Category Archives: Advertising

Best Tourism Ads on the Planet

Inspiring travel and tourism adverts from Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands

Ad_Newfoundland_240x240As we hit the fall, it’s a great time to be thinking about vacations.  Here are some of the Best Tourism ads from around the world.  Too many Tourism spots use a montage of clips against a cute wholesome song and put on a cheery tag line that says very little and offends very few.  Most tourism ads all look the sam.  The challenge for tourism groups is the number of constituents they must please really inhibits the risk taking that would push for greatness. 

Here’s a few of my favourites.   Feel free to add others.    

Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada

This ad captures the pure beauty of Newfoundland, a province on the east coast of Canada.  Pure desolate and rugged beauty.  This campaign  enticed me to go to Newfoundland and it did not disappoint.  Best photos you’ll ever come back with.  I’d go in the summer…

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Filed under Advertising, Great Marketing, Marketing, Travel and Tourism

Have a break from your Wi-Fi life

Kit Kat have scored an ace with this campaign where they created wifi-free zones in Amsterdam for people to ‘take a break’ from their digital lives.

Apart from the great on-street presence, and PR-worthiness of it, they have made Kit Kat relevant in the digital age by providing busy people with a chance to get away from it all, relax and have a break.

Their ‘take a break’ strapline is now even more relevant to our lives…

kit kat

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June 10, 2013 · 4:17 pm

Great Marketing by the rail industry

I am a big fan of Metro’s DumbWays2Die campaign. In my opinion, this is an example of great marketing. If it has somehow passed you by, here is the link to the Youtube clip.

Clear objectives lead to success

The objectives of this campaign are obvious: to communicate rail safety messages and cut the number of avoidable deaths on the Metro network. This campaign has avoided the parent to child approach often used for ‘public service’ education campaigns, and approached the objective in such an unexpected way that it has undoubtedly got the message across. With over 44 million views on YouTube and 300 tweets it has been a viral hit, communicating the rail safety message to more people than they could have imagined.

Infotainment at its best

Dumb Ways To Die creativeThe success of this campaign is due to the clever mix of humour, music, video and illustration to get information across in an entertaining way. The slightly retro feel will appeal to an older generation, whilst the primary colours appeal to the youngest of viewers. The quirky gore is right on the button for the inbetweeners. All in all, it cuts through our expectations of what a public service message would be like.

Going viral

The campaign launched in November 2013 used YouTube, Newspaper, Outdoor and Radio. Other than YouTube the only social media element was Tumblr. With a simple web page the campaign’s simplicity is also its beauty. The track was released and within a day it was in the top 10 on the iTunes chart. The catchy tune and chorus are the type that you find yourself humming without realising it.

McCann Melbourne (the agency behind the campaign) added fuel to the fire by releasing a Karaoke version of the song. Soon the Internet was awash with parodies, which is a sure sign of an Internet success.

Evaluating campaign effectiveness

Dumb-Ways-to-DieYes, there have been over 44 million views of the video on YouTube, but we don’t know how many of those live within the Melbourne Metro area. Furthermore, has the campaign reached the bulls-eye target market of those people who may previously have crossed the tracks? Therefore evaluating whether the campaign reached its intended target market is not possible.

The only published statistics state that the campaign contributed to a more than 30% reduction in “near-miss” accidents from November 2012 to January 2013, compared with the same period the previous year. Public information campaigns like this are generally in for the long game, but if that initial success is sustained then it has indeed been a successful as well as memorable marketing campaign. Let’s hope that the campaign evolves to stay fresh and keep making an impact.

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Filed under Advertising, Digital, Great Marketing, Marketing, Social media, Strategy, Travel and Tourism

Marketing in a crisis – 5 steps to take

What should the marketing team do when a crisis hits that is external to your organisation? World events are outside of our control, but it is the marketing and communications team’s responsibility to act when a crisis hits.

This week with the horrific bombs in Boston it reminded me of occasions when I have had to respond to a crisis, which prompted me to write this blog post.  Recent examples from the world of advertising and media include Fox removing an episode of Family Guy from their website which could cause offence, Nike pulling their Oscar Pistorius adverts following his arrest, and Barclays pulling their advertising in the wake of the Libor scandal.

Whether the events are concerning your own organisation or external there are some essential steps that the marketing and communications team need to take. Unfortunately there are always natural or man-made crises that occur, so it pays to be ready to respond appropriately.

1. Review all current activity planned and booked

Starting with any activity that is live – review it to ensure that it is not likely to cause offense or be inappropriate given recent events. Consider the creative used, the copy, phrases used, your media choice etc. I once had a live campaign promoting leisure rail travel using the phrase ‘shops to die for’ when a rail crash resulted in fatalities. I did everything I could to get that campaign erased in case it caused offence.

Check your website – is there anything on there that could be inappropriate? Review your social media presence and don’t forget to review any scheduled messages, as the Daily Mirror have learned this week.

2. Form a crisis response team

Hopefully your organisation already has a crisis management team or draft contingency plan in place. If not, pull together a representative from all relevant areas – PR, customer communications and any operational areas that may need to be involved.  The benefit of cross working is that each area will have a slightly different perspective and raise new perspectives that will help you define an appropriate response.  Many of the actions may be practical steps to be taken internally, but inevitably there will be a communications angle that needs to be owned and delivered.

Do other teams around the organisation need manpower to support them? If your team can spare a few people to help answer the phones or be present on location then that is a great way to help customers and build internal bonds at the same time. I’ve done this myself many times and have always gained personally from the experience as well as providing a useful service to colleagues and customers.

3. Focus on customer information

Fast and accurate information is essential when the unexpected occurs. Brief but informative communications will go a long way to assisting any customers or stakeholders during a crisis.  Make use of immediate tools such as your company website, social media profiles, and PR contacts to issue information as appropriate. Email your customers and suppliers with information if necessary.

The tone of communication is critical at times of crisis – aim for humility and helpfulness.  Keep your organisation and its role in perspective. How important is it to sell widgets when there is a crisis in hand?!

Now’s not the time to cling desperately to creative brand values and the quality of paper you are using. Customers don’t care how glossy your leaflet is – they just want the right information at the right time.

4. Agree on a proactive communications strategy

Would your organisation benefit from a pro-active communications strategy in light of events? Tescos obviously felt so when they took out full page ads regarding the horse meat scandal.

Take care to get the tone and message right – no-one wants to hear about your organisation when there are bigger issues at stake.

5. Communicate internally

Once steps have been taken to review existing campaigns and plan new activity take the time to communicate what has been done internally. Colleagues across the organisation, not only your senior team, will want to know how you are responding to events.  Write clear, concise emails that spell out the steps that are being taken and when to expect a further update.  I’ve found that this is hugely appreciated and also avoids receiving a multitude of enquiries which could take up precious crisis-management time.

Marketing in a global village

Marketing and communications play a vital role in providing information at times of crisis. Given the immediacy of events regardless of where they occur there is every chance that customers and employees are personally affected by what has happened. It is essential that every marketing and communications professional is sensitive to and responds appropriately to events happening around us.

Roisin Kirby is an experienced Marketing Consultant based in Nottingham (UK), with experience spanning a range of service industries, particularly the education and travel sectors.

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Filed under Advertising, Branding, Digital, Marketing, Social media, Strategy, Travel and Tourism

Legal fail: what every marketing person needs to know

It’s easy to break the law with marketing activity, without realising it.  I’ve coached several junior marketing staffers on the legal aspects of their great new idea in the past, and whist these conversations invariably leave me looking like the party pooper, it is essential that every marketing person should know and keep up to date with the legal framework within which they operate.

There are various Acts and Codes of Practice that are too extensive to write about in one post, but here is a summary of five common areas where marketing activity can come unstuck. By the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the statement that nothing in this blog post constitutes authoritative legal opinion! If you require legal advice please consult a lawyer.

Can you back up your marketing messages?

The claims you make in your messaging need to be authentic and substantiated. Claiming to the ‘the UK’s top’ or ‘most popular’ or ‘leading’ without any basis will leave you open to complaints via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Any customer or competitor business can make a formal complaint against you to the ASA free of charge. Since (2011) the ASA has also had claims made on websites within its remit.


Before you claim that an item or service is ‘free’ or make use of the word ‘guaranteed’ you need to pay attention to the legal definitions of these terms when in use within marketing and publicity.

Therefore if you make a claim or statement, regardless of which media it is on, make sure it is accurate and that you can back it up should you be challenged.  If you don’t, you would be forced to change your marketing messages (which could be costly) and the ASA’s judgment will be published thereby generating negative publicity which will undermine your brand’s standing.

Image rights and permissions

Any images (photos, illustrations etc.) you use in your marketing materials and website need to be lawfully used.  The owner of the image needs to provide their permission for its use or license it to you.  The terms ‘rights managed’ or ‘licensed’ mean that payment is required to use the image. ‘Royalty free’ means that the image is free to use and reproduce. Always check the licensing terms and conditions as a credit to the owner may be required in exchange for the right to use the image free of charge.

When image rights are not properly observed the consequences can be very expensive, as was the case at one organisation I worked at, who had not paid due attention to the rights of the photos they used in their direct marketing.  Likewise a friend who set up her own business was contacted by Getty over illegal use of images from their database, discovered by one of their automatic web crawlers. Save yourself the worry and expense by getting this area straight from the outset.

Specifically, any photography or video footage you take or use which includes recognisable faces need to be used with the permission of the subjects, even if they are in the background.  It’s best to have permission in writing (not just verbally) and recording it with the images.  Crowd shots or photos of events can be covered by prominently displayed signage or text on a printed item that all attendees will have received (e.g. ticket). Always provide an option for people to opt out of they don’t want to have their image used in publicity.

Storing of personal details

The recording, storing and use of personal details are governed by the Data Protection Act (1998).

If you are collecting data for marketing purposes then the provider of details (e.g. your prospect) needs to be notified at the point of collection how you intend to use their data. This is normally managed through a data protection statement and consent boxes on the data collection form. Naturally your database needs to be able to record those opt outs/ins so that you do not mail or phone anyone who has not given their consent.

Data protection statements are now so commonplace that it is startling that organisations are still getting this wrong. Think about all your data collection activities regardless of channel – online, paper forms, telephone – are you letting people know how you will use their data and giving them the chance to opt out? If not, your prospects have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about your business practices.

If mailing, emailing or phoning prospects that have not willingly provided you with their details (i.e. using a bought in list or cold calling) then you need to check that they are not registered with the Mailing Preference Service or the email/phone equivalent. If you make a sales call to someone registered with the Telephone Preference Service (or the equivalent for other media) you can be reported to the Information Commissioners Office and receive a fine.

Use of Cookies on your website

The European ePrivacy Directive regarding Cookies (an extension of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) finally came into force in the UK last May (2012).  This means that every website owner who places cookies on a user’s machine must make it clear to the user. The guidance level on this issue changed over time, moving from a strict opt in towards ‘providing clear information about the cookies in use and implied consent’.  Cookies are used for a variety of purposes on websites, from tracking visitor numbers to storing information about baskets/purchasing behaviour. At minimum every site should state clearly the cookies that are in use with the site.  The ICO is yet to pull anyone up on this issue, yet it remains an issue in the spotlight that you cannot afford to overlook.

Competition terms and conditions

Competitions, prize draws and raffles are great ways of engaging prospective and current customers, but need to be properly planned and executed. All of these need written terms and conditions published and available to anyone before they enter the competition.  Each type of competition has slightly different legal requirements and you need to be clear about which you are promoting. Always have your legal advisor check over the T&C before they are used.

The risk of not publishing your T&C is that any competition entrant could query your processes and tie your organisation up in a lengthy and costly legal claim.

Competitions publicised via social media sites have the added complication of the platform’s own requirements. For instance Facebook does not permit the use of competitions unless undertaken through one if its licensed apps (See Tina Gammon’s excellent article for more details). Claiming that you weren’t aware, or that ‘everyone is doing it’ is no defense in law.

Keep up with best pracice and compliance

It pays for every organisation to keep up to date with the legal requirements of marketing as the consequences can be very costly in terms of time or budget.  If you are not sure about your practices check with someone who does – start with your marketing expert and then your legal team.  Ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law.

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Filed under Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Mobile, Sales, Social media

Understand Generation Y – and make your marketing smarter

At the weekend MP Clare Perry came under attack in the media for stating that over-parenting was stifling children’s ability to fend for themselves.

Generation Y and their younger siblings are often under attack themselves for their self-obsessed attitude and inability to manage their own lives without ‘helicopter’ parents by their sides.

Whilst this is an interesting and useful cultural (and political) debate, the behaviours of Generation Y present challenges and opportunities for marekteers trying to engage with this audience. My previous post about segmentation covers the different approaches to targeted marketing. In this post I’m highlighting some of the characteristics observed of Generation Y and Z as a starting point is to understanding this target market better.

So who or what is Generation Y?

Many are familiar with the term ‘baby boomer’ generation referring to the population born in the post-war years. Their children are typically Generation X, born between the early 1960’s to 1980’s. They are followed by Generation Y, also known as Millennials with birth dates ranging from 1980 to 2000. There’s yet to be consensus on a term to describe the post-millennium babies – the most common being Generation Z or the Net Generation.

The theory behind generational segmentation is that we (and subsequent generations) are shaped by the world events and society in which we grew up. For Generation X the fall of the Berlin Wall and Nelson Mandela’s release are significant events that occurred in their formative years. For Generation Y, their world view has been shaped amongst other things by 9/11 and the global economic situation, which has resulted in significant youth unemployment. Generation Z will have their own defining events depending on which country they grew up in.

vectorstock_742396 generations

How do Generation Y and Z behave?

As well as a perceived narcisstic attitude, there are other characteristics observed of this generation. In contrast to the increasing importance of being wealthy and famous (fame for fame’s sake), they possess a strong sense of community both global and local – friendships and family figuring strongly in their lives; politics and current affairs less so than previous generations.

Lifestyle is important to them, which does not always equate with wishing to be wealthy. It has been said that they don’t live for work … they work to live. Perhaps they are trying to crack the work-life balance challenge the older generation has wrestled with?

Helicopters and trophies

Parents, feeling the pressure from school and society for their offspring to perform well have taken to hovering over their child, coaching them to success, thereby coining the phrases ‘helicopter parents’ and ‘trophy children’. Society also has a role to play in this outcome, as non-competitive sports days at school and methods of reward result in many young people having the sense that they are someone special, and that mere participation is sufficient for reward.

Whilst this could result in a more egalitarian and caring society it also means that young people are not used to receiving knock-backs, and are put off by the first hurdle, rather than persevering and improving until successful.

Always on

These generations have lived in a society where the Internet is a way of life. Information is instantly available just a few clicks away. Whilst the benefits of this are indisputable, it does mean that the need to learn and retain information is by and large removed. Why should a person learn the capital cities of the world by rote if they can find that information quickly on the world wide web? Schools, keen to raise their rankings in the league tables have been teaching to the test, creating a narrow focus for learning and reinforcing the perception that a wider knowledge base isn’t required.

Gen Y are used to interacting with each other 24/7, via instant message or SMS, which makes email seem like carrier pigeon, and written English seem like Shakespeare compared with text speak. They expect constant and immediate feedback, and are used to getting it. Speed is elevated over accuracy – the Y and Z generations are true ‘digital natives’.

Reward and ambition

Generation Y and Z have grown accustomed to instant gratification because of the digital age. Purchases are easy and credit freely available. Play on demand and instant access to whatever you need mean that expectations are high. Why wait, if you can get it now?

Employers report that Gen Y employees have a sense of entitlement and are looking for rapid promotion in the workplace. The idea of starting at the bottom of the ladder and slowly working your way up is not attractive to them. Opportunities for conflict and misunderstanding in the workplace are significant given the different outlooks of Generation X and Y towards workplace practices and career progression.

Friends and recognition

Friends, acquaintances and popularity are of great importance to many Generation Y’ers. Is it any wonder with social media sites promoting popularity as a virtue, and television talent shows ridiculing those perceived as untalented. It is sometimes said that a great night out is not as important as what you are going to say about it afterwards on Facebook. Gen Y and Z are used to recording and documenting every event and thought and publishing it to the world. As children their every move was captured in photos and video by their adoring parents.

information overload

Information overload

Members of Generation Y and Z have to be experts at filtering information given the volume of messages they face every single day. The number of channels has increased year on year, with the proliferation of TV channels alone a good example of this. Add that to social media sites, experiential and in-store marketing, and you can appreciate why filtering information is an essential life skill for them. With this amount of advertising being pushed to them daily can we blame the youth for their perceived short attention span?

Let me entertain you

Generation Y and Z expect to be entertained, posing a challenge to advertisers trying to get a more serious message across. YouTube, Internet TV and gaming provide endless distractions from day to day activities such as studying and working. The humdrum of everyday existence appears quite boring and chores ‘a waste of time’ compared with all the entertainment that is waiting to be consumed. For marketeers there is a real risk of ‘getting it wrong’ in tone or style and coming across as ‘dad on the dancefloor’.

Let’s engage with Generations Y and Z

These much maligned generations have plenty to offer if we see past the sometimes negative characteristics that have been observed of them. Take, for example, their ability to filter a volume of information – this is a strength in the workplace, where email overload threatens to take over people’s roles. Likewise their social networking skills can be put to good use in business development and marketing roles. There are many positive characteristics that have been observed of this generation that receive much less airtime.

For marketeers the challenge is to understand the generations better and appeal to their behavioural characteristics through smart use of message, channel and creative. Infotainment (information wrapped up in entertainment) is an important tactic in reaching them.

Generations Y and Z are very aware of being sold to, so marketing needs to focus on engagement and endorsement – the emotional rather than transactional sale. Let’s stop bashing Generations Y and Z (and their parents!) and start appealing to their positive characteristics.

Author: Roisin Kirby, Refresh Marketing Consultancy Ltd


Filed under Advertising, Branding, Digital, Marketing, Sales, Social media, Strategy

Is a leading question worth asking?

Is a leading question worth asking?

Spotted today, whilst out and about in Nottingham.

This is Nottingham City Council’s poster inviting consultation on proposed changes to their spending.

What struck me about it was firstly how leading the poster is. Not only do we have the comparison between Nottingham and Windsor’s cuts, but also the use of colour to emphasise the word ‘unfair’. Is this a consultation, where the city council wants to hear a representative response to their budget proposals or is it an exercise in gaining ammunition against central government’s allocation of local budgets? If you ask a leading question you will undoubtedly get a particular type of response.

Within this creative we also see a very stereotypical representation of wealthy southerners, all of white ethnic origin and shown as white collar workers, versus the ethnically diverse blue collar ‘down to earth’ Nottingham folk. This is subjective stereotyping and is designed to stimulate feelings of resentment amongst local respondents towards our southern counterparts – who, we are led to believe have more budget per head than us.

So why use such a leading creative for a consultation exercise?

Further research on the Nottingham City website sheds some light on the reasons for such an approach. The consultation page outlines the background to the council budget cuts, citing a range of government changes and the impact on local services. The statement to back up the creative is as follows: Research shows that major Government reductions in council funding are being distributed unevenly across the country, with county shires remaining relatively protected when compared against cities.
They articulate that this is a tough time for local councils, having to make cuts in a range of services to balance their budgets, and raise council taxes to cover a shortfall – and the copy on the webpages supports this, using language such as
…another difficult budget…tough decisions…dealing with… – emphasising that this is a situation imposed on the city council and not of their making.

It is clear that Nottingham City Council are financially under pressure, having to make some difficult decisions to balance the books, and that they find the uneven reductions across the county to be unfair.
The poster creative however detracts from the main purpose of the consultation, to gain opinion and agreement on the proposed budget cuts. It positions the proposals in light of a north-south divide, which will generate anti southern and anti government sentiment rather than stimulate real debate about how to balance the budget in difficult economic conditions.

I am sure that many local residents will be unhappy with the proposed council tax rise and cuts in services, but let’s debate that as adults rather than using a ‘look over there!’ tactic to push the proposals through whilst everyone is distracted, getting het up about how unfair the world is.

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January 29, 2013 · 10:11 pm