Time to get a little bit Greek?

A smiling Ajai Chopra delivered another sunny assessment of Ireland‘s performance under its recovery programme yesterday. At the same time, in Greece, fires burned on the streets and a two-day general strike turned ugly. (Irish Times October 21st)

So now it seems we are the good boys of Europe and the politicians are happy both within government and the IMF. but just a quick reminder from KDNINE about what is actually being said to us in focus groups:

The people have not bought into the bank bailouts and are still not happy no one has been held accountable.

The austerity programme and budget will push many more decent people over the edge.

Civil Servants and Government officials are seen as having cushy jobs and will not have to tell their children there are no presents this Christmas.

The anger is rising and the line that all the problems were caused by the previous lot has run out of purchase with people already.

Gay Mitchell”s inevitable crushing defeat in the Presidential elections will be seen by F.G as an issue around the candidate but it may also be a rejection of the Fine Gael party.

Thanks Mr Chopra for the good report but don’t be surprised if next time you see some fires burning on the streets of Dublin from your business class seat .

Where has all the glamour gone…

We know that being an air hostess is hard work as indeed are most viable positions in advertising and yet one of the most successful and glamorous series of the last few years is Madmen and now possibly Pan Am.There is no doubt that these days all the glamour has gone from most jobs.

Michael O’Leary has reduced Air travel to a scrum and client accountants have reduced Advertising to a niche occupation.

Multinationals have for their part reduced Ireland to a region of Wales.

But are we the better for all this “progress”. Are we happier wealthier and more career satisfied.

Has the glamour of the 60s been replaced by the WAG culture of 2012. Are Wayne Rooney Katie Price and Jordan the new Don Draper, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace?

Brands: when familiarity breeds contempt Eva Wiseman The Observer

Innocent drinks started it – a typical label (for their strawberry and banana smoothie) read: “We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with going for a gym workout, it’s just, you know, all a bit of an effort really, isn’t it?” I imagine hearing this whispered wheedlingly in one’s ear on a crowded train; when you look round there’s no one there. “If I were you,” it continues, “I’d just have an innocent smoothie instead.” Note the lower-case “I” of the brand name, crushingly unthreatening, like: “Us? Corporate? Mate, we can’t even get our grammar in order!” At some point brands stopped wanting to make us sexier and richer, and instead just wanted to be our friends. It’s as though they all decided to babyproof their packaging, sanding down the corners and hard consonants, replacing “complicated” photography with crayon illustrations, including little jokes to break up the monotony of reading their calorific intake info.

Wackaging at its best


A big hello from Jonty and Nick and all the fryers at Burts,” said a crisp packet to me recently, possibly in a regional accent. “Do you like our new packs? We love them! They were inspired by the beautiful shoes of our friend Kate Cordle!” Our fwend’s shoes. Carry on. “But why animal prints? We wanted to highlight the awful business that is palm-oil cultivation in Borneo and the harm it is doing to orangutans.” The awful thing about this one is that it makes me want to harm orangutans.


My friend Becca recently started recording her favourite examples on a blog called Wackaging. She’d snapped, you see, after buying a bottle of water labelled “Boring H20”. “Don’t call me boring,” she says, still quite irate. “Not when I’ve just spent two quid on you.” On her blog you’ll find a close-up of Pret A Manger’s lemonade label: “Best when chilled (as indeed we all are)”; repeat offenders Ella’s Kitchen, whose labels are printed in pretend baby-writing, and Whole Earth cola, the cans of which have a little arrow towards the drinker saying: “Nutty cola nut”. Don’t you dare, Whole Earth cola. Don’t you dare.


Like the “You don’t have to be mad to work here…” office manager two drinks in, these brands grip you in an uncomfortable bear hug. When did brands start positioning themselves as families, communities, their offices big picnic blankets of giggling executives, their products carved from whimsy and solid, waxen love? When we buy their lemonade, it’s as if we’re signing a petition. With their cooing “Join us” labels, they seem to be attempting to help us mediate a dangerous world, a world of scary grown-ups. Grown-ups who do bad things like pollute and sweat.


These brands are the opposite of sexy. They’re anti-sex; they stand on the other side of the brand motorway to perfumes or Nuts magazine. Is this cuteness the consequence of sex-sells branding, the answer song to all those oily boob ads? If you feed in a lorryload of thighs and innuendo at the start of a decade, does it excrete cupcakes and baby voices at the end? Are our brands to blame for keeping us immature? For swaddling us, suspended in a fruit-filled Neverland, where we wake to find ourselves the life partner of a packet of ethical crisps? Because more and more I don’t want to be part of my foodstuff’s big society. I don’t want an earnest chat about monkeys, or for its wrapping to flirt with me. More and more, I just want lunch.


Adage:Steve Jobs Was Digital Maverick but Marketing Traditionalist

Steve Jobs Was Digital Maverick but Marketing Traditionalist

Steve Jobs revolutionized computing and media, but when it came to marketing, he was an exceptionally bold traditionalist

By: Michael Learmonth Published: October 07, 2011


The Apple brand is about putting little pieces of the future in the hands of consumers. Yet Steve Jobs, master marketer, took a very traditional approach to advertising. David-Paul Morris/Bloomberg Steve Jobs At a time when marketers obsess over the virtues of targeting, “likes,” dashboards, platforms of all stripes and sophisticated social-media-monitoring schemes, Mr. Jobs kept it simple: tell the story of how an amazing product can change your life in the best environment possible.

And while many accept the lessons of Mr. Jobs the product designer and have sought to emulate him in that regard, it seems they all too often overlook his influence as a marketer where he was decidedly — and effectively — old school.

Consider Apple’s media spending: an estimated $420 million in 2010, dominated by network TV, newspapers, magazines, circulars and billboards. So far in 2011, Apple is the ninth-largest spender on billboard and outdoor ads in the U.S., just behind the likes of McDonald’s, Verizon and Anheuser-Busch, according to Kantar Media. Apple’s total digital spending is harder to discern, but the numbers indicate it is well under 10% of its total budget.

Yes, the company that, more than any other, made us “go digital” did not think much of the web as a branding medium. Mr. Jobs was involved in every aspect of the marketing, down to the copy on TV ads, and didn’t hesitate to kill a campaign that didn’t meet his standards. Everyone at TBWA’s Media Arts Lab, the agency set up to serve Apple, knew that the bar to meet was set by Mr. Jobs himself and articulated at weekly meetings on creative and strategy. “He’s the person who would see a technology and say, “This is what it can give a real person in the world,'” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC. “I would say marketing was his greatest strength.” Allen Olivo, who spent two stints as a marketer at Apple, and now teaches marketing at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business: “Steve not only liked advertising, he understood the value of advertising as part of building a brand, selling products and creating an entire customer experience.



A Nation Once again…

Our agency presentation on re-branding Ireland is in the edit suite so bear with us and stay tuned. Its a pity our Rugby lads bowed out of the competition in New Zealand over the weekend and now we are reliant on Traps boys to give the nation some joy in these joyless times. But as we approach the 100 year anniversary of the Easter rising wouldn’t it be a good time to examine what makes us tick as a people. We seem to be crying out for some positives to take us into  a new era. As Bonnie Tyler so aptly put it…we need a hero… could it be Wee Michael Twee?