Another quiet, and humble comment on an advert, to kick off my thoughts in 2011. Although the campaign has been in the pipe line since November, perhaps behind the times on this occasion, tonight whilst perusing The Evening Standard (and I promised I’d buy the i paper) my gaze was unashamedly attracted by this advert for Kleenex; the naked upper body of Linford Christie and the not so subtle tagline ‘I’ve Got A Tiny Packet’
Kleenex suggested the new campaign aims to appeal to the male audience, in an attempt to encourage men with a cold to buy the new slim design packs. However, spending £500,000 on publicising the naked torso of a retired athlete seems to me completely transparent. Fortunately, after using Kleenex as a case study in university, I’m comfortable in believing women buy the tissues, not men, no matter how bad the man flu and no matter how small the package (sorry, packet) and after this campaign - I can’t see that changing.
Whilst on the tube home this evening, and carefully peering over the shoulder of the balding man next to me, what caught my eye on the right hand side of his Evening Standard was an advert for Bell’s Whiskey, simply the bottle with the strapline 'Don't just talk, Tell the Story.' Strange, I thought, what’s that got to do with whiskey, or scotch? The next page revealed an advert for Gordon’s gin, ‘Don’t just finish your day, start your evening.’ (Aha…) The third and final advert was for, Smirnoff Vodka - the tagline escapes me, clearly memorable.
The campaign, presumably for the lead up to Christmas, whilst does admittedly make sense struck me as odd. In a category where brand truths and stories are important; the consumer buys not only the spirit, but what the spirit represents, Diageo’s new solution to market their brands seems to be impersonal and blatantly clear. They are not pretending to care where their product comes from or what it means. The campaign, to me, transforms the drinks into products, lifting the whiskey away from it’s ageing process, the vodka from it’s oh so pure and partying image, and the gin from that infamous chef…
Diageo routinely plough millions into their advertising campaigns, across tv, cinema, press, etc etc, and whilst it does work, with the company owning some of the most commercially successful brands, for me, it just seems so shallow - using the same message across their core brands clearly showing a lack of faith in the products, more the message “Whatever you want to drink tonight, drink…this”
London Cocktail Week - A Short but Sweet Shopping List
Last week London was taken over (even more so than usual) by bartenders, brands and booze fans alike (N.B admiral alliteration.) Cocktail Week invaded all areas of London to entice and share mixology tips, garnish art and even chicken infused Mezcal (I kid you not); essentially there was something for everyone.
The schedule was jam packed, brimming with both commercial brands and independent distillers eager to impress the lushes of London. Wednesday evening, in a half empty Shoreditch Town Hall - bottles and brand ambassadors lured trade and the public in, to try various liquers and spirits, and amongst the many vodkas, tequillas etc there were three particular brands that stood out, and not because their advertising budgets impressed, but because their spirits were enjoyable and most importantly memorable. So here they are, three to add to the liquor cabinet.
1.) Sipsmith Barley Vodka - One of the first new Vodka distillers in London (a modest home in Hammersmith) in almost 200 years, the notes on this spirt are sweet and well rounded, and nothing close to the low budget vodka you might experience if you were there. www.sipsmith.co.uk
2.) Chase Marmalade Vodka - Although a rather respectable brand in it’s own right, to celebrate their 2nd anniversary of the Chase Original Vodka, this pretty much sold out specialty vodka has been marinaded with marmalade, and then infused with extra oranges to give this a delightful and rather moreish taste. www.chasedistillery.co.uk
3.) Bloom Gin - Marketed for the ladies, and not as mascara thinner as Dylan Moran might believe, notes of violet and juniper come through beautifully; notice the lack of burn on the back of the throat, to be enjoyed with tonic, or without… www.bloomgin.com
It’s funny what you notice once your attentions been drawn to something… Last Saturday morning I embarked upon a casual walking tour of East London, discovering the varied and interesting street art within the Hackney boroughs, brought to the unsuspecting Londoner from the likes of Vader, Ben Eine and Stick - to name a few. The tour, brought to my attention the innovation, and often daring attempts of the many grafitti artists, who battle against the stigma attached to vandalism, and local councils desperate to quiet the sometimes controversial and outspoken work of those bold enough to try.
Following many attempts to commodify, and make more publicly acceptable this modern take on art, encouraged by the oh so respected President of the US himself as well as our very own political heads, much of this once perceived act of criminality is increasingly being commissioned to form educational tools, and make prettier local community areas, showcasing the individualism of areas in preparation for 2012.
Fusing together another passion, after a casual Friday drink in Soho yesterday, choosing ‘Graphic’ on Golden Square I was pleased to find the popular work of Ben Eine decorating the walls of the respectable cocktail bar. Graphic is known for collaborating with different artists every six months, aiming to keep the interior of the bar fresh and exciting. Upon entering the bar, I was instantly struck by the notorious colourful letters adorning the shutter come walls, with individual original pieces hanging also. The bar itself boasts an ambitious cocktail menu, with an impressive back bar and highly skilled bar staff, as you should expect. but I was further impressed by the hospitality, and interest of the manager, who was eager to chat to me and my colleague, providing me with insight to the bars history, and the thought process that went in to choosing which artists got to have their way with the bar.
Street art is without a doubt the ‘in thing’ right now; how long that concept will continue to be popular, only time can tell. Logically as with all great things, as it becomes ever more commercial, and readily available to the public on a post card, or a book in Urban Outfitters, the respect and and interest in it may start to fade. But for now, it can’t be a bad thing for up and coming artists to showcase not only their skills, but their opinions too. The expanding concept has definitely struck a cord, so expect more content on this to follow… And possibly some photos too.
Bandleader Stuart Murdoch urges fans to get out and recreate the album cover (i.e. chalk up ‘write about love’), take photos, and submit them to a Flickr pool. The best submissions will receive ‘a trophy of some sort.’
The inevitable has happened to my Tumblr, I’m going to admit defeat and write about the ‘monster’ that is GaGa.. How I loathe her, unashamedly and without fear of being trampled by the horrible hordes (hello alliteration) who seem to devour and celebrate her ‘originality..’
But enough with the sentiments…What inspired this blog was the headline on the NME site (of all places) this week that her newest video for Telephone has reached 1 billion views - and is the first person to do so. Whooo - go GaGa, the rest of the world seems to be. But it did strike me as curious, why has the world gone youtube crazy for such a branded video, and thus an overzealous advert? It self consciously, within the first minutes or so features around 5 product placements, and continues to do so for the entire FIFTEEN minute duration. I’d watch the video and count them all, but I refuse to add to her already oversubscribed click through rate.
Attempting to make this rant over the ‘new Madonna’ somewhat academic, it makes me wonder how we commonly know when we’re being advertised to, begging that age old advertising ethics questions. No doubt, many of GaGa’s adoring fans are little girls, desperate to be just like her, and therefore in need of some counselling… But will be watching the video, adding to the views and taking in the products which adorn the ‘music’ video… I’m sure the PP within the video can be justified as being relevant to the content of the video, but are they neccessary? Predictably the release of the video has been met with hype, as well as countless blogs (such as this) commenting on the apparent abundance of advertising. Where, however, is the line between celebrity endorsement, and a pumped up advert/music video? The lines are repeatedly blurred, pop songs are in adverts, adverts are in games, celebs are in adverts. Who’s to say what’s what anymore, where will it end!?
During a hunt for vintage advertising, and potential material to analyse I found this…
As brands continue to battle through a ‘heavily cluttered bla bla…’ there’s a definite influx in creativity relying on nostalgic imagery as a way to connect with the brand. Looking at examples such as Persil and Hovis as a starting point, since the recession hit poor old Blighty more adverts seem to proclaim how they’re eco friendly, using recycled imagery to resonate and remind the consumer of their historic presence. However, with this Vitamin Water advert - the message is different. Granted, you instantly notice the product through it’s juxtaposition, and it subtly eludes to the powers of the beverage, surely if it worked then it’ll work now. I’m just not sure the connection between the two is strong enough to warrant such picturesque imagey, for an over exaggerated commodity.
We live in a ‘celebrity obsessed’ culture, granted. The vast proportion of the country are spending their time not learning or infusing their minds in books (remember those) but magazines like Hello! and OK. To gain what? A few more mind numbing facts fromt the newest faces drivelly life. Sure, everyone likes to validate their lives by comparing it to the unattainable, but why the need to know everything? This thought particularly occurred to me the other night, when watching television with my housemates, the NEWS informed us 'Tiger Woods prepares for his televised public apology…' At this, we all exclaimed Why?!
Why the need for a marriage that neither interests or involves the majority of the world, and an apt comment ‘surely he should just be apologising to his wife?’ The common defence would be that it’s our right as the public to know these so called exciting and interesting excerpts about total strangers, it was their choice to be in the public eye after all. So it may just be me, and a select few with this opinion - but who really cares!?
This may be a slightly predictable tumblr post, coming from a (current) die hard singleton. But, Valentine’s day this year, seems to be on steroids. Driving through Chelsea yesterday at night, my eyes were lit up by a rather over the top red and pink light display from…Paper Chase! Yes it’s cynical, yes it’s miserable - but why the fuss? I remember being little and giving cards to boys I had ‘crushes’ on, as after all - isn’t that what the big V day is for, to send cards to the people you like, SWALK from a ‘Secret Admirer?’ Now it seems to be for everyone and anyone, you can even give cards to your dogs for crying out loud.
So…attempting to come from a slightly intellectual, and advertising inspired mind, essentially another great marketing tool from Mr Clintons, it’s self professed lack of caring for placing a demand on couples to fess their undying love for eachother feels a bit predictable, overdue and with far too high expectations. What ever happened to spontaneity?
General musings from writing another assignment, I’ve started contemplating sex, violence, language, other (?) and how it’s used in advertising as a means of..selling a commodity? Creating desire? Or merely to draw attention to a brand, based on the fact that it’s racy, provocative and sure to produce controversial reaction. It’s no secret that sex sells, from the girls parading outside clubs in furry boots and bikinis handing out leaflets, to the sexualised unrealistic houewife trussed up in her marigolds to sell Mr Muscle to the next doting Stepford bride. But what I’m most interested in at the moment is, if we are positioned to look at an ad in the same way we would to contemplate (and I use that word loosely) a piece of pornographic imagery, what does the brand really want? What’re they saying? The Tom Ford adverts particurly intrigue me, having only seen them for the first time today - I can’t decide whether they’re outrageous, or spot on. After all…why do we spritz ourselves with fragrances in the first place, if not to succeed and attract the other sex…
I feel incredibily old when I write this next sentence, but, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to…”
During a rather reminiscent session, my friend and I shared a reflective moment whilst revelling in the wonder that was Rosie and Jim! We instantly had to YouTube our favourite episodes, which conjured a rather nostalgic feeling as I was brought back to my childhood, when my grandad would babysit me and I would sit avidly in front of the television singing along and laughing at the two puppets who taught me so much. Whilst I’ll accept that animation is amazing, there are some programmes which children are shown today that are just beyond me. They seem to neither teach, offer anything intellectually stimulating, nor morally rewarding - no wonder girls are putting make up on younger and younger and swear words are ever more rife amongst the ten year olds. The influx in reality shows like Super Nanny, and Brat Camp seem to come hand in hand with the awful content waiting for children when they arrive home from school. I think I may have to purchase the box sets of programmes like Rosie and Jim now, probably a good investment - who knows what will be on Tv when it comes to my future cherrubs viewing pleasure…
Come to the conclusion, that whilst it is without a doubt one visually amazing film, and it cost lots of money bla bla marketing bla, Avatar, the now most successful film according to box office figures is just Pocahontas in space with blue people and soldiers, instead of Indians.
So, James Camerons money (both ideas) are neither original, nor ambitious. Well, ok, ambitious - but not different…
Whilst over the past nearly completed three years at university, I have (almost) come to terms with paying a small fortune for my degree, which will differentiate me from everyone else with a degree - note the use of HEAVY sarcasm, there are some things which take the piss. Paying for copies of Unit Guides is one of them, another is the paying to be taken to London to receive an assignment brief neccessary for not only the completion of my final year, but the success.
Thanks a lot Bournemouth University, I don’t need to eat
New York New York, as everyone knows it...even if you haven't been there
So, I’ve just returned from my third trip from New York - potentially my favourite place in the world, and one where I hope to reign for a year or two. But, whilst writing part of my dissertation (finally) today, and mulling over some more Post Modernism joy, it did occur to me how much of a construction The Big Apple really is. Whether you’ve been there or not, most peole feel like they know New York, thanks to the copious films, television programmes and posters, the concept of what New York is familiar to everyone. It is pretzels, it is Starbucks, it is bagels with cream cheese, it is a big cup of coiffee, a cosmo, an I Heart NY tee, the bright lights of Times Square, etc, etc…
So why do we, and I openly include myself in this, buy into what the media saturates us in, and implies that we need to witness to see the world. With more films focusing attention to Vegas as well, the constructions of the world are expanding - making the viewer desperate to see themselves, hoping it is all it lives up to. Just a casual ponder…
PS: New York succeeds in doing this - for me anyway!