Month: August 2008

fluffy addiction

In a previous post I lamented the overuse of violence in videogames as a substitute for innovation and inspiration.

This little beauty however is the most violence free possible game and is frankly a little gem. I guess it demonstrates how the gaming world is expanding rapidly away from teenage boys towards older women and pretty much everyone.

Love it – have a go!

Orisinal have been around for a while now creating some of the most beautiful casual games on the web and they still haven’t gone commercial, I don’t understand how it works – anyone with insight let me know.

Dirt is Good – Mums are evil tyrants

There’s been quite a lot of commentary on the latest Persil ad (Robot boy) and I’ve been trying to work out why this one just doesn’t work as well for me as previous iterations and I think I’ve worked it out. Here’s my thinking – for what it is worth

You don’t need me to tell you that the “Dirt is Good” campaign is constantly held up as the epitome of a great “Big Idea”. It shows a true empathy with mums and positions Persil as a brand that helps you be a great mum bringing up happy kids. That’s about as emotionally engaging as advertising gets and has delivered huge levels of equity to the Persil brand.

The Robot boy ad should just be a continuation of that campaign, (which has been interpreted around the world with great effect, highlighting the fundamental human truth in the insight) so why do I come away feeling worse about Persil?

I think what has happened is that in this ad Persil has moved from the role of partner and confidant to Preacher and critic. The broad message “Getting dirty and having fun is what being a kid is all about, and Persil means that the dirt doesn’t matter” stays the same, but the subtext has changed.

In the original “It’s not Dirt” campaign the subtext was “You’re a good mum and like to make sure your kids are happy and that means letting them get dirty from time to time. We feel the same and have made a product that means you don’t have to worry about the dirt and can enjoy the results.” The emotional take-out is one of being care-free and happy in the knowledge that you’re doing the best by your kid.

In this new execution the subtext that I’m taking out is “If you don’t let your child get dirty you’re a bad mum because it won’t ever learn to have fun and be a proper child. Keeping your child too clean will turn your child into a social recluse without any personality. Unless you use Persil you’re a bad mum”

Or even more extreme “Preventing your child from getting dirty is tantamount to child abuse as you are taking away their fundamental human freedoms” The emotional take out here is guilt that you’re not able to let your child play out as much as you would like because of all the dangers facing them today.

The line “every child has the right to be a child” echoes campaigns such as this from Global Water

Or this one from UNICEF

Obviously Persil aren’t suggesting that mums who don’t let their kids get dirty are on a level with nations putting guns and bombs in the hands of children or governments providing typhoid infected drinking water, but using this kind of language gives rise to those sorts of feelings.

Persil have to remember what they actually do well – They get clothes clean. The original “dirt is good” campaign connected Persil with all the positive emotions of having a reliable detergent to clean your kids’ clothes and they had an absolute right to take that territory. However this new campaign places Persil in a role of social commentator, preaching to mothers about how to be good mums as if it were all about clean clothes. They do not have the right to do this and I think it backfires on them

Early Ad-funded content by Budweiser

Just randomly stumbled across a Temperance website with lots of songs from the Temperance movement of 1905.

I particularly liked this song though which seems to have been commissioned by Budweiser –

Talk about the shade of the sheltering palms
Praise the bamboo tree and it’s wide spreading charms
There’s a little bush that grows right here in town
You know it’s name it has won such renown
Often with my sweetheart just after the play
To this little place then my footsteps will stray
If she hesitates when she looks at the sign
Softly I whisper, “Now Sue, don’t decline….”

Rave about the place where you swells go to dine
Picture you and me with our sandwich and stein
Underneath the bush where the good fellows meet
Life seems worth living, our joy is complete
If you’re sad at heart take a trip there tonight
You’ll forget your woe and your eyes will grow bright.
There you’ll surely find me with my sweetheart, Sue.
Come down this evening, I’ll introduce you.

Come, come, come and make eyes with me
Under the Anheuser Bush
Come come drink some Budwise with me
Under the Anheuser Bush
Hear the old German Band
Just let me hold your hand YAH!
Do, do come and have a stein or two
Under the Anheuser Bush!

I bet Budweiser (or any other brewer for that matter)wish that they could still use themes like this in their advertising.

Update – Just found a clip of the original song. – Enjoy

Cuil is so not.

There has been general condemnation of Cuil – my personal reasons are below

OK, The sell in was good

1) Indexes 3 times as many pages as google
2) Groups into categories
3) Gives each one a picture

That all sounds very good and when you first arrive at a search results page it looks interesting and different, and that’s when you realise it doesn’t have a hope in its current form. The reasons it will fail are the reasons it thinks it is better!

1) 3 times as many pages as google – So what?! If it fails to discriminate between the quality of those sites and the relevance to your search then what’s the point – 3 times as many pages means 3 times as much work for me to find the one I want. The search that I did on Cuil (“Guinness fake advert”) did not return a single relevant result on Cuil – it only returned other paid for search sites – whereas all of the top 5 results on Google were 100% relevant to my search

2) Groups into Categories – This just makes it less accessible. The beauty of Google has always been its simplicity, and the whole world has been trained to use it. I don’t want to have to re-train my brain to think in categories. (they don’t seem to work anyway. )

3) Pictures – Irrelevant and small – they add nothing except complexity.

Saying all of this, it doesn’t mean I don’t think anyone can challenge Google. When Google first came along, it seemed like an impossible task for them take over Yahoo’s dominance and we all thought it would remain a niche preference and look what happened there!

However the difference between then and now is that Google had a true product benefit which was recognised by the opinion forming niche. Can anyone explain to me the benefit of Cuil?

Guinness "fake" ad

So what do we think? Is this ad (currently to be found on Youtube) a complete fake or is it a stunt by Diageo? By claiming no knowledge of it, Guinness do benefit from the viral without having to take the consequences.

Being the cynical chap that I am, it was easy to become suspicious on first viewing and agree with comments of people “smelling a rat” : but in this instance I believe Diageo when they claim righteous indignation and horror that this is out there in their name.

The repercussions that would result from an alcohol company making anything even close to an ad like that would be immense. There is significant global momentum to try to ban all alcohol marketing and advertising and the only way that spirits, wine and beer manufacturers have managed to continue to advertise in markets such as the UK/US/Europe is that they have very strict industry wide self imposed rules about how and where they can market their products. If it was found that Diageo were the source of this ad or even that they had tacitly allowed their agency to “secretly” make it then you could be sure that they would find themselves subject to increasingly draconian laws as punishment.

Frankly, Diageo are one of the most responsible advertisers in their industry and indeed lead the way in setting down the responsible marketing guidelines, so I for one cannot believe that they would have anything to do with it.