Advertising and branding inspiration from New Zealand and the world. This is where envy and admiration collide.


7 December 2011

12 Days of Advertising - Day 1

Day One: Julie Roulston, NZ Fashion Week 
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The first guest contributor for the 12 Days of Advertising series is Julie RoulstonJulie is one talented, and no doubt busy, woman. She's the owner of Profashion Ltd, the Social Media Manager for NZ Fashion Week and Fashion Editor/Business Developer for Ponsonby News! On top of this she's also mum to Gaby (12) and Noah (5). 

Somehow between all this she found time to tell us her pick of 2011 and some insights on what 2012 may hold. 

The Best of 2011 
Julie's pick for 2011 is one that has been widely popular both in New Zealand and globally. NZTA's "Legend" a.k.a "Ghost Chips" is a great example of how a positive message can be more powerful than a negative one. 
Julie said that the campaign was 'beautiful' in a number of ways, including: 
  • Adorable characters
  • The sense of humor used 
  • Appeals to our kiwi sense of place and harks back to a simpler time ('spoon')

In the week beginning 4th November, the campaign was the second most shared viral video online. Not just in New Zealand but globally! The video was shared 99,797 times in that one week. Since being uploaded onto YouTube on the 20th of October it has been viewed over 1.4 million times

Thomas Scovell, Director of Digital Innovation at Clemenger BBDO explained to me that this YouTube success was quite a feat as digital views were not an integral part of the original strategy. Paid advertising was heavily weighted towards television. Although the ad was on YouTube, initially it wasn't easy to find. The video was listed under it's title 'Legend' but most people were searching 'ghost chips' or the other takeaway sayings. He theorises that this actually aided the popularity, like an online treasure hunt, when the clip was found people might have been more likely to share their 'great find'.    

Julie points out that the success of this campaign is due to the numerous "memes" it contains. The sayings 'Ghost chips', 'bro, Monique says you're dumb' and 'internalising a really complicated situation' have become part of our kiwi vernacular. Julie says that the power of a meme is that the can be "easily shared, adapted and shared again".
"Memes aren't catchphrases. Catchphrases wear out. Memes evolve and are repurposed. Memes can be anything from a pure idea to an image, phrase or pattern." 
~ Thomas Scovell, Clemenger BBDO 
Julie cites Thomas Scovell again when explaining what we can learn from the ghost chip meme - she says "don't publish work that is too finished, and publish it in such a way that you optimize people's ability to borrow it and make it their own". A successful meme becomes part of our language. We're no longer telling the brand's story, it has become our own. We feel an ownership over the idea, adding our own humor and sharing it further. 
Some examples of how the 'ghost chips' meme was reinvented
However, the catch 22 of memes is that we only know what will turn into a meme after it already is one. Even when closely examining 'ghost chips' and other 2011 memes like "Nek Minnut' and Piri Weepu "Keep Calm", there's no way to predict what will be the next meme. This is best summed up by Charles Mabett on his great post on Ghost Chips and memes:   
"Try as you might, you can’t reverse engineer a meme. Make a meme, and more often than not, it will fall flat. They arrive unexpectedly, they multiply like an algal bloom and they die when the oxygen of relevancy runs out." ~ Charles Mabbett, Social Media NZ 
One thing we should learn from 'Legend' is how success can come from thinking differently. Traditionally drink driving campaigns in New Zealand have focused on the worst case scenario; the negative consequences of poor decision making. 'Legend' was aimed at young male, Maori drivers. And even though some shocking statistics point towards this audience being involved with a high portion of drink driving incidents, the NZ Transport Agency chose to focus on a more positive message; 
"They're good people who make bad choices. They don't set out to drive drunk, they just don't plan ahead. A few beers with the lads can easily morph into a bigger night, poor judgement and fewer options to get home.... It's hard to tell a mate not to drive; no one wants to lose face, to be seen as the 'downer' of the party or to be accused of being 'soft'... We want them to have the guts to speak up and say something without feeling like they've killed the mood." 
~ Extracts from the New Zealand Transport Agency press release
There's no doubt that this campaign was incredibly popular - but was it a success? Will 'ghost chips' really save lives? 

It seems that the message behind 'ghost chips' is being remembered despite it's reinvention. For example, the above 'free ghost chips ad' ends with the line "The king says, stop a mate driving drunk, legend". You just have to look at the many user generated Facebook pages that have adopted these memes - running through most of the conversation is discussion around not drink driving: 

A great campaign to start off the 12 Days of Ads showcase - and hopefully 2012 will bring more in this tone from the NZ Transport Agency.

Now to Julie's predictions for 2012...  

Trends for 2012 

Nicole: What do you expect to see more of in 2012?

Julie: I interviewed several Social Media experts earlier in the year for Ponsonby News and a number agreed that mobile is going to get very exciting as technology continues to develop and when we get better broadband speed here. Also, I came away from the MSN Digital Marketing Summit (where Julie heard Thomas Scovell speak on Legend) really excited about Youtube and video.
Nicole: What do you expect (or hope to) see less of in 2012? 
Julie: Personally I'd like to see less Facebook ads - they're not what I'm there for and I find them annoying. When on Facebook I am working hard and fast to take in as much info as possible (and respond to it where appropriate) in as little time as possible - the ads (and initially even that live stream they added at the top right of the screen) are just a distraction.  The format doesn't allow for anything that's enticing to look at nor clever - its kinda like if I want tacky classifieds I'll go to the back of the local rag!

Banner Blindness
Nicole: Eye tracking testing has shown that we often disregard the far right of our screen as we've been programmed to see these as ads (the red shows where the eye rests the longest when scanning a webpage - the green boxes added post test show where the ads were placed on the page). Sourced from Marketing Pilgrim

Nicole: Julie's comments on Facebook ads brings up an interesting point especially as studies into 'banner blindness' show that people tend to ignore the far right side of the screen anyway. With the great masses of information that Facebook has available I'm constantly surprised at how irrelevant these ads often are. For example, when looking for 'ghost chip' pages the ad was promoting a ghost related movie... 

What do you think? Have you ever clicked on a Facebook ad, and if so why? 

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