Tag: advertising

Help! My Agency is Killing Me!

March 6th, 2008   •   2 comments   

Stop fighting with your agency! (courtesy of edpeach1969)

While reading Vivienne’s post on high and mighty advertising agencies, I reflected upon my own years of experience in dealing with agencies both big and small. Yes, there has been lots of blood, sweat (often cold), and tears throughout the process. However, you do also encounter gems in the business and artwork plus copy that makes you smile.

As a client, how does one ensure that a Return On Marketing (ROM) is achieved without stifling the creativity and effectiveness of one’s hired advertising help? Here are some ideas to start the ball rolling:

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Winning $10,000 on a Bus

November 21st, 2007   •   no comments   

As a regular commuter on public buses and a marketer, I tend to notice the many different ways in which companies advertise their products and services. Increasingly, more and more purveyors of outdoor and out-of-home media are selling advertising spaces in practically every which way you turn.

Including beside the handles of buses, as you can see in the shot I took above. This ad is by AXS, and it offered to reward a subscriber every week with $10,000 of cold hard cash in return for using their services. Ordinarily I would only think about AXS when I have to pay a parking fine or my household bills, none of which are particularly pleasurable affairs.

Will this ad work? Well, it was literally right in my face that day. In terms of visuals and copy, this is probably as hard sell as it gets.

Personally, I thought that it was a little dangerous. Folks (especially the elderly) who needed to reach for the handles may end up pulling down one of these instead (and crash down to the floor). Hardly a way to build consumer goodwill, even if you have a chance to win $10,000.

The Best Form of Marketing?

October 16th, 2007   •   2 comments   

Came across this fabulous titbit from one of my favourite blogs Church of the Customer. I don’t think there is a better way to market one’s products or services, do you? If only, we can do that on supermarket aisles and also include customer testimonials into the whole proposition.

Is Toyota Diversifying into Food?

September 27th, 2007   •   16 comments   


Spotted this advertisement at the regular bus stop which I take. Hmmm… notice the (R) – ie registered trademark – next to the words LEXUS? Does this mean that the world’s number one automotive company is now going into cream crackers?

Notice how closely the font of the biscuit brand emulates that of the luxury marque as seen below:

I wonder if the biscuits are as silent as the Lexus cars when you bite into them? 🙂

VISA’s Celebrity Ads

September 24th, 2007   •   6 comments   


Celebrity endorsement in advertising (and sometimes PR) is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Since time immemorial, companies have relied on the household recognition, reach and popularity of movie stars, singers, TV actors and sport heroes to gain mileage in the marketing game.

Of all the celebrity commercials out there, the most memorable in my opinion belong to VISA. Few companies have managed to do it with as much style, panache and class as the world’s largest payment processor. And I have seen plenty of poorly conceived celebrity ads in my lifetime, especially those slimming ones by whats-its-name beauty parlour.
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An EX-traordinary Ad

August 28th, 2007   •   3 comments   


See the bus stop ad above? It is part of the highly successful Yellow Ribbon campaign organised by a whole host of different agencies and NGOs, which aim to integrate ex offenders back into society. I remembered watching the TV commercial which was rather emotional and heartwarming.

What caught my attention was the bold black headline:

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An Effective Ad

August 15th, 2007   •   5 comments   


Spotted this huge, monstrous outdoor billboard plastered across People’s Park Complex. If this doesn’t catch your attention, I suppose nothing will. Great work by the Traffic Police which gets the message across and yet isn’t too gory or gruesome.

Wanted Ads

August 6th, 2007   •   8 comments   


Spotted the above poster advertisement at a bus stop recently on my way home. A few years ago, such an advertising concept using headlines that screamed “WANTED”, “MISSING” or “REWARD” would probably have caught one’s attention. I remembered that SPH used this style of advertising way back in 2000 in a fund raiser called The Straits Times Million Dollar Duck Race. That involved putting up WANTED style ads with the cute rubber ducky featured.

Some of us may also be familiar with Starhub’s “Ringing Dog” campaign a few years ago. Then a cute pooch with a handphone in its tummy “went missing” and was featured on TV commercials, newspaper advertisements and posters. That ad was raved by some critics in marketing circles and managed to generate quite a stir.

I wonder though if Adtag’s poster above would generate as much interest. There is certainly a lot more clutter now, and the above concept is getting a little tired from years of misuse. Having said that, I like the interactivity that SMS offers (plus its free), as well as the use of humour that the ad above employs.

Youth or Nanny Marketing?

July 31st, 2007   •   10 comments   

As I was taking the bus to work this morning, I spotted this poster announcing a special promotion for students.

Bright coloured with black shadowy figures (inspired no less by Apple’s famous iPod ads), they were clearly targeted at teens taking public buses. It had all the supposed ingredients of a youth marketing campaign, namely:

1) Cool handphones for prizes (though not exactly the latest models)

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7 Steps to Great Writing

July 26th, 2007   •   7 comments   

Copyblogger, one of the world’s most popular for writing aficionados like yours truly, featured this excellent post on writing effective copy by Brian Clark. I have read plenty of copywriting tips in my lifetime, but this is probably one of the best I have come across. Read it, apply it to your writing, and voila! Watch those customers come queueing at your doors…. (if only it was this simple)

  1. Beneficial Topic

    Is what you’re writing of interest to the reader? Does it solve a problem they have and add value to their lives? If not, nothing else you read here matters.

  2. Magnetic Headline

    Likewise, nothing else matters if your prospective reader never makes it past the title or headline. Your content could be amazing, but if no one is compelled to invest the time to read based on a boring or vague headline, all is lost.

  3. Strong Opening

    The purpose of the headline is to get the first sentence read, and each subsequent sentence needs to keep the reader rolling towards to the close. The momentum you create with your opening can make your job easier the rest of the way.

  4. Helpful Structure

    Are your transferable lessons easily digested via bullet points and numbered lists? Are you providing compelling subheads that act as encouraging signposts for the diagonal reader to dig in deeper?

  5. Smooth Transitions

    Good writing uses transitional words and phrases to help the content read more smoothly. But good copy also uses psychological connectors to persuade and keep the reader engaged. We’ll talk more about that soon.

  6. Instant Understanding

    Orson Scott Card once said that metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. The same is true of stories, and being highly specific facilitates understanding, holds attention, and enhances credibility in ways that general assertions cannot.

  7. Actionable Close

    How you close a piece is determined by what you are hoping to accomplish. If you’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, you might ask yourself why you’re writing it at all. That actually helps you to determine whether to revamp the content or to put it out of its misery.

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