The BrandWorld family, past and present mourn the passing of our friend and colleague John MacDonald.
John enjoyed a long career in marketing and advertising. He was both an adept practitioner and an innovator, His connections throughout the marketing community were extensive and he served as a leader and generous mentor to many.
His accomplishments included leadership roles with Reckett & Coleman and Watties (where he championed the Food In A Minute concept that became central to the successful revival of an iconic brand). He and Food In a Minute creator Mike O’Sullivan became business partners and subsequently joined BrandWorld together. At BrandWorld John’s experience and connections proved invaluable in creating mastheads such as Eat Wise and Exercise - a concept that adroitly connected the health and education sector with FMCG brands. He helped grow Eating Well and had significant input into many other innovations in the business. As a sounding board he was unrivalled - patiently listening before offering his considered opinion- a rare talent.
John was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the Food & Grocery Council for his service to the industry.
He retired from active service just this year but maintained his interest and connection.
John’s warmth and courtly charm was unique. He was a gentleman and gentle man who had time for everyone but, sadly, not enough time.
Auckland Council asked us to help with their project to help people in South Auckland understand the changes to rubbish collection in their area. From September bins that had been distributed earlier would be needed for household rubbish to be collected.
There's no easy way to talk about the issue, but there is the risk that people will dump their excess rubbish in public places - parks, creeks or roadsides.
BrandWorld developed an ad campaign to make the issue tangible and meaningful to the local community. There are three key components to the message that we worked with council teams to identify:
Focus on the issue directly
Dumping rubbish is illegal and a negative behaviour.
Contextualise the problem and make it a shared issue
Dumping is an abstract idea. Most people don't dump. People who see it and want to act are often inhibited by social conventions - we don't want to 'dob' in our neighbours - even if they are doing wrong.
Focus on the positives.
We Are The Beautiful People Of Auckland
From the research we saw the pride of place and community that exists and decided to personify the cause - rather than take an institutional or instructive approach.
Don't just identify the problem - offer solutions
We recommended that the council open a help line for people who had more rubbish than would fit in their new bin. A help-line was set up and in the early days of the campaign has already proved itself to be an effective resource for the community.
We worked with Auckland Photographer Stephen Langdon to develop a campaign with images of real people from the neighbourhoods targeted by the campaign. All of the people featured in the campaign have genuine stories to tell about reducing waste and recycling which adds an authentic dimension to the campaign.
The campaign is a companion to the world Brandworld have been doing to promote positive attitudes and changed behaviour about Littering.
Nobody sets out to litter. There's no personal quota. And yet it is a problem. A big problem.
Litter is as much a mindset as it measurable in the tons of waste that ends up in the wrong place - in shared public spaces, waterways and coastlines and along our highways (the cost of keeping Auckland's motorways clear alone would make your hair curl - and the consequences of not cleaning up routinely would literally - if you'll pardon the pun - bring the movement of people and goods to a halt - and all because of a series of small, seemingly inconsequential acts).
The convenient truth is: people can make significant differences to outcomes through simple, daily actions and changing trivial behaviours.
BrandWorld pitched and won the tender for a national campaign to lift awareness of the issue and help change behaviour.
Here's how we approached the task.
Our research showed two main behavioural factors might make the difference. When people feel they are being watched - they are less likely to discard waste casually (let's call it littering). The other was based on the social science learning of 'nudging' - a practice embraced and championed by the UK government. 'Nudging' proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion to motivate and incentivise people to behave in a pro-social way. The alternative is instruction or implied threat - which, if you have teenagers, you'll know can create pushback and rebellion.
We developed the campaign theme: Let's Put Litter In Its place. That's about as far as the instruction goes. But we crafted the message to be inclusive and to make litter the antagonist - rather than the person ('play the ball, not the person'). The companion message is intended as a meme (a non-genetic thing that passes between humans). 'It's just how we do things around here.'. The idea is to make the message easy to embrace and be self-reinforcing in that self-effacing kiwi way. 'Hey, thanks for saving the planet!'…'No worries, it's just how we do things around here.' The phrase normalises the positive behaviour.
The Television executions - compact 15 Second spots - were written to riff on the idea of being watched - but not in a creepy surveillance way - our conscience - or inner aunty. A person is about to casually drop a package outdoors but suddenly feels all eyes are upon her. She then does the right thing, disposing her waste into the correct bin. The spot winds up with a larger than life character who announces 'It's just how we do things around here'. For the first ads in the series Lucy Lawless (best known for her iconic role as Xena, Warrior Princess - but also an environmental champion) and venerable Kiwi actor Ian Mune. Both play their parts perfectly. In the future we hope to enlist more celebrity faces but also have people willing to share the message through their own social networks.
The TV will be supported with a digital push, including an interactive game to help teach people to recognise which rubbish goes in which bin - general waste contaminates the recycling stream.
The campaign is a departure for BrandWorld - but it also demonstrates our approach of identifying the issue or opportunity, simplifying the message, producing cost-effectively and deploying through media to reach the most people for the least money…which is,…well, it's just how we do things around here.
Digital is a vague, catch-all term. It describes mechanisms and distribution but the truth is that marketing is still marketing and that is what is important.
One thing the web in particular has done to change how things get done is the elimination of silos and a kind of bucket brigade thinking - when the direct result of an action can be observed - sometimes in real time - through data then the process of managing campaign activity has to inherently change. The very idea of a marketing campaign as it was once understood has to be reconsidered.
Obviously the days of planning an annual burst of activity, executing once and pulsing it occasionally through the year isn't going to work. Things change when consumers carry their media in their pocket and that one device can aggregate from infinite sources and provide experiences ranging from receiving simple SMS/Tweets to immersive 4D VR video.
I recently came across an idea that neatly offers a way we can make sense of the complexity. It breaks marketing into three groupings and at any given point in time a marketer will be working on one or more of these elements:
All three elements have to be addressed - continuously. Without generating a volume of traffic (reaching enough of the people you need to consider your product) you won't have enough mass to convert to profitable sales. TV is still a valuable way for FMCG brands to reach enough customers to consider and complete purchase at the supermarket. Just like web marketing, real-world marketing is a numbers game. Conversion will include your 'shopper marketing' activity - doing your darndest to convert the positive, salient messaging into a sale before the customer switches to a competitor's product.
The bottom line will always be the bottom line.
Brands can't afford to stay in once place and, even though it is one of the most recognised media properties in New Zealand, we've never been shy of moving our brand forward.
The latest development of the Family Health Diary ident has been designed to allow the brand to be not only recognisable and familiar but also fresher and more contemporary.
The idea is also to set the stage for client's product stories more quickly and less intrusively.
To discuss Family Health Diary® get in touch
Call Nikki O'Donnell now to discuss
Systems might sound dull but imagine boarding a commercial flight with your family to hear this captain's announcement:
'Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we're off to Honalulu and as soon as I can find the instruction manual, we'll be on the runway then up, up and away… I've never flown one of these babies before - actually this is my first flight, I used to drive fork hoists, so we should be ok. All going well.
If you need anything, don't hesitate to let your cabin crew know. We have an improve squad on this evening. I don't think they have been drinking too long, but the last landing here was a little terrifying, something to do with lightening and a flock of seagulls - so your understanding would be appreciated. Okey dokey…now, where's the key?"
Not exactly confidence inspiring. Airlines are actually famous for their adherence to procedures and check lists - when things go wrong they use feedback loops to ensure open communication and integration of learning.
Producing commercials and video content can be complex and mistakes expensive. Simple things like clear script and storyboard approval can reduce misunderstandings later. Even simple commercials can benefit from this planning - it's amazing how different people can understand the same information in different ways.
In an era where video equipment is lighter and faster the temptation is sometimes to make it up as you go along. (Let's just say that studios like PIXAR don't do much improvising and yet, somehow seem to manage to be more creative than tiny, agile startups with cameras).
When there is so much riding on implementing a successful campaign (not just the cost of shooting and editing - but also meeting complex deadlines) it's critical to check and double check and avoid the old advertising adage 'There is never time to do the job properly - but always time to do it again.'