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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like the Christmas Ad – 5 Online Treats You Might Have Missed

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Blood Drive SantaAh, Christmas, that most magical time of year when treetops glisten, children listen and companies vie to outdo each other with their seasonal offering.   From the love it or hate it ‘Do bears really need alarm clocks?’ John Lewis animation to the ‘Hug a Huggie’ Boots film or even the poor Santa brainwashed into selling sofas on the DFS ad there’s something for everyone.

But it’s not just about glitzy TV ads.  There’s some cracking online and experiential work being produced this year and as it wouldn’t really be Christmas without a festive round-up here’s some of our favourites!

WestJet Christmas Miracle

Melting hearts across the twittersphere here’s what happened when Canadian Airline WestJet turned their airport into a Santa’s Workshop.

 

Coca Cola and the Christmas Jumper

With the Christmas jumper ruling the shops this year Coke certainly recognise a zeitgeist when they see one.  Their new site allows you to make your own perfect woollen creation.  Get designing!

www.sweatergenerator.com

 

Give Blood – This Year’s Must Have Gift

Alongside this moving campaign to remind people that the greatest gift they might give a child this year is Blood, the NHS also pulled of rather a pleasing stunt at their Oxford Street Donation centre.  A line of Santa’s dressed in traditional red suits were seen going into the building only to come out looking much whiter!

 

The Greatest Story Ever Told – Twist and Shout

Have you ever wondered how social media would impact the greatest story ever told? Twist and Shout’s Christmas Viral calls the security of the traditional Nativity into question.

 

Buy Dad a pair of Socks He’ll Actually Wear This Year! – Universal Multigrip

As we made this one we might well be accused of favouritism for including it here, but we loved getting to make something so fun and festive for our client so no apologies from us!

Full version 

Short version 

What have we missed? Tell us about your favourite Christmas videos and campaigns below!

Hang On, I Think This Might Go Viral In A Minute

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Dandelion-ImageYes, there are absolutely exceptions and yes, you should definitely aim high and shoot for the moon, but at the same time you need to be realistic and not convince yourself it’s the end of the world when you land unceremoniously on next doors lawn. Especially, if it’s a nice lawn.

People see big businesses creating virals alongside user generated content of kids biting other kids fingers, or cats pretending to be ninjas and think there must be some secret formula, but their really isn’t.

Simple fact is seeding is absolutely key when it comes to launching a brand viral. It’s all about platform, and the vast majority of businesses don’t have a big enough platform or budget to go globally viral.

Those that are neither unusual user generated content nor big brand virals occupy an exceptionally narrow corridor. There’s some luck and some serendipity to it and absolutely it helps if you have an idea that spreads, but there are plenty of potentially great virals out there that never made it. And there are a lot of disappointed people that expected them to.

We’ve convinced ourselves that ‘going viral’ is about people talking about your film or idea from Watford Gap Services all the way to South of the Mekong Delta. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Instead, ‘going viral’ can take place within a small target audience, specialist group or community. If your client base is 300 CIO’s or 10,000 one legged Hungarian Pole Dancers, then ‘going viral’ just means getting it to spread within the confines of those groups. If it moves outside of them, great, but it’s not the be all and end all. Think in terms of a cold spreading around a nursery and not a global flu pandemic. After all, if every would be viral launched spread globally, we’d get pretty sick of them.

Location, Location, Lighthouse?

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A case study by the sea

A case study by the sea

97.265%* of all the case studies we’ve ever been shown are filmed in an office.  But surely the point of making a video is to show off the company’s uniqueness, either through building the brand or demoing new products or a way of thinking?   So what’s with this stunning lack of variety?  Well the upside of course is that company offices are a snap to organise, what with being quite literally on the organisation’s doorstep.  That’s great, especially for quick turnaround projects.  However the downside to all that convenience is that the end result will look just like every other case study that your company has ever made.

Just because you’re creating video for business it doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same old tried and tested locations when you come to shoot it.  With a bit of imagination and just a tiny bit more effort you could end up with something really quite special.

Here’s in no particular order are a few of our favourite alternative locations, let us know if we’ve missed any,

  1. A Coffee Shop
  2. Innovation Centre
  3. Sports Stadium
  4. Library
  5. The Zoo
  6. An Art Gallery
  7. Fruit Market
  8. The Seaside
  9. Historic House
  10. A Disused Church
  11. Cave
  12. Rooftop
  13. The London Eye
  14. The back of a Limousine
  15. A Park
  16. Your customers premises
  17. A theatre/film set
  18. Concert hall/recording studio
  19. A maze
  20. A chocolate shop
  21. Lighthouse

So next times you get the opportunity to shout about your company why not try thinking outside the boardroom?

(*Made up stat but it’s a really is almost all of them.)

 

3 Viral Video Ideas You Can Have For Free!

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dog-skateboardIf we got a pound every time a company asked us to make them a viral video we would literally have £33.50.  So we thought it might be a good idea to run through the basics…

Viral videos build brand awareness, they rarely contribute to sales.

99% of viral videos are either; funny, cute, sexy, violent or show a genuinely amazing feat.

They elicit a strong emotion, be that OMG! Or Gross!

A viral video is not an Infomercial.  That means the moment you find yourself saying, “I’m not sure the messaging is coming through strongly enough.” you need to stop.  Instead REMOVE any dialogue that extolls the features and benefits, any lingering product shots, and any stats.

Having the Big Idea is not always enough. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will still need either a huge online network of friends or be comfortable spending money on seeding.  Ideally both.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing.  Several big names have ended up offending their audience or having their idea hijacked by a rival company or group.

Still want to make a viral? Well then here are three viral video ideas you can have on us, just pop your logo at the end of one of these success magnets and let us knew how you get on!

1. The Queen chowing down on a Big Mac – One’s loving it

2. The first skydive from the moon back to earth – your brand on that spacesuit.

3. A cat attacking a printer while Chuck Norris watches– comedy gold.

Inappropriate Uses for Vine in Business

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iStock_000003705180Medium

There are a hundred different blog posts about how to use Vine effectively as a business tool. For instance, this one from Chris Brogan does the job perfectly.

But what about inappropriate uses for Vine? What’s the best way to damage relationships, cash flow and reputation all within 6 seconds?  We’ve had a bit of a think and here’s a few ways we think you could do it.

1) Customer endorsements are the best! Why not see how great an endorsement your customer can give you whilst you mercilessly throw peanuts at them? You can call them 6-second endurance endorsements. Take it Ken! Take the rain of peanut misery and tell us just how much you love us as a supplier!

2) Barry in Telesales is a closer. Film Barry as he lambasts 83 year old Mavis, from Sutton-on-Trent, for “stringing him along”. Snigger along to create your own laughter track. After all, Barry IS sales and the perfect poster boy for your business. No-one escapes Barry’s sales net.

3) You’ve landed that big client! Now tell everyone what you REALLY think of them.  Maybe using gestures and props. Don’t hold back. What’s the worst that could happen?

4) Show the world what a laid back fun loving bunch you are by filming the next office social at Webster’s Karaoke & Grill. Now sit back and watch the comments come rolling in as eagle eared viewers try to decide exactly what animal it is Darren from Tech Support is strangling live on stage.

5) Film Wendy from Finance as she walks down the corridor with her skirt tucked into her knickers. This is better than the time you filmed Henry the janitor choking on a skittle. Make sure you get the company logo in the shot though!

6) Your CEO is great! Everyone loves him and when he talks it’s like he’s delivering little flying candy hearts of joy directly into your ears. Your customers can’t get enough of him on-screen. So give them what they want! Show his vulnerable side. A sneaky peak of him in action next time he pops to the loo should do the trick.

Well frankly there are just a few. Why not see if you can come up with any yourself and post them below?

Teeth Aren’t The Future

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If you’ll pardon the expression I’m sick to the back teeth of toothpaste adverts. I can’t believe that these aren’t being created by the same small number of companies who’ve created an unhealthy stranglehold over the dental hygiene market.

I can’t stand Sensodyne adverts with short interviews of dentists or guineau pigs shot from seemingly a thousand different adverts. Short case studies that showcase toothpaste as a life changing enamel pleasing messiah. Similarly, I’ll never cease to tire of ads from firms like Colgate where we see a team of intrepid scientists dutifully checking and rechecking results as an animated representation of Colgate bravely deflects food and drink from the tea. I use Colgate. I consider it my mission to make this heroic guardian suffer.

Compare this, if you will, with the treatment our eyes get in advertising. Unlike their mouthy equivalents eyecare adverts get lovely creative advertising and memorable slogans like “should have gone to specsavers”. Why must our teeth settle for second best?

In all seriousness, I find it strange that certain products or services slip into a rhythm in which seems to permeate that whole industries advertising. It’s when a company like Dove steps out from what we perceive as the advertising norm for that industry that they really start to stand out. I’m not advocating a “Campaign for Real Teethcare” or “hilarious” skits that involve people’s teeth being knocked out with a “Should Have used Aquafresh” tagline, but the brand that goes different I’d wager will steal quite a march on the rivals. Especially when their rival is still busy setting up a thousand different cameras in a dental surgery to capture that exact moment the teeth glint when the dentist smiles.


 

10 Ideas Internal Comms Can Steal From the Film Industry

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It’s always seemed a shame that corporate comms don’t get the same fanfare as the latest blockbuster release.  After all the launch of your latest initiative will have more of a direct impact on your staff than any action thriller or rom-com but it’s unlikely you’ll see employees quoting lines such as “ Get busy sellin’ or get busy fillin’” or “No one puts JC Electricals in the corner.” 

The film industry invests a serious amount of time and money into making sure they promote their movies because they know it works.  It’s how they’ll get people in the cinema and talking about the film off and on line.

Let’s assume for a moment that your marketing budget doesn’t quite run to hiring Stephen Spielberg to direct your next film or getting Scarlett Johansson to star in it – what else could you try?

1.      Hold a Red Carpet Screening 

Well why not?  Some clients are lucky enough to have their own onsite screening facilities but plenty of venues have a cinema screen that you could hire out for less than you’d think and it certainly delivers the wow factor.

2.      Staff as Extras

Throwing in a few cameo performances from your staff is guaranteed to get a buzz going.  Whether you run a competition beforehand or just rope a few people in on the day, classic roles such as Man Drinking Coffee or Woman in Lift always go down well.

3.      Create a  Trailer

Releasing a film without a trailer is pretty unthinkable nowadays and there’s no better way of warming your audience up to your upcoming campaign.

4.      Ambient Media  

This covers everything from Film Posters to Life Size Character Cut Outs, Messages on the Canteen Menus or even Digital Projections.   By putting your message out in unexpected places it stands a much better chance of being remembered.

5.      Create a stunt to launch the campaign

The film Up! sailed hundreds of brightly coloured balloons through Tower Bridge, The Simpson Movie rebranded 7 eleven stores as Kwik -Marts and painted a giant naked Homer holding a donut on to a hill in Dorset.   Your stunts don’t have to be as expensive as that but they should be big and bold.

6.      Brand and styling

Every film has its own brand – from the dark brooding style of the Dark Knight to the feel good branding of Happy Feet. Typeface , logos and slogans will all help create a sense of event.

7.      Website

By creating your own microsite or branding a section of your company’s intranet you instantly create a place where the films themselves and any other materials can live. It’s a great way to reflect your campaign and an even better way of monitoring traffic.

8.      Merchandise

Everyone’s familiar with pens, mugs and key rings so why not try something a little more unusual to get your message across?  Just make sure it works with the brand your creating.

9.    E-learning

If you running some e-learning modules as part of your campaign why not bring it to life with some characters from the campaign? Short video clips as rewards for getting the answers right can invigorate the learning experience.

10.   Games & Competitions

To really galvanise the team why not create a game or competition to get people actively taking part in the campaign? Easy to understand and simple to play work best.

Why not let us know if you’ll be trying any of these tips with your own campaigns?

Making Lemonade Out Of A Communication Lemon (And How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again)

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So you’ve just launched your new campaign – unfortunately the film you though was the firework has caused more of a whimper than a bang, so what do you do?  It may be tempting to just move on and forget it ever happened, but hang on there might be something more you can do.

Film, what film?

Firstly check that people are actually watching what you’ve made. It needs to be easy enough to find online or on your intranet site.  Would it have benefited from some more promotion? A poster or email campaign can help let people know why they should be watching.

What do you want me to do again?

If people aren’t reacting it could be a simple case of information overload – consider whether a  re-edit to create a series of a shorter film with a single message might be more effective.

So why am I watching this?

A bit of contextualisation can make all the difference, especially if you’re asking people to change their behaviour.  Look at new ways to communicate the film’s relevance to your audience.  Adding a message from your CEO or independent expert could help add weight to your case.

Who do you think you’re talking to?

Make the film too basic or too high level and you can risk alienating your audience.  By adding in vox-pops or testimonials from people that represent your viewer you can show you’re listening.

But did it have to be so boring?

Although it’s always better to get creative at the start of the project it’s not impossible to add a little extra sparkle later on.  A great voice over or piece of music can change the whole tone of the piece and if you’ve got some great comments but no visuals why not turn them into a quirky animation?

And the really good news is once you can pinpoint why a particular piece of communication isn’t working then you can target your next piece of communication far more effectively.

If you’ve saved a project from the brink of disaster or just been subjected to one why not tell us about it?

The Cheat’s Guide to Measuring Success

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Hurray, you’ve finally launched your new video.

It looks great, came in on budget and is bang on message.   Which just leaves us with the BIG question – is it working?

The good news is that even if there wasn’t a measurement strategy put in place at the start of the project there’s still plenty you can do to find out;

1.       Start by reminding yourself of the original objectives for the project.  Are YOU happy that it’s doing what it set out to do?

2.       Ask around.  You probably know at least a couple of people in your target audience so why not do a quick straw poll and ask them what they thought?  (If you’re met with blank stares you may need to think about upping the video’s promotion.)

3.       Check the view count.  Understanding statistic can be a bit complicated but all you’re really looking for at this stage is how many people have actually watched your video and if they made it to the end.

4.       Find out how the video is being used – if it’s a sales demo is it used to start conversations with customers? If it’s a training video is it being watched in full?  If the answers no then why not?

5.       Is it being shared?  Around the company? With friends and family?  Even globally? Chances are that if people are forwarding it around or talking about it with each other then the video has done its job.

Hopefully after doing a few of those simple checks you’ll be breathing a big sigh of relief, but if not keep an eye out for next week’s blog where’ll be giving you some hints on what you can do next.

In the meantime we’d love to hear your experiences of trying to measure success.  Is it something you insist on? Or avoid like the plague? Any hint or tips we’ve missed?

Putting All Your Eggs In One Channel

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Over the last decade there’s been a drive towards specialism fueled by the rise of new marketing channels and from what we’ve seen it’s driving clients mad.  I’ve had several conversations with clients over the last couple of years, all bemoaning the fact that they’ve had to work with several different companies to get the campaign they wanted.

And who can blame them? Running the average campaign can take 1 Creative Agency for the concept and strategy, 1 Digital Agency to create the website and online assets, 1 Production Company to create the moving media, 1 Print Company for direct mail and 1 Social Media company to run the twitter feed and write the blogs.  That’s not to say these individual specialists don’t play nicely together but without one company acting as project lead, that job falls to the client who’s busy enough as it is…

That’s one of the reasons why we set up Workspace 1.

For several years I’ve seen (and preached to those who know me) that specialism is not the all singing and dancing advantage it once was. Every new innovation or marketing development has seen the creation of another breed of specialist agency, which increases the risk of siloed marketing as a specialist looks to move the focus of the project into their own area of expertise.

Clients want (correct me if I’m wrong) effective, clear and comprehensive solutions.  I’ve got absolutely nothing against specialist organisations in fact, we work alongside an awful lot of them to offer the full range of services we do, and will continue to do so. We merely believe that offering a comprehensive solution to our clients creates more effective communication than putting all our eggs into one channel.

Traditionally we’ve gravitated towards projects where film becomes the central pillar of the creative, as they’re a very effective communication tool, and they’re also fun to make.  We recognise, however, that it’s important to create a well-rounded eco-system around whatever the core platform is (whether this is film, web an event etc) which is controlled by one creative point of contact.  This approach ensures a creative continuity and means that no matter how the customer engages with a campaign, the level of quality and messaging is the same throughout.

There are plenty of people out there who only make films. We make dreams come true. Your dreams. Come run free in the fields with us.

 

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