• Follow Curiously Persistent on WordPress.com
  • About the blog

    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
  • Subscribe

  • Meta

Cadbury – Trucks

The “difficult second advert”. And well, I don’t like it. The gorilla worked because it was so random, so unexpected. And that makes it a nightmare to follow up. Plus of course, it could be easily mimicked, repeat and spoofed. I’m not someone that thinks advertising needs clear branding messages, but it at least needs to contain something that people can talk about. I don’t think that this contains that.

And the fact that the song was used far better in Shaun of the Dead a few years ago also works against it.

Conclusion: Disappointing



Links – 28/03/08



This week I would particularly recommend

Blog-related section: Social media starter guide, Anthropological argument for not having a boss, Case study of Dell’s Regeneration campaign and The future of marketing

Random section: Nazi attempt to convert the Sun into a weapon, How food really looks vs. its packaging and Joe Queenan on the worst film ever


Why companies should advertise on TV during a recession

There is a depressing article on Brand Republic saying that total TV revenues for May could be down as much as 10%. It says that “the expected May fall comes as clients tighten advertising budgets amid worsening economic conditions”. In light of this, I offer an alternative opinion, and state six reasons why advertisers and agencies should have nothing to fear.

1. Higher real incomes: Although economic inequality is rising, real incomes rose for nearly all of the population between 1996-2006. If it weren’t for the rising levels of borrowing, this could have insulated people against a recession. As it is, some of their increased spending will be going on luxury items, which are of course…

2. Recession-proof industries: Not all industries suffer in an economic downturn. Wikipedia lists 15 recession-proof industries. These include such essentials as “necessities” but also “entertainment” and “cosmetics”. Last time I checked, these products and services weren’t inextricably linked to human survival. Advertising has made us consider them essential. And the advertising that does that best is…

3. Brand-building: Particularly with the FMCG industry, there is the temptation to use direct response advertising. These give a short-term boost but not necessarily a long-term. Aside from “brought forward” sales and provoking competitor retaliation, there are the effects of having the brand associated with promotional offers, rather than any emotional associations.

PwC Thinkbox chart

If advertising becomes more about branding than short-term sales, the overall benefits will be greater. And of course brand-building is particularly suited to TV advertising. A PriceWaterhouseCooper/Thinkbox study shows that nearly 45% of TV’s revenue effects are delivered after the year of the investment. (Of course, some might say this is an argument in favour of postponing spend for a year but I would dispute that). Not only will the effects be longer-lasting, but they will be longer-lasting among more people. Because…

4. Commercial impacts are up: As we move to multi-channel, we watch more TV and more commercial TV. Among DTR households, commercial impacts are in fact 5% higher (according to BARB, ACB/LBS and Skyview data). And of course, brand-building ads are more likely to be DTR proof than direct response. So, not only are more people viewing the ads but…

5. TV advertising is becoming cheaper: The IPA Marketing in the Era of Accountability study shows that TV advertising is cheaper now than it was 20 years ago. Another result from this study relates to…

6. Share of voice effects: Campaigns using TV see average market share gain of 2.7 percentage points per 10 percentage point excess share of voice (compared to a gain of 0.7 points for campaigns not using TV). Share of voice has long been shown to be linked to share of market. If competitors are reducing their budgets, now is the perfect time to increase share of voice and share of market.

Although given the compelling reasons outlined above, there could be a game theory style scenario where each company in the market maintains (or even increases) spend in the expectation that their competitors will be reducing theirs. So, spend remains robust but their market share remains constant (all things being equal). Which, from my perspective at a broadcasting company at least, would be nice…


Water and mobile phones

No water

 For those that can’t read it, this grainy image says “No please, no thank you, no water”.  It is from a music venue/pub I visited in North London last night. Posting it has two purposes:

  1. I mean, really? Manners are important, but I’m pretty sure they don’t form part of the legal requirement of providing water. And what a way to assume the worst of your patrons. Will seeing that sign buck up their ideas, or will it do the reverse and make them more surly? I bet the sign does more harm than good.
  2. I am a digital native and display the appropriate behaviour. However, I am not a “m-ager”. I use my mobile for calling, text messages and taking (bad) photos. Nothing else. While it would be nice to have a better camera, I get by perfectly well without Internet, video, Twitter-on-demand and so on. Without wishing to be too evangelical, I am “wrong”. Mobile phones are here to stay – I should embrace the functions and I’m sure my behaviour would change accordingly (like wondering how I ever coped without an iPod or broadband connection). But the sticking point is price. I have a very nice £15 a month contract which would double if I got a decent phone (and then the data costs…).

My question is when does the case for technology become so compelling that willingness to pay changes? Or doesn’t it? In real terms, games consoles and recording devices seem to be roughly the same price as they have been historically. So, do I wait for a £15 all-you-can-eat mobile phone tariff or bite the bullet to stay ahead of/on the curve? Is price the only thing preventing more widespread adoption, or is there a more general resistance to new technology? I have questions, but not answers.


Research 2008: The Great Debate (Part 4 of 4)

Go to part 3 here

Part 4 contains (1) Web 2.0: Capitalising on communities, (2) Closing remarks and (3) My conclusions

Day 2 Session 3: Web2.0: Capitalising on Communities

The final formal session of the conference was also the most fun. There was little particularly relevant to my work, but it is a subject I am interested in and the passion of the speakers was obvious.

Mario Menti of GMI and Diana Derval of Derval Research opened the session with a look at research within Second Life. Continue reading

Research 2008: The Great Debate (Part 3 of 4)

Go to part 2 here

Part 3 contains (1) The Big Planning Debate: Is research failing in the boardroom and (2) Guaranteeing a return on investment

Day 2 Session 1: The Big Planning Debate. Is research failing in the boardroom?

And so onto Day 2. To open the session, Vanella Jackson of Hall & Partners introduced a video containing some very interesting quotes from business leaders. These included wanting intelligence and not insight, wanting a solution rather than the research, research is too often used as insurance rather than as a forensic analysis and that research is the only tool in the marketing mix that hasn’t substantially changed in the last 12 years. A call to arms then.

Rupert Howell of ITV gave a very entertaining keynote speech before the debate/Q&A began. Continue reading

Research 2008: The Great Debate (Part 2 of 4)

Go to part 1 here

Part 2 contains (1) Web 2.0: Harnessing the Potential for Business, (2) Honing Business Skills and (3) Pecha Kucha… And that’s why I love market research

Day 1 Session 3: Web 2.0: Harnessing the Potential for Business

This session kicked things off after lunch. It was chaired by Richard Young, who was the most enthusiastic and involved of all the chairs I saw over the two days. While this could have become overbearing, he generally let the speakers talk for themselves.

Dan O’Donoghue from Publicis gave this session’s keynote. Continue reading

Research 2008: The Great Debate (Part 1 of 4)

Part 1 contains (1) Introduction, (2) Welcome to the Great Debate and (3) Ensuring Transformation


The 2008 Market Research Society conference was the third year I have attended, and the one I took the most away from. Entitled Research 2008: The Great Debate, the event’s stated aim was to “change business through better customer understanding”, which seemed to involve a lot of soul-searching about how business leaders perceive the industry.

This review became a lot longer than I initially envisaged, and so I have split it into four sections – morning and afternoon sessions of both days. Apologies in advance for either including too much detail or for misquoting or misattributing any information (my handwriting isn’t the most reliable of things)

Continue reading

Penguin – “We Tell Stories”

Penguin we tell stories logo

It’s great when companies experiment. It is even better when the company that does the experimentation is not one that you would have necessarily expected. After all, experiments don’t always succeed. Yet, you often neeed a failure to reach a success. And it looks like Penguin may have done that.

Fresh from their experiments with a wiki novel last year with A Million Penguins (which, despite all the PR it received has gone down, I think, as a noble failure), Penguin are back with a new endeavour.

Over at We Tell Stories is the first in a series of 6 non-linear tales devised to exploit the structures of the Internet. So, in Week 1 we have Charles Cumming taking The 39 Steps as inspiration for The 21 Steps, which takes places within Google maps.

Gimmicky? Totally. But I like it and, in this instance, it works. It is short and breezy – something that one can either return to in installments or consume entirely in one go. And without giving away too much of upcoming post that I have had planned for a while (yet still not written), Penguin have really taken a step back to look at the medium and to find ways in which to maximise both its features and its constraints. For that, I applaud them.

And not content with just experimenting with the form, Penguin have gone and included a viral ARG element to the project

But somewhere on the internet is a secret seventh story, a mysterious tale involving a vaguely familiar girl who has a habit of getting herself lost. Readers who follow this story will discover clues that will shape her journey and help her on her way. These clues will appear online and in the real world and will direct readers to the other six stories. The secret seventh story will also offer the chance to win some wonderful prizes in addition to the prizes on offer on WeTellStories.co.uk, including The Penguin Complete Classics Library, over £13,000 worth of the greatest books ever written.

I will be following the progress of this with great interest.


Kinder Bueno

Example of good marketing: I signed up for a competition with Kinder Bueno last year that involved giving my contact details. Today, I got sent 2 little Bueno eggs in the post. A small gesture, and one that isn’t all that unusual. But one that was unexpected and appreciated.

Kinder Bueno eggs

Example of not-so-good marketing: While it is important for the eggs not to be damaged in transit, there seemed to be an excess of packaging (though I suppose that makes it no different to the entire Easter egg market)

Verdict: Good effort – 8/10