Never underestimate a chocoholic!

This Easter, Thorntons made a giant chocolate billboard in Covent Garden.

Comprising 10 chocolate bunnies, 72 chocolate eggs and 128 chocolate panels, it took three months to plan and 300 hours to be built by a team of 10 chocolatiers.

The sign was supposed to last a week, but passers-by ate it in just 3 hours.

Fortunately for Thorntons, the memory of the media impact will last much longer!


SFX sells!

Sound Effects (SFX) can be extremely powerful, especially in radio ads.

There’s an ad for a mint running at the moment – it starts with the sound of a firework going off:


And just when you’re expecting the big BANG!, it ends with a little ‘eek’.

What a great way to demonstrate that the mint has a milder taste than you’d expect.


Nice lines

Talking of car ads, I love the new Audi A5 animation, with nice piano music, nice graphics and nice colours. All in all, it’s very nice. A fine example of a simple proposition, beautifully constructed.

I’d guess the car is too.



Everyone’s talking about the new Skoda Fabia ad, the one where the car is made out of cake. The soundtrack is ‘My favourite things’ from the Sound of Music, and the slogan is ‘Full of lovely stuff’.

<a href" Go to Baking Of > View the Ad

It’s a great example of a USP (Unique Selling Proposition), and something we can all learn from.

Cars are full of features – wheels, chassis, engine, windscreen wipers, lights… But car ads don’t try to tell us how wonderful each of these features may be. Instead, good car ads choose one benefit, and turn it into a feeling.

Skoda – I want a taste!


The sincerest form of flattery

OK, I admit it. I can’t resist joining in with the Becks ‘Do the Dance’ ad.

It’s not as easy as it looks! But at least the product, the words and the visuals are related to each other, as there are: “Only ever 4 steps.”

I don’t mind that it reminds me of the Guinness ‘Anticipation’ ad. I can still hear the music now: “Der de, d der de, d der de, d der de, ddddd der de, de der de, de der de, d.” A lot of people tried that dance too!

That ad also relates to the product, because the guy dances around the giant pint while he waits for his Guinness to settle. Recently updated for Guinness Extra Cold.

And I remember the fuss about the original version when it first aired in 1995, because the agency was accused of infringing copyright. The claim failed. But, as I wrote yesterday, there are no really new ideas under the sun.


An Outbreak of Cubism

I saw a new TV ad last night, featuring a big cube draped in red satin being flown over the city.

“Ooh,” I thought, “A new ad for Abbey!”

No – it was a new ad for IBM. But Abbey have been using a big red cube in their ads for ages!

And it was followed immediately by the B&Q ad. Featuring a big orange cube.

Just goes to show, there’s no such thing as an original idea.


Fancy an e?

I’ve just been re-reading e by Matt Beaumont – ‘the novel of liars, lunch and lost knickers’.

Via a series of emails, it tells the inside workings of an ad agency. As it says on the back cover, ‘a tapestry of insincerity, backstabbing and bare-faced bitchiness – just everyday office politics.’

Brilliant book! Unputdownable!

It reminds me of when I was 19, and was accepted at Watford College to do a copywriting course. The letter they sent me said, ‘Although you might be too diffident for the advertising industry, you clearly have talent so we are offering you a place.’

I chose to train as a journalist instead, and ended up as a marketing copywriter. Reading this book makes me glad I did!

You can get it here.


“I like pumping”

I like to watch Loose Women during my lunch break – it’s sponsored by Café Switch. Trouble is, I don’t know what that is! And the ad doesn’t make it clear.

It features fingertips with painted nails and added hairpieces, pumping on a pair of plastic pods.

Very strange.

To me, it’s important to write from the point of view of the customer. So I hate it when an ad assumes a level of knowledge which I don’t have!

Unless it’s a deliberate ‘tease’ to make me find out more…

So I Googled their website. Turns out it’s a coffee drink which you make frothy by first pumping the squishy pods with your thumbs then tearing open the lid and folding the pods in half to pour the contents into a drinking vessel before adding water.

Sounds complicated?

Even more reason for the ad to be simpler.


I Love Dove

Many women compare themselves with the images they see in the media, and feel bad if they can’t live up to the level of ‘beauty’ that is commonly presented.

But one company is challenging the trend, by using ‘real’ women in their ads.

I showed the Dove ‘Evolution’ film to a couple of teenagers, to prove that all is not what it seems. Their jaws dropped! And they demanded to watch it again and again (and again).

I’m on a mission to share the film with as many people as possible. So if you haven’t already seen it, click the link below and prepare to be amazed.


Oh, and buy some Dove products too. They deserve it.


What’s in a name?

I have an IT client whose company name comprises 4 initials. It’s hard to remember as it’s hard to connect any meaning
to them. I solved the problem by designing a logo using each initial as a 3D ‘key’ from a keyboard, and by writing a range of quirky headlines starting with those 4 letters.

The HSA is currently running a series of ads that address the same problem in a similar way.

Scene 1: Woman stroking donkey
Copy: ‘Housewife Shakes Ass’

Scene 2: HSA Logo
Copy: Healthplans Simple Affordable

A great example of How to Sell with Acronyms!