Friday, 26 August 2011

Barry Spelling IDM Summerschool 2011 (condensed)

Having made it through the tough application and tougher assessment day, on Monday 27 June twenty-seven bright eyed and bushy tailed university grads headed to the IDM for the commencement of the Barrie Spelling Top Student Summer School 2011.

Summer School group 2011With the (un)usual ice-breakers getting us all giggling and bonding (over some of the bizarre facts we'd revealed about ourselves in the application process), it was time for our first of many seminars with none other than IDM founder and MD Derek Holder. Proving to be both an enlightening an eloquent speaker we were all brought up to speed with the discipline of direct and digital marketing.

After a lunch of a much higher calibre than most were anticipating, the moment that we'd all been wondering about for so long was upon us; the brief.

This year's pitch was, excitingly for us, Bacardi Superior, provided by Rapp's ever friendly and helpful Gavin Hilton and Louise Morgan.

Following a brief period for our groups to discuss initial thoughts, Monday was finished off by a chance to meet and grill some of last year's IDM Summer School graduates, accompanied by dinner and drinks at The Park Lodge Hotel next door.

OgilvyOneGetting straight into it on Tuesday, we were given the task of producing a full campaign for O2 Priority. Each feeding back to the group, everyone came up with some fantastic and wildly differing ideas.

Next up was a wonderful talk from Martin Troughton, founder of Harrison Troughton Wunderman (among many other ventures). With a career tale packed full of anecdotes and advice his presentation made for a truly enthralling experience, and showed us the many twists and turns a marketing career can take.

After lunch was the big trip out, this year to the Willy Wonka's Marketing Factory of OgilvyOne. Packed full of technology and gadgets, the best way to describe it would be as a more purposeful kids section of the Science Museum (though its client-wooing abilities are undoubtedly evident).

After being given a tour round the Design Labs, we were given an audience with such moguls as friendly UK Chairman Paul O'Donnell and the ever tangential Rory Sutherland, alongside the recent Ogilvy Fellowship intake.

Our minds reeling and full of inspiration from what we'd seen and heard, it was time for (you guessed it), drinks! Heading down to the in-house bar, we had a great time chatting with some Ogilvites before heading off for a group meal at Wagamamas.

BacardiWednesday morning changed the pace a little, with Wendy Pearson of Direct Line giving us a crash course in segmentation. Whilst not perhaps the most exciting area of marketing, we all appreciated that it's not all glitz and glam, and any half decent plan is founded on good segmentation.

This was followed by EHS 4D Group taking us through the recent rise of digital, its necessity as a marketing medium, and how it's progressing as a marketing tool. Providing numerous examples of successes such as Intel's "Museum of Me", Nike's "1948", and O2's "3D rugby" (produced by Archibald Ingall Streeton), we all received some interesting insight as to what's being done at the moment, and the vast possibilities of digital as a discipline.

The morning's events causing all of us to become excited over the prospect of being the minds behind such successes, our heads were brimming with ideas for our afternoon of case study work.

The IDM's 8pm closure meant we had to search further afield for wifi, some even resorting to sponging off of Pizza Express. Despite working late into the night to get the pitches as done as possible, everyone's spirits were high. This felt like the real thing.

Thursday wasn't a time for tired eyes, when straight away we Patrons Reception 2011were given the task of improving Laithwaite's Wine's direct mail. After all scratching our heads for a while, we all put on our thinking caps and the ideas started flowing. Before long everyone had come up with loads of (hopefully useful) ideas.

Next up the social experts Sam and Felix of Essential Communications gave many a rude awakening on how easy it was to unearth unemployable info on you on social sites. After this shock, they went into how to effectively brand yourself and utilise social media for furthering your career - something useful both now and in the future.

Soon after, the main event of the week had arrived; the IDM Patrons' reception at London's Goring Hotel.

Heading off in our Apprentice-style suits and black cabs, we were soon greeted by drinks and the obligatory event photographer. Derek Holder then disposing of the pleasantries, it wasn't long before we were mixing with all the senior marketer patrons and having a great time. Representing both clients and agencies, the multitude of experienced and knowledgeable marketers at the event meant that everyone had a fantastic, rewarding and fruitful evening.

Unfortunately however, as all good things do, it had to end. So at 9pm we were unwillingly shepherded back into the black cabs back to Teddington, to get ready for our pitches the following day.

U R the brandNot quite believing that the big (and last) day was already here, everyone turned up with mixed feelings of nerves and excitement, presentations at the ready.

Each group pitched their campaign idea for Bacardi Superior to a panel of 12 (as well as to all our fellow Summer School delegates), all subsequently receiving highly detailed and useful feedback. Overall, everyone did brilliantly. We were all amazed at the variety, depth, and quality of work produced by all, with everyone's presentation skills matching the content.

This sadly marked the end of the week and it wasn't long before we all had to part ways to get our respective trains and planes to take us back to all corners of the UK.

Speaking on behalf of others, I think it's safe to say we all had a fantastic time. We all learnt a huge amount, met some fascinating people, and got the opportunity to do some brilliant work with some like-minded friends.

With such a high calibre of delegates, agencies and clients all involved in this year's summer school, I would highly recommend to all getting involved in any way possible in the future.

Barrie Spelling IDM Summerschool 2011 (Friday)

In what had seemed like no time at all, Friday was upon us, and it was time for the pitches.  All eager to impress and uncertain of what our colleagues had come up with, everyone was a tad nervous.  But (bar some slight technical hiccups) there was nothing at all to worry about, everyone delivering both fantastic and wildly differing pitches.  It was also really helpful that all groups were given highly detailed feedback from the panel, and allowed to see the concept that won Rapp the account.

[Considering that revealing the particulars of our pitch would require examining the issues Bacardi currently have, it would be unfair on the brand to do so.  As such, youll just have to trust me that it was great.]

This sadly marked the end of the week and it wasn't long before we all had to part ways to get our respective trains and planes to take us back to all corners of the UK.
However, with the wonder that is social media, many of us keep still keep in contact, or have managed to gain employment together as a direct result of the summer school.

As such, whilst the fat lady has almost finished singing, the praises of all those whose efforts went into putting the summer school together must first be sung.  Whilst I'm sure there are numerous people behind the scenes that need thanking for the programme, principally Janice Pickard, all those who came in to speak to us, and all those who we spoke to at the Patrons' Evening must be thanked enormously.

Speaking on behalf of the others, I think it's safe to say that we all had a fantastic time.  We all learnt a huge amount, met some fascinating people, and got the opportunity to do some brilliant work with some like-minded friends. 
With such a high calibre of delegates, agencies and clients all involved in this year's summer school, I would highly recommend to all getting involved in any way possible in the future.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Barrie Spelling IDM Summerschool 2011 (Thursday)

Despite all having been working late, Thursday morning wasn't a time for tired eyes, when straight away we were given the challenge of improving Laithwaites Wine's direct mail.  A somewhat different challenge to those of previous days, many of us were initially scratching our heads, unsure as to how to approach such a task.  However, realising that in real working life it would be rare for us to fall into the target demographic, we stuck on our thinking caps and  put ourselves in the comfortable moccasins of Laithewaites drinkers.  Before you knew it, the ideas were flowing, and we all came up with far more than we'd envisioned to begin with (though the Champaign prize for any tested ideas may have helped a teensy bit too).

Post invigorating coffee break/table football match, many delegates were given a wake up call by Sam and Felix of Essential Communications.  Prior to arriving at the IDM, the social media agency reps had done some digging on all of us, and read out some   facebook statuses/info.  Whilst I'd had a tidy up of all the embarrassing frapes that naturally occur when a student negligently forgets to log out, not all had.  To save your eyes from going blind at what was written I wont type the things that came up, but needless to say, everyone's social media accounts are a lot more employer-friendly now.
We were all then educated on how to brand ourselves, both in efforts to gain that first job, and throughout our careers.  Again I was surprised at how few people had gone beyond mere facebook, and into the realms of Twitter, Linkedin or blogging.  However, as the increase in my follows/ers and connections indicate, pretty much all now have a more prominent online presence.

After lunch and a spot of presentation polishing, it was time.  The main event of the week was upon us; the Patrons evening at The Goring Hotel.
Heading off in our Apprentice-esque suits and black cabs, we were greeted at the swanky hotel by a Champaign reception and lots of unfamiliar faces.  However, after the obligatory photos and a brief speech from Derek Holder (in which the fantastic programme coordinator Janice Pickard got the praise she sorely deserves), we were all mingling and chatting away quicker than you could say "job".

Overall the evening was a smashing success.  Whilst the evening being renowned for leading to employment meant that everyone was flexing their networking muscles harder than those at a Mr Universe convention, the covert waiters sneakily refilling everyone's glasses meant that everyone was relaxed and friendly throughout.  From those working client side, established at a highly reputable agency, or those just creating one, the plethora of people to talk to and learn from made the night a definite highlight of the week. 

Unfortunately however, it had to end.  And so all 27 delegates - somewhat merrier than we arrived - headed back to St Mary's in our black cabs, in need of a good nights sleep prior to pitch day.

Barrie Spelling IDM Summerschool 2011 (Wednesday)

Wednesday morning we changed the pace up a little, with Wendy Pearson of Direct Line enlightening us about segmentation.  Though we all knew that a great plan can only be implemented or even conceived after deciding exactly who to target, many of us weren't too savvy as to the intricacies and inherent complexities of undertaking such a task.  However, being set some group work that was fed back to the collective, we all got a flavour of how a company like Direct Line segments as effectively as it does, managing to remain an insurance giant without resorting to aggregator sites.

After this, EHS 4D Group came in to go through the moderately recent rise of digital, it's necessity as a marketing medium, and how it's progressing as a tool for marketers.  Providing numerous examples of successes such as Intel's "Museum of Me", Nike's "1948", and O2's "3D rugby" (done by AIS), we all received some interesting insight as to what's being done at the moment, and the vast possibilities of digital as a discipline.

All excited over the prospect of being the future creative minds behind campaigns such as these, our heads were brimming with ideas  for our afternoon of working on our case studies.  That said, knowing that the patrons evening at The Goring would be the focus  of Thursday, the pressure was on to get our presentations pretty much nailed by the days end. 

The IDM's 8pm closure meant we eventually had to leave the building and search further afield for the work necessity of wifi.  Fortunately for our team however, Kristina's nearby house meant that we were able to work in a bit more comfort than others, who had to sponge off of Pizza Express until kick-out time.

 Trying to get into the Bacardi spirit, we decided to have a few of the cocktails we were marketing, and have our own little "Bacardi Together" moment.  Getting fully stuck in to the task, we had a great night working on our pitch, feeling like  we were getting a true taste of what agency work would be like when the pressure's on.  Whilst it was a long night, we all worked really well together and before we knew it it was 2:30 and our presentation was pretty much sorted.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Barrie Spelling IDM Summerschool 2011 (Tuesday)

The morning got under way with a visit from Chris Jones and Sarah Stratford of Archibald Ingall Stretton (AIS), who having introduced the company and their approach to marketing, gave groups of us a mini-brief  to work on.  We were given just 20 mins to come up with a full campaign based on O2's Priority sector - you know, those texts you're disappointed to receive as for a minute you thought it was  a friend texting you and you were popular.  Each group subsequently pitching to the room, the results were fantastic.  In such a short period of time I was truly impressed with the range, depth and innovativeness of each groups' ideas.  

For example, in a nut-shell, our group came up with the following:
In seeking to acquire an emotional relationship beyond that of a mere phone provider, we focused on live events in our notion of "being the band manager".  As gig attendees always have personal desires of what songs they wish to be played in the set, and in spite of a good gig will often be left feeling slightly miffed if particular songs weren't played, we wanted to give the public a say in what they heard.  
This would be done by ticket holders and online viewers of the gig texting, tweeting, or messaging their favourite songs, with the most popular ones forming part of the set-list.

Allocating 10-15% of tickets at the O2 for a large performer (to be decided upon), we would primarily run a ballot allocated competition for tickets.  Utilising facebook, twitter and owned websites we would require the entrance of details from consumers, and suggest adding friends too, in order to increase the already wealthy Priority database, and acquire new touch points to interact with consumers in the future.  To promote this we would suggest short (15 sec) ads, utilising the current billy-goat style ads to keep in line with the current campaign and reduce costs, alongside a direct mail push.
Having the gig subsequently streamed online to all those signed up would mean that even those that weren't able to win a ticket would still be able to see the performance and feel more privileged than non-O2 users.
People would then be able to interact and discuss what they though of the gig online, with social media being monitored and interacted with to ensure a positive post-event consumer experience.  Video response booths at the venue would help create a viral advertisement for O2 Priority, and show others the level of enjoyment that O2 gave them.

Anyway, back to the track.  Our last pre-lunch session was filled by Martin Troughton supplying us all with tips for successful career development.  With insider anecdotes galore, the tale of Martin's illustrious career proved to be both entertaining and highly insightful.  From his time at OgilvyOne to founding Harrison Troughton Wunderman to his current position at Anglian, it was clear to see that he had reaped such successes due to his highly inquisitive nature, ambition for greatness, and dedication to the industry.  Whilst his lessons were numerous, these were his top 7:

  1. Treat yourself like a brand.
  2. Only work for the best people.
  3. Don't be afraid of moving jobs.
  4. Don't seek praise, seek criticism.
  5. Don't take short cuts, they never lead anywhere worth going.
  6. Don't promise what you can't deliver.  Over deliver on what you promise.
  7. Keep learning.

After lunch was the big trip out.  Each year the summer school takes it's delegates to one of the bigger patrons of the IDM, to give us a glimpse at what working at such an agency might be like.  This year we were shepherded off in true year 8 school trip fashion, to Canary Warf and OgilvyOne.

For those who haven't been there, wow.  I must say I've never been in a place like it.  The only way to describe it would be a more purposeful kids section in the Science Museum.  With motion reactive floors, 3D TVs, jukeboxes, and a LOT of awards at every turn, it was a fantastic place to woo potential and current clients.  

During our time there, not only did we get a tour of the impressive (if slightly show-offy) Design Labs, but were also treated to an audience with moguls such as friendly UK Chairman Paul O'Donnell, and the brilliantly quirky (and quirkily brilliant) Rory Sutherland.  Also getting a chance to speak to this years Ogilvy Fellowship intake, we got to hear about industry life from similarly minded industry newbies, as we were all hoping to be.

Minds reeling from all that we'd seen, heard, touched, and generally experienced at one of the industry's biggest companies, it was time for a drink.  Heading downstairs to the in-house bar, we were treated to some lovely drinks, and had a great time meeting and chatting with some of the company's employees.

Eventually having to leave the agency (many a lot tipsier than when we entered), we headed off for a group bonding meal at Wagamamas before heading home to work on our briefs and get a good nights sleep.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Old Spice Guy v Fabio: A Promising Continuation for the Brand

A little under a year and a half since the magnificently muscular Isiah Mustafah first said "Hello ladies", he's back for the latest instalment of Weiden and Kennedy's Old spice campaign.

Originally briefed to target both men and women (as they're normally the one that buys their partner's body wash), the innovatively interactive Old Spice viral responses produced by Weiden and Kennedy enormously exceeded any expectations.  The 186 videos received 40 million views in the first week, and led to 75% of sector conversations being about Old Spice for the succeeding 3 months.  Ultimately, after 6 months sales had increased by 27%, and "firmly cemeted Old Spice as No.1 for mens' body wash in the US" (see further impressive stats and a full case study here).

Considering the campaign's enormous success, the question "what next?" begged. 
Whilst brands often over-keenness to jump on the success of a campaign destroys any buzz and connection that the brand has with consumers, Old Spice managed to resist this itch.  Instead, they waited until the experience began to fade in consumers' minds, and a fresh new interaction was needed, and not just wanted.

So what happened?  Well, further utilising the enormous base of followers and likers gained from the first phase of the campaign they sensibly decided to stick to social media.  In what was coined the "Mano a Mano in el Bano" (which translates as "hand to hand in the bathroom") Italian model Fabio Lorenzo sought to win the Old Spice crown from the Old Old Spice Guy.  Again creating real time video responses to users questions, both "battled" for votes, with the winner becoming the new Old Spice Guy.

Some may say that taking such a similar tack to their previous  phase is somewhat unimaginative.  However considering that the focus is now more on retention than acquisition, they have reached those already recruited to Old Spice in a way now familiar to them.  Not only does this (due to the time lapse in phases) have the capability of invoking a nostalgic response that causes them to revisit the videos that caused them to use Old Spice originally, but the brand image is also adequately kept. 

The initial stats also appear promising.  Whilst the Google search index for Old Spice is little over a third of the first phase, their Twitter followers has lept by over 23 thousand in the past 10 days.  Also, whilst the healthy progression of "likes" of their facebook page in the past 6 months (approx 300 thousand more) may suggest that they would have obtained this many followers without this spend, the July jump is perhaps enough to justify the campaign's progression, especially as the majority of activity was via YouTube.

Whilst it hasn't hit the heights of the first viral experience, the responses have often achieved over 100 thousand views, with "Challenge", "Challenge Acceptance", and "This Must End" (in which it's revealed that Old Old Spice Guy Isiah won the contest) posts obtaining 3 million, 1.15 million and 700 thousand views respectively (approx, to date).  Additionally, with more widely recognised PR that will immediately place the brand front of mind to many, the outlook for Old Spice is certainly promising.  Not only that, but considering the relative lack of search for the brand, it indicates that the social media platform is working well for them, and will act as a great touchpoint for more 1-to-1 conversations with consumers in the future.

A few other responses (more can be viewed on the Old Spice YouTube Channel)