Author: Laurence Borel

A trip down memory lane; The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Vintage Marmite and Heinz packaging
Vintage Marmite and Heinz packaging

As part of my MRes coursework, I recently visited the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, located in a cobbled mews in the heart of Notting Hill.

The museum was established by Robert Opie, a compulsive collector whose fascination with everyday things began on a railway station platform. He was eating a packet of Munchies and rather than throw the packet away, he decided to keep it and preserve the history of the chocolate snack. This is the secret of the museum’s success. Packaging constantly changes but products rarely do, so each brand carries an emotional continuity that tugs on your personal experiences.


Vintage packaging: Ox, Bovril, Aero, Bounty

The days of mass media advertising are over. Any single ad, commercial or promotion is not a summary of our strategy. We don’t need one bid execution of an idea. We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional, multi-layered and multifaceted way.’ (Larry Light, 2004).

Marmite is a perfect example of such concept.

Since it launched in 1902 , Marmite has been adept at adapting itself, tapping into prevailing cultural trends with impressive alacrity. Until the 1970s the brand positioned itself as a nutritious food for children, even utilising a Marmite sales force to target health professionals in a similar manner to today’s pharmaceutical reps.

The brand focus then shifted to Marmite as a family favourite, before embracing the memorable ’My Mate’ tagline of the 80s. But Marmite’s most genius marketing move yet may well be its most recent “Love It or Hate It” campaign, devised in the 1990s when a creative team had a difference of opinion over whether the spread was gross or great. And with Digital Technologies, the ‘Love it, Hate it’ concept is a fantastic online ice-breaker.

The question is, do you love Marmite’s comms initiatives, or hate them? 😉

[Video] Digital Pond panel: what does the future hold for Digital Marketing in 2013?

I was invited to take part in the Digital Pond’s panel in November last year alongside other smart digital marketing professionals @hjclark3 (SEO) @RedPillLondon (viral video) and @Koozai_Mike (PPC) where we got to discuss the state of digital marketing and our thoughts for 2013.

Here’s the video and accompanying slides.

These slides highlight some interesting 2012 Social Media case studies and stats.

Diesel’s pre-Internet shoe relaunch is not so social…

I recently received an email from Diesel which somehow left me disappointed. I absolutely loved the creative but I wanted more than just a pretty email. Diesel want to relaunch a pre-Internet shoe?  Great! Nostalgia is a very powerful feeling indeed and relaunching a 1993 in 2013, is technically a good idea.

However Pre-Internet doesn’t have to mean pre-social Internet, and this email comes across as the typical ‘Email Manager’ doesn’t talk to the ‘Social Media’ scenario. Email and Social Media work fantastically well together. Now imagine you receive this email, with a call to action to dig out an old picture of you wearing said shoes from back in the day and upload them to Facebook or their micro-site. Now that’s buzz and engagement guaranteed!

Diesel pre-internet shoe email

Consumers are no longer passive spectators of marketing activity – they expect to be active participants in brand conversations and campaigns. Experiential marketing is another channel that can work fantastically well with social and email, fulfilling a demand by taking interactive and memorable brand experiences directly to consumers – driving awareness, trial, conversations, content and generating a strong impact on purchase propensity.

So next time you’re planning on sending an email, why not add a little SoLoMex in your strategy beforehand?

5 productivity iPad apps for students and busy professionals

PressReader iPad appI am a total sucker for things that help me save time. Since I started university, my iPad Mini has become my faithful study companion and I simply couldn’t live without certain apps:

iBooks: Whilst I never paid much attention to iBooks in the past due to the fact I have a Kindle which I much prefer when it comes to reading. Saying that, iBooks has become a life-saver for storing my academic articles. I love the fact, you can open directly a PDF into iBooks and save your files in different folders.

Pocket, formerly known as Read it Later, Pocket is a nifty bookmarking app that lets you save articles from any device (Mac, iPhone, iPad) onto the app to read them later!

ArticleSearch: Hundreds of academic articles at your fingertips, ArticleSearch is huge time-saver as far as searching for sources is concerned. For a small fee you can also unlock the premium databases.

DocScanHD: who doesn’t need a scanner in their iPad? Convenient and saves me having to photocopy books!

PressReader: over 2,000 newspapers from around the world are directly available from the PressReader app for a small subscription fee. The good thing is that you can clip articles to Evernote or share them via Twitter or Facebook.

What are your favourite productivity apps?

Lunch time interview with O.D. Kobo, Pheed CEO and co-founder

As some of you may know, newest social network on the block, Pheed, dubbed the ‘ new Twitter’ have recently launched their iPhone app. In case you haven’t had the chance to play with Pheed already, the platform pulls in elements of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud on a single platform to make content creation easy.

I was invited to have a quick chat with O.D. Kobo, CEO and co-founder who talked me through his latest venture…

Tell me a bit more about Pheed. How did you come up with the idea? It must be tough launching a new social network considering there are already so many out there…

O.D. Kobo: We’re an old-school start up. There are currently 15 people in the company and 10 are tech, working together as a team. We’ve been developing for a while… We were in China for 8-9 years, and launched 80 products in during that time. We’re both developers and users of social networks, so we started looking at what people were doing in the West. Because we’re tech guys, we like to take things apart and understand how they are built. We looked at the features we liked from other social networks but also the features we were missing out on such as not being to like or dislike posts on Twitter, the ability to filter content but also having an app friendly product. This is essentially how the idea of Pheed was born.

The time felt right for launching Pheed; I wouldn’t have dreamt of launching Pheed 3 years ago for instance. I really admire Jack Dorsey for what he has achieved, but sadly I haven’t seen any progression on the Twitter platform since 2009, when the founding team left.

Around 2010, we saw a gap in the market and were wondering why no-one was really innovating and we were looking at various things we could do. For instance, Instagram came out of nowhere and are doing really well, because they came up with an innovative platform, something different.

How does Pheed differ from Twitter?

O.D. Kobo: Twitter should be called Follower. People come on there to follow information but to express yourself it’s limited. They’ve reached a limit as to what the platform can do.

We saw people migrating to other platforms and thought that maybe users around the world are looking for something new. We started thinking of ways we could improve sharing and developed a prototype version.  I wanted to show it to people, and I was in LA I ended up meeting quite a few celebrities and got their feedback of what they were missing out on.  They were looking for a unified platform, an all in one and then realised it was something people really wanted.

What about the revenue model?

O.D. Kobo:  When we were in China, we weren’t making any money; advertising revenue isn’t enough. We didn’t want to go down the investor route as it’s a vicious circle. It was important for us to have a business model. Just to be clear, Pheed isn’t a premium platform; it’s about getting users to share but also having the option to monetize. We give content creators an incentive to get paid – we’re about fair play and options to users. It’s about giving people the option. It should be about the user being able to monetize cool content.

We’re the first one offering monetization for users, but our unified platform (sounds/broadcasting etc) puts us in a unique position. Our Pham (Pheed family) were supporting us before we launched. There’s a certain type of users who are going to Pheed – dancers, artists, singers joining, and that’s really cool because that’s our crowd.

We have some cool features such as filters for instance, in case you miss a photo. Thnks to remixes, people’s networks have grown drastically.

We’re also trying to build a search functionality when if you search for something, you’ll be able to see photo, video and audio content all in one place.  Next January, we’ll also be introducing photo filters and video filters.

Having spoken to O.D., I am really excited about the platform; let’s face it, content creators want to monetize and Pheed offers just that. O.D. told me that one guy, charges $34.99 for tech tutorials which people happily pay for.

Go on, sign up and have a play with their new mobile app.