Monday, 21 November 2011

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

It’s the £6million advert that everyone is talking about – yes, you guessed it – the John Lewis Christmas 2011 advert

Carefully planned to perfection to pull on your heartstrings, it tells the story of a young boy so excited for Christmas, he counts down the days until he can give his parents their gift, rather than open his, with the strap line ‘For gifts you can’t wait to give’. The follow up from last year’s ‘For those who care about showing they care’ campaign has been a huge hit on the internet – trending on Twitter within hours of its launch with over two million views on YouTube to date. But everyone loves a heart-warming story at Christmas…. don’t they?

As popular as it may seem, there will always be critics and the advert has created its fair share of controversy (the backlash was inevitable), with some saying that it is ‘emotionally manipulative’. It appears one of these critics has taken the time to create a spoof of the ad, which is currently going viral…

It seems the John Lewis Christmas advert is turning into an annual tradition. So much so, they are planning on releasing an album featuring all the songs that have appeared in their adverts, including the Ellie Goulding version on Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ and Fyfe Dangerfield’s version of Billy Joel’s She’s Always a Woman.

What do you think? Love it or loathe it?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Celebrating Our Industry

Wow, what a night enjoyed by Cirkle at the PRCA awards last night. The agency picked up the award for CSR campaign of the year for its inspiring Typhoo Sports for All initiative – beating the likes of Starbucks and EDF Energy - and was also highly commended in the Medium Sized Consultancy category.

Far from being a lesson in self-appreciation, awards are actually a great opportunity to take a step back, ease your foot off the pedal and reflect on the great work being conceived and activated - not only by our own teams but also other agencies in the industry.

We cheered just as loudly when agencies like Burson-Marsteller UK were recognised for their inspired ‘2 minute silence’ campaign as we did when our own name was announced.

There was a feeling of camaraderie and fun on the night. We know from the recent PRCA census that overall, the industry is in a buoyant mood and I think that was evident.

PR is moving up the marketing agenda and stealing budgets from traditional areas of high spend and finally receiving the respect it deserves.

Well done to all who were shortlisted.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Window shopping- no longer just the pass time of the thrifty

I’ve never really found window shopping appealing, to me it’s a form of torture- surrounding yourself with things that you want- but can’t have; a couple of weeks ago eBay changed all that. The online retailer created the eBay Inspiration Shop, a temporary storefront window in New York which uses QR codes to enable consumers to purchase objects as they pass by. By simply swiping your smartphone in front of the displayed object’s code you can instantly choose to ‘buy it now’, day or night without any need for shop assistants or opening hours. The displays were filled with the Christmas wish-lists of celebrities and were intended to communicate eBay’s philosophy that shopping is 24/7.

It’s pretty clever. I can imagine lots of high-street retailers adopting these codes in their shop fronts so that they never have to miss out on sales. I definitely think I’d be tempted to swipe as I was going past.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The little things in life

Amidst all the doom and gloom in the papers today, the nation’s happiness has been a keen theme.
We often see studies which claim to prove for example, that happy people tend to live longer. Researchers at University College London asked 3,800 older people to rate how happy they felt several times a day. Those who rated themselves happiest were a third less likely to die over the next five years.

Yesterday, The Office for National Statistics published plans to measure how content us Brits are. National Statistician Jill Matheson who has been in charge of the £2m a year wellbeing project says,

‘It is essential that the set of measures of well-being is relevant and well-based in what matters to people, both as individuals and for the UK as a whole.’

One truly inspired question will be ‘overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?’ Let’s hope nobody gets a parking fine on the day of the survey, or results might be a little…out.

Come what may, we will have the thrilling results by August. I predict a set of stats which will reveal non-surprising and barely enlightening conclusions.

Did the leaders of the well-being project not see the latest survey by Three Barrels Brandy? The poll, which set out to find the top 50 things that make people happy, revealed that happiness is accessible to us all – through the simplest day-to-day occurrences. Finding a £10 note in an old pair of jeans emerged as one of life's greatest good mood triggers.

Who needs a set of ‘well-being indicators’? We know what makes us happy – just give us all a tenner and be done with it.