Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi keynotes nextMEDIA Toronto 2011

Thursday, 11 August, 2011

Kevin Roberts, CEO worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi at nextMEDIA Toronto 2011

I’ve been reading Kevin Roberts‘s ideas for years and even created Kevin’s Wikipedia page. So it is wonderful to see Kevin is coming to Canada to share his insights. The following is from the nextMEDIA Toronto 2011 (Dec 5 – 6) press release. If you are in Toronto during that time, register to attend.

CEO worldwide for creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts is a marketing pioneer with a heart for nostalgia and has been bringing popular brands to market and straight into consumers’hearts since the early 1970s. Roberts has worked with large-scale international clients such as Carlsberg, TMobile, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Sony Ericsson, JCPenney, Toyota and VISA Europe among others.

Roberts is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, in which he describes the emotional connections we create with the brands we’ve grown tolove.

So, here’s the real question: How does your brand achieve Lovemark status? Well, fear not, Roberts is heading to nextMEDIA Toronto this year to help you solve that very problem.

Named one of the top ten ideas of the decade in 2010 by advertising and marketing news website AdAge, Lovemarks transcend brands, leaving their iconic symbols emblazoned in the hearts and memories of consumers worldwide.

Join Kevin Roberts at nextMEDIA Toronto 2011 for an informative keynote session about hisLovemarks theory, offering crucial insight into the future of marketing and an analysis of the way we identify with our favourite brands.”

Business Strategy: Apple, with its Final Cut Pro X, lets Adobe & Avid refight their Battles of Waterloo #fail

Friday, 1 July, 2011

Apple Adobe Avid refight Battles of Waterloo - pix 1

People don’t usually win by betting against Apple as Apple has shown the world so many great products in recent years. But I am going to join a critical Oscar editor and take my chance and bet my $1 against Apple. I say Apple may have materially damaged its Final Cut Pro brand/lovemark by giving Adobe and Avid some meaningful chances into retake some of the long lost market share. Assuming Adobe and Avid have good products and execute their plans well.

In fact, I am willing to go out on a limb and say Apple is giving “losers” Adobe and Avid new chances to refight their Battles of Waterloo in the field of video editing software. In the battlefield, your opponents are usually not too kind in letting you fight again and learn from your previous mistakes.

I think Apple has very much underestimated the influence of professional editors on prosumers and new beginning editors. For me, I remember years ago one of the reasons I took Final Cut Pro seriously and bought into it was because of FCP was being highly regarded and used by the professionals.

OK, NBA players have been locked out, but imagine if a brand of basketball shoes have been founded to restrict certain shots/moves by NBA players thus making them unable play their best games, will you still buy the shoes?

As my friend like to say, the following is my brand of poison/observations. Readers beware.

1) Adobe SWITCH Campaign

Apple Adobe Avid refight Battles of Waterloo - pix 2

Adobe is smart and quick to launch a Premiere SWITCH campaign (note: press release here50% off Production Premium or Adobe Premiere Pro “if you own Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer with offer code SWITCH. Offer ends September 30, 2011”) making its Production Premium software costing $850 and Adobe Premiere Pro software costing $400 respectively after discount. [HT Apple Insider] Update: See also PC World review of software.

2) Full function Production Premium group of softwares at significant discount

The Production Premium software has quite a number of useful & powerful softwares and can be a good fit for professional/prosumer FCP7 users. Given Apple‘s willingness to give up its professional users, it makes sense for professional to buy and learn it for risk mitigation/management purpose. Of course, at $850, it is a bit out of reach for people who can only afford the FCPX $299 prices.

3) Adobe Premiere Pro on SWITCH discount at $400. Why $400?

Now moving on to Adobe Premiere Pro, if Adobe is smarter, they should just lower its price to $299 to match the FCPX price for new purchase!

We are talking about business strategy to regain long lost market share! A market that has been dominated by Apple Final Cut Pro for a long time. I don’t understand why Adobe Read the rest of this entry »

Royal Wedding (T-Mobile spoof)

Monday, 18 April, 2011

The ad agency that does T-Mobile ads has done it again with a great viral video (posted April 15, with over 4.6 million views already)! Let me say it again, ads that are good enough that people have fun watching are willingly reposting for you are simply priceless. See this CBC News video report.

Also check out this previous T-mobile ad campaign.

7-Up Rebranding (new and old logos)

Monday, 14 March, 2011

Check out CreativeReview “New 7up – now more fruity” to see 7-Up new logos and many many old 7-Up logos over the years.[HT BMD]

The new look was created by TracyLocke New York and will be rolled out (as they say) in several countries around the world, but not the US. Confusingly, 7up is owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group in the US but the global brand is owned by PepsiCo: it is the latter that will carry the new look.

Transit Ads for Calgary?

Monday, 13 December, 2010

I saw this style of changeable ads on the HK subway. I wonder will this ad/display system work in Calgary to make some money for the city/Calgarians and provide some info for the riders?

Herding 100 Cats – an IKEA UK ad/”experiment”

Sunday, 12 September, 2010

Ads that are fun are viewed more and spread more (like on blog like this). [HT Gizmodo] Check out this Guardian article where the ad agency Mother London’s creatives talk about the idea behind the ad. Enjoy.

Not surprisingly to me, an interesting observation is the “making of” YouTube video clips currently has about 10 times more viewing numbers than the ad itself.

The ad.

The “making of”.

Case study behind the Old Spice Man & Responses campaign

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Beautifully created Wieden + Kennedy Portland’s case study behind the Old Spice Man & Responses campaign. (~4 minutes video) The Old Spice campaign has definitely topped Ogilvy Toronto’s Dove “Evolution”campaign which I thought would be a tough one to beat. Enjoy the ~4 minutes video.

[HT Alison Bracegirdle]

Fast Lane – Fun Theory (Ads that are fun to watch)

Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

Here are some fun and effective ads. [HT Bud]

Fast Lane – The Slide

Fast Lane – The Shopping Carts

Fast Lane – The Elevator

By the way, the tiny cameras used in the videos are Go Pro’s cameras. Check out my video interview with Nicholas Woodman, Founder and CEO of Go Pro, at 2010 NAB Show.

Matthew Weiner on Mad Men @ 2010 NAB Show

Monday, 26 July, 2010

Matthew Weiner‘s Mad Men is a great show. I found some footage I shot of Mad Men show creator and showrunner Weiner talking about Mad Men @ the 2010 NAB Show. Enjoy.

Apple: removed from “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Sadly, I am removing Apple from my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list. I may still consider buying Apple products in the future but Apple is no longer on my “Admired Companies”/Lovemarks list list and it is definitely not a Lovemark to me anymore.


Removing Apple from list of Admired companies/Lovemarks

Watching Apple’s actions in the recent months (including its app store approval “policies” (note: reversing that one wrong decision didn’t make the fundamental problem go away) and licensing terms “iPhone developer EULA turns programmers into serfs” and “All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple: The iPhone Developer Program License Agreement“), and the final straw of Steve Jobs’ iPhone 4 press conference last Friday (16, July, 2010), I have removed Apple from my list of admired companies (or Lovemarks).


July 25 update: An insightful piece from Guardian “If Apple wants to be a major player it needs to start behaving like one – The iPhone 4 debacle reveals how much Apple has to learn about life at the top”.

Orcon with Iggy Pop – Direct Grand Prix

Monday, 21 June, 2010

“Direct Grand Prix Goes to New Zealand’s Orcon – Internet Company’s ‘Fantastic Product Demonstration’ Featured Potty-Mouthed Punk Icon Iggy Pop” AdAge

[…] WHAT IT IS: Orcon was an unknown broadband service in the country, so to boost awareness it set out to find eight New Zealanders to record a song with punk music icon Iggy Pop. The selected musicians were connected, using Orcon’s service, to a potty-mouthed, shirtless Iggy, who is based in Miami, and they redid a version of his song “The Passenger” virtually. […]

WHY IT WON: The jury members called “Orcon & Iggy Pop” one of the best uses of celebrity they had ever seen. They also deemed it a “fantastic product demonstration” that showed the public the reliability and strength of the internet service in real time.

Chocolate bonds

Wednesday, 26 May, 2010

Two recent chocolate “investments”,

$180,000 Porsche Crash by Globe journalist’s son: Best ad in 2010

Friday, 21 May, 2010

$180,000 Porsche Crash by Globe journalist’s son: Best ad in 2010

I love good advertising and I think Porsche just hit the jackpot with this $180,000 Porsche Crash and has just taken the top spot of being my best ad of 2010! Best ad? Well, let me explain.

To me, the best ads are those you don’t pay a dime for the medium and don’t even plan (but you need to handle it well and have a bit of “luck”). The next best ads are those that you don’t pay (or don’t pay much) but plan meticulously (see VW’s Fun Theory ads). The least favourite type of ads for me are those that you pay mega big bucks to get the obvious “best coverage” (front pages in newspapers, TV prime time slots, etc).

If you think about it correctly, the purpose of any ads are to get our attention. The following accidental $180,000 Porsche crash by Globe journalist’s son costed Porsche a tiny $11,000 (initial body shop estimate) and this is a “cost” with profit built-in, so it will cost Porsche likely much less than $11,000.

I am happy that Mr. Rick Bye (manager of the Porsche press fleet) and Porsche made the right decisions. Congrats to Porsche for your injury-free $180,000 crash!

In my chart, your “ad” has just beat Alec Brownstein’s $6 Google reverse job ad for its Canadian and worldwide potential impact and because yours had the added advantage of not being planned at all!

Congrats Porsche, you’ve earned a free link from this blog!

Globe journalist’s son crashes $180,000 Porsche – Take an expensive sports car, a curious teen and a garage door – and mix together to get one very embarrassed automotive writer

[The following is an excerpt, also check out this video report of the crash]

“Some moments are lived backwards. The great ones run through your mind like a favourite movie. Then there are the other kind, where you try to roll back the clock – like the afternoon my teenage son launched a brand new Porsche Turbo through our garage door.

So far, I have not managed to invent a time machine, go back, and snatch the key from his hands (and in case you were wondering, the car goes for $180,000, not including freight, tax or a new garage).

That day began with deceptive perfection. I woke up in a sunlit bedroom next to my beautiful wife. We had celebrated 26 years of marriage just the day before. Our cherry tree was in full blossom, and in the garage, locked away like a crown jewel, was a 2010 Porsche 997 Turbo, the latest (and costliest) in a long series of test cars.

[… And here come the funny bites. …] Will stuck his head into the office and asked me if he could show his buddy the Turbo. I told him to go ahead. He and his friends always checked out my cars. Their main focus seemed to be the interior and stereo systems – details I barely cared about.

I went back to my computer. My car buddies knew I’d been at the track with the Turbo, and they wanted my verdict. I told one it was like a tiger in an Armani suit – killer chassis, unbeatable power, but suave and comfortable, too.

I shut down my computer and prepared to head to the office, smiling at the thought of a few minutes in the Turbo. As I headed out the back door, I saw my son running toward the house. His eyes were the size of dinner plates. He sputtered: “Dad, the Porsche … the Porsche …”

I thought the Turbo had been stolen. Our garage has a full security system, but this is one of the most desirable cars in the world, so you never know. Will tried to speak again. “The Turbo rolled into the door….” I walked past him into the garage.

For nearly a minute, I was too dumbfounded to speak. The Turbo hadn’t rolled into the door – it had launched itself through the entire structure. In a distance of approximately four feet, the Turbo had developed enough kinetic energy to blow the entire door apart. Parts of the roller mechanism were scattered through the alley. Dazed, I picked up a bent metal piece – it looked like a Crazy Bone, a toy Will had collected as a little boy.

When I parked it, the Turbo had been pristine. Now it looked like the car from Dukes of Hazzard after a chase through the southern backwoods. Stunned, I surveyed the damage. The hood was raked with gouges, the top of the right front fender was flattened, and the driver’s door (which is made from aluminum to save weight) had taken a beating. Worst of all was the rear fender, which had hit the concrete door frame as the Turbo launched itself into the alley – it looked like a giant blacksmith had smacked it with a sledge hammer.

[…] Postscript:

My son has agreed to do a minimum of one week’s labour for Mr. Bye

Initial body shop estimate for the 2010 Porsche Turbo – $11,000 plus taxes.

My garage door was replaced last week, along with the door tracks, opener and door frame. I spent seven hours working alongside the installer. Total cost was $2,700. My insurance deductible was $500. I lose my no-claims insurance discount for three years.

Later this summer, based on his schedule, my son will attend Apex driving school, where he will be trained in advanced car control and learn to drive a standard transmission.”

How to get ahead in advertising with six dollars and Google

Tuesday, 18 May, 2010

Love the following article and idea.

How to get ahead in advertising with six dollars and Google

When top creative directors Googled themselves, they got a shock: a witty message from copywriter Alec Brownstein, searching for a job

Dave McGinn
From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, May. 18, 2010 10:04AM EDT

Alec Brownstein landed his dream job with creativity and $6. And the Google Job Experiment, as he calls it, has made the 29-year-old advertising copywriter the most famous job seeker of the moment.

Already working as a copywriter, but looking to move up in the world, Mr. Brownstein went on to Google AdWords and bought the names of five of the top creative directors at ad agencies in New York. Whenever one of those people Googled themselves, they found a link to Mr. Brownstein’s website,, and this message: “Hey [creative director’s name]: Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.”

The bold move landed Mr. Brownstein calls from all but one of the creative directors, two advertising awards and, most importantly, two job offers, one of which he accepted. He’s now a senior copywriter at Young & Rubicam.

Mr. Brownstein and his boss, Scott Vitrone, spoke to The Globe and Mail.

Alec, where did you get the idea for this from?

Alec Brownstein: As someone who Googles myself on occasion, I realized that if someone were to put a message to me in the sponsored result in the top hit, I would take notice of that. So that’s what I did.

How much did the whole thing cost?

Read the rest of this entry »

Cute ad with shadow puppets

Saturday, 24 April, 2010

Cute ad. [HT Bud]

Congrats MT Carney, President of Marketing, Disney Studios

Thursday, 22 April, 2010

Congrats to MT Carney for being appointed President of Marketing, Disney Studios. Here are some of the news reports and commentaries.

  1. Carney to Run Disney Marketing (The Wrap)
  2. Disney Studios to Name Naked’s M.T. Carney as CMO (AdAge)
  3. Disney Studios hires outsider M.T. Carney to head marketing (LA Times)
  4. Disney Names a New Marketing Chief (New York Times Blog)
  5. MT Carney named head of Disney marketing (The Hollywood Reporter)

Here is an excerpt from AdAge,

“In one of the more surprising moves of an agency executive moving to the client side, M.T. Carney, partner at Naked Communications’ U.S. operations, has been hired to lead marketing for Walt Disney Studios.

As first reported by The Wrap, the hire is expected to be announced by Disney Studio Chairman Rich Ross later today.
Ms. Carney and Disney couldn’t be immediately reached, but Naked confirmed the move to Advertising Age.

“We are very proud of M.T.,” said Paul Woolmington, founding partner at Naked. “Now we have a Naked inside Disney, and we anticipate working in a new capacity,” he said, calling the move a “win-win.” Mr. Woolmington stressed that the move wouldn’t cause disruption at the agency as it’s “bench strength is amazing.”

In 2006, when Ad Age positioned Ms. Carney as a media executive to watch in its “Media Maven” report, John Harlow, co-founder of the U.K. based communications planning shop, described the Scottish-born, former Ogilvy & Mather account planner as having a “fierce intellect, and clients are just taking to her.”

It now seems one of those clients she won over was Richard Ross, who for many months is said to have been hunting outside of Hollywood for a new marketing leader who could shake things up at the entertainment company and better position it in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Other candidates for the position reportedly came from packaged-goods companies and beverage brands such as Pepsi.”

By the way, this bit of info from the LA Times and Disney’s unspoken rationale seem quite odd to me for the new President of Marketing,

“Disney declined to make Carney available for an interview.”

Footnote: For the last few years, I felt a small connection to MT because her personal site “” used to have one sentence & a link to this 2006 AdAge article page on my site. Since MT’s page and her LinkedIn profile are both wiped clean now, I suspect thats the price for being marketing boss at the big mouse studio! :) Here is what I remember seeing at and still cached by Google cache.

Good luck and all the best MT!

Inspiring Bud

Friday, 2 April, 2010

I recently discovered a very interesting and insightful advertising executive from Hong Kong, his pen name at Apple Daily and his blog is Bud (畢明). I saw the following interesting & inspiring YouTube videos from Bud’s blog. Enjoy and thanks Bud.

Message on a fly! This one is super cool! Apparently the string holding the message to the fly is made of biodegradable material! [HT Bud]

What a slick BBC Winter Olympics ad! Very creative. [HT Bud]

This is an AXE ad so if you want political correctness, this one is NOT for you! :) [HT Bud]

A cute AmEx ad (but I think my lowly “free with cash back” VISA card has the same advantages)! [HT Bud]

Here is something from Bud’s blog, “畢明 ‧所以‧廣告 – Life is too short”

“做廣告,受薪胡思亂想;戲痴,傻+癲的,在各大報章愛恨電影;多元字作,專欄通通畢氏腦作。相信磊落、就快樂。 奉行 Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish, Work hard, Play HarDer!!! “

A great entry re “80後的廣告“, very insightful observations and comments.

Shop till you drop @ 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Sunday, 21 February, 2010

An excerpt from Andrew Willis’ “The Shopping Olympics” (emphasis added),

Vancouver crowds have embraced the Games, and Olympic merchandise, with a passion that borders on frenzy.
Shoppers are lining up at 5:30 in the morning to get into an Olympic superstore that doesn’t open until 9. During the day, they wait up to 90 minutes to get in. The retailer expected 10,000 customers a day in the downtown Vancouver store. Late last week, under sunny skies, up to 50,000 shoppers went through the doors.

Half way through the Games, Hudson’s Bay Co. is selling Olympic-themed merchandise at three times the expected rate. More than 20,000 transactions a day are being run through its tills. […]

The top selling item is the red mitts that Ms. Brooks is pitching: The Bay has moved 3 million pairs, with 100,000 a day selling since the Games began. The chain will soon run out of inventory, as only 3.5 million mitts were knitted, and the retailer has decided that it’s too late to make more. The No. 2 seller is Olympic hoodies, with 2 million sold at $50 each, followed by lumberjack-style rally scarves, a $20 purchase.

Showing our love and support for the athletes and our Canada, the $10 red mitts were priced right and worked like magic. I hope the red mitts will help provide the athletes with needed funding for the years to come. I will see if I can get some numbers from Hudson’s Bay Co. after the game is finished.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Red MittensVancouver 2010 Olympic Red Mittens

I am Canadian. – Beer Drinkers, your feedback are needed!

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

An excerpt from Adage “With Olympics, Molson Plays up Canadian Roots Again” (emphasis and link added),

Can Olympics-inspired nationalism stem the long decline of Molson Canadian?

The iconic Canadian beer has been beating the national-pride drum for years with little impact (one prior tagline: “I am Canadian.”). The brand’s sales have fallen for decades, and the two best-selling beers in Canada these days hail from south of the border: Budweiser and Coors Light.

But a new campaign, from MDC Partners‘ Zig, is betting that if there’s ever a time to appeal to national pride to sell something, it’s when the Olympics are on your home turf.

The Toronto agency’s new campaign for Molson — “Made from Canada” — plays up Canada as the “best backyard in the world,” with “more square feet of awesomeness per person than any other nation on Earth.” Molson Canadian, says the first spot, “comes from the same land we let loose on.” […]

“What’s different is that this puts the beer at the center of the equation,” said Dave Bigioni, brand director for Molson Canadian. “It’s about celebrating the abundance of natural resources that shapes both the people and the beer.” (Hence the “made from” in the tagline.)

Has the following ad made you drink and buy more Molson Canadian? Love to hear from the beer drinking Canadians out there.

Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

For some mysterious reason, I LOVED Southwest Airlines even I had never been on a Southwest flight. You see, I live in Calgary and Calgary-based WestJet Airlines models itself after Southwest. Anyway, Southwest used to mean nice people and services at an affordable fare to me until this morning.

After reading how Southwest had treated indie director Kevin Smith based on Kevin’s account of the facts and Southwest’s account of the facts (by Linda Rutherford – VP Communications & Strategic Outreach), I believe Southwest made some serious mistakes, continue to make mistakes and refuse to right itself.

I am blogging about this because I think there are some important lessons to be learned here. Feel free to share what you think in the comment section.

Here is an excerpt from CNet (emphasis added),

This may be the best example we’ve seen yet of how Twitter and other forms of new-media mass communication are shaping that old industry known as public relations. Nobody walks around with a Twitter follower count or blog URL painted on his or her forehead, and many extremely popular bloggers still live in relative physical anonymity, which means that the customer relations business is like a game of Minesweeper–you can never be sure what might blow up in your face. [kempton note: This is and should be good for customers because the companies better start treating EVERYONE with respect and good services.]

PR and customer service are two different divisions of a company. But this incident shows how, in the Digital Age, the two are increasingly overlapping. With Twitter, many companies are conducting customer relations in the public eye, and a company’s response to a high-profile disgruntled customer may require dispatching the PR team. Good communication between the two is obviously key.

From Kevin’s Twitter account, here are the first few tweets about this mess here, here, here, here (note: language), here (language re $100 voucher), here, here (on another flight), here, here (with twitpic), here, here (armrest up or down), here (the Southwest public shaming), here (the sad story of the big girl 1/2), here (big girl 2/2), here, here, SmodCast (***audio***, Southwest go f* yourself, a great listen), here (Kevin retweet Southwest apologize because Smith has a platform, part 1/2), here (part 2/2), here (the Southwest non-voicemail), here (the joke), here (Kevin reactions to Southwest’s non-apology 1/2), here (sorry, but you are fat 2/2), here (funny pix), here (Kevin’s reaction), other airlines, the offered $100 voucher (but not accepted).

Here are Kevin’s last two video clips

and this one.

A few of the many videos from Kevin about this mess,

More news from

SF Gate “Is Kevin Smith two people?” (funny)Mercury News, LA Times “Kevin Smith and the unbearable fatness of being”, LA Times “Kevin Smith’s Southwest Airlines incident sets Web all a-Twitter”, Huffington Post “Kevin Smith Challenges Southwest: Bring Airline Seat To Daily Show And I’ll Sit In It”, Businessweek: “Fat Nation: Kevin Smith is Not Alone in Airplane Space Wars”

For the record, because of this incident, I changed from someone who has never flown on Southwest but love it and would love to fly on it some day


someone who never want to fly on Southwest unless I have absolutely no comparable other alternatives.

P.S. This Southwest incident reminded me of Warren Buffett’s message to Salomon Brothers employees (I think it is Salomon),

“I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear on the front page of their local paper the next day, be read by their spouses, children, and friends … If they follow this test, they will not fear my other message to them: Lose money for my firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.

Now the concerned Southwest employees have dragged the whole Southwest corporation’s reputations through the mud. And this news has now been reported not only in their “local paper” but repeated around the world. And this news has not only read by “their spouses, children, and friends” but internationally.

The best policy is to treat each and every single customer with full respect and do the right thing. Don’t lie because your lies to customers will be discovered and your apologies may only come after all the damages have been done.

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