why focus groups can cause failure

Just started reading Alex Bogusky's book 'Baked In'. Here's a taster:

Companies that are built by using mass marketing rend to develop their products similarly. They round the edges, smooth out the differentiating features and try to make products that work for the masses. They use focus groups to make sure products are 'acceptable'. These products certainly don't offend anyone, but acceptable is always the most risky strategy because acceptable is failing at an astounding rate in today's marketing environment…On the other hand, the stuff we notice is the stuff we tend to buy.

Swap your head!

Full window 

Bored of your usual head?  

Want to swap it for a full-size Fairtrade chocolate head? 

Good. Because now you can.

We’re giving three lucky, lucky people the chance to swap their usual head for a solid Fairtrade chocolate head. That’s right. You could win your own real-world chocolate avatar. 

The Fairtrade team and Platform have devised the competition by working in partnership with Divine Chocolate and Parisian Food Designers Sophie Offenstein and Veronique Lorne. 

It’s very easy to take part. Pop down to the window at W+K London Towers (16 Hanbury Street, E1) and simply enter by:

1.     Taking your picture at our touch screen window
2.     Texting your details


Then keep your fingers firmly crossed until March 4th when we announce the winners.

It’s all in aid of the Fairtrade Fortnight Big Swap where we’re asking people to swap their usual stuff for Fairtrade stuff. Fairtrade want one million and one swaps to be registered over the next two weeks. Each swap is proof that the UK supports developing world farmers. 

The Swapometer is currently clocking up a nail-biting 266,643 swaps. There’s still 735,764 swaps to go. So please. People. Get swapping!


Lurpak #piewatch

A nice story to follow the launch of the new Lurpak work which features food cooked by food bloggers.

Pie enthusiasts have been spotting and tweeting (#piewatch) the locations all over london of the following poster:


The pie in question was chicken and fennel pie cooked by Helen Graves


People have tweeted about loads of different locations but the one coming out on top so far is Corner Shoreditch High St/Hackney Road.

Nokia N900 exhibition at the V&A in London this weekend

Nokia UK has joined forces with the V&A  and the current Decode exhibition to showcase some of the amazing stuff you can do with open source technology these days. 

To highlight the potential of the Nokia N900, a handful of hackers from around the world were asked to create something amazing as part of the PUSH campaign. Hacks on show this weekend range from robots ready to dance on command through the power of text-messaging, to a vibrating belt that uses GPS to guide you to your desired destination.

As well as a range of talks and workshops from leading digital artists, the creators will be on hand to explain their journey from concept to creation and demo all of the hacks.

It’s free to attend and open Friday 7.30pm – 10 and Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Here’s a sneak peak at the dancing robot from artist, Giles Walker.

Dancing robot PUSH

wieden + kennedy not about to go bust shock

If, like me, you have nothing to do but quaff champagne and sit in your wing-backed leather chair in your walnut-panelled corner office reading Campaign you'll see on the front page this morning that the main
story is 'Adland hit as billings collapse'.

'BBH, Ogilvy and Wieden + Kennedy among the worst affected according to 2009 Nielsen figures'

The article says:

Following a year in which figures
from The Nielsen Company show scarce instances of billings growth, even
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and McCann Erickson – which held their
positions as number one and number two respectively
saw billings drop by £39.2m and £48.6m, compared with final 2008 figures.

BBH took the biggest knock of the top
20 agencies. Its slide of almost 25% wiped £59.1m off its 2008 billings
and pulled it down the rankings from fourth to 11th. Ogilvy slipped
four places to 13 with a £31.3m billings decrease, while Wieden &
Kennedy dropped six to 31 with a 41% billings fall.

As they say – pause, review, reflect…

These figures measure billings (what
clients spend on media). Not revenue (what clients actually pay us).
They only measure UK billings, whereas most of what we do now at W+K London is

The truth is that in 2009 we grew. We
lost no clients and we won pitches including Nestea, Fairtrade,
Lactofree and COI underage drinking. Yes, most of our clients reduced
their media spend. This is mainly because of the recession, also partly
because dramatic changes in
media and technology are diverting spend away from the 'above the line'
media media measured by Nielsen and into owned and earned media.

Yes, many of our clients did cut
fees in 2009. But the truth is that overall, our revenue (fee income)
increased in 2009 over 2008, and our 2009 profit also actually
increased vs. 2008. We did not, unlike many of our competitors, make
sweeping redundancies. On the contrary, we are hiring. Our business,
despite challenging times, is healthy and growing. We are independent,
profitable and we have no debt. We are not worried about the
future. We are (cautiously) optimistic.As the name of this blog suggests.

And while I'm on the subject of today's
Campaign, you can read on page 2 that 'Lurpak appoints Saatchis globally
after a shoot-out against W+K London'.

Some clarification on this.

We lose nothing. We retain the UK
business, which is 70% of Lurpak's global business. Our work may also run in some markets outside the UK.

Here's what Danny Micklethwaite, Arla UK VP of marketing said to me yesterday:

"The appointment of Saatchi
has absolutely no impact on the UK. We love working with W+K and they
continue to produce brilliant work for us.

The UK represents over 70% of the global Lurpak sales and since W+K started working with us the brand has overtaken Flora to become the
number 1 brand in the category for the first time in history."

Keep the faith, true believers.

Fairtrade do the Conga

This morning our Fairtrade team joined forces with a mass of conga-dancing Faitrade tea ladies for The Big Swap. 

Armed with giant inflatable Fairtrade Cuppas we danced, Mexican waved and chanted our way across London Bridge to Parliament Square. Just one of a huge number of events happening across the UK for Fairtrade Fortnight.


And now there’s no escape for tea-making shirkers in the office. Fancy a cuppa? Spell your order out loud and clear with our handy Make me a Cuppa device:


Don’t forget to upload all your swaps (tea/coffee/chocolate/bananas/ice-cream and much more) here:


(Favourite swap so far? Baboons in Knowsley Safari Park are swapping their regular bananas for Fairtrade bananas.)

47m impressions for a $200K budget? Go to hell!

Wieden + Kennedy’s lanch campaign for EA’s Dante’s Inferno is one of the most complex campaigns in video-game history. It’s also a case study in surprising frugality, with a $200,000 guerrilla budget that yielded 47 million impressions of coverage.

Wieden + Kennedy’s lanch campaign for EA’s Dante’s Inferno is one of the most complex campaigns in video-game history. It’s also a case study in surprising frugality, with a $200,000 guerrilla budget that yielded 47 million impressions of coverage.
Screen shot 2010-02-24 at 22.46.23

Great post on Adfreak detailing the full story of Wieden + Kennedy's nine month campaign for the launch of EA's Dante's Inferno. They write:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Take, for example, the
marketing of Electronic Arts's blockbuster new video game, Dante's Inferno.
Last year, the company set about trying to educate the public not only
about the game but about a 14th-century literary classic and the very
nature of human morality. What ensued was one of the most complex
campaigns in video-game history, one that got EA burned for fakery and
sexism, and then—thanks to a bold change of direction—lauded for
intellect and creativity. It's also a case study in surprising
frugality, with a $200,000 guerrilla budget that yielded 47 million
impressions of coverage. Today, AdFreak walks you through the nine
circles of hell with the man who led the innovative and controversial
marketing campaign for Dante's Inferno. So, put on your asbestos gloves and get ready to descend into damnation.

Worth taking a look at the full story of the campaign here.