THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING EVERYONE!
Yes, you might have noticed a recent upsurge of signifiers in recent days of Christmas actually coming. Seriously. It’s not pissing about – it’s on its way. And so naturally one’s thoughts immediately turn to the Coca-Cola truck.
The red and white truck festooned with festivery, will be calling at 45 main shopping areas from November 28 at The Plainstones in Elgin, and wandering the highways of the country, before ending up – as most UK tours do – in London, at Wembley Park Boulevard on December 23rd.
There’s a full interactive map affair of the dates here so you can check when you can go and touch the truck. Or just check out a hot bearded trucker who is into gift-giving.
You can, obviously, follow the truck via social media on @cokezone (which sounds like a Complete Ledge night out).
Not much else is specified as to what will go on while the trucks are parked. No doubt some activities and free carbonated syrupy gloop. Perhaps it’s a trap like The Childcatcher sprung in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to abduct the town’s children.
With John Lewis unveiling their Christmas advert – the jolly penguin soundtracked by a limped through cover of a Beatles outtake – it’s truly the season for bumper festive adverts! HURRAH!
Shall we have a look at how they’re shaping up? No? Well we are, so tough.
First up: Asda
‘Smile, it’s an Asda Christmas’ is the tag, and basically while Asda isn’t the worst out there, it would nice to have something slightly more to smile about than Asda running your things.
There’s trees, stockings and food ahoy – basically the key touchstones which Asda will no doubt be hoping to reach out and engage with you with.
It also sees X Factor’s Jahmene Douglas covering Louis Armstrong’s ‘When You’re Smiling’. Remember him? Sure you do – he’s the one with a perfectly square head.
Here’s what Steve Smith, chief customer officer of Asda, said: “We’re really proud of our Christmas brand campaign this year as it captures those personal touches and thoughtful gestures that put a smile on people’s faces at Christmas. We know our customers want to make their festivities special, and we want to remind them that we have put the thought and imagination into a range of fantastic food, wine, gifts and decorations so all they need to focus on is having fun together.”
Smith added: “This year has been challenging for all supermarkets but Christmas is a time to concentrate on celebrating and having fun with friends and family and laughing.”
There speaks a man who sounds like he’ll be found hiding in the shed come Christmas afternoon, running his fingers over his new power saw after an arduous lunch with the family.
This is a big deal for the supermarket that has been biting at the heels of the big four this last year. Quietly grooving their own scene and building upon that with a minute-long ad featuring various families and gathering enjoying a variety of festive feasts before Jools Holland turns up.
That’s right: Jools Holland is not just for New Year’s Eve this year.
Joint managing director of corporate buying at Aldi, Giles Hurley, said: “We know Christmas is an important time for our customers and we believe everyone should enjoy the best without having to pay a hefty price tag, which is why we’ve launched a Christmas range with widespread appeal.”
“Aldi is becoming a cornerstone of the grocery shop. We’re looking to reflect this in the Christmas campaign, while highlighting the superb quality of the products Aldi offer as well as the unbeatable value. The commercial also demonstrates to consumers it is possible to do your entire food shop for Christmas at Aldi.”
To be honest, we’re quite relieved there’s been no mention of solutions or platforms.
Payday lenders never learn. The latest culprit to be smacked on the wrist by the ASA is that stalwart of many a fine High Street, Cash Converters who, in addition to offering buy back and pawnbroking services, also offer payday and personal loans.
The problem is, as ever, that the advertising used by this type of company is not ‘responsible’ and encourages people (especially the people who can least afford it) to get into debt for things other than necessities.
The latest ASA ruling concerns a particular direct mailing ad that was sent out in the summer encouraging people to raise a “bit of extra money” in order to pay for “summer holidays”, a “new BBQ” and a “Kiss me Quick hat for the beach”. All these things are lovely things to have, but perhaps not worth getting yourself into sky-high APR loan agreements for.
The advertisement was challenged on the grounds that it was “irresponsible” and “encouraged frivolous spending.”
Cash Converters claimed the ad was not at all irresponsible, pointing the ASA to their strongly worded risk warning at the bottom of the ad- “Warning: Late payment can cause serious money problems.” They also claimed that the Kiss me Quick hat reference (not even they could find anything to say that would not constitute frivolous spending) was intended to be understood as a purchase that could be made from buyback cash (when you sell DVDs or games, for example, to the shop for a fraction of their cost), rather than something for which consumers should take out a loan.
Buybacks are not subject to the consumer credit regime, and the more stringent rules. They also stressed they would not lend money to people who could not afford it, a claim disputed by the fact that their latest published accounts show a massive increase in provision for bad debts (i.e. people who actually don’t repay their loan) up from £2.5m to £10.2m
In any case, the ASA chucked out Cash Converters claims, deciding that summer holidays, entertaining the children, buying a new barbeque and a “Kiss Me Quick” hat for the beach were all purchases that were “unlikely to be considered essential purchases and that the references to them suggested that taking out a loan or other type of cash advance for them was something that could be approached lightly.” They found that the ad therefore encouraged frivolous spending and was categorically irresponsible. The ASA also told Cash Converters to “ensure that their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.”
Well, we can all hope can’t we…
The Help For Heroes ale will be available in 250 branches of Tesco ahead of Remembrance Sunday. It’s a 4.2% abv affair, selling at the reasonable £1.97.
It was developed by three Help for Heroes ambassadors: Pete Dunning, Daniel Whittingham and Simon Brown, together with Marston’s brewer Genevieve Upton.
The whole project was a result of a chance meeting between the co-founder of the charity and Tesco’s beer buyer Chaira Nesbitt, who will now speak: “When I heard Bryn was struggling to get a fundraising beer off the ground I was amazed.”
“After he told me the type of ale Help for Heroes was looking to create I promised him the beer would be sitting on Tesco shelves within a year.”
The ale is directed at the lager set, who are BORED of the frivolity of fizz and settling into the ales because of the flavours.
The beer is festooned with the logo: ‘Created by Heroes; Brewed by Marston’s; Enjoyed by Everyone’ and five pence from the sale of each bottle will go to Help for Heroes, which supports the rehabilitation of injured members of the armed forces.
So there you have it. You can finally get drunk in the name of charity and if anyone asks you why you’re falling about everywhere (the beer’s not that strong so you’ll have to buy a load of bottles), you can simply burp: “Just doing my bit!”
It’s basically two films going at the same time, with the same protagonist, but each has an opposite mood.
What you do is to press ‘R’ and you’ll see the other side.
Go on. TRY IT.
The Other Side seems to show that Honda are up for both families and edgy murderous types being associated with their new motor.
According to Honda Motor Europe’s Head of Marketing, Martin Moll: “This campaign marks a very significant time for our brand. The Civic Type R is one of four new car launches for Honda in 2015 and provides a powerful halo-effect for the marque. Just as our products are renowned for being innovative, our communications style will amplify this.”
Not entirely sure about the ‘powerful halo-effect for the marque’ bit, but can only assume at least he knows what he’s on about.
Charm-filled budget airline Ryanair has hiked its profit forecast on better than expected winter bookings and furthermore, they’ve also said they’ll cut fares by 10% in Spring to ooomph up their share of the Europe short haul market.
The company also claims that they will carry 2.2 million passengers more than they’d previously forecast, in the six months up March.
Profits after tax for the first six months of the financial year were €795m, which stood at €750m last year.
Obviously, this turnaround is something to do with Ryanair getting their act together in the last year or so, trying to shake off their reputation as an unpleasant budget headache affair run by a complete and unswerving asshat, improving customer service and all that jive.
You can make more money if you don’t treat people dreadfully, which is hardly stop press we know, but true. Complaints to Ryanair were down 40% and O’Leary said many of those were about the landing bugle, which they’ve now got rid of.
Ryaniar are far from perfect, but if they’re starting to make a pretty penny from playing nicely, rather than hooting hardball, then we can only hope other problematic companies take a leaf from their book.
An advert for that Toyota Yaris Hybrid has been banned.
A whopping 74 viewers were so enraged by the advert, seemingly encouraging dangerous driving, that they felt moved to register a moan about it.
Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad featured various drivers and passengers enjoying various tunes that were transmitted to their GPS, the edited version of the UK advert focussed on Bruno Mars’ song ‘Locked Out of Heaven’. If the were really driving dangerously, they’d surely be thrown into heaven?
Perhaps we could address some priorities here and suggest the complainants are whinging about the wrong element of the ad, and should focus their ire on Mr Mars.
Toyota defended the ad and told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the car adhered to the speed limit and there were no shots of it travelling fast, competitively or in a daring manner.
They said they tried to portray that both the driver and passengers in the car were having a good time whilst driving, as it wanted to “dispel the myth that drivers cannot have fun whilst driving safely”.
They also denied that the female driver had her eyes closed at any point, which was another point singled out as a complaint. Again, priorities people.
ITV, which broadcast the TV version of the advert, said no viewers had complained to its Viewer Services, and YouTube, which ran the ad online, agreed.
The ASA said that singing along with Bruno Mars is fine (sheesh) but it was concerned that viewers would believe that the closed eyed lady wasn’t paying attention to the onslaught of the road.
The ads must not appear again in their current form and Toyota was told to ensure its ads do not depict dangerous driving in future.
That’s them told.
Microsoft could keep hold of the name for another ten years, but obviously thought “no, that’s it, you’re dead to us!” and will now be known as the not-at-all catchy ‘Microsoft Lumia’.
The Nokia brand had been visible on recent smartphone launches such as the Lumia 930 and Lumia 735, but Microsoft has not mentioned it in any press on marketing junk.
The Windows Phone apps have also been re-branded to Lumia, and the firm hasn’t even been referring to Windows Phone in advertising, instead using just Windows instead.
The rebranding will roll out across various countries in due course, however it is unclear what branding Microsoft will decide to use on future smartphones and tablets.
Existing devices carry the Nokia logo on the front and back so it will probably be a little while for new devices all branded and sexed up to arrive.
Still. No more Nokia! The name of a mobile giant is chucked in the bin just like that. We’ll be playing ‘Snake’ all night and crying while seeing if it is possible to actually break a Nokia 3310 without the use of nuclear weapons.
Sugar Puffs RIP. That’s right - Sugar Puffs have been modified to have less sugar and – oh God – are being renamed. Are Mumsnet behind this? This reeks of people complaining about the word ‘sugar’ on a children’s breakfast.
The legendary treat will now be called Honey Monster Puffs. Look at the state of them.
The new look puffs will feature a revised recipe with less sugar and 20% more honey, and also features traffic light nutritional labelling on front of pack, which no-one will read. And besides, isn’t honey the same thing as sugar?
The puffs’ owners, Halo, said it was taking a “responsible and transparent” approach to nutrition and wanted to help consumers make informed decisions. Honey Monster Puffs contain 8.6g of sugar in a 30g portion – down from the 9.3g of the previous recipe – which is less than Krave (9g), Coco Pops (11g) and Frosties (11g).
Halo said the sugar content of the brand had been reduced by almost 40% in the past decade. That’s no fun is it? Some things are great purely because they’re really, really bad for you. Anyway, this is all part of a relaunch for the cereal, which has gradually been crashing saleswise over the last few years.
“We feel the product relaunch, coupled with our move to bring the product name in line with the Honey Monster character, can help grow our share of the cereals category,” said Halo Foods marketing director Andy Valentine.
The Honey Monster will be back, as he’s the dude on the packaging, and as is always the way these days, they’re hoping to ‘tap into nostalgia of the brand’. Jeez.
A key element of the marketing will be encouraging children to get outside and be active, and allowing them to be au fait with a big yellow monster coming in to nick their breakfast, who has urine that smells exactly like the cereal he’s promoting.
You’ve probably complained about people wearing wax jackets when they’ve never been near the countryside or whined about Land Rover drivers who only ever use their vehicles in the city. Of course you have. It’s brilliant slagging these people off.
Well, North Face had an idea.
Shoppers in Korea got quite the fright when they were idly browsing through North Face’s wares, to suddenly find that the floor gave way and they had no choice to but to climb like a North Face wearing mountaineering person.
This was all to tie in with the company’s brand’s motto, “Never Stop Exploring.”
After climbing the wall (or falling into a pit), the consumers were then faced with a prize – a coat dangling in mid-air, for which you’d have to jump to claim.
“Consumers are used to comfortable city lives and are losing their natural strengths,” The North Face said about the “Never Stop Exploring” campaign. “Based on this brand philosophy, North Face Korea induces customers to face an unexpected challenge and encourages them to overcome the situation with their own strength in order to begin their journey to explore.”
Also: people will do daft stuff for a freebie. Either way, a decent marketing stunt this. With that, we’d like to see Land Rover showrooms slowly removing their floors and sending the poshos of South West London careering down the side of an active volcano for a test drive.
Roy Keane has been having a pop at just about everyone on Earth in his latest book.
Tesco, ignoring their recent troubles, decided to have a giggle at the whole thing and do a creative/sarcastic promotion for the book by offering prawn sandwiches to those who bought a copy.
Well played Tesco.
It turns out that the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings”, which the company had been using for over a decade is false. It doesn’t actually give you wings.
SORRY TO BREAK IT TO YOU THIS WAY.
Anyone who felt slighted by not obtaining wings after glugging down the syrupy energy gloop, can now take advantage of a cash reimbursement from Red Bull, after they set $13 million aside into an account.
Figuring that it would quietly die down, the company’s website has now been inundated with claims, with the likelihood of the settlement devaluing somewhat from the initial $10 to less than $3, due to an internet storm.
The site has been visited over four million times now, but as no proof of purchase is needed – anyone could feasibly waltz in and say that they broke their back jumping from a block of flats under the proviso that wings would occur, and that’d be cool apparently.
You have until March 2015 to claim your pay-out (which will be next-to-nothing) if you were in anyway affected by the lack of wings.
Of course, if they had advertised it as ‘Red Bull gives you a massive headache and buggers about with your sleep patterns’ then there’d be none of this palaver.
God help us if there’s a war.
The website wants to get people across the country thinking about ‘crushing’ car insurance quotes by giving them the opportunity to crush a real car.
You there, in social media land, can use The Car Insurance Epic Car Crusher, which is a 6000 kilo robotic hand over the next two days.
Controlled from MoneySuperMarket’s Facebook page, it will offer four entrants an hour the chance to crush a car. And if you’re unlucky there, in the waiting hub you will also be able to play a car racing game, watch a live feed of cars being crushed and view the gallery of cars destroyed previously.
This is too much for a Wednesday, no?
David Harling, head of digital at MoneySuperMarket, said: “We wanted to demonstrate in a very ‘real’ way just how powerful our price comparison site is in crushing car insurance quotes and this activity was the perfect fit, playing to every driver’s secret desire to obliterate a car in true movie villain style.”
“The execution is in keeping with the ‘epic’ tone of our creative executions and gives car drivers across the country a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they’ll be bragging to friends about for weeks.”
‘Engagement and destruction’. It’s like Ballard or something.
Lidl are at it again! After trolling Sainsbury’s over their 50p debacle, they’re now taking the Michael out of Morrisons.
As you know, Morrisons have announced that they are going to price match Lidl with a new scheme, after Lidl and Aldi ate away at the competitions profits by basically selling everything more cheaply.
Lidl aren’t taking that lying down and have trolled Morrisons in an advert in today’s papers.
As Lidl point out, you can go through all the faff of price matching with Morrisons and follow the exhaustive instructions as detailed in the sarcastic ad above, or, you could just shop at Lidl.
Looks like this is just the beginning of the supermarket wars getting ugly with each other in the press. Grab the popcorn. This could get very entertaining.
Initially, we were going to say ‘here’s a picture of Jonathan Franks, a chartered accountant, presented without comment’.
However, it really is very difficult to look at a berk in a suit, posing with a guitar, trying to jazz up a chartered accountancy advert without thinking of all the swear words simultaneously, as well as being flooded with irritation and looming pity.
Seriously. There were so many opportunities to make sure this photo didn’t happen, yet…
This photo was stolen from a twitter account.