Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Trends: Nostalgia?

Last week's Knack featured a special on Nostalgia. In the past everything was better, and nowadays people are reaching back to the safe haven of the past is the hypothesis.

Are we stepping into an era of a reviving past? I think this is highly questionable. A year ago think BBDO's trends study already indicated an uplift of nostalgia and melancholy.

Nostalgia and melancholy are expressions of temporarily hiding from the vital era we live in today. Contrary to what Knack seems to suggest, today's society is one with a firm belief in the future and a strong urge to explore the unknown. This is not a frightened society that grasps back to past for support. On the contrary, it's a society where people are not afraid to take a step outside and open up. Probably the most iconic example is YouTube and the whole Web 2.0, or Time Magazine's person of the year: You.

De Kijk van Van Dyck: The year of extremes

2006 was - as expected - a year of extremes. It was a year of violence and murder. Think of the Mohammed cartoons in Denmark and the strong reactions to it in the muslim world. On the other hand it was a year of solidarity and togetherness. The vital consumer is getting more and more to the forefront. This new consumer is individualistic, but this does not exclude him from fighting for a better world. It enriches him as an individual; collective self-interest, you could say.

Here in Belgium we witnessed a massive expression of these feelings of solidarity last weekend in Leuven with Studio Brussel's 'Music for Life' campaign. Three radio DJ's locked themselves up in a house of glass and gathered 2,5 million euros for the battle against landmines.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'Just let go'

Marketeers nowadays should 'let go'of their brands and bow to consumer wants and needs. This is the very outspoken vision shared by P&G CEO A.G. Lafley. Marketeers, he believes, are most likely to succeed and be 'in touch' when they let consumers be in control.

P&G is really putting this philosophy into practice with its Tide to Go website. There, consumers can post comments and even severe criticism to the brand, without censorship.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Sneak preview: Trends study

The new Honda commercial by W+K London is out. And it's already in think BBDO's newest trends study!

The ad features Asimo, the humanoid robot developed by Honda. This ad is a very nice expression of the belief in technology and the future. Or, how Honda again succeeds to ride the waves of time.

You can see the commercial here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Research: Parent segmentation

This month's 'brand strategy' features a nice and interesting article on different segements of parents written by Warwick Cairns, planning director at Brandhouse.

He identifies the following six segments:Stage-school parents:
Tap dancing, tennis, guitar lessons,... Whatever it takes, their child will win at all costs.

Microwave mums:
Home is an advanced digital entertainment multicomplex. Children have their own TVs, Sky subscriptions and DVD players. Sit-down family meals are rare, not least because there is no kitchen table.

Disciplinarian strivers:
Ties, shiny shoes and ambition all matter - you will be an accountant. Native disciplinarian strivers have been boosted by hard-working first-generation immigrants, determined that their children will become respectable professionals.

Laid-back traditionalists:
Children learn basic manners and values and are expected to behave at school. The rest is free-range 'benign neglect' until it is time to find a job. This come via luck and natural ability, the family business, a local big employer or, failing that, through calling in favours.

Pushy progressives:
Relentlessly 'on-message' about most things. They disapprove of selective and private education and feel that 'ordinary' people would benefit from more children like theirs attending their schools. Unfortunately, the local school is just too bad, so they pull strings for entry the right state school on the other side of town.

Fairtrade families:
They choose home schooling, or the failing local comprehensive with a varied social mix and high murder-rate, to broaden their children's horizons.

Source: brand strategy (Dec 2006/Jan 2007)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

De Kijk van Van Dyck: The USP is back

The Unique Selling Proposition is back. Thanks to technological innovations. Microsoft's new Zune is a great example. Its technological feature of being able to wirelessly share music with other Zune owners discerns it form its biggest competitor, the iPod.

On top of that the Zune is being launched under 'Welcome to the social', which in turn offers it a clear positioning. The USP is back.

Read all about the importance of innovation and our present urge to 'explore' and 'bond' in this week's column.

Research: Children and advertising

One could expect a greater ad influence on younger children because they are less ad 'literate'; they are used to advertising. However, Livingstone & Helsper found that this is not the case. They found that advertising has a greater effect for 7-16 year olds than on 2-6 year olds.

Source: S. Livingstone, E.J. Helsper. Does advertising literacy mediate the effects of advertising on children? A critical examination of two linked research literatures in relation to obesity and food choice. Journal of communication, nr. 3 2006, p. 560-584.

Research: News and gender

Men and women react differently to news items. Men prefer (they are more physically aroused) negative news items, and on the contrary, women prefer positive news items. Men and women also remember and better understand more from respectively the negative and the positive news items.

A very interesting, though quite controversial finding if you ask me.

Source: M.E. Grabe, R. Kamhawi. Hard wired for negative news? Gender differences in processing broadcast news. Communication research, nr. 5 2006, p. 346-369

Monday, December 04, 2006

De Kijk van Van Dyck: The Long Tail

The 80/20-rule in marketing is history. In his book The Long Tail Chirs Anderson states that, in the internet age, 20 percent of the customers are no longer responsible for 80 percent of a company's turnover.

Anderson argues that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough. Examples of such mega-stores include the online retailer Amazon.com and the online video rental service Netflix.

Here you can find Anderson's blog, and more information about his book.

Read the column here.

International Marketing Congress (Ghent): Jaffe Juice

Saturday morning Joseph Jaffe kicked off with a discourse on his book 'Life after the 30-second spot'.

The most important thing that I take home from Jaffe is his hypothesis: The internet is the integrator. Internet will lead integration efforts in the next wave of the evolution of marketing, he states. Jaffe thinks all communications should evolve around the internet.

On De Standaard Weblog you can listen to the discourse he gave last Saturday. For those who prefer sound accompanied with images, here is a video of Jaffe at PICNIC '06: Cross Media Week, past September in Amsterdam.

For more info on his book go here, his weblog Jaffe Juice you can find here.

International Marketing Congres (Ghent): Old Leaders - New Leaders

Past Firday and Saturday Stichting Marketing (the Belgian Marketing Association) organised its 25th congress in Ghent. It was again an edition its name of international congress worthy.

For 25 years now, the Marketing Congress has inspired and stimulated an entire generation of marketers. The theme of this year's edition was well chosen: Old Leaders - New Leaders.

I think in this light the revelations of this year's congress were Baudouin Meunier of DePost and Dan Germain of Innocent. What I learned from them is that Old and New Leaders have 1 thing in common: passion for their job.