Author Archives: maximeln

Video of the Week – Sainsbury makes us remember that Christmas is for Sharing.

Sainsbury’s is the third largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. For this upcoming Christmas, they have released a special commercial. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the retailers partnered up with The Royal British Legion to make a commercial based on true events that occurred in December 1914.

The ad takes place in December 1914, just four months after the beginning of WWI. The movement of the war is already over. Soldiers are now entrenched and spend most of their time hiding and sleeping in the mud. But one event changed the first months of the war. According to historical reports, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, soldiers on the Western front from Germany, the British Empire and France made an unofficial truce where they could meet in No Man’s Land, exchange souvenirs and small presents, sing songs and even play football – or soccer as you call it in North America.

In early December, soldiers from both sides stopped the fighting for a short while to rest and recover their dead. In some areas, they even exchanged conversations. Mid-December, German soldiers started to decorate their trenches with candles and small Christmas trees and ended by singing Christmas carol on the 24th – such as “O Tannenbaum” (O Christmas Tree) and “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night). British and French soldiers sang these songs in their language in response which led to an uncommon moment of peace.

This moment is well-known and even led to a few movies. The ad by Sainsbury’s used information about the “Christmas truce” event and partnered with the Royal British Legion, to make this ad as precise and real as possible.

This ad depicts a true and emotional event that happened 100 years ago. Even if the Great War was one of the deadliest wars with 16 million dead, human behaviour and sympathy led people to make a short truce to exchange with an enemy that they never saw and get back their dead to give them a proper burial instead of a mortar hole in No Man’s Land.

This video relies on something that everyone can do, even the men at war: share. It doesn’t matter your religion, your gender, or your race – sharing is one thing that we can all do at least for Christmas. The chocolate bar featured in the 3-minute film is available in every Sainsbury’s for £1 and all profits will be donated to The Royal British Legion.

To me, this ad is almost a documentary to educate younger people about that period of history and to make everyone remember that Christmas is about sharing no matter what the circumstances. You have one month to keep that in mind!

Video of the Week – Harrods shows the beauty of turning the lights on

Today’s Video of the Week, features one of the most iconic stores in England, Harrods, a former branch of House of Fraser that features on yesterday’s Bad Marketing. This commercial was released last month and didn’t have the same success as Sainsbury’s or John Lewis, but it is nonetheless a fantastic commercial that you have to watch.

Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Knightsbridge, London. It has over 1 million sq ft (90,000m2) of selling space which makes it the biggest department store in Europe. Every year, for the Holiday Season, they dress up the store to wow everyone – from children to grandparents..

This year, to illustrate the transformation for this festive time, they launched a commercial entitled “The Land of Make Believe – A Little Christmas Tail”. It is the first animated film for Harrods that is being use for Christmas.

It features little mice that are getting everything ready for Christmas. They carry gifts and candy canes around a big Christmas tree. One of them, called Peter Pumpernickel would like to help everyone. Unfortunately, the little mouse is too small to help and that makes him very sad. So he decided to quietly slip away so as not to bother his pals.

When Santa arrives, he sees that everyone is working well, but he notices that Peter isn’t there. Once he finds him, he finds a special job for Peter to do, where his small size will be a benefit. Santa carefully picks him up and lifts him to a little hole, that only Peter could fit through. As a result, Peter is able to fix the lights and light up all of Harrods in time for Christmas.

According to Deborah Bee, Director of Creative Marketing at Harrods, “Christmas at Harrods is an enchanting time for everyone. The Land of Make Believe brings the festive magic of the store to life, encouraging Londoners to enjoy Harrods as the ultimate Christmas destination; it’s perfect for the whole family.” And she knows what she’s talking about. Harrods is one of the most-visited places in London by tourists and especially during the holidays. During November and December, Harrods become a magical place that gives everyone stars in their eyes and smiles on their faces.

I couldn’t think of a better story to explain how these lights are turning on for Christmas. A beautifully-animated video that makes everyone happy and that needs to be shared.

*Have a great holiday season everyone*

Bad Marketing – House of Fraser Would Like You to Fall Asleep This Christmas

After last week’s extremely cheesy and sad commercial from Iceland (an ad that could have been screened in July) we have another contender with House of Fraser. To those who know House of Fraser, they have significantly different target markets. House of Fraser is a London-based department store that was created in 1849 by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur in Glasgow, Scotland.

You might know one of it’s competitors: London-based department stores, Harrods. The interesting fact is that, in 1959, House of Fraser bought Harrods. Mohamed Al-Fayed bought House of Fraser in 1985 and separated the two companies in 1994 by putting House of Fraser on the stock exchange and keeping Harrods under his ownership.

House of Fraser has always been quite a big name in the retail industry in the UK. With almost 60 stores, it makes more than one £billion in revenue each year. Earlier this decade, they had one of the fastest growing websites in the UK with comprising of 11% of the group’s sales. Upon hearing that, you might think that their Christmas campaign could be as big and beautiful as last year’s John Lewis one…

Well, it is not. Not even close.

This commercial features 3 young models, 2 young women and a young man that are asked some random questions about Christmas, such as “Best gift you ever received?”, “Hardeest present to shop for?” or “What do you give to a person who has everything?” Probably every question we are constantly being asked. Then, the music kicks in and you see the models in action, posing and so on. Oh, are you bored? So am I!

A bit after, you see the the male model with his grandmother, explaining that he chose to give her a gift, while the 2 girls chose to give gifts to their significant others. You can therefore appreciate their reaction while the tagline “Be You No Matter Who This Christmas” appears.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klr2T_atUlU

What can I say apart the fact that it is a terrible commercial? I truly can’t believe how uninspired and uncreative you have to be to make this. It makes you yawn like it was almost midnight on the 24th… Maybe you should put this ad on repeat to help your kids fall asleep on Christmas Eve?!

I really don’t get the point of showing models giving gifts to their loved ones. Don’t we already know that they are people who have a life, human interactions and feelings? We know that these people aren’t just a picture. You don’t need to feature them in a commercial to make us feel close to them.

For such a company, it is a pity that they could make such a thing and this is why it features on today’s Bad Marketing.

For Iceland Foods Christmas isn’t that special

Good morning December! You’ve finally arrived. We can finally admire your Christmas commercials without feeling too awkward. You never let us down, with your gorgeous and poetic advertisements. But we’re also really amused at the terrible ones!

On today’s Bad Marketing post, we will see a commercial that comes from the other side of the Atlantic, where Her Majesty rules the Kingdom. The United Kingdom has given us a treat with this commercial from Iceland, a food-retailer business specializing in frozen food.

This Christmas commercial features Peter Andre, a British singer, presenter and TV personality. Although I’m not a good judge in this instance, by the reactions of the ladies in this commercial, he must be quite famous and attractive!

The ad starts with an elderly couple doing their groceries at Iceland, when the woman notices Peter Andre. Her husband says that “it isn’t” him, but the woman is quite sure! So Andre takes notice and replies “it is!”

Here’s the joke – he’s not talking about himself. He’s talking about the cake in his hands – the “winter berry glistening gateau” – which he’s thrilled to find at £4 (about $7). “It is!” refers to a festive Christmas cake.

As Andre is ogled and hit on by various ladies at the Iceland grocery store, he can only focus on the Christmas cakes, their deliciousness and their excellent prices. The tagline “That’s why Peter goes to Iceland” ends the commercial and serves as a reminder that cheap products doesn’t mean cheap quality and aren’t only reserved for low-income families.

Where this commercial fails is on the way the message is sent. It’s not just a Christmas commercial. This ad could play at any time of the year, all you’d have to do is remove the garland and Christmas packaging. The cheapness of the products is not so much of a problem. But focusing on it for a Christmas commercial is a bit too déjà-vu as you can see the same kind of commercial during the rest of the year.

You can’t continue your campaign just by hinting that the products are for Christmas. This is a terrible idea. Your daily consumer already knows who you are and your prospects won’t be more attracted to your store than before. It is the same kind of ad they saw the rest of the year, and if they didn’t become one of your customers, chances are that this one won’t help either. As a result, this is why it’s featured in our Bad Marketing blog post!

Video of the Week – Martini Plays on its Italian Roots

Martini launched its new campaign a couple of weeks ago with new commercials and the hashtag #BeginDesire. Spoiler alert: It’s beautiful.

The world famous Italian aperitivo brand has been on our tables since 1863! Made by 3 distillers from Turin, Alessandro Martini, Luigi Rossi and Teofila Sola, the first mix of vermouth and gin was the Rosso. The Bianco, the one that is most commonly known today, was only introduced in 1910 and has been part of James Bond’s – shaken, not stirred – Vodka-Martini cocktail since Ian Fleming’s novel Diamonds are Forever in 1956. James Bond couldn’t represent the Martini brand better as his character incorporates all of the elements of Martini: elegance, glamour and desire. After all, it is an Italian brand !

In this brand new ad, Martini has chosen a poetic route to launch it new campaign with a full 2-minute-long commercial. A classy Italian man finishes his drink at a small caffè and then magically disappears. The young waitress picks up his drink and notices two words on the little Martini napkin: Begin and Desire. From now, a long and poetic run takes place in the streets of Rome.

The man that was drinking earlier, is now on the top of a building standing against a giant Martini sign. With a sign of his hand, the man makes the word Begin appear on the ground and then make it slip it into a little cobblestone street as an invitation. The woman, intrigued, approach carefully the street corner before a man with the word Desire written in the back of its suits grabs her hand to bring her in a crowded and running mob. The soft and simple music gets higher with light notes like a puppet show. The man standing against this huge Martini sign keeps orchestrating the mob, and making the words Desire and Change here and there, but also controlling people’s actions to interact with this young and beautiful waitress. He is like a puppet master, like he was the spirit of Rome, the one that controls everyone’s decisions.

This young waitress is then orchestrated through several fantastical occurrences within the mob of people, until she is put by herself in front of a building with the words “Il Futuro Sei Tu” which literally means “the future is you” just as the music stops. Now she is facing a decision: should she take this suitcase which magically appears next to her?

As the music starts back, she’s grabbing the suitcase and starts running and enter the building that was facing her which turns out to be a train station. She jumps into a futuristic train and discovers a new set of words on the napkin she was holding: Desire Begins Change. The puppet master has finished the job as he blows a kiss while the Martini sign lights up.

This fabulous commercial, directed by Jake Scott, brings everything that represents Martini. The glamourous waitress, the elegant puppet master and the invitation to desire. After seeing this, you are eager to rediscover Martini again, you want to share a classy Italian night with some friends or with your lover.

This ad brings a poetic touch that isn’t often seen in advertising, and for that reason, it is our video of the week!

#Badmarketing – How a Commercial Can Backfire in No Time

Alright players, gather round, Sony PlayStation has a commercial for us. Well, they already removed it from their YouTube Channel, but this is the internet. Once it’s online, it’s hard to take away!

With the launch of the new Xperia Z3 phones, Sony introduced a quite interesting feature to its PS4 and PS Vita: The Remote Play. Now you can keep playing a game from your PS4 on your smartphone and your PS Vita screen. No more limits – you can play anywhere.

To introduce this impressive feature, Sony decided that they should play on the word “play”. They employed TBWA (Brussels) to make the commercial, which is the same agency, but from Paris, that did this controversial poster from 2012:PS VitaWhat could possibly go wrong, right? Well pretty much everything.

The ad starts with an attractive female doctor that knows “you’ve already done it today, and [she] bet[s] you really enjoyed yourself”. Hum… is she referring to the glass of water I had earlier? Then she’s mentioning that you might be doing it “in your bedroom, under the blanket” or perhaps you prefer “the kitchen or on the toilet”. I guess not. She might be thinking about a more playful thing that men do: masturbating.

Then sensual music starts to play as she says, “You no longer have to feel ashamed” since “everybody is doing it because it’s fantastic”. To increase the power of the subliminal message, you have a close-up shot on her lips as she says, “you can do it all day long”. She ends the commercial by inviting you to join her while grabbing her PS Vita and starts to play. Then the double entendre is revealed, “PS Vita Remote Play Never Stop Playing” appears, explaining the point of those 40 seconds of awkwardness.

The traditional ending titles for PS4 “This is for the players” makes you realize something even stranger than the iMac G4 sitting on the doctor’s desk. Why would you use such a cliché to promote a feature to your players. Is every player a sexually frustrated 15-year-old boy, like the stereotype assumes? They reinforce a stupid cliché that people love to spread: a gamer is a teen male that has issues.

Sony’s hardcore gamers are 20 to 35 years old, and there are more women playing than most people imagine. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the average age of a gamer is 31 years old! About 32% of the players are between 18 and 35. And women account for 48% of gamers! Of course, these numbers can be biased by the fact that the smartphone made video games much more easier to access than before but still! If you look at these facts, it flies in the face of most common clichés that have been used for years by the “video games = violence” club.

I know that the commercial could still make you laugh for some random reasons, but let’s be honest, this cliché is not helping the video game industry! I guess this is why Playstation decided to remove the video only a few days after a lot of bad reviews and comments on their Youtube Channel.

A great decision that would have been greater if they didn’t think to make this commercial in the first place. This is why, it features on today’s #BadMarketing.

Video of the Week – Hockey and Poetry Have Never Been Closer

Hockey Fans pay attention!

I know that here in Montreal, we are all disappointed that PK Subban isn’t on the NHL 15 cover, but you should still read this blog post!NHL15 - Bergeron vs Habs

The latest NHL15, from Electronic Arts, has was released almost two months ago and features the Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron.

This short commercial starts with Bergeron dressed as if he’s about the enter the ice rink. You see him walk carefully through a bar between the tables to take the stage while the MC says that he will perform a piece called “Feelings”. Quietly putting his helmet on his chairs, he reaches the mic and starts reading a poem he wrote for his love…

Of course by love, he meant hockey! Over a jazzy bass tune, Bergeron tells a story about his game: the hockey, and especially NHL15. During his little poem, you can see videos of NHL15 perfectly matching what he describes. Basically, when he presses play, his feelings can’t be denied, all of his shiny hockey dreams go by. Hold his calls, Bergeron is in love with the game and wants to play it… forever. It ends with fingers snapping, AKA a “Beatnik applause”, to show appreciation for Bergeron’s slam poetry.

It may sounds strange for non-hockey fans, but it isn’t to a hockey enthusiast. To me it even talks to any sports fan. Doesn’t matter that you like hockey, football, basketball or soccer. You understand his words, his passion, his love… his feelings! That’s why this commercial is great. Even if it is aimed at hockey fans, it uses a universal message. Sports bring anger, joy, sadness and/or happiness. So many feelings that make sense when you live for sports.

Hockey is special to some people, like here in Montreal where almost everyone knows that they are playing tonight. The Canadians have such a history, that it belongs to the city and its Habs – abbreviation of Les Habitants – but as we know, it is the same in a lot of different cities. Sports is special to everyone and having a bold and special commercial like this one, makes us remember our love for it – even through poetry! I really like this idea of using literature. Bringing poetry into sports brings a little less roughness to a sport that already has plenty and making a NHL player reading it is far from what you could expect of him. A well played move by EA.

Simple and complex at the same time, with a pinch of awkwardness and beauty, this commercial has almost more feelings than Patrice Bergeron’s poem. While the ad was targeted towards hockey fans, it turns out this poem could be about any other sport. Because that’s what sports is about: uniting people and their emotions.

After all, this ad is simple but quite brilliant. It is aimed towards hockey fans, the ones that live for it. A poem for the video game from a player, but like no other: an actual NHL player.