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Feel The Force of Star Wars

11 December 2015

In just under one week Star Wars returns with The Force Awakens, the seventh instalment of the much-loved franchise.

The film sold a record 200,000-plus tickets in the UK within 24 hours of going on sale in October and is in the running to become the highest grossing film of all time.

The excitement about the film has reached fever pitch over the past few weeks and the buzz about the franchise has been in part due to Disney’s carefully designed marketing campaign.

For the past few months everywhere you looked there was some sort of Star Wars product tie-in with some surprising partnerships including Max Factor, who launched a Star Wars make-up line inspired by the film’s famous characters including C3P0 and a Storm Trooper. 

Even Google joined in the fun with their unexpected Star Wars tool kit and hidden easter egg. Much to the delight of fans everywhere they launched google.com/starwars alongside a feature that styled the search ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far far away’ in the theme of the iconic intro roll. The tool kit feature gives fans the ability to choose the light or the dark side, and then watch their Google apps like Google Maps and YouTube transform to reflect their chosen path.

We did our own bit to contribute to the Star Wars hype with a promotional campaign we developed for Nestlé cereals. The promotion ran across Nestlé portfolio cereals 46 countries in 25 languages – illustrating the global reach of the Star Wars franchise!

The key feature of the promotion included never before seen, motion comic adaptations of two Star Wars junior novels, Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure and Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, produced by the team at Marvel. We also added another dimension to the promotion with a feature allowing consumers to download a Storm Trooper template to make a helmet from the cereal box.

 

Take a look at the promotional website here

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

4 December 2015

December has arrived and the festive period is in full swing - cue festive coffee cups, mulled everything and the realization that you can eat whatever you like ‘because it’s Christmas’.

With this in mind, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at a couple of on-pack promotions floating around on our supermarket shelves right now…

Coca-Cola ‘holidays are coming’ TV ad is back once again for its 20th year (has it really been around that long?) and this year it’s accompanied by an on-pack promotion giving consumers the chance to win a visit from the Coca-Cola truck to their town or win a £5,000 Christmas hamper. The Coco-Cola trucks have become synonymous with the Christmas period so offering consumers a chance to engage directly offers another level of excitement about the brand.

Pringles have teamed up with Twentieth Century Fox for an on-pack promotion offering consumers the chance to download one of 35 digital movies through Google Play with a purchase of two cans. With more and more consumers staying in over the Christmas period, this promotion will appeal to many.

The brand is also extending the use of the tag line ‘Merry Pringles’ found on promotional cans through a social media competition. Social media users simply use the hashtag #MerryPringles to be in with a chance of winning a £300 shopping voucher. Plus, it’s inspired a pun-off in the office so kudos for that #PringlesAllTheWay #MerryCrispmas.

The appeal of these promotions lies in the fact that they add value to the consumers experience without detracting from the brand and in Coca-Cola’s case the promotion actually helps to integrate the brand in consumer’s festive celebrations.

Written by Katie Curran

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Which works best for consumers : One day or longer term retail promotions?

30 November 2015

Black Friday is here again and after last year’s chaotic and shocking scenes where consumers were show fighting for bargains on the TV news, what has all the hype and build up amounted to?

Everyone loves a bargain but how many people want to wrestle this years must have toy from another parent in a feeding frenzy of bargain hunting, when you can calmly do it all from the comfort of your own home and have it delivered to your door? 

Black Friday is said to be a loss leader for participating retailers - driving consumer basket spend on one day only, but if it’s a negative experience in store for consumers they will not return. 

What it has done is created a storm of one day promotional activity which feeds consumers needs to grab a bargain...My family received over 50 Black Friday promotional emails to drive us to shop today.

Early signs show a much slower and calmer start this year as shoppers prefer to go online to hunt for bargains rather than fight for them in-store. This could be partially put down to consumer reaction to last years TV coverage in ASDA that shocked the nation, or it could be that consumers prefer to shop for great offers when it suits them rather than have one day only to get a great deal. 

ASDA who introduced Black Friday into the UK from US parent group Walmart interestingly decided not to run black Friday offers this year due to the negative PR they received last year - but spread offers out over a Black week. 

Some other high street retailers like John Lewis have done the same and offered a week long period of discounts to reduce the costs of early opening on one day and to stop their websites going down under the weight of orders.

As a US concept brought to the UK, Black Friday is here to stay as long as retailers want to start the Christmas shopping period off with a bang and a bargain, but the real winners are the retailers who can supply longer term promotions and offers over Christmas to keep people spending and avoid those unedifying scenes and bad PR from last year.

This seems to suit the UK psyche better and leads to a more British way of Black Friday shopping...Lets hope more retailers go for Black Week experience in 2016.

Simon Stanford

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Minimalism

16 June 2015

Think about this for a second, why is it that as screens are getting more pixels we've started doing less with them? Everything is boxes and solid colours **cough** Microsoft Windows **cough* We all know by now that minimalistic and flat design is trending, almost everything is stripped down to its bear bones. But why have we adopted this new style and where is it going?

Okay I can start by saying that I'm a fan of minimal design, I believe that functionality is way more important than aesthetics. Minimalism is a great way to keep a design easy to understand or use. That doesn't go without saying that sometimes minimal design can be lazy and misunderstood. Bad minimalism looks almost empty with no thought or creativity put in, just boring blank buttons and an ocean of white.

Recently we've seen Apple dive head first into minimal design. You may not think it but Apple used to be far from minimal, instead they used a style of design called Skeuomorphic. This type of design is meant to look like real world objects, take the Instagram icon for example, far from minimalistic!

Here's a few examples of Skeuomorphic design:

iPhone app

UI Clocks

Another great example of skeuomorph is the cork print on cigarette filters, this is here because in the 30's Viceroys was the first cigarette brand to come out with the cork tip.

Now you know what Skeuomorphism is I think we can see why it's slowly becoming a thing of the past. It still has it's place every now and then, but I can't imagine we'll be seeing any designs like IOS 1 anytime soon.

Minimalism is everywhere and it's improving as more and more companies start to hop on the bandwagon. Who knows what it could develop into, I like it and I'm excited to see what's next.

Written by Luc Gibson - Designer

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A Brief History of Marketing

3 February 2015

Marketing is one of the most important ongoing things that happen in the present day, but how did it all come about and where is it heading?

In 1450 Gutenburg invented movable type, allowing batch printing for the first time ever. Information started spreading quickly and with information spreading as so did printed advertisements.

Over time adverts slowly started to find their way onto every new form of media that cropped up during the industrial revolution, including magazines, billboards and the radio. This is really where we started to see the modern day marketing take shape.
For me there is one moment in the history of marketing that stands out most… the first ever TV advert. The first ever TV advert was for Bulova watches and it was incredibly simple, watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss6v5bpxODo

This was a huge moment in marketing as TV ads would go on to become the most successful form of advertising for years to come and it has gradually improved overtime with different companies finding new ways for you to interact with their ads, but I’ll talk more about this later.

Undoubtably the worst moment in the history of marketing was in the 1970s when telemarketing became a common tactic. Until then adverts hadn’t really been that distracting or annoying. Still today nobody likes getting sales calls however it’s still a popular way for companies to promote as they know they have your full attention unlike in adverts or posters.

In the present day TV is slowly coming to an end and the internet is growing quicker than we can comprehend. The internet brought a whole new dimension to adverts, companies and individual sellers could now create something for you to fully interact with. The internet also allows people to purchase goods away from the seller straight after viewing the ads.
Companies are finding new and interesting ways to grab peoples attention with adverts. TV ads are now getting internet hashtags and you can even use the Shazam app to find out more information about what you’re watching. In the cinema they now show interactive advertisements on screen for the viewers to play like a game using their smartphones.

So what does all this mean for the future?

The future of marketing is looking very exciting, with loads of different media all connecting people in a huge variety of ways advertisements and promotions are looking better than ever.
As technology improves we will continue to see changes in the way companies promote their brand and products, maybe one day we will have virtual reality adverts, product holograms or even the ability to taste and smell a product without it even being there.
Marketing has been around essentially for as long as civilisation, it started as simple as a man bustling by his market stool to now one advert from one source being seen by millions across the world. Marketing has come a long way and it’s only going to get bigger, better and more effective.

Written by Luc Gibson


Image courtesy of: http://i.ytimg.com

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