Sunday, 9 December 2007

Advertising Woes

Recently I was designing the flyers for our All Day Grazer delivered healthy food pack. Initially I designed the front which compares what products you could get from our competitors with the constituents of our product. This can be found on the website through the following link, with the menu and the back of the flyer.

The back of the flyer has a description about grazing and the benefits to the consumer of eating in this manner. However, I was originally going to use the poison pen letter concept that is attached to this post. The concept was scrapped after feedback from a few people that they didn't get the idea behind the advert.

It's very easy to get too close to a design and lose sight of the initial impact of the piece on the viewer. I've found this to be the trickiest part to design - making the idea so loud and clear that anyone can get it.

The idea is that somebody (person X) has come back to their desk to find a poison pen letter from their colleagues, who are jealous that person X is keeping the source of the All Day Grazers to themselves. This is meant to be a jokey reflection of office politics and based on the insight that women in particular are jealous of other women who are eating healthily. We discovered this phenomenon when we trialled All Day Grazer with a female city centre office worker.

I chose "Monkey Pen-Pot" as an item that the jealous colleagues had stolen from person X's desk as a ransome and have since decided that "comedy pen-pot" is a bit clearer although I'm trying to think of an item that would make the idea even clearer - any suggestions?

Since putting the ad together I decided that it would be clearer if the shot was retaken and looked more like the notice had been stuck to person X's screen and also that in fact it would be better to give person X a name, so the note reads "Rachel, tell us where you get...". This is because the people who have seen the ad think that it speaks directly to them and so confuses the concept.

Does anyone have any ideas what I could do to communicate the idea in a clearer way? What are your reactions to the ad? That is, do you get it in anyway or is this a lost cause? I love the idea and think I could make an interesting campaign out of it but I'm really struggling with the execution.

An Introduction

Nothing in life has interested me so much as the peculiar 'magic' that makes some things work and some things not. As a child I was no end of frustration to my ever patient mother because I had to find out how things work. Picture the scene on Christmas Day of a brand new electronic toy completely dismantled and laid out on the floor and you are someway to understanding her frustration.

Cut to the present and I'm still doing the same, only the goalposts have moved some considerable distance since then. No longer am I playing with Lego and Meccano but my very own business along with my partners Joe and Silvano. In light of this my quest is to understand the reason why some products and services resonate so strongly with their customers and become household names in a very short space of time whilst others flounder and fail.

My studies of maths taught me that everything starts with a definition so let's take a look at a couple (Cambridge Online Dictionary):

  • boom
    A period of sudden economic growth, especially one that results in a lot of money being made.
  • bust
    If a company goes bust, it is forced to close because it is financially unsuccessful.

There are a many spectacular examples of each in the news nearly everyday but one success story that lives in my mind is the launch of the Arctic Monkeys. The band was catapulted to super stardom with their number 1 hit "I bet you look good on the dancefloor" with no money spent on marketing or advertising. It is no secret that MySpace was pivotal to the bands success but what may surprise you is that they didn't even know what MySpace was and their fans set it up! Check out the band's page on Wikipedia for more info:

Wikipedia History of the Arctic Monkeys

Perhaps the most spectacular business failure in recent memory is the fate of Barings Bank, not simply because of the scale of the disaster but the nature of the business that was brought under. Barings was the oldest merchant bank in England until one man caused it to go bust in 1995. The repeated failures of Nick Leeson brought the bank to its knees, who lost £827m over the course of three years and caused a major shift in the history and methods of banking.

Wikipedia Collapse of Barings Bank

In this blog I aim to begin to understand what are the common denominators behind both boom and bust, so that I can avoid the latter and hopefully embrace the former in my own business activities. I will also give an account of the challenges that I face in life because a topic such as this must cover all areas of human experience. Hence the scope of the content covered within this blog is not limited in anyway and I take the opportunity to encourage my readers to post their thoughts on the topics, no matter how trivial they might seem to be.

So I pose the question "Boom or Bust?" and hope my mother's suffering was not in vein!