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Denim diapers and the storms they can create.

Here's a perfect example of a great idea for a product and a bad execution on the communication: denim diapers from Huggies.

The new Huggies campaign touts a denim-look diaper design available for a limited time this summer. The online version of the spot has a fashion-conscious toddler strolling pants-full in his jean diaper, with a voice over declaring, "I poo - in blue".

Have a look at the ad here:

I don't particularly like the ad, for two reasons:
- The verbal innuendo is superficial, simplistic and not funny at all. (ok, but that's my personal opinion).
- The baby is portrayed as a grown man strutting his stuff down the street, whilst women and men look on jealously. Sexualization of children, however mild or "cutely" packaged, simple feels wrong. It leads to cognitive dissonance, which of course, negates exactly what the ad is trying to do: sell the product.

I don't find the ad disturbing per se, it's simply a bad ad that markets the product to its target audience (mothers) in an inappropriate way, which I am willing to bet does not appeal to them. Top that off with an irritating VO about "Pooing in Blue" (how creative) and I bet the wear-out factor of his ad is about 1 view.

What's interesting is to look at the creative team at JWT, who designed the ad.
Chief Creative Officer: a man
Executive Creative Director: a man
Creative Director: a man
Art Director: a man
Copy writers (2): both men
Director: a man

This illustrates why mixed gender creative teams are so important - whether you're marketing diapers or tires! The balance of insight, perception and concept and message affiliation brought by both genders would have avoided a costly, horribly ad for what is, no doubt a really cool summer product.

Speaking of inappropriate communication, have a look at this ad: the "Baby version of David Beckham's Armani underwear ad"


The future of marketing: give, get given.

The future of effectively connecting with your consumers lies herein:
if you want their attention, you have to give something first.

No, we don't mean give free product samples, coupons or host competitions to win stuff.
We mean give. Really give. Jump in boots and all. Take part. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Talk the talk, walk the walk. SHOW US YOU CARE. REALLY.

Think Enron. Think Nestle (KitKat) Think BP. They didn't care, and if there is one truth that will increasingly manifest itself in consumers' behavior the coming years it is this: they don't care, unless they know you care. It's the reason why ethical investment funds - the "profits with principle" approach - are booming.

Here's one company who has put the "I care" principle to great use.

Orange Rockcorps is a pro-social production company. It uses the power of music to inspire people to volunteer and give to their community. Over 45,000 volunteers have attended more than 20 live events by artists including Lady GaGa, Snoop Dogg, Buster Rhymes and Nelly. You can’t buy a ticket. You can’t win a ticket. You have to earn a ticket.

Rockcorps was launched in the US in 2005 by 7 friends. In less than 3 years, an audience of millions has heard their message: Give, Get Given.

The concept is simple: give 4 hours for your community with Orange RockCorps; Get Given 1 ticket to an amazing gig in return.

Thousands have already given their time and the organizations goes from strength to strength as it continues to outgrow its 'baby shoes'.

Astute marketers will take note: this project represents huge opportunities! (BlackBerry, Orange, SonyEricsson and UK's Channel 4 have already partnered with Orange Rockcorps).
But before you dive in, a few key prerequisites for success:

1. Be brave. Don't think traditional marketing. If you're going in to "campaign" and not to converse, to take part, to collaborate you can just as well stay in your traditional ivory tower.

2. Don't sell your brand, sell your values. Actually, don't just sell your values: show your consumer that you live them too.

3. Belong. Become a part of your consumer's world. Know what drives them, what they care about, what they are willing to fight for. Now help them.

4. Think partnership marketing. Your consumers don't listen to you as much as they do to each other. Get involved. Foster relationships. Help make their world a better place.

I forgot to mention the word "women". That's because these truths are applicable to all consumers - including women.


Killing your campaign in 3 words.

LONG-TERM, ORGANIC, PARNTERSHIP. These are the three words that explain why your campaign(s) are not delivering the results - over time - that you had hoped for.

Reading the MobileYouth blog this morning, these wise words by Graham Brown really went straight to the heart of the problem:

"Marketing’s biggest weakness is its own soil – it’s inorganic. Marketing seeks short term results and as every caffeine fuelled overworked agency exec knows, short term is the client’s push-button.

TV doesn’t work like its used to but we’re still prepared to pour resources into the channel because it’s what we know, we have the relationships and we’re never going to get fired for committing the bulk of our budget to youth programming.

The future lies in a more organic process – one that requires nurturing the soil, one that requires innovation beyond the ability to wield buying power, one that requires marketers to think up why youth should consider your product the choice of their generation."

And even though Graham is specifically talking about youth marketing in his post, I believe the argument is as applicable to other consumer segments too - whether they be young career women or the 'Second Lifer' women of 55+.

Attention is a brands biggest cost. Demand far outstrips supply. Across all consumer segments.

The answer? Desire Paths.
Desire paths are uniquely individual, organic ways in which we navigate the interests and passions in our lives. Like a woman's 'web thinking', desire paths connect the dots in our lives.

We need to rethink traditional marketing models. We need to show some vision, some courage to break away from a model we all know is dying but which we cling to because it keeps the client happy (today) and delivers results (this quarter).

Food for thought...


A soft approach to a harsh topic.

There's been quite some talk about the video below. It deals with a harsh topic, in a very 'soft' manner.

Right or wrong?

Should it have been more provocative and shocking? Or does it drive home the message just as effectively exactly because it is in such sharp contrast to the gentle 'packaging' of the message?

You decide...