Sex doesn’t always sell.

Vita Coco deserves great credit for creating a category that most thought would be a fad.

However, looking at this latest effort, one can’t be more disappointed. What’s the insight? Couldn’t get more generic if you tried.

It doesn’t take an awful lot to deploy sexual innuendo for commercial benefit. But successful innuendo requires a bit more class.

A word on the branding: while I’m a huge believer in the gut, there are some wise words from Millward Brown that will always remain with me: it doesn’t matter how many logos or mentions you have; it’s all about how meaningful your brand is to the story. This one’s a case of ‘insert brand here’. Wish you hadn’t.

Lazy advertising folks.

Subtle. Sophisticated. Super.

There’s a lot of chatter in marketing forums at the moment as the industry looks to reinvent itself. An obsession with ROI without the requisite tools to measure actual effectiveness over time is resulting in an array of different responses: ‘the <insert masterbrand colour> is where we get our ROI’; ‘why is the agency not getting that spinning product on the endframe is my ROI’; ‘TV still has the stronger ROI for mass brands but shorter timelength slots are the answer. 10″s. 5″s even.’; and the list goes on.

Sometimes one has to ask: Who. Cares?

Do normal folk care for what ROI you were able to deliver? Does their love for your brand stem from the angle at which your chocolate bar, or your coffee jar, or your toothpaste fly into the endframe? I doubt it.

Now, of course, that’s an oversimplistic way to think, but surely, surely winning with strong, engaging ideas, can elevate any brand to the grand old heights of ‘top of mind awareness’. Even a rehash of a decade long David Beckham showing off his midriff for H&M’s benefit can do wonders. I’m loving this:

Making Smiles More Accessible

There is little that can brighten the dampest, darkest and dullest of days like a genuine smile. Regardless of its cause, this simplest of gestures has had a long history of positive contribution to the world. The smile is almost a mini-superpower that we possess. Even babies can decode it!

Everyone wants their brand to be a source of happiness; gratification of some manner is in some form embedded in the purpose of brands. Oral hygiene brands have long played in the world of smiles – the sparkly, the flirty and the vibrant (we can probably all recall and associate with ‘Colgate smiles’). In this hypersocial-selfie-mad world, Listerine has just made a valiant attempt at the reinventing a way to own this space.

Through a modern channel, I think this is a commendable effort to take something so deeply emotional and turn the human truth about the response to a smile into an inspiring and deeply engaging campaign.

Having an impaired sense, even partially so, often results in a dramatic impact on the personality of people; I have seen the most jovial of close friends being socially disconnected as a result of this unfortunate eventuality.

My only hope is that this campaign is managed authentically and with a long term resolve and is more than a mere flash in the pan – there’s a big payoff from owning ‘smiles’ and do it right and you can fundamental add to the way of life of so very many folks. Not everyday you get to make difference with a chemically constituted product enrobed in plastic. Keep it up.

Welcome to the jungle

The telltale sign of the sharing economy beginning to experience maturity across markets in all senses of word is evident from their mainstream advertising. Although the early adopters and their buddies have provided a huge spurt of growth, continuing this sustainably is requiring tech companies to go beyond the often ‘fickle’ early adopter and to speak to the mainstream in a manner and in a channel appropriate to them. Enter emotional telly adverts.

Airbnb seems to have finally found that Marketing Manager they were recruiting long and hard for and the new strategy shows great promise. While the production is impressive, and the creative idea of curious faith in humanity feels like a great pivot, the actual execution of the advert is far from flawless. The construct is too familiar, and while that baby’s walk is mesmerising, the OTT soundtrack peppered with some creepy scripting leaves a mixed aftertaste. It’s good ownable stuff, although I’m yet to be convinced by the oversimplified tube ads ‘mankind’ which cause more confusion than intrigue.

Great effort either way and an inspiration to other tech-led challenges to embrace marketing as a complementary tool even when they have secured fantastic product leadership. Read: Tesla, Uber, Spotify – chop chop.

Coffee vs Gangs – The Beginning

Seldom do you get the opportunity to work on a brand that allows you to lead with the heart. Core to this brand is the belief that it is authenticity and true unedited transparency that you need to exhibit if you want to have a fighting chance with the consumer of today.

There have been many highs (and some lows) on this journey, which I may share in time, but one of the professionally gratifying moment has been the making of this film, the first step of this project visible to the world – it’s been constantly challenging, boundary-pushing, full of organisational friction and leaps of faith, but.. man, has it been fun! Finally at the starting line.

Let me know what you think.

The Game Before The Game

Football season is upon us, and so begins the Game before the Game: the ad battle for share of voice – sponsors wearing their badges with pride, and non-sponsors trying to find more creative ways to get in on the action. Coincidentally, The Game Before The Game is also the title of a five minute film from Beats by Dr Dre, Apple’s newest toy. And I think this one takes the cake in the run for pre-World Cup supremacy. Clever, up’beat’ (couldn’t help myself) and really fresh. Enjoy.