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Greenpeace ad

20 Apr

Greenpeace does some really powerful ads, the best example I can think of from the top of my head being the Kit Kat palm oil ad.

Here is one that I’ve just seen that is pretty stunning and would have taken a lot of work and, unless it was done pro-bono, would have been pretty costly.


How not to run a campaign – because its un-Australian

14 Apr

The un-Australian campaign has been fairly well pummelled in the press. So much so that I don’t think I’ve heard the Government give it a serious response or the Coalition giving it any credence either. That being said, below are a few learnings from the campaign.

  1. Don’t skimp on sub-editing or copy-writing. There are at least two typos in the $20 million ad. Address has two Ds. Choose how you want to spell licence.
  2. Just because you use Facebook and Twitter, doesn’t mean people will automatically like or follow you.
  3. The public are a lot cleverer than they used to be – they know when they are being used.
  4. “Australia is a nation of gamblers” is a dumb thing to say. People don’t want to be gamblers, they enjoy a good punt, they like a flutter or two.
  5. People don’t consider playing the pokies gambling. Two-up – yes, blackjack – yes, horse racing – yes. There is something about those pastimes that have more symbolism than the pokies.
  6. People know people with a gambling problem in Australia.
  7. Don’t use website tools such as online polls and then publish the live results unless you are sure the results will show support your campaign.
  8. If point 4 backfires, don’t leave the tool on your website for 48 hours until you come up with something to put in its place
  9. Don’t be too brazen with your spin. No one has ever seriously proposed a licence for gamblers except you.
  10. As an addition to point 7 – Don’t treat people like idiots
  11. Why is it un-Australian to stop problem gamblers gambling?
  12. Pay for polling and focus groups before you launch a campaign like this. The ad buy is around $20 million – you can afford it.
  13. Don’t ever, ever just assume because you are running a campaign, it will get support. This campaign stinks of industry types coming together saying we need to fight back against the government, therefore if we use strategy a from campaign a and strategy b from campaign b and then utilise the tactics from campaign c, we are onto a winner. More often than not, these tactics haven’t been thought about properly. Will they fit my campaign? Will they educate people they way I want to educate them?
  14. Don’t leave yourself open to very clever attacks like the one to the right. Is this therefore Australian?

So, Mitt Romney just bored his way to a loss

12 Apr

So, campaigning for the 2012 US Presidential Election has finally begun. I love this time of the election cycle, where we can review ads, dissect them and work out who is going to do well and place bets on who will be the first to sack their campaign staff.

Mitt Romney has just formally announced his candidacy by affirmed his reputation as captain boring as  he introduces himself in a two minute chat about what he did last week. What is strange about this kind of introductory film is that it’s not as though people don’t know who Mitt Romney is. He was a serious candidate to be the 2008 Republican Nominee; he was Governor of Minnesota Massachusetss; he has been listed as a potential 2012 candidate since Obama’s win. So why does he need to introduce himself this way? He should remind people of his points of view and convictions, especially when he has been tarnished in the eyes of the Right by his version of Obama Care and people are suspicious of his religion. He has to show his morals are the same as the next good right wing American’s and I don’t think he does here.

On the flip side of the coin, Tim Pawlenty (or T-Paw according to his website) clearly has employed Jonathan Demme to direct his campaign ads. I’d watch this movie, but I wouldn’t vote for the guy. It’s an interesting concept to use an attack ad to launch a Presidential candidacy, especially when Pawlenty is an unknown compared to Romney.  He should mix this, with Romney’s and he would have a much better ad.

I’ll review Obama’s ad in the next few days

Rally for Climate Action

3 Apr

Yesterday, a number of my friends and I went to the Rally for Climate Action at Belmore Park. It was a great event with some good speakers, in-particular Simon Sheikh from Get-Up.

I was however very disappointed there were no ALP representatives there. This is, after all, their policy that they are trying to sell and they should have representatives ready to speak to a crowd of supporters. It may be because they are scared of being labelled hypocrites by the Coalition if there are extreme leftists holding up anti-Abbott placards. Or it could be because the ALP are the party of Government, and in the eyes of some who would have been in attendance, they have made some questionable decisions regarding asylum seekers, banking, etc. etc. so there is always the prospect of anti-Government feeling, which would then become the story.

But within that audience, there was a good deal of respect for the Government for launching a pragmatic environmental policy that has led to negativity and even attacks from some on the right-wing. Essentially, the left is displaying our martyr worship again.

Anyway, below is an incredibly short video, just to show the size of the crowd.

Turning off the lights

28 Jan

Apparently Egypt has turned off all internet connectivity within its borders. This has some pretty far-reaching connotations for everyone.

As you can see from this Mashable post, much like in Iran during the Green Revolution (although, to be fair, the information within Iran was so diluted by external messages there are questions surrounding social media’s ultimate effectiveness in that case), the protesters are organising  via digital means. Hence why the Government has apparently shut it down.

But what happens now that internet access has gone down? What happens to the protest organisation?

And could it happen in Western Democracies if there was civil unrest. Right now, UK Union leaders are meeting to discuss the possibility of General strikes in the UK to protest the Tory-led cuts. After seeing how students organised themselves during the protests last year, would the circumstance ever arise that the Government would shut down digital communications? Probably not, simply because the economy relies on the net so much these days, especially the city. But it means the possibility is still there.

I’d have to ask a technician, but would it be possible to shut down certain areas, in-particular wireless or 3g capabilities?

But consider this, Iran was never able to disconnect the net, nor has China completely stopped information seeping through. Like the 4 minute mile, once someone has done it, will everyone learn how?

Do your research!!!

19 Jan

I saw this piece on Huffington Post recently regarding a huge error surrounding a Minnesota anti-drink driving advertisement. Essentially, it is all about having a designated driver to drive you home after a night out. It uses the emotional language surrounding a best friend, which is signified by a guy’s trusty steed. That’s all nice and fuzzy, except this is a case where a marketing team was given a concept, fed back an idea and then someone thought “that’s a nice ” and it went into production, but no one did any research.

Now the drama surrounding the ad is that, apparently, according to Minnesota law, it isn’t illegal to ride a horse while drunk. So now there is an issue of people thinking “well, according to the ad, I can ride home after a big night out.”

Nice one.

I’m currently reading a book by Chris Rose called How to Win Campaigns – 100 steps to success. Rose is a senior former Greenpeace campaigner and is now a leading thinker regarding NGO campaigning. In his book, he gives significant time to the importance of researching a campaign and campaign messaging – something which you would think is pretty much a given, but obviously isn’t put into practice all of the time.

Essentially, a succesful campaign is a long-term, structured and strategised programme and all communications have to be structured and strategised as well. That includes research. I don’t know if this utilised an external agency, but if it did, someone somewhere should have been checking the details behind the concept.

Alternative vote – alternative campaign ideas

9 Jan

The Independent has got some high-profile marketeers together to mock-up some posters on behalf of the yes and no camps.

There are some pretty interesting and exciting examples and I’m sure there are quite a few that the different sides would have liked to have come up with themselves.

In particular, I like the “Vote for Change? Apparently Not” and the “No MP’s seat should  be safe”.

Both give a clear message to a complicated issue. The Winston Churchill poster is good, but as you can see from Sunder Kawala’s post, there are a few historical issues, but I don’t know if the public would recognise these. I also see his point that the vote for change poster would never be branded Lib-Dem, but there is nothing to say the Yes Campaign couldn’t attack Cameron, much as the No campaign could attack Clegg. In fact, if they don’t I’d be surprised – coalition or not.

The other posters are too complicated I feel. I think, if a member of the public has to think about an ad, it isn’t a good one.

I do give a well done for trying award to the “don’t waste your vote” poster, but I think the lines should be swapped around. The statement surrounding wasting your vote should be on top with bigger writing to go with the image and perhaps the line saying shouldn’t every vote count should be embedded on the side.