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Nolita 'No Anorexia' Campaign dominates the media

This has to rate as one of THE most controversial (and succesfull) PR campaigns of the past few years...Ok, I consider myself to be fairly up-to-date on my Fendis, Pradas, Guccis, Manolos and the like, so when I saw the schocking image of this ad campaign the first question I asked myself was 'who in the hell is Nolita?' (Communication objective: raise awareness - tick; objective: position the brand as socially responsible, daring, outspoken - tick; PR objective: generate media coverage - tick).

This campaign is a brilliant example of two communication objectives companies so often set themselves, yet so seldomly achieve:

1."integrated" communication efforts. We all know the drill...."all communication efforts - ("through-the-line" in industry jargon), should be complimentary and strengthen the message". But how often have you really seen this in reality? Thought so....

This campaign is a great example of how advertising and PR can and should work together. I'd love to do an AVE calculation and ROI analysis on this one for the about being a good news bearer!

2. This campaign is just great marketing to women! Anorexia and an acceptable body weight for models have been THE topics of discussion the past 2 years. Nolita has taken a high-profile current-afffairs topic and used it to promote its own brand in a positive manner, putting it in direct opposition to the other fashion brands vying for attention around the time of the world's foremost fashionweek happenings.

99% of the world's women are not affected by anorexia directly or indirectly - most of us don't suffer from the disease nor know women who do, yet the pressure all women feel to look great has made many of us irrationally wish at some point in our lives that we did suffer from anorexia, just so we could be a little thinner, a little less 'in love' with food. Of course for 99% of us this is a fleeting, irrational thought that stays just that: a thought. But as this campaign so graphically shows, the reality of anorexia is devastating. And for the first time in history, 'the enemy' (read: the high fashion brands we deem partly responsible for the trend of thin, thinner, thinnest) takes a stand against all its cohorts and says: NO MORE.

So how did this campaign affect women across the world?

- suddenly we all know the brand Nolita

- we automatically link it to the 'No anorexia' campaign

- we see the brand as a vanguard leader, a socially responsible brand that dares speak its mind in the face of an industry that we all know in effect does nothing to reverse this trend, simply denying the problem or turning a blind eye.

Kudoz to Nolita for having the proverbial balls to launch this campaign.

Now what would be really great is if they kept the momentum of the campaign going by extending it to include other communication efforts: a section on their website that educates consumers about eating disorders and anorexia, a blog of the model in the campaign linked to their website, one year from now another campaign featuring the same model hopefully further along the road to recovery,....I can think of a million ways to continue promoting the cause (and the brand) in the coming months...


Anita Roddick - pioneer of smart marketing to women

Long before Dove woo-ed the world with it's 'campaign for real beauty', long before we all discovered that women make or influence up to 80% of all purchase decisions, long before the phrase 'marketing to women' was thrown about in every ad agency across town, there was Anita Roddick and The Body Shop.

Although Roddick was one of the world's great entrepreneurs who made millions by establishing The Body Shop as a sucessfull retail brand across the globe, she was first and foremost a woman and an activist...someone who spoke her mind, cared about the world around her and who never underestimated the power of 'one'. In her own memorable words: "one mosquito can do a lot of damage in a room full of people".

Roddick didn't like the beauty industry, calling it 'the nastiest in the world'. And she didn't like the direction in which, during the late seventies and early eighties, globalized commerce was spreading its first tentacles across vunerable countries and cultures at the expense of all in its way, refusing to play the game by the new rules. Instead, she swam upstream, and founded a company that held values such as respect, sustainability and environmentally-friendly at its core, long before they became fashionable labels most companies wanted to stamp across their brands.

And thus, long before marketing to women became the goose-that-lay-the-golden-egg it is today, Roddick made millions by tapping into those values which we now know women hold dear: be brave, be real, show value.

May her example as individual, woman and entrepreneur shine bright for generations of women to come.

Lessons in Seduction

It must be my all-time favourite lingerie ad campaign: Aubade Lingerie's 'Lessons in Seduction'.

Tongue-in-cheek humour, beautiful photography and a very clear brand and campaign identity that no-one ever confuses for another brand.

But here's the really surprising thing in the oh-so-fleeting world of ad campaigns: this campaign has been running since 1992. read it right...that's a 15-year campaign!

Seeking to revitalize the then-flagging brand, CEO Ann-Charlotte Pasquier fell in love with a publicist's idea to market each new set of underwear as a “lesson” in seducing men. The idea took off, and Pasquier now spends over 12 percent of the company's annual budget on marketing and communication. Sales have soared from €15 million (US$18M) in1992, when the lessons campaign first launched, to $50 million (US$60M) in 2002.

So why does this sexy campaign appeal to women as much as it appeals to men?
Simple: It provides a light-hearted look at the game of love, without being tacky or pornographic. And women (all women) identify with the tongue-in-cheek tips they are given to seduce a man. The tasteful black-and-white photos further help position Aubade as a luxury brand. And the campaign also hits home in drawing together women by the sharing of tips, which are clearly worded from a female perspective.

The campaign's message is clear: create desire, and give consumers (both men and women) a way to fulfill that desire through purchase of the product.

Talk about a win-win situation for both men and women! ...And Aubade of course!

A woman's guide to thriving in the corporate jungle

Any career woman worth her salt will tell you that it’s no easy job surviving in the corporate jungle. Standing your man – or your woman in this case – is not only a question of education, experience and sheer determination, but also of finely honed inter-personal skills.

First Impressions Count – for more than you may think.They say it takes us about 10 seconds to form an opinion of some-one we meet for the first time. In business, make that 3 seconds. Like it or not, people will have judged you on the way you dress, the way you move, the way you do your hair and your hand-shake before you’ve had the time to introduce yourself.The key to a positive first impression is so obvious; we almost always forget to mention it: pose. Nothing beats grace, style and finesse. The best way to convey your sense of ease in the corporate jungle is by dressing appropriately. Emulating your male counter-parts in the way they dress may sound ridiculous, but it will instil in them a subconscious recognition: she is one of us. Invest in a clean-cut black or grey pant-suit; add a splash of colour by donning a bright shirt or t-shirt. Always round off the out-fit with appropriate shoes: polished, black, mid-level heels. …and keep your hairstyle slick and conservative. Tied back in a low pony-tail if long, immaculately combed if short. The corporate world is no place to experiment with creatively brushed, wispy hairstyles or long bouncy tresses cascading over your shoulders. Also keep make-up and perfume minimal and subdued. Going in as Cleopatra incarnate conveys the wrong message altogether.

Body language – the unspoken conversation
Psychologists say that 80% of all communication between people is non-verbal. But what does this imply for women in the business world? Simply said, it means that our spoken words count for a mere 20% of the stimuli on which our conversation partner bases his or her opinion of us. So what are all those unspoken things they use to construct an opinion of us?During a business introduction, our conversation partner will judge us on things such as the firmness of our hand-shake, the way in which we look at them (or try to avoid looking at them), the tonality and pitch of our voice as well as the way we walk and stand. We in turn, will judge the other party’s frame of mind, their attitude (submissive, overpowering, and indifferent) by looking at their body language too. Taking this into consideration, it is worthwhile to train your body in the many little nuances of assertive body language.

A few handy hints:
- Walk the walk! Ever noticed how you form an opinion of a stranger you are about to meet as they walk toward you? The way they look at you, the way they move their body tells us more than the few polite words we will exchange during our introduction! Walk proudly and with purpose. Don’t fiddle with your clothes or files you are carrying to mask nervousness. Remember: 80% of all communication is non-verbal! People first pick up any nervousness from your body language…not your words.

- When meeting someone for the first time, don’t wait for them to extend their hand in introduction. Take charge! Extend your hand first and introduce yourself - it gives a clear signal that you are both self confident and at ease in the situation!

- Be prepared: always have business cards ready. Know the purpose of the meeting you are attending as well as the roles and names of the people attending. (Understanding their role in the decision making process may come in handy too). Make sure you have a pen and writing paper handy. Nothing leaves a worse impression than entering a meeting unprepared. Knowing the agenda of the meeting up front allows you to once again take charge and open the meeting with a targeted question or remark related to the topic at hand.

Choose thy words carefully
People who are trained to analyze our personality type be listening to the words we use can tell a lot from sentences such as “I feel that the deadline you are suggesting is a little unrealistic”, or “I sense that you want to change the day’s agenda”. Using words like feel and sense indicate that the person speaking is very much emotionally driven. Women, who are intrinsically more emotional than men, tend to use such words more often than men do. As a woman in a man’s world, it is best to avoid emotionally loaded words. Notice the difference if the words feel and sense are replaced by less emotional words: “I think that the deadline you are suggesting is a little unrealistic”, or “Do I understand you correctly when you say that you would prefer to change the day’s agenda?”. Words such as think, understand and comprehend immediately make your sentence sound more factual and logical, and thus more suitable to a business environment.

Life in the corporate jungle is cut-throat – even at the best of times. As a woman, surviving (and thriving) requires a lot of guts and finely honed inter-personal skills. But regardless how high our educational pedigree or carefully chosen our words, if our demeanour and body language convey a different message, we loose credibility. Remember…the devil’s in the details!