February 28, 2014

February 21, 2014

February 14, 2014

February 07, 2014

February 03, 2014

Dip That In Your Tea

From the Telegraph: McVitie's in £12m relaunch 'with emotion'
United Biscuits has announced a £12m relaunch of its McVitie’s brand after a year of research into the “emotional role biscuits play in our lives”.
I won't lie: my plan, when I first saw this news slug, was to toss off a few lines about how only the British could coin a phrase as simultaneously charming and ridiculous as "the emotional role of biscuits," and be done with it. (Other great quotes from the various articles covering this story: "We knew that our biscuits have a surprisingly important place in people’s lives—people relate to them in very emotional way"; "Imagine a world without biscuits. It would be such a cold, sad place.")

But then I got sucked into reading about how genuinely excited everyone is about the new campaign, over at McVitie's and their advertising agency, and, so help me, my cynicism got the better of me.
The new campaign, which features three TV adverts that include cute puppies, kittens and a Tarsier monkey, will be expected to drive social conversations and shares for the company
N.B. I realise that I am, in fact, driving social conversation about the company by writing this. Touché. If your secret, double-bluff marketing campaign was to talk so jejunely about your marketing campaign that people couldn't help but poke fun at it, you've succeeded. Because:
“We wanted a big fame-driving idea and no one has ever seen any advertising quite like this” Heynen told The Drum while discussing the new brand strategy.
Seriously? Nobody has ever seen advertising featuring cute puppies before? You've heard of, uh, toilet paper, right?

United Biscuits' marketing director clarified:
“The new advertising moves away from communicating what McVitie's biscuits do, to how they make you feel... It’s a big, surprising idea and one that will really get us noticed."
Wait wait wait, so you're saying that advertising doesn't only have to literally show you what a product does anymore? You're right; that will get you noticed. By THE MARLBORO MAN.

By the way, if you're a cynic yourself, and suspect I am taking quotes out of context to make my subjects appear foolish, here is the full text:
“The new advertising moves away from communicating what McVitie's biscuits do, to how they make you feel. ‘Sweeet’ – this is the expression and the feeling that we get from eating a McVitie's biscuit and it’s what links all elements of the master brand campaign together. The idea was developed by our newly appointed advertising agency Grey London. It’s a big, surprising idea and one that will really get us noticed, get us talked about and set us on a journey to becoming famous again.”
Anyway, all this enthusiastic marketing babble aside, what really pushed me from tweet to blogpost on this one was actually watching one of the new advertisements—in which a happy family opens a packet of Digestives, and instead of biscuits finds cute puppies spilling forth to the theme song from Murder, She Wrote. (The choice of music might seem inexplicable, except at the end of the spot the puppies turn back into biscuits and are promptly, grinningly eaten. Which really is inexplicable.)

Also, I would love to have been the permissions person in charge of clearing that one.
MCVITIE'S: Hello, Murder, She Wrote? We'd like to borrow your theme song please.

POOR, BEWILDERED, PERMISSIONS EMPLOYEE: Uh... Okay. What for?

MCVITIE'S: We're trying to sell biscuits.

PBPE: Bi— Biscuits?

MCVITIE'S: BISCUITS, MAN.

PBPE: Why do you want to sell biscuits using the theme song from a TV show about an old woman who writes murder mysteries while solving crimes?

MCVITIE'S: We need something to play in the background while we watch the cute puppy biscuits get eaten.

PBPE: Is this a crank call?

MCVITIE'S: I mean, can you imagine a world without fucking biscuits?
By the way, if you're a cynic yourself, and suspect I am overblowing the bizareness of the advert for comic effect, you can watch it here. In the meantime, I'm going to go eat Hobnobs.