept, the report shows that although products that both existing customers and new customers are purchasing online are virtual, the brands are very much real.  In many cases participants are helping businesses complete tasks and solve problems, there are even gamers who are contributing to scientific studies…!


In the marketing world the Gamification organisation defines the term Gamification as the ‘integration of Game Mechanics in non-game environments to boost audience Engagement, Loyalty and Fun!’  There is no doubt that more brands are using this marketing tool to connect to their customers and tap into their competitive nature.  Does this make their consumers feel a sense of achievement, however trivial…? YES! –we have discussed the likes of Cadbury’s who recently launched a  number of competitions to promote the idea of gaming in line with their support of the Olympic games in 2012 (Blog: 14 June 2011).  Cadbury are ‘gamifying’ the world, but who is else is doing this…everyone?


Is ‘Gamification’ all that new though? -Many companies are offering loyalty points as an incentive to play their games and this has had significant success in the aviation industry with American Airlines launching the first ever American Airlines AAdvantage (FFP), however this was launched back in 1981! According to research from Marketing Technology Blog Ltd, although Gamification has been around for a while, it’s not until recently that we have seen evidence of its rebirth as a tool in daily business for companies such as IBM.  Social media has had a massive impact on businesses shift towards applications and games to promote their brand and getting consumer buy in…Like kids in a candy store!

MobileExpress, whatever next…?!

Friday, June 24th, 2011

PizzaExpress App

PizzaExpress App

A new iphone app’ from PizzaExpress has been designed to entice people into the restaurant with information on place, price and promotion, and lets face it they already know the product! According to Marketing Week the restaurant chain has launched the first iPhone app that allows customers to pay their bills with smartphones, without the need to speak to a waiter or waitress, sounds like a dream for both parties involved…!


PizzaExpress have invested much time and resources into developing the application, Mark Angela, chief executive of PizzaExpress emphasised in a recent report the importance of investing enough time in this campaign to ensure they have a system that could genuinely improve their customers’ experience.


The new app even allows the customer to book tables through it! So will this encourage more consumers who can’t decide where to go, or who are new to an area?  Allowing the experience to be quick, easy and extremely accessible, will entice people to visit the restaurant.  The brand is running a number of competitions, involving social media and popular networking sites in order to promote the new application.   As well as attracting new customers, the idea is to engage and reward existing customers.  However, does this encourage more phone usage in what is a social setting and therefore disengage with customers whilst they are in the restaurants…? –It will be interesting to see how consumers respond to this, especially the ones who do have phones with this capability!

David Beckham…Ambassador…The Torchbearer…!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
David Beckham…Ambassador…The Torchbearer…! 

David Beckham...Ambassador...The Torch Bearer!

David Beckham...Ambassador...The Torch Bearer!

OK, according to a recent news article by Marketing Week, Samsung have signed up David Beckham as their London 2012 Olympics global brand ambassador, wow!  And what a fantastic choice by the brand in terms of choosing an A-list celebrity footballer who has been actively taking part in many initiatives to help young people around the world to enjoy a better life.  Will this help push the brand as the Olympics number one commercial partner…?
Brand awareness has increased dramatically in the past couple of months with a massive push from the man in question who is helping with the launch of Samsung’s Olympic 2012 marketing campaign.  The interesting rationale behind the brands marketing partnership with the Olympics is to promote brand preference rather than brand awareness.  So is there a difference between the two definitions and how are Samsung going to achieve and maintain this…?
Samsung, as we have already established, are in a position in the market where they can fully support the Olympics without concerning themselves with the competition, they have established themselves as a key player so to speak! As we have seen previously in Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach, using celebrities to endorse the brand creates an aura about the brand so it is important to portray the right message to the right audience (See chapter 1 for Calvin Klein case study).  –Certainly in this case, a world class footballer, A-list celebrity who is associated with projects helping communities around the globe, is the right endorser for a brand that is supporting the Olympic games.

Samsung Strengthen Brand in UK

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Samsung Logo 2012 OlympicsSamsung has launched their exciting new logo today. This logo will be used on all Olympic 2012 campaigns and advertising leading up to the games.  The image featured here includes the strap-line ‘Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partner’ which exposes their sponsorship at the event.  Are there any other phone networks that are supported by the Olympics…?

Although there are many brands from many different industries who are ‘domestic partners’ of the games, Samsung are standing out above the crowd with the launch of their mobile app’ this month as well as the launch of the Olympic edition smartphone.  This is a good example of the right product for the right industry. As thousands of British people did not manage to get any tickets to the games, being able to view live events and feel as though they are engaging with the events through the smartphone seems like a good scheme.  The idea is that the experience for users will be as if they are part of the games.  At least this will be the pitch from Samsung, in reality I think I would rather be there!

With the rise in mobile applications, Samsung are in a good position to use this in relation to the events- the perfect partner and in the eyes of Olympic organisers, Samsung will leave people ‘better connected…’,or is that BT?!  This is just one of the brands many campaigns leading up to the games in 2012, with a mixture of events promoting their involvement in the Olympic Torch Relay event and in employing an iconic brand ambassador, who could that be…?!

Is Social Media Now Seen As Mainstream Marketing?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

According to a recent study on the digital economy 90% of marketers that took part indicated that social media is a key part of their marketing activity and emphasized the importance of integrating this into their marketing mix.  We have seen previous reports in 2010 whereby more companies are exploring this area as part of their digital marketing strategy; however it now appears that the majority of marketers consider this to be a mainstream option.  How are marketers going about social media given the fact that it is a long term investment and not just a single campaign that may only run for a short period…?

The simple answer is that it depends on the size of the organization and more obviously it depends on the nature of the industry and what weighting should be awarded to social media.   The market analysis, referred to above, revealed that social media was taking a lot of resource with more than 6 hours a week on social media through the most popular networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  It seems that larger companies are investing more time and resources to social media whilst small or medium size enterprises (SME’s) are less likely to have the knowledge and resources available to them.

Volvo Case Study - Marketing Communications Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach demonstrates how larger corporations are extending beyond the traditional marketing communications (please refer to page 447 for an interesting case study on Volvo).

Marketing Week reports that 41% of UK businesses are using social networking sites.  Social Media may not be mainstream as of yet for many businesses, however there is evidence that social networking activity is on the rise and certainly the majority of businesses are looking to explore more of this activity in order to remain competitive and ultimately attract new customers. Are companies therefore adopting more innovative marketing strategies in order to remain competitive…YES!

Cadbury’s – TV Programs….Online….Olympics!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Cadbury Spots V Stripes - Marketing Communication Blog

The Cadbury’s brand have done it again…In order to push the Spots V Stripes product the brand have partnered with ITV and ITV2 programmes to be launched this autumn.  The shows will be based on the Minute to Win It program that was launched by NBC in the US last year and the format is in production in 30 countries.

Cadbury’s initial launch of the Spots v Stripes product was in support of its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics. According to a recent report from Marketing Week, the strategy was and is to encourage people to become involved in playing games. This branding is seen everywhere and has been a huge investment for Cadbury involving a substantial lead time running up to the Olympics.  Take a look at the launch advert from back in August 2010, almost two years prior to the Games, launching the Spots V Stripes idea with different competitive fish!

The wider gaming format of Minute to Win It will be rolled out at Cadbury Spots v Stripes events.  Hopefully the timing of the ITV game program will tie in nicely with the lead up to the Olympics and therefore give Cadbury the exposure it needs to ensure sales continue long after the events of 2012.   Cadbury currently have a strong association with the Olympics, on the website it is listed as a worldwide partner, alongside MacDonald’s and Coca Cola…ironic given the nature of the event!

Is the Royal Mail’s potential price hike a reflection of the shift from traditional to new channels of marketing…?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reported last week on the implications that the Postal Services Bill passed by Parliament will have on Royal Mail and businesses use of direct mail as a way of communicating with consumers.  According to Marketing Week the report emphasized the price increases that we have seen in the last 12 months and how this is expected to rise yet again. The likely result being that companies will move away from mailing consumers direct and find other forms of marketing to communicate their message. This is a reflection on how digital marketing is growing and that price increases in mailing information will certainly lead to more companies abandoning this form of marketing completely.
This is evident with the latest benchmarking report from the DMA indicating that email is in fact driving the growth of the digital economy with email volumes rising a whopping 50% in the first half of 2010! Businesses are turning to email to achieve their marketing goals.  This again highlights that businesses are not necessarily abandoning direct marketing, with all the hype surrounding Twitter and Facebook but certainly moving to more cost effective ways of targeted marketing.  Is this a result of the improvement in tracking response rates?
Is there a shift from traditional to social media marketing? NO… marketing is not abandoning direct, targeted marketing, rather marketers are recognizing the importance of data validation and tracking successes of marketing campaigns and are therefore increasing digital marketing activity as a channel to conduct their marketing campaigns.  Chapter 15 of Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach refers to a successful Bluewater. Retail Shopping Mall Promotion still using a combination of direct marketing and experimental marketing to launch a promotional campaign (page 440).  –This goes back to the importance of integrated marketing communications once again!


Is all publicity good publicity?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Ryanair have been known to push the boundaries in order to lower air fares and to gain publicity (remember ‘a pound to spend a penny’). Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has used controversial ideas regularly over the years as publicity stunts, and I think it’s fair to say that it works! Everyone in the country seems to have an opinion on Ryanair and the way it tries to reduce air fares.

A court case involving a popstar (Chris de Burgh) and his model daughter (Rosanna Davison) came to light, in which Chris de Burgh threatened to sue Ryanair over a press release which branded his daughter a racist.  This all started with Rosanna Davison taking offense over the Ryanair 2009 Charity Stewardess calendar, in which there were no Irish staff.

In the press release Ryanair stated: “Ryanair today hit back at comments made by Irish glamour model Rosanna Davison in relation to the absence of Irish cabin crew from Ryanair’s 2009 charity calendar, which ‘bordered on racism and demonstrated an elitist attitude against Ryanair’s international cabin crew’.”

As this case draws to a close with Ms Davison being awarded £70,000, will Ryanair continue thinking that ‘all publicity is good publicity’?

Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach discusses publicity:

“Publicity is marketing communications that is initiated by the company, but reaches the target audience through another medium and therefore is not perceived by the target audience as being generated by the sender.” (page 403)

Due to the low costs of publicity we can see why businesses would like to use this type of Public Relations.

Will bespoke albums help revive the music industry?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

There has been an ongoing battle in the music industry with illegal downloads.  The music industry has to envolve to encourage users to buy music.

The latest attempt to encourage users to buy albums has come from Kaiser Chiefs.  Their new album ‘The Future is Medieval’ has been released (3rd June) and is available online only for a limited period of time.

Using the bands Website fans can select ten of their favourite tunes (from a selection of 20) to make their own bespoke version (with choice of artwork) of the new Kaiser Chiefs album ‘The Future is Medieval’.   Users purchase and download their bespoke album for £7.50.

Fans get their own webpage with their personalised album and are encouraged to promote their bespoke album via social media channels (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). For every bespoke album the fan sells they will receive £1 through a personalised transactional website.

Kaiser Chiefs have also partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society who created their own version of the album and the band will donate all profits from this album to the Alzheimer’s Society.

In the launch statement the band explained that the intention was to ‘revitalise and subvert the industry standard’. Fans can hear/download the record at the same time as the media and critics which hopefully helps to improve the experience and bring extra excitement to the fans.

Will this new idea be enough to help revive the music industry and combat the illegal downloads or could it be just a good marketing stunt?  People like to interact with brands, and social media is one of the most popular ways to do this, so this campaign could tick all the boxes!