“You’ll feel right at home”

I’m loving the new MFI ads, with couples and families arguing in room sets while the camera pans back to show them in the store with a surprised shop assistant looking on.

Brilliant! A great way to show that people buy lifestyle, not product.

Mind you, I’m still not sure whether I’d want to shop there, as their reputation has not quite caught up with Ikea (in my opinion). Time to ‘do a Skoda’ perhaps?


118 118 118

I was walking home the other day, and saw some young children coming the other way.

The girl said to the boy: “I’m going to race you, 118″, and struck a ‘ready steady go’ pose.

He replied: “I’ll beat you, 118″ and thrust his small fist in the air.

She said: “Let’s go, 118″ and they both started running towards me.

Whatever you may think of the 118 ads, when a slogan works its way into the language on the street, that’s what I call successful advertising!


A breath of fresh air?

We’re living in an age of change, riding the ‘green’ bandwagon, ever-conscious of environmental issues.

But some of it is a bit controversial, new and frightening.

So I was surprised that E-ON offshore wind farms shot an ad with so much wind that it blows litter up the street, skirts up girls’ legs, and people into the air so they fly over fields and hang horizontally off lamposts.

And this is supposed to be a good thing?

P.S. I’ve just written an ad for a company supplying solar power (with all the rain we’ve had this summer, they need all the marketing help they can get!)


I’ve got a thing about car ads

(You might have noticed)

I think you can learn so much from them about what to do (and what not to do) in your own marketing.

You might also have noticed that many car ads feature someone cruising down a winding highway, with glorious views, fantastic driving conditions and no other traffic in sight.

Which reminds me of the commentator who said: “Never mind the car, I want to buy the road!”


Ads that make my other half laugh (part 1)

Let’s call him Andy (because that’s his name).

Andy likes to rant at the TV – he watches news, political shows, anything down and depressing, and shouts at the screen when he sees or hears something he disagrees with. Which happens a lot.

So it’s quite unusual for him to burst out laughing during the ads.

It happens each time he sees the Domestos ad, with the animated germs in the toilet bowl squealing because they’ve just been squirted with bleach.

He loves the Barclays insurance ad, when the guy hits the indoor golf ball into the ‘hole’ and it rebounds to smash the boss’s plasma TV. In fact, Andy loves this ad so much, he even imitates the actions every time he sees it.

And he roars with laughter when he sees the VW ad with the show-room salesman wearing a stained shirt, because customers splatter their coffee all over him whenever he tells them the (unbelievably low) price.

All these ads have something in common. A touch of surprise, of slapstick humour.

I must admit, they do nothing for me!

Just goes to show, it takes all sorts…


Feeling Tyred

I HATE the Michelin Man!

He’s called Bibendum, and is made of tyres. I used to have nightmares about him when I was a kid, looming in front of me then receding into the distance.

Is it just me?

Hmm, probably.


What’s in a name?

I asked for a Marathon bar at the gym last night (I know, I know, what’s the point of a workout if you follow it with chocolate?!).

The girl replied: “Do you mean Snickers?”

She was right.

I knew the name had changed but forgot what it had changed to!

I believe it changed so the packaging could be used across Europe, and the original name was already in use by someone else or had another meaning.

Similarly, Jif changed to Cif because so many countries couldn’t pronounce the J.

And Immac – the hair remover – changed to Veet (sounds like ‘vite’, the French for ‘quick’).

Getting the name right in your marketing is critical. I am currently very annoyed with Virgin Media, because they insist on billing my broadband to ‘Jackie Brown’ even though I’ve told them several times and via several methods of communication that my name is not Brown, it has never been Brown, and is never likely to be Brown!

What gets worse is that they’ve obviously sold their mailing list to MBNA, because I’m now receiving direct mail letters offering a credit card to Mrs Brown at my address.

Who do I have to sleep with for them to get my name right?


Tapping in to the zeitgeist

There’s a car ad currently using the line: “When was the last time…you just went for a drive?”

A nice thought.

But I can’t help wondering whether it’s wise these days, to encourage unnecessary journeys.

What about the carbon footprint?

Perhaps they’ve missed the boat with this one.


3 things a man should never see a woman do

In my opinion, there are certain things a man should never see a woman do (in order to keep the romance alive).

1. Using the toilet.

2. Wearing pop socks.

3. Doing any kind of depilation – whether plucking, shaving, creaming or waxing.

So I’m not sure about the new Veet adverts.

We see the girl with one creamy strip on her shin (and then with two creamy ‘footless socks’ in the shower).

Very unattrative. But also very unrealistic.

She’s clearly got no hair on her legs to start with, because we don’t see the cream going grey as it melts those curly strands, or when it gets scraped off in lines with that flat plastic spoon they provide, or when her nose turns up at the smell of singeing…

We do see her bad acting as she poses on the bed, so thrilled she is with her smooth legs.

Oh how I wish it were fashionable for women to be hairy!


The greatest marketing disasters of all time

About 3 years ago, Hoover offered 2 free flights in return for spending £100 on one of their products. They had no idea how many people would take up the offer, and it ended up costing them £48m.

Read the BBC story

2 years ago, the Daily Express offered a cruise for £10. Again, it was massively oversubscribed, and many people were disappointed.

View the report on BBC’s Working Lunch programme

And last year Threshers’ email discount backfired on them.

I wrote about it here.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.